To tell the truth, it wasn’t such a bad idea.
Everyone knows that Fridays are dress-down days. You’re allowed to showcase a milder version of your traditional outfits. Ankara, Tie and Dye, Dry Lace, Java, Woodin, Akosombo…the list is endless. I already knew what I was going to wear the next day – my cute, yet-to-be-worn Java Gold skirt and blouse. It was stylish yet not too dressy at the same time.
I am one of those who pick out all the clothes to be worn for the week every Sunday evening. I have it all set out to the littlest detail. When they’ve been ironed, they’d be hung in the wardrobe in the exact order in which they are to be worn. It made life easier and a lot less complicated. Besides, seeing as I hate ironing so much, it made sense to restrict ironing to one day each week.
You can therefore imagine the extent to which my eyebrows were arched when my friend and colleague Zeb suggested that we dressed differently for the next day, Friday. Instead of the usual traditional look, why don’t we dress in sporty outfits? T-shirt, jeans and a pair of trainers.
“Let’s do something different for a change!” He exclaimed when he saw the disapproving look on my face.
“Okay” He continued, “do this for me just once and if you don’t like it, I swear, I’ll never suggest anything like this again”.
I sighed and walked past him and then with a backward glance I told him to give me till the end of the day. He’d know my answer then and not a second before.
At least that kept him off my back for the rest of the day. Zeb was such a nice guy that it’s really difficult to turn him down. It’s not that he was incapable of doing his own thing; he just felt that life was a lot better when shared. Why enjoy the ‘different’ look alone when we could both do it together? Yeah right.
The thing though on my mind was the fact that I didn’t have any respectable pair of trainers to my name. That was going to be my strongest point when I turned Zeb down at the close of work…What? Do you want me to come to work tomorrow in a pair of trainers that look like they’ve seen better days...?
That argument remained intact in my mind until it was 15minutes to closing time. I don’t know what triggered that memory. I don’t know what brought it forward from my subconscious but suddenly, I was bubbling with excitement. My Sexy Grey Trainers! But of course!!
I couldn’t wait to get home. It’d been so long since I saw them trainers that I was nearly afraid someone had thrown them away. It had to be under the bed somewhere, it just had to be!
My answer to Zeb was brief and clear. I’ll go along with this little scheme of yours if and only IF I find MSGT. I don’t care if you know what that stands for, just pray I find them!
Less than an hour after I got home, the entire room which I shared with two other sisters of mine was in complete disarray. The mattresses had come off and I was struggling with the wooden bottom frames of the bed which supported the mattresses. Shoes were strewn everywhere, most of them old and covered in dust. My Sexy trainers had to be here somewhere! I was beginning to panic.
It was another thirty minutes before I found them wrapped in a fancy colored polythene bag. Aha! I remembered that bag. And the shoes were in pristine condition just like they were when I’d wrapped them up 2 years before, or so I thought. My Sexy Grey Trainers at last!
They were my companion when I’d gone to Camp 2 years before. Someone had advised that I went with a pair of personal trainers because sometimes the white canvas given to corpers by the NYSC was usually oversize. True to form, when I got to camp, mine were like a pair of canoes on my feet. My trainers served me well. After camp I found not much use for them so I wrapped them up the bag, placed them under my bed and promptly forgot about them. Now they were going to serve me well again tomorrow when I and Zeb showed up at work dressed ‘differently’.
Friday dawned bright and clear. I kept walking to and fro Zeb’s cubicle all morning. I couldn’t believe he was late! Like a little girl, I wanted to show off my ‘dress’ and tell him how many approving looks I’d already received from the other guys just that morning alone.
Finally I could hear his voice several cubicles from my own. I wasn’t going to wait for him to get to mine; I was going to meet him there.
I got up a little too quickly and dropped my pen. I bent to pick it up and that’s when I noticed for the first time dark circles of grey dust on the tiled floor. I bent lower to get a closer look. Did I pick something up on my way to work? No time for this now. I’ll sort it out later. Zeb was already on his way to my desk and I wanted to be ready, striking the right pose when he got there. And I did just in time! He even made me do the twirl as though I was showing off a ball gown instead of a pair of Jeans and a T-shirt. It was clear he liked what he saw.
He didn’t look bad himself and I told him so.
“I see you found MSGT?” He said.
“Yes! How did you know what it was?!”
“I don’t. You said you’ll go along with my scheme only if you found it”
“Oh” I had on a sheepish grin as I raised my right foot while supporting myself against my desk “These are MSGT – My Sexy Grey Trainers!” I was laughing now.
He just shook his head at me and was turning to leave when his eyes caught something on the floor next to my feet. I knew at once by the look on his face that he wasn’t trying to get an up-close view of my trainers.
I looked down and to my horror there was more of the grey dust smeared all over the area where I’d done the twirl. From his bending position Zeb looked up at me.
“Raise your feet again” he said.
I did and he caught hold of my left foot and bent it in such a way as to get a view of the soles of my trainers.
“What?!” I exclaimed questioningly as he shook his head at me.
I withdrew my foot from his hand and grabbed a hold of my shin so that I could raise my foot backwards and view it for myself.
My eyes widened as I saw that there were several holes on the soles of the trainers from where the grey dust flaked off.
I raised the other foot and it was even worse. Some of the holes in this one had no more grey dust in them, they were empty. Empty holes!
I quietly sat back down on my chair. The mirth of the last few minutes already forgotten.
This was not good. Not good at all.
Zeb knew enough to just leave me alone. I was sure I could make it to the end of the day without incident if I just sat at my desk.
But I couldn’t very well just sit at my desk all day. I had to get lunch.
Okay, if I walked gently and slowly, the holes should hold.
Zeb was being nice but I was suspicious. We were half way to the cafeteria and I’d been doing so well with my slow walk when suddenly “Plaat!” The sole at the tip of my right trainer split open!
“Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Zeb!” I yelped.
He stopped short and I stood still, pointing at my right foot. And you won’t believe what happened next.
Zeb burst out laughing!
He was laughing so hard that there were tears in his eyes when he finally got a hold of himself.
“Enkay, I’m sorry....
hahahaha!.....I’m sorry, I’m not laughing at you…hahahaha!...I swear, I’m just laughing at the trainers….I swear…hahaha!.”
Msheeeeew! I just turned around and went back to my office. I’d reached my desk before I realized that I’d left quite a chunk of my right trainer sole in the elevator.
And suddenly it all seemed really hilarious to me and I started laughing all by myself.
My trainers were serving well me indeed! So much for my ‘different’ look.
The worst was yet to come.
On our way home, Zeb and I had to walk down the road to the bus stop to catch the bus.
Every few steps had me leaving small chunks of my trainers behind.
Whenever the bit came off, I’d say “Oops! There goes another sexy piece!” And we’d both burst out laughing.
By the time we boarded the bus, the right shoe was in tatters. Several chunks were missing from the center but the overall external frame was still somewhat intact and then there was that ugly split in front. A whole chic like me! “Ewu!”
We were just a few passengers left in the bus. Zeb and I occupied the seat at the back with one other woman. Somehow I caught the lady’s eyes on me and smiled at her. She was probably embarrassed at being caught staring so she dipped her head and that’s when she did THE double take. (You know how someone glances at something momentarily and in looking away, something catches their eyes and they take another, quick, usually more surprised look? That’s a double take.)
She was looking at my trainers!
I followed her gaze and there on the floor was one whole edge of my right trainer sole. It was still attached to the shoe but it was hanging at an impossible angle and any movement would yank it off!
The lady couldn’t contain herself and she looked like she was about to say something. I didn’t give her a chance as I straightened up and looked straight ahead as though nothing happened.
Ha! My bus-stop at last! I hurriedly got off the bus and I could have sworn that the woman was going to throw my chunk of sole out after me.
The bus-stop was a good five minute’s walk from my house. I braced my self and took the plunge. Yet nothing prepared me for what happened next.
Most of the day, all the ‘incidents’ were with the right foot of my trainers. The left one had behaved itself mostly. Apart from the initial flaking, there had been no major mishap.
Just as I passed by Dee Sam’s shop hoping he wasn’t there to shout out his customary greeting “You don return from work?” my left shoe gave out on me.
The entire sole came off! No, not tiny chunks, but the entire thing! And this happened right in front of Dee Sam. He had seen me approach and was undoubtedly preparing his greeting but it froze on his lips as he saw my shoe drama. It was an awkward moment.
We were both sure we knew what had just happened but neither of us was willing to acknowledge it.
He smiled at me “You don return from work?”
And I smiled back “Yes. How Business today…?” and I walked on, leaving my soles behind. It definitely could not get any worse than that. I practically jogged the rest of the way home and stood at the door waiting for any sibling to come see me in all my embarrassment.
The first one at the door opened it and stared at me wondering why I was standing outside. I looked down at my feet and she followed my gaze. It took her a few seconds to realize what she was seeing and she burst out laughing. I joined her and laughed so hard that tears came to my eyes.
We left the trainers at the door ready to give the story in detail to anyone who asked. My Sexy Grey Trainers….How are the mighty fallen! Hahahaha!
PS: The moral of this story?
When next anyone called Zeb asks you to dress differently for Friday. Tell him Capital N-O. No!!!