We have deadlines. We have a lot of work to do and little time to do it. We were going to be serious! We were going to use the night to do research and we were doing just that. Symbiosis and I were together in a different room from the others, then I decided I needed £50p to add to the money I had because I wanted red bull. Off we went to meet Dara, just to collect £50p and leave, but Debbie and Yvonne were also with Dara, discussing the question they would do for the long Critical essay. Simbiat and I joined in the conversation and we were sharing ideas about our Criminal law presentation and critical essay…. the next thing I know, we were holding our stomachs in other to contain the laughter. People on the 3rd floor of the library were looking at us, some eyeing us as we were disturbing them. Keji came! Mayokun came from Medway, hoping to be serious, but she joined us and before we knew it, we were being asked to please move to the communal area of the library. We left the library to 5 in the morning, full of life and joy. That unforgettable night inspired this poem (if I can call it that). Enjoy and have an amazing weekend 🙂 Don’t forget to vote wisely.
You used to see each other from accross the large room and just smile,
The kind type of smile.
All you used to do was smile and perhaps say ‘hi’ when you saw each other
Atimes when you were not rushing to go for a seminar you were already late for,
you would stop and ask ‘how are you?’ The polite question.
You would hear ‘I am fine o’ and see the expression that the other races lack.
Then you would walk off and smile, knowing you just had a taste of home.
You find yourselves in the same place and though you are meant to be doing something,
this time you have time to ask more than ‘How are you?’
So you seize the opportunity and talk and laugh.
You talk about things only them will understand.
It was three of you, then you became four, then five and like bees to honey,
the others became drawn to your gathering.
You smile and hug them.
You immediately include them in what you are talking about
Because you know you won’t need to explain anything to them
You have similar experiences and they can relate
One person tells a story and you all nod your head
You say, ‘oh! So they did that to you too’
And you hear more voices saying they share the same experience
And you feel at home because you are at home
You talk to other people but it is not really the same
And it is fine. You have different experiences
You are not from the same or similar backgrounds
They cannot relate to the stupidity of some of the Nigerian police
Or Patience Jonathan’s threatrics
They don’t understand what it means for Nigerian police to ask you for pure water money
Or how NYSC can make you so skinny
But with them, you laugh and find yourself on the floor laughing
You talk about how your parents made you experience assault and battery when you were young
You ask what their parents used to cast out the stubbornness in them,
When they were younger
Some say they used ‘koboko’ (thin long whip)
Some say it was spoon
You talk about how important respect is and how you were
Forced to learn that someway when you were younger
All these experiences take you back home.
Like villagers listening to folk tales around the moonlight,
You talk about so many things
Things every Nigerian, even those born here but with Nigerian parents
Can relate to.
You don’t need to have known each other from anywhere before then
You don’t have to pretend or force accent
You are just natural
You laugh and speak pidgin
You speak Yoruba and even those that are not Yoruba somehow
Understand what you are saying
You talk about your experiences here so far
You laugh when some tell you they struggled with not calling lecturer ‘ma’ or ‘sir’
Or calling older people by their names without almost kneeling
As a way of showing courtesy
Things you dared not do in Nigeria
You talk about how you unconsciously started trying it in Nigeria
And how your mother had to remind you of where you were
You talk about your stubborn hair
And ask for products
You have a cold and you are handed down robb
By one of those that understands the power of robb
You discuss weave
You discuss food
And just like that, you become friends
You have a bond and when you smile at them,
It is different to when you smile at those of other races
Because though you are not at home
You are at home
And who doesn’t like knowing she can always go home when she wants to?!