I sat staring at ‘Fabio’ for a good minute, taking in everything about him that annoyed me: his pearly white, even teeth, greasy curly hair that looked highly flammable, his speckled white double breasted shirt, black trousers (giving him the look of a chorister gone rogue) and his shiny faux black leather wallabees. I silently did a trinity – I cursed him, cursed Sandra Doodo and then cursed Kofi.
I looked around the cramped room called K9 as Sandra and her BFF Alice penciled their eyebrows, all the while giggling like little girls and wondered how I ended up in this shitty room in Volta hall, University of Ghana.
‘Fabio’ looked in our direction, Kofi sat next to me looking straight ahead at nothing, like the imbecile he was.
“What do you read?” ‘Fabio’ asked looking at us the way one might curiously observe some insects.
I got his dumb construction but decided to be a smart ass.
“Read?” I asked quizzically
“What are you studying” he asked slightly impatient. He wasn’t that interested in us, merely trying to make useless conversation to pass the time.
“Science” Kofi blurted out like he a school boy
I glared at him.
Sorry I have started this story from the tail end. Let me start from the beginning and explain how I ended up sitting with a bunch of losers with sub optimal IQs in a small room with a slow turning fan, in Volta hall, University of Ghana sometime in the late 90s.
It all begun about 6 weeks earlier. My roommate Kofi who reads the same course as I do looked from behind his massive book on Polymers and said “You, know…I think I like Sandra”.
“Sandra who?” I asked, praying it wasn’t the only airhead Sandra we both knew.
“Sandra Dodoo” he said with sing song voice. I peered at him from behind my book, to take a better look at his stupid face. He had a shit eating grin on it.
I rolled my eyes, “Ah, you don’t say” I said
“I dey feel the chick roff” he added.
I rolled my eyes again. Polymers was a very boring topic, difficult to understand and could make you totally insane. Maybe tomorrow Kofi would feel better. But he seemed to have the same affliction the next day.
I should have put him to sleep that fine Wednesday evening in our hot room in Sarbah Hall, University of Ghana but alas I didn’t. That was my bad.
The following week all Kofi would talk about was Sandra and how much he liked her.
“Man, she is so down to earth”
“You mean her ass is” I retorted.
“Look, I love her mind” he said
“You love her ass”
Sometimes I think I am Kofi’s make believe friend. He talks to me but never hears me when I talk back.
I tried to reason with him: “you heard the saying, fools rush in where angels fear to tread?”
“She is like the girl next door” Kofi said as if to himself
“The girl next door doesn’t rock Gucci and Donna Karan daily” I reminded him
“That’s just on the surface” he said “she is actually a very sweet and deep individual”
I chuckled and shook my head incredulously. Yes, just like Kofi, my testosterone level was high and running amok. It was a challenge, with girls from all walks of life prancing around us daily in this community we called campus….but with Sandra Doodoo, why eat at Novotel when you can eat at ‘paye’.
Anywho, he kept telling me how much progress he was making with Sandra. Whatever that meant! I knew that progress for Kofi could simply be a smile his way or at best a kiss blown in his general direction by his Helen of Troy.
The damn idiot missed Tuesday and Wednesday champion League games all because of Sandra….he was in some kind of stupid love! A few weeks after this madness, Kofi came late one evening to the room looking very pale. I was scared he was going to pass out at any moment.
Sandra’s birthday is in a week’s time” he finally croaked.
I was angry at myself for worrying for nothing. ‘’Ok…..” I said kind of knowing where this was going.
“What do you give a woman who has everything” he asked
I could think of a few things he could give Sandra but I knew Kofi did not care for my lewd ideas. The next day Kofi had his eureka moment during lectures.
“ I’m going to buy her a cake” Kofi whispered to me.
‘You have outdone yourself, man. Well done’ I said
“I sort of overheard her telling her friend Alice about a cake” he whispered back. My sarcastic tone lost on him
I rolled my eyes, Kofi was a dope.
In those days there were no Karena cakes, Cake O, Mango & Wheat or the host of other patisseries millennials choose to splurge on these days. When it came to cakes, it was either Frankies or Bake Shop Classic…those were your options.
I hustled a week’s worth of fuel from Kofi in exchange for me driving him to Palm Wine junction. I watched him for fifteen agonizing minutes as he tried to pick a cake that matched his heart and budget. I almost felt sorry for him until I remembered we would have to do a trip back for the pick up. I should have pushed for two week’s worth of fuel.
On Sandra’s birthday we came straight from Bake Shop Classic and parked at Volta Hall car park. The cake was a decent size in my estimation and emblazoned across it were the words…”Happy Birthday Sandra”, which I had convinced him to do instead of the sappy inscriptions he had in mind. Kofi had also bought those cheap red wines in a box that give you instant eternal headaches, and I threw in a card I had bought for a girl but never sent…of course I stopped him from writing anything silly in it.
I sat in the car and waved him off.
“Please, I can’t carry all this stuff” Kofi pleaded with me.
I figured, with the all the money I had squeezed from him for the trip, I could certainly help him carry the gift bag with the wine but definitely not the cake. The cretin would probably have gotten fiddlers to follow him and doves waiting to be released if he had his way.
We got to Sandra’s room, the famous K9. I saw our doubles come out of the room. Kofi’s double looked at our cake box with sheer pity in his sad eyes.
The door was opened by Alice Ofori, Sandra’s sidekick. Now, she looked stunning.
“Hey Kofi. Cake. How sweet” she purred.
I didn’t know what the protocol was so I clumsily thrust the wine into her hands and entered the room
The room smelt of a mixture of sweetness, cake, perfume and a strong smell of musk.
I followed the smell of musk and saw ‘Fabio’. At least that’s how I liked to call him. At that very moment Sandra sort of half hugged Kofi with the cake box awkwardly between them.
“Just something small…” he managed to mumble.
“Please put it on the table” Sandra directed Kofi
Kofi walked up to the table that had a massive tower of cake boxes on it and put his cake box, puny in comparison with the others on top of the pile.
Fabio was sitting comfortably on the bottom part of a bunk bed…which was Sandra’s. He looked at us and flashed an annoyingly lazy smile our way, while twirling the keys to his supposed BMW…ass wipe!
His sidekick Ethan didn’t say much. He was engrossed in a game on his phone and looked hungrily at Alice anytime he lost (which was often). We were their doubles, but they looked like the originals and we like the fakes.
Sandra and Alice checked themselves out in the mirror one last time as Fabio sprung up from the bed. He must have been at least six feet tall. We were pretty much ushered out amidst snippets of conversation about dinner and a night club later. Sandra hopped into the front passenger’s seat of ‘Fabio’s’ sleek black BMW 3 series and blew a kiss at Kofi who had totally turned into a zombie by this point. Ethan and Alice got into the back seat giggling.
I opened the door to my jalopy and Kofi slumped into the front seat like he was in a trance.
“I am starving” Kofi said after a long silence
“Kenkey and fish on me” he added
Should I talk or just keep quiet.
“It’s cheaper than cake” I finally said.