I was standing outside Ikeja City Mall on a Saturday afternoon. The wind was blowing dark clouds over the sun and people were watching them waiting to see if it would rain.
Three boys came out of the mall and lined the curb beside me. They were about early university age, dressed similarly: colourful tops, dangling accessories, skinny jeans with a slight sag. One of them had on a face cap, the second one’s short hair was glistening, oiled down in waves. He brought out a brush and pulled it across his head in practiced strokes.
The third one had a low frohawk fade with some design carved into the scalp on both sides of his head.
The frohawked guy was holding a Shop-Rite nylon bag. He reached into the bag and brought out one of those plastic transparent boxes that small fruits are sold in. It was filled with strawberries.
He pried the box open, picked out a strawberry and popped it into his mouth. As he chewed, he held the box out to his friends. Face cap and Waves took one strawberry each. They ate in silence looking out at the parking lot.
When Frohawk was done, he picked out another strawberry and bit it in half. He chewed this one slower, savouring it.
He said, “O boy, people are hyping strawberries.”
His friends looked at him. “Huh?”
He completed his thesis. “You know, juice, jam, ice-cream, everything is always strawberry flavour. They are all hyping strawberries. But–” He put the second half in his mouth. “–there is nothing there.”
His friends, jaws chomping, nodded like sages. They reached for seconds.
Face cap said, “It tastes good sha.”
Frohawk shook his head. “There’s nothing special to it though.”
Waves brushed his hair in sync with his chewing.
They stood, picking out of the box until the strawberries were finished.