“How far bros! I get original gold chain wey I wan sell o!” M.K. said just as I got out of the room to enter the sitting room.
He and my cousins were now looking at me for a response. I was startled! How was I supposed to explain that I wasn’t that type of guy….that type of cool? Oba and Korede were also hailing me. Then he dropped the bombshell, “Na just 250k na, you be boss na!” I felt like entering the ground. At this point I wasn’t sure if they were mocking me, trying to assess my financial stance or were sincerely advertising the bracelet. I wanted to tell them that I was from a conservative christian family, where we do not use jewelry but I couldn’t utter a word! Even if I did use jewelry I wasn’t about to spend someone’s five month salary on a metal band. I was just chuckling like a baby. How could people I just met for not more than an hour hit me with something like that. After a very awkward period of more flattering from their side and more silent chuckles from mine , I gently exited the place and went into the compound. I could see subtle looks of disappointment on their faces as I left. That was too much too fast!
For more clarity, let us take a rewind to a few hours before I even got to their house, shall we?
The day had finally come! The anticipated wedding of my cousin, was drawing near and my mom, brother and I were on our way to Ibadan from our residence in Abeokuta. The event had been hyped for long and in good spirit. This is because the bride-to-be and her 5 younger siblings are distant cousins, ones I had not seen in nothing less than 5 years and my brother had not seen ever. To understand even better, a little preview of their family tree is required. My maternal grandmother had three daughters: Aunty Titi, Aunty Ranti and My mom. Hence my mom was the last child. All the three sisters lived far away from each other, Aunty Titi in Kwara State and Aunty Ranti in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and this was not in favour of our extended family. My aunts visited us occasionally so I knew them to an extent. However, we the children really didn’t know much about each other. This made the wedding an avenue to know that side of my family.
Tofunmi, the cousin to be married, was a wonderful person to me. The memories of her from more than 5 years were still warm in my heart. She was the only one of them that was really accommodating to me when we met for the first time at an occasion they also came for in Ibadan. Back then, even though she had just met me, she gave me her phone, talked with me and even sat in the same place with me. The icing on the cake was that she was now a barrister! I was so proud of her and everything she had achieved after all those years. In fact, she happens to be the only lawyer from my mother’s family. Her husband to be was a rich dude based in South Africa.
In order to make sure that the ceremony was convenient for many important people to attend and because the place was the childhood home town of both my aunt and her husband, Ibadan was chosen as the location of the wedding. The best event centres were booked, nice cloth materials were selected and mind-blowing souvenirs were prepared. It was going to be a lit party, one that needed preparation mentally, composure-wise and appearance-wise. Me and my younger brother got our hair trimmed, made our attires at a talented fashion designer’s shop and were headed towards the convergence point at Ibadan.
As children of the last born of the three, we were to lodge in their Ibadan house, which they built part of and furnished to accommodate nothing less than 10 people. We left Abeokuta on Thursday, a day before the engagement ceremony to ensure that we (especially my mom, who was a passionate party planner) played our individual roles in the planning and preparation for the days ahead. As a fashion sensitive person, I carefully selected my outfit and that of my brother to make sure our first-ish impression would be satisfying. I had recently gotten a scholarship and so I bought and wore a black sweatshirt with purple and grey hues as well as a nice pair of joggers and a sleek pair of slides; a classic casual wear. I wasn’t looking bad, and I made sure I didn’t throughout the whole series of functions.
On getting to the house, as we alighted from the motorcycle we boarded, I saw two young guys coming our way: a fair guy with brown plaited locks on his head and a dark guy with a oversized white tee and red pants. When we got to the gate of the large compound, I was face to face with Korede. Korede was the fourth child of the six and he was probably a couple years older than me. After exchanging greetings, the inevitable introduction began.
“Korede, meet my doctor, Daniel.”, my mom said while pointing to me. We all smiled at each other when she said that. I however was not happy I got introduced that way. It was just too cheesy and I felt somehow embarrassed.
“Daniel, meet my celebrity, Kinzboy!” my mom hailed Korede. It turns out that my cousin was a popular musician in Abuja. The other guy was his friend and producer, M.K (I never knew the meaning of that abbreviation or the his real name throughout the party).
“Don’t you know me? Haven’t you heard my song?”Korede asked. I shook my head to indicate that I didn’t. I am not really a fan of hip hop songs. In fact, I don’t have a single one on my phone; just classical and christian music. I would choose Mozart’s Fifth Symphony or Travis Greene’s Waited over any hip hop any day. Besides, there are to many “boys” these days to keep track of. He was shocked but he kept his cool and we all entered the house. I got to meet Obashina, my name sake and the third born of the family in a room. He was also the manager of his brother’s music career. We exchanged greetings and sequence handshakes that I was able to pick up in school. That was as cool as I could get.
I looked around in the house and I could see laptops and phones, MP3 speakers and soft drinks; basic big boy setting. From the way they acted and talked, I could see that they were cool, social, rich guys. I on the other hand, wasn’t. I was a nerd and I loved educational activities. I don’t even speak pidgin! In fact, that was how I and my younger ones were raised. What even made it stranger was that my cousins from my paternal side (the side I was more familiar with) were also bookworms! They were in respectable universities studying professional courses. Since their first born, whose wedding we were preparing for was a lawyer and the second brother, Jide, an economics graduate, I was shocked at what I met on ground. More importantly, I am more of an experience-driven person than a materialistic one and it was evident in my hobbies and choices. Although I had nothing against them and I still don’t, I felt in an unfamiliar environment around them. It made me remember how my secondary school life had been and I really didn’t like that feeling. I however decided to just go with the flow!
Now, back to where we started from:
After that moment, I retracted myself and spoke less to them. I was afraid my appearance must have passed a wrong impression of me to them. The retraction was an habit I had since junior secondary school. After then we did some work. We got in some furniture, ate and awaited the arrival of my aunt and uncle. Being the introvert that I was, I gently entered into the room allocated to us and I started watching the TV series I was following. I really didn’t mingle with them for the rest of the events. At most, we had very short dialogues and maybe a smile from me when a complement or comment came my way. However, the sense of warmth was already seeping away. We had just started knowing each others and we were already losing a sense of connection. I really hope you understand what I mean!
Later in the evening, while the caterers were busy preparing for the engagement ceremony, I was contemplating watching a movie, reading anatomy or sleeping. I had already adapted to the situation. Then all of a sudden, Jide entered into the room and asked for his bag. Ife, the baby of the house gave him the black backpack and added a tease; “You want to start reading again!” I was rattled! I asked her why he was reading and she told me that he was a vivid reader. He was also preparing for his ICAN exams. I was so excited! Finally! A bookworm in the house! Not only was he academic, he was simple, very respectful and an introvert like me. I felt a boost in my morale and I picked up my jotting note and went to the sitting room to read.
“Phew! That was a close one!” I thought to myself. I was now comfortable, knowing that I wasn’t alone. This sounds very immature and discriminatory, but that is just who I am.
Oluremi Daniel Ayanfeoluwa from Abeokuta in Ogun state is a young student, a classical musician in training, a Christian and a science enthusiast. He also loves dogs, fashion, photography and intellectual stuff. Hr can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org