NaPoWriMo Day 29 – Giving Stars

roamers - shoe

[Source]

Four stars
for the Chelsea boots
in brown; five
from Wood,
for their soft leather
and inner cushion,
for how easy they fit
his wide feet
and how they arrive
in time for spring
and the promise
of new beginnings.

One star
from Miles, for how
they fall apart; split
at the heel
after seven months of use;
for how
they’ll harm your feet,
and fall apart
as though sawn in two.

From Joshua, just three stars –
because they arrive damaged.

For the Day 29 Prompt at NaPoWriMo, to write a review; culled from a few reviews left on the Amazon page for the shoes above.

African shop…

Nido_

I am carefully arranging the items in my shopping basket to make room for the 1800g tin of milk I have just taken off the shelf when someone to my left blurts out – Brossss.. Your Nidoooo milk no get part 2 o!

So engaged in that most banal of tasks have I been that I have not noticed him until he has spoken, pretty much directly into my left ear, I might add. When I look up, his face has a vague familiarity to it. I give it a few seconds before I give up trying to place the face, and assume he is someone I have run into at church, or one of the multiplied baby birthdays I have been forced to attend this year. I smile and explain my thinking behind grabbing the big tin – I come to this African shop on the corner of George and Fraser’s only so often, and for what it’s worth I try to make it worth my while.

It must be nearly three months in fact since I last came this way – replacing garri with Irish potatoes and palm-oil laden egusi soup with steamed broccoli and chicken breast made the detour redundant – but today a feening for soft, squishy, bread washed down with the thick, delicious gooeyness of Nido milk, with just enough water to give it the consistency of ice cream – is what has won over my resolve, enticing me into showing up here.

When the young man on my left doesn’t move on after my explanation, I begin to suspect there is a little more to this meeting than just a casual comment.

You been dey Engine for UNIBEN abi?

I nod tentatively, still wondering where all this might lead. He breaks out into a broad grin as he explains he spent a year in my corner of the world, sharing jokes, bed-bug infested couches and the odd fiver for bread and groundnut in the Hall 3 common room, which I insisted on making my reading spot, bang in front of the TV.

I ask him what’s brought him into town. He explains he’s been interviewing for a role at one of the corrosion rust consultancies in town. I explain I work in the field these days, and share a few choice thoughts about the rife dysfunction in that organisation. He shrugs – Make dem take me first o. All these one na tori,  he says. Given the patchy job scene, I have to agree.

Very nearly four years since I moved up North, the ‘Deen hasn’t lost its ability to spring surprises in the shape of old, lost connections. And apparently even back in them UNIBEN days, I had a thing for Nido milk…