Think of all the lonely people in the world and if it’s God who made us, why are we so damn cruel?
Its Valentine’s Day, the 14th day of the second month of the year; the day everyone sets aside to show lavish displays of affection and appreciation to their significant other(s) and to the people they love or hold dear. It’s a joyous, heartwarming “holiday” for most people; they get flowers, candy, balloons, some form of jewelry or a present meant to signify that the giver loves them. On the surface it seems Valentine’s Day is just a simple day to show appreciation for those you love. There can’t be anything wrong with it right? Well, you’d be wrong if you thought so. Valentine’s Day, where I come from isn’t a day to show affection to the ones you love; it’s just another day for Nigerians to oppress everyone else with the most expensive gift possible for the most worthless girl or guy imaginable. It’s the day you take that girl you met a month ago to the Wizkid concert, it’s the day you give a guy a N150 card after he spends thousands buying you that new Blackberry you wanted, it’s the day you one up all your friends to make sure you gave your girl the best gift, or in my case, the day I stole from my mother to impress a girl.
You probably wanna hear that story, don’t you? How I stole from my mother to impress a girl on Valentine’s Day? Okay then, a little back story to set the mood: It was JS3 in All saints’ College, my two best friends Dave and Junior (Names changed for discretion) had girlfriends and I didn’t. Junior was dating this nice girl and Dave was dating a mutual friend of ours who I’ll call “Estelle” for this piece. Estelle and Dave had been “dating” for Three years since JS1. Back in JS1 Estelle was technically my girlfriend for all of 2 days, before she dumped me and asked Dave out in front of me; for the next three years I watched them every day in class make smoochie and googly eyes; it sickened me until I became a jaded husk of my former self then eventually, slightly got over it. Fast forward to JS3, my two best friends have girlfriends and I don’t. They send secret sweet letters to their girls-with me as the messenger/mugu, hold hands in public, do cutsie kiddie puppy love stuff and I don’t. All I have are the cartoons I go home to watch. I’m feeling left out, I’m pressured, I just feel bad about myself, so I go on the hunt to find myself a girlfriend, and then came this girl. She was beautiful, dark skinned, wore glasses, had a nice petite body (with potential for exponential growth in all the right areas, if you get my drift), great smile, smart, ambitious, driven, good head on her shoulders, just a generally well rounded young lady with a bright future ahead of her, the type of girl who shouldn’t be anywhere near a street urchin like me. This girl was a hostel girl (the elite women of All Saints College), She was a year below me, in JS2 and she was a new girl who just transferred to my school, so she was fresh meat, she didn’t know anything about me, nothing about the reputation I had developed for being a bad boy or the stories of me fingering a girl in the girls toilet when I was in Primary 3 (confirmation of that rumor is STILL pending till this day- I’m trying to remember if I even knew what I Vagina was back then and if I was scared it would wink at me or suck me inside its crevasse. I’ll keep you posted if I remember anything). This girl was beautiful, she was stunning, the way she carried herself was simply perfection, I had to find out more about her so I asked Estelle – who has always been a hostel girl- to give me the low down. I found out a few key details about her; her age, personality traits and most importantly her name. We’ll call her “Betsy” for this post. I can’t stress enough how beautiful Betsy is, her smile was out of this world, she instantly stood out. It took weeks before I could talk to her; I just kept watching her from my class room as she walked by every day.
JS 3 was hard for me, it was the year I turned 13 or 14 if I remember correctly. It was the year my voice started to get deep, my formerly pristine, marble-esque, flawless face started to sprout pimple and I became known as pineapple face, It was the year I was failing WAEC and NECo (mainly because me, Dave and Junior skipped class every day to go play Xbox at Dave’s house), my parents were on my case, my dad was disappointed that I wasn’t a genius like my siblings, my siblings were disappointed that I wasn’t repping the family well, I didn’t have PSP’s like my two best friends, I couldn’t draw like Dave or play Soccer like Junior, but most of all I didn’t have a girlfriend. The weight of everything was too much for me to bear, everything else was out of my control, if I wasn’t going to get all A’s in WAEC, if I wasn’t going to cure my Acne, or learn to draw and play Soccer, At least I could get a girlfriend. I asked Estelle to set up a meeting between Betsy and me so I could introduce myself. I met her in a crowded hallway in front of so many people, I was (and still am to an extent) shy, socially awkward and extremely self-aware. I fucked our first meeting up bad, I didn’t speak loudly enough, she had to keep asked me to repeat what I was saying, she barely laughed at any of my jokes, my friends kept pushing me towards her, it was an unmitigated disaster, but interestingly enough, she asked when she could see me next, she said I was cute and she liked me. After a few days, we officially became an unofficial item. Our relationship went something like this: She comes to my class to say Hi; I ignore her or tell her I’m busy for as long as possible when in reality I’m too shy or just not motivated to talk to her. I lead her on for the longest time, sending her “what’s up, you looked nice today in school” texts. I’m just happy I have a “girlfriend” now. I’m one of Awon Boys. It went on for about a month and a half until Valentine’s Day was nearing.
It was the week before Valentine’s Day when me, Dave and Junior were gisting with our mutual friend Toby aka Madman aka M Squared aka MnM aka Mado-Meneh aka Samba aka Paa Jimoh aka Di-Jimoh Monsters aka the only nigga who cleans the blackboard with scrunched up paper and a wet broom aka The maddest of them all aka the only madman to walk from Lagos to Ibadan armed with nothing but Dunlop Slippers. We were all wondering what we were going to do for our various women on Valentine’s Day. Toby and Junior had their own ideas, and Dave came up with an idea, but I couldn’t think of anything. That afternoon, when I got home, I was in my mom’s room, helping her cleanup and gisting with her, when I came across this box. The box hadn’t been opened in a long time, it had that “preserved” smell, and it was pristine and obviously held something of great importance. Curiosity got the better of me so I opened the box and took a quick peak at the contents; it was a bracelet and wrist watch, never before opened, it was beautiful, I mean gorgeous and distinguished jewelry. It had colored stones encrusted in it: they were Ruby, Turquoise, Emerald and Onyx. This bracelet and wrist watch looked so fantastic. And then the idea came to me, the culmination of everything I had been feeling these past few months; I’m going to steal this Bracelet and Wrist Watch!
My mother is the type of woman to horde things; she keeps a boat load of crap and never throws away anything, after a while she forgets she had that one blue dress she bought from Macy’s or those shoes she got half price off at Burberry. I figured: would it be possible she didn’t even know she had this Bracelet and Wrist Watch? Knowing my mother, well enough, the probability was high. The day before Valentine’s Day, I snuck into my mother’s room and stole the bracelet and wrist watch in their original casing then I went downstairs and I ironed a brand new school shirt and pants and got my new sneakers ready. The next morning, I took extra time brushing my hair and “baffing up”. It was Valentine’s Day after all, the biggest day for me to show how much better than all my friends I was because I not just had a girlfriend, but gave her the absolute best present as well. The day came and went; it was slightly uneventful, and everyone noticed I was wearing a new shirt I guess. I gave Betsy her present and in return she gave me a nice card and a bottle of blue cocktail and something else I don’t remember. Dave and Junior gave presents to their girls as well, although I didn’t know what Dave’s present to Estelle was. From what I hear, Betsy opened her present in front of the other girls in the girl’s dormitory and was overwhelmed. She felt horrible that all she gave me was a card and I gave her something so awesome and expensive. The girls in the hostel were debating how I got my hands on something so nice, (The next day) I told them I found it in my sister’s room, and she left it in Naija before she moved to Yankee for University. Some of the hostel girls apparently thought I stole it from my own mother (AH! Haters, please go and find your own Aristo joor). It all worked out well, I was practically the biggest boy in my set. A few weeks passed and everything was sorted; I had my boys, I had my girlfriend and I had the “rep” of a big boy, then one afternoon, I was in my mom’s room, helping her arrange stuff again, when she came across a box, the same one I had come across just 3 or so weeks before. She opened it and wondered what was inside, she was like “oh, the gifts your older brother bought for me for my 54th birthday last year *God bless my precious son*”. Before I could comprehend how much I had fucked up, the look on my mom’s face quickly turned from *joyously reminiscing about her son and first born child* to *aww hell naw. Somebody boutta get they ass whooped*. Turns out those encrusted stones on the Bracelet and Wrist Watch were the birth stones of me and my Siblings. The look on my mom’s face scared me, it was anger mixed with disappointment mixed with shock. She immediately looked at me and asked where it was. She knew I took it, she said she remembers me seeing it a few weeks ago. She asked me if I had sold it at Sango or Dugbe market or if I gave it to a girl or something (BINGO!). I told her I simply misplaced it. The next few days were spent convincing Betsy to give me back. She was on vacation and I had no way to reach her, I had to get somebody to talk to her and deliver the goods to me, then I snuck it somewhere I knew my mom would find in her room. After all this was over, my mom sat me down and had a long talk with me. I won’t get into the intricacies of what she said, but it was honest, brutal, sad, joyous and extremely compelling and I didn’t listen to a single word of what she said.
School had resumed and the next few days were interesting: word had gotten out to everyone about what I did and I was officially blacklisted from dating ANY girl in my school, I was labeled a “mom thief” and an Indian giver (look it up). Even though I was one of the cutest boys in my school, no girl would talk to me, I was like one of those lepers you hear about a lot in the bible but rarely see now a days. Betsy wouldn’t talk to me anymore; she didn’t come to my class to say Hi every day. She was done with me. I also found out that what Dave had given Estelle for Valentine’s day; a bracelet and wrist watch he stole from his mother, actually a lot of bracelets and a bunch of wrist watches, about 10 or so all together. She returned his gifts because he is “associated with him (as in me)” and probably stole it from his mother as well. Obviously Dave was pissed at me and it was the last straw; I had lost my best friend, any potential women and my reputation, it all came crashing down to me and it all made sense; I fucked up. It’s as simple as that, I did something wrong. I was selfish. I was stupid, I hurt the people closets to me; I hurt and disappointed my own mother, all so I could become a big boy in my school.
Now to wrap this all up and make a point; why are we so cruel? What is this force that drives us to do the things we do, what compels us to be proper assholes to the ones who truly care about us. I hurt this innocent girl, I led her on for weeks saying she was my girlfriend, when I was just using her to feed my ego and patch up my insecurities, I stole from my own mother to keep the facade up. I enduringly hurt this girl, but at the end of the day, I realized that more than anything or anyone, I was hurting myself. You can’t love others if you don’t learn to love yourself and you don’t obviously love yourself if you do the shit I did to myself; letting peer pressure get to me, giving into my insecurities and being the type of man I don’t wish upon anyone I know. But I was 13 (maybe 14), I was young, I didn’t know, but now I do. I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day to give that babe I’m smashing a present so she’ll let me infiltrate her bum bum, I don’t make Valentine’s Day the only day I show adoration for those I love, it’s not the only day to show love to your significant other. It’s a shallow, vapid, manufactured holiday meant to suck money out of the unassuming masses and plebeians who roam this planet and keep viciously copulate and breeding more plebeians.
This might sound like the angry musings of some lonely teenager who doesn’t have a Valentine and thinks that just because he has a blog, his opinion matters, well, it’s not. This is just my thoughts on humans, the way we systematically ruin our own lives, unrelentingly (and sometimes unwittingly) hurting those truly close to us, so we can be the alpha male among Awon boys, latching on to whatever irrelevant feeling of superiority we get so we can keep going and avoid that emptiness inside us. These are my thoughts on girls who show off to the ladies at the hairdresser (aka the ladies who tell you exactly what you WANT to hear), what your man bought for you while making sure to mention your man is an MD, but neglecting to mention that he is responsible for that black eye you are covering up with make up while trying to grab on to any semblance of “happiness” that his Valentine’s day present gives you.
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Have a Good Day Everyone
-If you are in the mood for something a little less heavy, keep an eye-and ear out for Babse’s latest Humor Music track “The Thirst (Valentine) song”. Hilarious stuff!
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