For the umpteenth time that night, I scrubbed my skin agitatedly, trying to get rid of the desire of what ought to be and the sadness of what was. Still, having my bath six times each day did nothing to wash the dirt and disgust building up within me. Mimi had told me I would get used to it, but after six months of poles and men, tolerating it remained foreign to me. I promised myself only six more months; it just had to be enough.
My first time in that world was hell, even worse than the auditions. I got bashed and screamed at countless number of times by Mimi who wasn’t ready to loose any of her customers nor the pay that accompanied them, all because of a novice who couldn’t distinguish between a bottle of brandy and whiskey. The big Sharks laughed at my naivety while those who managed to get a little extra pay enjoyed the several mistakes I had managed to make. I remember the ugly scar staring back at me from the mirror; scars I wished I could erase while still retaining my sanity, scars I had never imagined I could ever have.
Growing up was quite eventful. My mother sold fufu under the mango tree at the front of our house and I lacked the existence of a father. My mother wasn’t going to send me to school initially but I made her picture my bright future – me riding a Mercedes-Benz C-Class, purchasing a house at Victoria island, setting up a business for her and me giving orders from behind my mahogany desk in my office. There were nights when we had no dinner, times when we had no fufu to sell and periods where the clouds cast a shadow on the sun. Still my mother fought through it all. Our hopes for the future was more than the hurdles we had to go through. We didn’t think of the fact that fufu wasn’t going to cater for me all the way.
I couldn’t get a scholarship to the university and my mum had ran herself into the ground. My desires and wants drove me all around town, begging for funds. I sold firewoods, hawked fruits round the market and even carried blocks in a construction site. The money I had realised couldn’t even pay my transport fare to the city. When my friend approached me with this job and its prospects, I ran for it with my future clenched deep in my palms.
As I got dressed in clothes that had become the dictator of my person, ready to resume the only occupation life had flung in my direction, I realised that wishes weren’t horses, at least not for the poor.
Having a little to get the horse is not sufficient. I had enough to buy a horse but lost the ability to ride along the way.