By: VenueHero   on   March 28, 2017
You know that saying, everything and everybody changes? Well, it’s a lie. Feel free to argue with your ancestors. Me, I know what I’m saying. After meeting with old classmates for the first time in ten years and spending a weekend with them I have concluded that heaven and earth may pass away but some people will never change.
People like Yuguda who still smell like rotten fish, after so many years, in spite of his obvious change in status. Unlike me, Yuguda was a back sitter, still, I dodged him more than drivers with expired licenses dodge LASTMA officers. On the few unavoidable occasions when he sat close to me, I didn’t hear the first or last thing said in class, not while I was busy trying to survive the olfactory assault. Between his mouth and his armpit, I could never tell which one stank more. Always made me wonder what the other place smelled like.
Maybe because of all the time that has passed, or because I was excited to meet old pals (which he was not, if I may add) I had graciously accepted his hug during the meet and greet by the poolside on Friday. And there it was, that stench of death!
So, at the reunion dinner, I vowed to avoid him like an Egyptian plague. I know I will die someday, but it won’t be at this age, and certainly not death by rotten fish smell.
We’re here at Alifa Marquee, a thoroughly splendid event center in the heart of Utako, Abuja. The beautifully decorated hall wears a red and white themed look. Soft, gold coloured linens cover large tables, with beautiful natural flowers arranged in glass vases. The exotic chandeliers and kliedoscope of colourful stylish dinner gowns further accentuate the ambience of the surrounding. Me, being the picture whore that I am, I can’t stop snapping.
Not until I spot Solape transferring small chops from the table into her bag, for the third time. She has already bagged two cupcakes, one canned malt and one bottle of water.
“What is it, Sola?” Lizzy explodes, beating me to it by a second. “Are you the only one on this table?”
“Shey you people are forming na,” she says shamelessly. “You don’t want to eat.”
Stupid GLUTTON. The party just started and we have all night!
It was just like being back in school again, with Solape smuggling food out of the dining hall to eat while classes were going on, after which she usually fell sound asleep. And of course, the rats and roaches that fed from her school bag fared better than their relatives in the kitchen.
Up on the stage, a comedian is trying too hard. Sputtering one dry joke after another, reminding me of why I never listen to Gordons.
Something catches my attention at the entrance and I turn. Someone has just entered the hall, with an entourage following close by. He’s dressed like an Alhaji although he is obviously not Hausa. He’s middle aged, with a stomach that can rival an eight months old pregnancy. The face looks vaguely familiar but I can’t place it. So I turn to my information bank, Imaobong.
“Babe,” I tap her and point towards the latest guest who is smiling generously as people get up to greet him, displaying a set of ‘gworo’ stained teeth, “who is the wannabe Alhaji?”
She follows my line of sight and says, “Oh he finally decided to show up. That’s Ugali na. You don’t remember him? Old man Ugali. He’s a big man in Customs now o. He works in the Controller’s office here in Abuja.”
Ok, maybe some things do change. Ugali was the oldest boy in our class, and unfortunately the dumbest, so naturally we all enjoyed making fun of him. The way my ex-classmates were already surrounding his table and treating him like a local celebrity, I’m wondering if they still remembered the things they had said and done to him.
“Well, I better go pay homage too o,” someone nearby says, “this kind of connection is important. Getting things in and out of this country is not a joking matter at all.”
Just then Yuguda appears from nowhere to occupy the vacated seat. He is accompanied by his ever present rotten fish smell, and I’m reminded once again that some things will never change.
Also published on Medium.
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