Friday nights are the best kinds of nights in Lagos. Save for the unfortunate traffic that befalls those who dare to leave the island to any part of the mainland, every fun spot is packed with young johns, slay queens, sugar daddies, and yummy mummies who want to do only one thing – have fun. My friends and I are no exceptions. But if there’s anything that pulls in more crowd than Friday nights, it is a good old birthday party. A combination of those and you know the club is about to be shut down.
Tayo’s birthday was on a Tuesday. As one of the gang members, it was only natural that we came together to celebrate him. However, the small after work pool party at his house wasn’t going to cut it, so we had planned to go to club 57 on Friday, our usual ritual. Only, a few things were different this time. Chief on the list was that Tayo who was in charge of helping us balance the gender representation of our all-guys (but me) group, had gone ahead to fall in love.
Asides the fact that dating wasn’t a thing any of the guys particularly did, Tayo was so in love that he displayed all the irrational and blindsided tendencies that come with loving somebody who’s not all that into you. From throwing a big birthday party for her and then not going for it because she requested that he didn’t attend, to dropping her off at a hotel at night where she claimed she was going to meet her sister who she lived in the same house with, a lot of things did not sit right – even to me.
When it came to his birthday, she was also nowhere in sight because “she didn’t feel like going out”. In any case, come Friday night, we moved from a lounge whose name I can’t remember, to club 57 to start off what became one of the shortest but most dramatic nights out yet.
Club 57 is the nightlife of Ikoyi; arguably, of course. Called 57 because it is located on number 57 Awolowo road in Ikoyi, it prides itself as one of the biggest crowd-jerkers within the community. The club spreads itself across the floors of a three-story building and brings in celebrities and some of the biggest ladies and lads in the city of Lagos. There, party-goers dance underneath luminous light, sip booze, and connect to the pulse of good Nigerian and international music. On the days Club 57 comes alive – Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the night stays young and time folds.
That night, we walked into the club and sat at our usual spot. We ordered a bottle of Hennessy and a bottle of Smirnoff and vibed to the music, bopping our heads and laughing to all the inside jokes we had at our disposal. The music roared so loud that conversations could only be made in screams. Needless to say, it didn’t take long for us to stand up and dance to some of our favorite jams. We hadn’t stayed for up to 45 minutes when I saw Tayo staring. He looked with intensity and stayed struck. In curiosity, I followed his gaze and it led me to the a few tables away.
A lady, about 5ft 4 inches tall, arched her back and whined her waist against a well-built man who looked like he had already had too much to drink. She danced, her waist against his lower body, and occasionally looked at him, as if it provided some kind of validation of her art. It was then that I looked at her face. It was his girlfriend, Cynthia. She looked like she had spent hours sculpting every arc on her face; her dress, black and sparkling, stopped at her thighs. I asked him, “Cynthia? Didn’t she say she didn’t want to be out tonight?”
“Beats me”, he replied.
Just then, John, one of the guys walked out of our cabal and to another table; like he knew somebody there. Tayo appeared to be in shock so I asked again: “Should we confront her?”
“I’m not sure” he replied.
We held our gaze hard and it didn’t take long until hers met ours, so we walked towards her. She also started walking towards us, meeting us halfway. The music was blaring but as we tried to talk, she started to speak not giving us the chance to. Something about her sister dragging her out. When we asked her where or who her sister was as politely as we could, she threw at us a case against doubt. We were accusing her. A case for mistrust. It was all too confusing. It was just then that we heard the first bottle break. Then shouts. It was coming from the table John had walked to. Two men were in a heated argument, facing each other and, of course, one of them was John.
“How the guy go come my table dey toast my babe?! He dey mad?”
Everything happened all too fast. Two of my friends held John who was too drunk to make out a coherent statement. The other guy had a red cut on his face. I rushed to the middle and almost fell on my back from the toggle. But I didn’t even need to be there because it didn’t take long for all of us to be escorted out of the club. Tayo stood in doubt of his girlfriend who had managed to turn the conversation around, making him the villain. John stood drunk. The rest of the guys tried to settle the bill amidst all the noise.
And I stood, lost, wondering how easy it was for time to dissipate into chaos around here. Ultimately, it was just another day. Another night. Another dramatic event.