How I became a hard guy

Balpolam Idi
5 min readOct 15, 2023

Flash Fiction

I remember when I told this boy “Hey, I think I like you” he looked at me with his thick eyebrows and long lashes then he said, “aww that’s sweet.” My face scrunched up in confusion like I was staring at a very long quadratic equation because sweet? Sweet ke! Do I look like goody goody to you? Oga, I’m telling you I like you and you said that’s sweet? Okay! Okay, no problem. OK no dey cause fight. I took my L like a big girl and I moved on. But let me just tell you, since that time, I promised nothing will make me verbalize my feelings to any son of Adam. God forbid. You see what Watching Korean films and Nickelodeon caused abi? Small time they’re in front of the whole world proclaiming undying love, or at the airport doing something dramatic. Me, I don leave bold declaration of love for who get am. I will only communicate through actions. After all, actions speak louder than words. So if you want to know why I prefer to be a traffic light rather than a human being, it’s best if you ask Femi of SS1A. He’s the reason why we are here.

See, last week like this, I caught myself smiling like a newborn goat in the middle of the night. Why? Because Hakeem sent me a sappy love message. But what was my response? “Lol. Guy you for like displace Shakespeare oh! But come first, which TV series did you see this one inside to copy?” He was laughing at my response for a full minute. Hakeem should know I like him by now. I went with him to his step-sister’s first daughter’s wedding. Would I have done that if we were just friends? Wo! He should be able to decode by now that all the big head and ode I’ve been calling him is not something I throw around carelessly. I use those words of affection only on the worthy. If I didn’t like him would I be answering those nonsense did you eat questions? Is it that I don’t have better things to do than to be answering interview about whether it is danwake or rice I should eat? No, it’s a sign of like. If he doesn’t understand, me I can’t help him o. I mean I even ask him about his grand-aunt with Alzheimer’s. Haba nau, he should know.

Actions, they say, speak louder than words. But actions can be confusing. For instance, when I was in primary three(3) Kola made it a point of duty to see my tears everyday. He did everything. Eating my lunch and putting sand in the box while I was out on the swing during the first half of break (I had to learn to eat first, play later), to putting a sharp pen right on my seat when I was about to sit. Many terrible things oh. But can you believe that at our reunion party this short boy looked me in the eye in all my 6ft glory to say ‘ah ahn you should have known that I liked you na. Why would I go through all that trouble if it’s not to get you to talk to me?’ The way my eye balls rolled up and down and again sizing him before I hissed ehn! Ogun kill you there! Which like? You just set me up with trust issues from a tender age and you want to waltz in twenty years later with a beer gut and a struggling goatee to tell me what? Iffa land you hot slap!

See, just because I identify as a hardguy doesn’t mean I can’t be sweet oh. You can ask Hakeem. He knows na. I’m a sweet girl. I fit show am, but I will never use my mouth to say it. To be safe in these streets, I became a hardguy. Has it worked? Well, I haven’t found love yet because love is for those who have finished eating and my plate of gwate is getting cold ATM. When I finish it, I’ll know whether or not I have found it.

Me sha, I just wanted to let you know how I got here and let me not get started on Mustapha! See, to be a hardguy, you need to know that men will always make promises. It’s wired in some of them to prove their authenticity by making impossible claims. They can lie! If not, tell me why Musty pursued me hotly for a year and half and just when I started picking up his calls every day and replying him like an emergency number he said he wants to marry me. Okay oh, Mr marriage. Do you know I’m unemployed? His response? Ehn, even my first two wives are stay-at-home moms ai, I’ll take care of you.

Me!? You think I went to university to study petrochemical engineering for seven years so I’ll be a stay-at-home-mom or takenkiarof (taken care of)? Wait first, at what point were you going to tell me you had a wife let alone two! Mustapha!! See, I’m done with opening up shey you hear. That’s how I stopped doing those conversations of ‘how many kids would we have?’ Because while you’re busy kiki-ing about fictional names for your unborn children, this person already has five born children in real life and he’s acting brand new.

In case Hakeem sees this, just know that my reps and street cred have vapourised. Till then, stay safe and remain a hard guy. Still find who to share your life with because last last, nothing dey this life. Try o, try and find happiness in the present and leave men like Femi and Mustapha in the past. Mhmm.

Hi, thank you for reading the hardguy’s rant. Please let me know how it made you feel. Have you ever sworn to leave love? What’s your take on verbal communication and showing affection? Is it either/or/both? I look forward to hearing from you.

Love, Ballie💖



Balpolam Idi

Live, Love, Give. But most importantly, Dream. Learner. Teacher. Wanderer.