As far as Oliver is concerned, it is easier to spend the whole day counting the grains of rice in a 50kg bag than to approach a girl. He would rather become a clown, dedicating all his life to wearing ridiculous make up and sticking a big round red nose on his face, amusing children with silly jokes as if he were not a grown up. You should know, Oliver does not exactly think of clowns as useful people. He regards them the way he regards Arsenal football club, flops.
So on this cool afternoon, Oliver finds himself musing over not so important things, as he always does. He finds it fascinating that there are people who are described as chic magnets. He wonders how it feels like to be regarded as one. From what he has seen, chic magnets are humans, just like him. Only difference is, as he has observed, chic magnets seem not to have armpits. And let it be clear that Oliver is not the sort of person who just arrives at conclusions; he usually has a clear reason behind it.
As he sits there staring into the vastness of the blue sky and the shagginess of the grey clouds, he thinks back to the day he bent to peer pressure. He has never been one to be easily influenced by other people. At least that is not how his mother brought him up. He liked to think he was principled and assertive; except for that day he was influenced to approach a Wanja. Folks, if you know anything about anything, you know better than to approach a girl called Wanja (especially if you are not used to approaching girls or if you are not a chic magnet).
She had come for the English symposium because she was a smart girl who understood English and had an accent. She used to pass with, what do primary school kids say, flying colours? What’s more, she was yellow like an export banana and clean like God. On one hand she did not look like a girl who would hurt a fly yet on the other she looked like she led the Persian Wars of 492–449 BCE. Wanja’s eyes glittered like the stars but they also seethed as if they were craters of an active volcano. She had a confusing demeanour – now like domestic cat then like a wild cat. It is difficult to say whether she was mean, kind or meankind! What was not difficult to say is that she was arresting, like a Siren.
Oliver was at the English symposium because he happened to understand a bit more English than anyone would think he did, and most importantly because he was the English representative for his class. As far as looks are concerned, there is so much to say as there is about Stivo Simpleboy (aki pole Stivo). You have not met a more unremarkable person than Oliver. If he were food, he would taste like saltless overcooked fries and would be the cause of Gordon Ramsey’s untimely death. In fact, lets not talk about him because it breaks my heart [author sobs].
Also read: Few Things Last Forever.
At this point, let us introduce Oliver’s peers. They are the sort of people who hear other people scream and they start to scream even louder. Oliver likens them to a paper caught in an argument between two angry winds – clueless and disoriented. He wishes he would go back to that day and reverse the order of things, but that is not how life works. They knew he was shy and couldn’t manage to say “hello” without first wetting his pants. Some were convinced wetting was an understatement, he would literally poop!
Nonetheless, they convinced him that he was handsome and charming and smart and that girls were attracted to boys who had light skins like his. They filled him up with confidence and psych. He had never felt so charged before in his life. Like a rodeo bull that’s just seen red. Oliver remembers how it felt, tasted and smelled when he was walking up to Wanja after the symposium. She was in the company of 3 girls, probably gossiping because they were giggling the way girls giggle when they gossip. As he drew closer, the ground become softer, or he became lighter – no one knows. Everything around him (apart from the Wanja) became silent and blurry. Perhaps he heard the beating of his heart, which at that point was working as hard as pistons in a super car. You could measure its output in horsepower!
His mouth was dry and tasted like metal. Or blood. It was as if he was an actor in the horror film Wrong Turn. His thoughts were buzzing in his head – it felt like Jack Bauer’s office in 24. After what seemed to be like the journey from Egypt to Canaan, Oliver found himself in front of Wanja. He does not exactly remember the 3 girls leaving. Or Wanja turning to give him her attention. But he remembers the communication breakdown between his head and his mouth. At such a crucial moment in his life, when he needed it most, his brain short circuited. He found that he not could utter even one sensible word let alone string a sentence like the English class representative he was. And he knows this because he cannot remember what he said.
He felt like a goat. A sheep. A clown. Meanwhile, he was perspirating like a construction worker. You see, perspirating is normal. But perspirating when you do not remember the last time you had even a pint of water is certainly not the thing you want to be doing in front of a Wanja. It was so conc it burned like acid on his armpits. It bunred his armpits and his shirt (because he later found a huge yellow stain). So conc that he began to choke. My reader, it was so pungent that Wanja coughed and covered her nose you would think she was in an inferno. To date, Oliver has never known what transpired after that. He remembers vaguely that Wanja said words that sounded like “sweat” and “armpits” and “hydrating”.
He went on to live with PTSD after that incident. His relationship with girls was almost permanently severed. When he expressed his complication to his best friend, he was introduced to the word ‘chic magnet.’ He researched on the word and found that chic magnets are a special breed of men – men who other men look up to for inspiration. Urban Dictionary did nothing to help Oliver’s esteem. He has since then been convinced that girls are not huge fans of armpits, and so chic magnets do not have armpits.