Januarys and Mondays are descendants of the same ancestor. They were born of annoying parents, and the apples fell right at the foot of the tree. Nobody likes them. Students, just like everyone else, abhor Januarys with a cavernous passion, because it is a party pooper. It doesn’t afford them a chance to nurse the aching hang over from the festive cheer. As soon as the bill is settled at the bar, the January alarm clock buzzes off to wake you up for school.
You will always know January is here because it is vain. It announces its arrival everywhere. That is because it is a woman. The kind that changes her Facebook profile pictures every five minutes, and likes her own updates. When you walk around town, watch the telly or grab a newspaper, January is written all over. And nothing proclaims the arrival of January better than back to school offers.
In campus, January is that girlfriend who renders you destitute. She sends you please-call-mes and asks for dates at joints that offer Coleslaw for a kidney’s worth. Well, Coleslaw is just a fancy word for the good old kachumbari. January insists on overpriced coffee, and she would rather hang from an electric cable than be seen at the campus mess.
She has style, she says. She cannot wear the same clothing for two semesters in a row- lest people begin to think that she is living on the breadline. She wants her nails done, and a change of hair, never mind that she had changed it last week. A woman has needs, and if you do not meet them, she will nag and pout and shift sitting positions in class. Later on that night, she will sleep in her jeans and face the wall.
Because campus guys have the emotional IQ smaller than a pig’s dignity, they will hang on to this lady, regardless of the costs. So to maintain their image and her profligate standard of living, they end up borrowing money to keep her happy. They promise that by the end of the month they’ll have made good the debt…but that’s a lie, and they know it.
January is the girlfriend everyone cannot wait to be done with. You pretend to be happy when you are really choking inside. A young intoxicated girl who shows up to a suburban house party and takes a manly shit on the floor of the house. She suffocates you, but when anyone asks, you fake a smile and pretend that everything is okay. Like a clown, you put on a show.
But January never leaves. She takes her time, nibbling every debt you borrowed in her name. If need be, she will make you take a student loan advance from Equity, and that too will disappear somewhere inside her bra. She clings onto you, and you spend every day wishing you had known better. This girl January is a reminder of mistakes and choices you shouldn’t have made.
When you finally break up with January, when you leave her, you are like a miner lifted out of a collapsed shaft; deprived, exhausted, oxygen-starved, but still alive. Thrillingly, amazingly alive.