The first thing you will notice is a queue that stretches, coils and slithers around the building. Since it will be one of those cold nights when the air feels like someone has added razors treated with ice on it, you will be tempted to jump ahead, but of course you won’t,because at the door, two burly men will be standing guard, and their toned biceps will send you a clear message to desist from doing so.
And so you and your one friend will reluctantly walk tothe tail of the queue, where you will stand shivering, hoping that you will be amply compensated once you get inside the building.
Midway in the queue, you will see some faces you know mildly, and since you will all be brethren in the cold, you will try to make polite conversation that will inevitably end after exchanging a series of banalities that you could all have done without.
At the door, the bouncer will gruffly ask for your ID. In your mind, you will call him a dumb ass: does he really think you stood in a queue for thirty minutes knowing you don’t have an ID? But since you want to get inside, you will play it cool and produce your ID, a neat, carefully kept blue passport. The bouncer will look at it once, look at your face, then look at it again. He will then return the document to you, pat you up and down, then allow you to step inside.
At the reception, the warm air will overwhelm you, and you, who was freezing a few minutes ago, will start looking place to put your five-kilogram coat. You will look on the left and you will see a smiling lady at the reception who will, for one dollar, keep your coat safe. You will not be enthusiastic about parting with your hard-earned cash, but you will also be eager to get rid of your coat, so you will pay. The lady will give you a ticket with a number, and you will tuck it in the back pocket of your blue jeans.
Your friend will choose not to leave his coat, so the two of you will promptly move to the bar where you will order two shots of Bacardi. Your friend will order one extra shot of Jack Daniel’s just to spite your whisky-hating sensibilities.
Naturally, you will take out your phone and take photos for your Snapchat, for otherwise how will people know that you are having fun?
Having fortified yourself at the bar, you will move through a thin, dark, corridor leading towards the back where the dance floor will be hidden. Leaning against the walls, you will see a few couples smooching, which will bring a tinge of regret in your stoic heart and make you wish you had persevered your last relationship.
But before you get too melancholic, a drunken laggard at the end of the corridor will call you dad and laugh sheepishly. You will be confounded for aminute, but he will point at your Darth Vader t-shirt which reads “I am your Father.”
And then you will laugh and shake hands with him and walk to the dance floor. And once you step in,you will feel like you have entered your own sweet nirvana, for the DJ will be playing Burna Boy’s “On the Low.”
In the darkness of this secular cathedral, you will see bodies gyrating and “going on the low” to Burna Boy’s urging. You and your friend will join an animated group in the middle, and
you will attempt “going on the low” with everyone else. This, you will enjoy immensely, but the group will inevitably disintegrate when the DJ will decide to play an obscure trap song whose lyrics everyone but you will seem to know.
And so you will stand there trying to lip sync, but you will feel silly and stop. You will keep wishing that the DJ will return to Afrobeats, but he will only switch from Lil Baby to Lil Pump. You will grow restless and start moving from one corner of the dance floor to the other, throwing surreptitious glances at the stamina-filled people on the floor.
Near the DJ booth, you will bump into a few of your friends from the neighbouring uni. You will hug and laugh as you usually do whenever you meet someone who can speak Sheng in this land of unspeakable alienation. After exchanging pleasantries, you will attempt to dance again, but the DJ will still be playing music unpalatable to both your ears and limbs.
But– let’s face it– you came here not just to dance: like any other college student, you also came to meet new people and hook-up if possible. And so you will keep your eye out for people who might look like they are interested in you.
By now, your friend will have moved to another corner of the floor, no doubt to try his luck. But since you will have no ability to read people’s minds, a question like Hamlet’s will haunt you: “To shoot my shot or to not shoot my shot?” No answer will be forthcoming; you will catch many charming eyes staring at you, but your natural trepidation won’t let you say hi to anyone.
You will still be trapped in this limbo
when the DJ will be touched by the Holy Spirit and decide to play “Omunye” by Distruction Boyz. And, just like that, your body will explode with energy and you will make dance moves you didn’t know you possessed. You will find yourself in a circle, with people clapping and cheering you on. In other circumstances, you would have fainted with fright if you attracted such attention, but here, you won’t give a damn: it’s Friday night after all.
Without warning, the lights will go on. The DJ will apologetically say that it’s time for everyone to go home. You will fume with anger and point at the injustice of it all: why do they have to close just when you had started having fun? And what sort of people close their clubs at 1 a.m. anyway?
Despite your irritation, you will look for the friend you came in with; you will pick up your coat; you will exchange a few drunken words with the beauties near the door; youwill stroll to Antonio’s Pizza for a late night snack; and you will slowly find your way back to the campus. Before you collapse on your bed, you will console yourself with the fact that next Friday has always been there and will always be there.
Story by: Elijah Koome