|This is not Starmix, but that is me behind her. I must remember to thank Feyboo for the Bow-tie. I do not remember where any of the others are.|
There is a girl in the world that I call Starmix. She’s named after a bag of Haribo sweets that she adores. However, even she is ignorant of the fact that she’s just like them; a variety of delicious confections, each one of them more delicious than the last. She’s one of the treasured few who I allow to breeze in and out of my life as they please. I ask no questions and she tells me no lies but we find happiness in every moment that we share.
When I heard she was having a birthday party from someone other than her I was struck with depression. “Could it be that Starmix has finally tired of me?” I thought. I do not know how such a thing is possible for I am uniquely lovable and lovely, but such things have been known to happen from time to time. I entertained thoughts of a Friday night spent alone before I remembered who I am.
I am Afam, the nerdy, the weird and the shameless. I subscribe to no standards that I do not set myself. I was going whether she liked it or not. There was no way that I would deny her the pleasure of my company simply because my invitation got lost in her head. Knowing all of that I made a well timed phone call, wishing her a happy birthday so charmingly that I was moved to tears. “Afam! You are truly great!” I exclaimed with tears leaking from my eyes. Ah! I tell you. It is not an easy thing to be moved by your own words. My invitation followed ten minutes later.
I was not happy with my costume, a boring to death version of the Mad Hatter. I would have loved to do more, but my imagination did something incredibly Lagosian. It failed to come to work when it was most needed. I am appalled that I managed to go to a costume party looking rather presentable. When Papa Afam looked at me dressing up in front of the mirror and smiled, I knew that something was wrong. If you’re going to a costume party and you do not manage to offend the sensibilities of the half the respectable people in attendance, you have failed miserably.
I walked in with all the confidence I could muster which is not very much at all but I hid it an overwhelmingly jovial expression, smiling as if I was under the sway of a pharmacy’s worth of drugs. I find that doing so is much more interesting than taking the drugs themselves. Drugs have a rather awful tendency to age a man far more quickly than time would dare. They are the most ruthless companions.
Everything was laid out beautifully, which was a shame because an hour after the party was due to start, only a mere handful had managed to turn up. I didn’t mind this too much. It’s the same way nobody minds when the profits are high and the staff are few. There is more booze for everybody.
One long Island Iced tea later I was deep in conversation with a terrifyingly interesting fellow called Seb. There was no topic that he did not broach. He even dared ask me about my tastes in film! A subject I only discuss when I genuinely despise the person I’m talking to. It is never advisable to talk off the ears of the people that you like. If you do, you’ll only have the people you truly despise for company, and that would be very bad indeed.
He said something like, “I’m quite thrilled with the Alice in Wonderland theme. It’s vaguely reminiscent of the truly satisfying film I saw the other day. It was so good that I had to commit it to both my memory and my hard drive. What sort of films do you like?” I was so appalled that I took his number immediately and demanded that he meet me for a game of squash as soon as he was able. As for my answer, I said, “questions are hardly ever indiscreet, it is the answers we must be wary of.”
The place had only just began to fill when the heavens unleashed a flood upon us. We fled indoors, and Starmix being a brilliant host got the waiters to hand out plastic cups and bottles of Henessy. I know of no better way to make people forget that they look like drowned rats than a near limitless supply of the amber stuff. As it is incredibly rude to turn down drinks that you do not pay for I made merry with my peers for an hour, after that every drink was placed on a table on the side, for people with stronger constitutions than I.
I didn’t know how drunk I was until it was time for the speeches. I listened as some of her best friends said words so full of niceness that the guests started to weep. Starmix is so marvellous that if I decided to dedicate a paragraph to her good qualities you would be very sad indeed. The vast majority of us are too detestable to bear the descriptions of the good. I came to the rescue instantly. I grabbed the microphone like a Nigerian Kanye West, and spoke my mind.
I have known the celebrant longer than any of you here. I was there when she was baptised, and I ignored her every Sunday that followed. At church, my mother, Mama Afam would say, “there’s Starmix, you should go say hello.” I always refused because back then I was more than a little bit of a snob. I believed myself too cool for everything and everyone. Starmix was no exception.
It wasn’t until I was 19 and in love with one devastatingly alluring girl called Frog. There she is over there. If I had a dollar for all the rejections I suffered at her hands I would be too rich to describe.
I turned to her boyfriend, an undoubtedly fantastic fellow and said:
Riba, you’re a very lucky man to have her, but I remain in the wings. If you drop the ball I shall pick it up and dunk it. She’ll get a proposal within a week.
Turning to the crowd:
I pursued that girl further than anyone has ever been pursued in this life or the next. It was Starmix that propped me up when all of this was going on, and that’s when I realised how strong she is. There is no burden I have placed on her that she hasn’t borne, and she’s so generous with her strength that she’d help me lift a feather if I asked.
If there’s anything that you need to know about her, it’s that in Manchester she could frequently be found in Sankeys dancing with reckless abandon. She loves a drink more than she’d like to admit. And she’s one of the best people I know. Yes, that means she’s better than most of you here.
I believe that there was some clapping after I was done. Some people chanted, “Rambling Madman!” I basked in their praise and lifted my head high knowing that I had blessed them with my brilliance. I felt like a living example of that Bible verse, “Let your light shine before men so they can see you works and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 I believe.
It should come as no surprise to you that the night ended in a ghastly club that reeked of cigarettes and bad behaviour. I for one danced like I was in a palace, with great flair and stamping of feet, for it had been too long since my Starmix and I had danced together. The entire thing was so enjoyable that I didn’t mind dropping her home. She will always be worth the fuel.