Contemplations of a Streetsmart Bookworm

For Sally…

Written by Ope Ashiru

There is always something special about a guy’s first, she will always have a special place in his heart. It does not matter how many others come after, he will always remember her fondly, years after he has forgotten the others. The ‘bond ‘is special, I am not sure I can explain it but I‘ll try.

I remember the first time I saw Sally, I had just arrived Ibadan-North local government secretariat from Oyo state NYSC orientation camp, and she too was just arriving. She was standing next to someone I had met just a few weeks earlier, her back was turned towards me. Her back view was magnificent in one word, absolutely stunning in two but if I were to describe her in three words I ‘ll say ‘Tall, dark & lovely’. She turned around, her bright and tiny eyes lit up an already sunny afternoon as she flashed a smile. They say ‘beauty lies in the eye of the beholder’ as far as I was concerned she was the finest. It was love at first sight…at least for me. The moment was almost magical; usually I am a shy person, but not that day. I still don’t remember the first thing I said, but I remember we left the secretariat grounds hand in hand with my spirit on cloud-9.

Even more than her beauty, what I loved most about Sally was her persona; lively. Always up for a ride and down for whatever, she was good sport and all my friends liked her too. She instantly became a part of my crew, the last member of the ‘Fantastic-Five’ Damian, Joyce, Halima, Ope and Sally. Our connection was perfect, most people predicted we won’t be together a year after NYSC. Oh how wrong they were! Sally and I lasted seven years, one year NYSC and six years after. I already know what you are thinking, spare me. Let me tell you why, but first let me tell you about another Sally.

Sally Mutushi was the name of the late patriarch Adeyemo Alakija’s exotic race horse, the fastest in her day. Rumour has it that she was a descendant to the all-time greatest race horse – Secretariat, the only one strong and rugged enough to make it across the Sahara into Africa. When I got my first car the old-skul Toyota Camry AKA’ Pencil’ AKA ‘Tiny’, what I noticed as I took her for a spin was that she was not just strong and rugged but also fast. Very fast. So I named her ….. you guessed right. Sally is not the name of my first girlfriend; Sally is the name of my first car.

Sally was a regular four cylinder salon car with a 2.2 litre engine, or so everyone thinks until her pedal hits the metal, then they come back to testify: ‘She is a Ferrari in disguise!’ Once Sally and I crossed the Lagos third-mainland bridge in less than three minutes. I thought it was a fluke until it happened again, the second time there were witnesses: Akpos Usiakpo, Jane Ogenyi and Ofure Ezimokhai. We were all running late for a training (story for another day) and the penalty for lateness was supposed to be twenty five thousand naira, needless to say we made it in good time.

The plan was to hold on to Sally for keepsake and transform her into a vintage, you know do a Pimp-my-ride on her: Paint her matte black, smoke her windows, put in hydraulics and 20’’inches…..then park her in my garage so I can show my grandkids what a real machine looks like. By the time I bought another car it was mid-2016, the naira was dancing ‘azonto’ with the dollar and my bank account was doing ‘shoki’ in tandem. The gentleman did not have to make me a second offer for Sally before I took his money, after all who vintage epp?




  • An ode to Sally
    A tribute to a fine being
    Whose graceful motion aided the innate kindness of my friend Ope…as he graciously without grudge gave me lifts from Akobo to Apata…Bank PHB to Ibadan North LGA, from Chevron to Lagoon TBS to National Theatre…to HCC to C3

    Sally heard dreams and visions discussed..
    Strategy dissected
    Banter exchange

    Sally was a fine being, a soldier that was not wary in the day of war
    And for this reasons, I understand why you loved Sally so

  • Hahaaha…that was a good one. I was sha wondering that tani Sally keh? You definitely got me there. The name of my first wasn’t as tush as yours, she was called Jenifa, aka Sulia kan!

    So we need to name this new machine too o.


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