TYPING: How… do you… handle… disappointment?
|She bet she knew the easier way!|
I snapped up my notepad, and walked over to my closet, flicking through my outfits. Simple, simple, I chanted as I dismissed my own habits, too simple, way too simple, way too simple and so last season. I gave up and fell in a huff in my bed. I really hadn’t known I was in that much of a crisis.–––
“You call not having anything to wear to some stupid fashion show a crisis?”
“Shush,” I barked at Raymond, and turned my back to him as I crossed the room to another section to speak to the attendant on the other line who happened to be the press manager of Glitz Africa Fashion Week. “So, is there any dress code suitable for members of the press, you know? I wouldn’t want to wear anything conflicting with everyone as this is my first time and I want to make a good impression…” I spoke on, sweating buckets “….––a good impression, one that leaves me memorable. You know what the critics wear to fashion week. And I am in Kumasi, if I pack the wrong bags, I’d have no possibility of changing––you know how hectic they always say fashion week is––”
Ping. Loud disconnection tone. I stared at my phone in disbelief.
“You should be happy he didn’t cuss at you and inform you, you are a fucking piece of shit.”
“Thanks Raymond,” I stared at him grimly. “You didn’t have to bother, I can read your mind a distance away how low you think of me. But of course, what do you know about fashion? If you had your way, nudism would be the next in-thing this winter.”–––
“Kobby, I know you, you always have something, um, cooler to wear.”
That’s Ida on the line, already phoned me to inform me how, ‘um,’ perfect I’d look in a sack. “Thanks, Ida. But you do not get the magnitude of this, my first appearance at Glitz Fashion Week as a critic. Of course, I’d have to go in something worth talking about.”
“You know what I’d do?” She interrupted. “Um, I’d just go with my instinct and see where it, um, leads me.”
In times like this you needed someone (else) to tell you the facts, which is the truth, not a friend.–––
“You have the shittiest clothes on the planet.” Andrew, my constant frenemy barked on his end. “You dress like the world is coming to an end and there’s no appropriate clothing to wear than your drab African prints, the skinny-legged jeans you wear around everywhere and those hideous boat shoes perforated with holes in their soles rats wouldn’t dare get on board knowing their fate: the discombobulating stench! Oh, and sometimes it’s clear you are wearing no underwear!”
And there it was spelled out in clear words my personal sense of style which wasn’t really good enough, I’d just realized. “Thanks, Andrew, there’s a reason I’ve never come around to deleting your number.”
So I deigned to stand out. Not going according to the same ol’ style I’ve been pulling on for the past years. But how do I achieve that?–––
“It’s fashion week, Kobs.” Mel, my co-reporter and photographer yelled at me, when I hadn’t arrived at his room so we’d leave for Accra in time. “You are not the attention. The models are.”
“What if I want to be the attention?” I questioned him challengingly. “If fading in the background is a press-policy I don’t want to toe that line.”
“There’s a way for achieving whatever you want and being punctual too. Good work ethics.” He remarked pointedly. “What’s your fuss anyway? Whatever you wear you wouldn’t look as good as I do.”
Then it hit me. I really wasn’t ruling out all my clothes because that’s what I’d normally do. It was Mel. I’d realized everywhere I was going with him on my tail or me on his, I tended to put more effort in my attire. Mel had the height to gain attention. Mel had the clothes to appear effortlessly put-together looking simple yet bearing some sense of class. And to rub in salt into my jealousy, Mel was famous among the right crowd. No wonder he got me on his tail this time.
There was no stopping me now now that I’d traced the source of my uneasiness, I needed to beat Mel no matter what.–––
“Mel isn’t exactly God’s gift to man when it comes to learning a thing or two or about fashion.”
I smiled. That’s Charlene on the other end. My personal go-to stylist whenever I was in the mood to wow (Mel). Charlene just breaths, lives, poos fashion. Throughout the years I’ve known her since high-school, she’s updated her personal style over… err… I’ve pretty lost count. And at that moment, I knew her counsel would come in handy.
“So what do you suggest, Charl? I want something that would dazzle and thrill, something that would draw the attention away from the designers’ pieces. I’ll be front-row anyway probably seated next to Reggie Rockstone and I need to make an impression.”
“Don’t even think about it, he has nicer hair.”
Suddenly the temptation to get on some dreadlocks was too hard to resist.
“Anyway, I’m not sure of an exact way I could help. But the one thing I do in times like this, is to consult the personal style of fashion critics across the globe. Say hi to Google for me.”––
“Google, Charlene says hi.” I said over to the screen smiling at the brilliant fashion advice my best friend had provided me. Armed with tea and my keen sense to spot what’s me, what’s not me, and what’s so not me but I couldn’t cast away, I began studying the sense of style of male fashion critics across the globe. Team in Madonna’s Vogue and I was in perfect studious bliss.–––
|You go, Jesse!|
“Fuck, Kobs. I applaud you.”
I grinned at Mel, brushing my hands down my ensemble: an all-black t-shirt, jeans and dark sunglasses with a red woollen scarf that hanged loosely on my shoulders. “You haven’t seen the rest.” I teased, hauling my suitcase in the backseat of his Hyundai.–––
I imagined Fashion week to be a beautiful mess; the designers speaking in a frenzy as they sat through press conferences answering questions about their collections and their recent sex scandals, supermodels having precedence over no-name-models striking poses on the red carpet of particular shows they’d be opening, celebrities who had no importance in the industry striving to get themselves noticed as they nervously twitched from one foot to another looking around for a friendly face to approach, members of the press clutching their notepads or cameras in time to report something one another were missing in hopes of getting the best stories.
Exactly how it was over the velvet rope at the entrance to the Accra Conference Centre with tons of press, buyers queued in hopes to get through with their passes.
“Mel Arthur?” The buffed guy in International Bouncer Uniform complete with dark glasses glanced over at Mel and I, before going through his giant list.
“You are in.” Mel went through. I made an attempt to follow but the buffed guy stepped in my way.
“No worries,” Mel said to the guy with his usual authoritative charm topped with his winning smile. “He’s my writer you can buzz him in.”
The bouncer shook his head grimly.
I stared in shock.
“There must be a note of your bringing along a plus one writer on this list if not his name.”
I thought of struggling to get in, but before I could even act on it, I got slapped in the face––by reality–––
I sit behind my laptop, enviously eyeing the box of Kleenex Raymond had provided before exiting the room to give me some privacy. Looking back at my laptop screen, I read the email message splayed on the browser for the umpteenth time:
We are grateful for your email. But we’d however want to inform you, you might not have enough reach to get into any shows. Looking forward to your request next year.
Glitz Africa Fashion Week Publicity team.
I immediately close Mozilla having had enough and, instead of my wallpaper, find a Word window blinking its cursor temptingly at me. No room for angst poetry, I thought with a sense of humour concocted with misery. But just before I am about to shut my laptop, I give in and spread my hands over the keyboard.
TYPING: Dreaming is how I handle disappointment––
A tear splashes against a key and I let it lay there.