Sunday Dec 04, 2022

Crushing Clay

When I was in 100 level, i started talking to girls. Weird isn’t it? Because throughout my secondary school, girls were icky and disgusting to me; and when they finally began to make my head turn (and my heart beat faster) I was stuck in a timid web. So university was a refreshing experience- a respite, a recovery, a rebirth, and a renaissance.
And in the University of Abuja, some people were pure eye candy. There was Ronke of the flashing eyes, there was Kaycee of the titillating smile, Ruka of the glowing skin there was kunmi of the rumbling laughter. And there was glory Oriakhi of the everything. Yes- flashing Chinese eyes, cute teeth, bright smile and glowing skin. If you must know she had a uniquely proportioned anterior elevation, and I was into those back then. So if you wonder why I hardly ever hugged her…you know now.
And the girl could sing!!!!!! As in ehn! One day she sang “Eyin Sa, L’Awimayehun” during Nifes Worship Experience and the whole place turned upside down. Or the time she led a praise and worship session at the Abuja PFN/Deeper Life Crusade. And the other day she and Ken stood at SUG singing some very Igbotic Tenor (Songs like “ocean divider” and “akanchawa”). Sometimes when I watched them do it, I thought- this may be comedy to us in Abuja, but it’d be ministry! People like Chioma Jesus and Agatha Moses would have to tighten their singing belts!
In 2010 I came in contact with the side of Glory that was a writer. She has this amazing ability to create dialogue (something I find hard when I’m writing fiction). I remember her Facebook notes like “To my future husband” and “The Handy-people Series” (which she curiously never finished writing). Through the conversations of her characters like the Mai-Ruwa (Hausa for water-seller) she paints pictures that last in the imagination. Even my friend Jerry Chiemeke confesses he finds it hard to create dialogue and maintain it.
And then I remember once when I was in Port Harcourt (2009), in the library researching for the Tort term paper. At about 11:15am, Glory popped online, and me as trigger-happy as I was back then, I started messaging. Then she pulled the shocker: “ do you have a crush on me, Peter?” of all the questions in the world! Of course you know I denied that spurious allegation. As I do to this day. (I always accused her of hopelessly pining after my awesome self, hence the glory “crushing” clay appellation.
Glory had this inner strength that you just had to admire. There was this time someone was killed in front of her Dad’s Church and the allegations were rife, and that time when she had to undergo a surgery. To this day I have no idea what the surgery was about (when I asked her she just winked). If you didn’t get close to her you’d never know that behind the veneer of gruff laughter lay a gentle person.
I remember one foolish incident when we went to get a drink at the canteen/shop/whatever at Law block. We’d both ordered snacks and fanta (on me of course) and when it was time to pay I realised my pockets had just got picked in the melee! Glory paid out of her wallet and that was the last I heard about that incident. There was this time I walked her to her house one night (we returned from the 2010 law dinner at 1am). And there was this time I lost my Sonyericsson Cybershot phone (I think a K530i). that day I’d gone over for the first (and sadly the last) time- and we gisted, I got to meet her roommate, and I’d say I got to understand her person a lot more. That girl’s one brave, brave girl! And there was the time she gave away her blackberry as a seed (mehn I respected THAT); it was then I knew she’d had a job since we were in the university.
I remember one time when we went for the National Youth Summit at the Eagle Square. She performed a duet with Blessing Kelvin Nduka (Donnie McClurkin’s “The Prayer). It was so annoying because the organisers of the programme made us all wait till about 3am (when the crowds were already leaving) before they called them up! I love the way she handled the disappointment- they both climbed that stage like nothing was wrong, and did their stuff!
I remember when she wanted to go for the Nigerian Idol Auditions- she asked me what I thought about it. And I answered as honestly as I could- I told her that while I wanted her to go places with her talent, the stories I’d heard (and the people we’d seen) that went on such shows morphed from sweet people to proud schmucks- they began to spread the very messages they preached against (drugs, sex, alcohol and violence). She thanked me…and she went ahead with it. Sometimes when we’d talk I’d say “you’re gonna change, clay. I know it” and she’d just smile that glo-glo smile.
Unfortunately she didn’t win, but she made it to the Top 5. But she had endorsements and stuff- she was the first one with a galaxy tab in the law faculty (if not the entire University of the Abuja).
After we left school I kept hearing the buzz, that Clay was gonna drop an album. It was a little sad I didn’t hear of it sooner (I’d have loved to watch her work in the studio) I got to listen to three of the songs off her Believer Album) my favourite being “Iyanu” featuring Rhymsta Ray (another friend-of-a-friend).  I’m obeying her instructions in the opening undertone (“shake Ukwu, umu chineke Shake Ukwu). It’s an awesome song, and mentally I place it in the same category as “No Lele” by Dekunle Fuji and “HKST” by Okey Sokay.
Today’s her birthday. I’m pressed for time, but I really must step aside and fete this awesome kid. Talent, resolve, passion (and a generous sprinkling of fine looks), a powerful combination for a great future. I hope the future shames the past, and I hope that we see each other at the top.
PS: I KNOW you have this everlasting super mega super-duper crush on me.
And Clay? you didn’t change. I’m glad you didn’t

Peter

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