I always remember those guys

[Gym. Two men, 1, and 2, make eye contact in passing and nod at each other. The conversation starts…]

1: “Man, we’re the same height.” 1 gestures with his hand measuring 2’s height, his hand moving from his forehead to just in front of where 2 was standing, indicating the same height.
2: “Yeah, that’s why you got to be strong.” 2 smiles.
1: “Totally, you see the men these days?”
2: “Yeah.”
1: “Every man is like 5’11 easy!”
2: “That’s why you got to train hard.” 2 grins.
1: “Sometimes you see security guards that are shorter.”
2: “But they got something ya know. Got to be broad.”
1: “Yeah man, got to have the skills and be thick. Bouncers tell me they ain’t scared of the tall guys, but if a short guy steps to them, it’s odd. They wonder more about them!”
2: “Yeah cuz they’re wondering what’s this guy’s got.”
1: “Exactly. So you from West Africa?”
2: “Yeah. Ghana.”
1: “Ahh, you speak Hausa?”
2: “No, Twi.”
1: Oh Twi eh. Yeah my friend from Ghana speaks Twi. But his first language is Hausa.”
2: “Yeah mainly the Muslims speak Hausa.”
1: “Do Christians know it too?”
2: “Some do. It just depends if they are in those Muslim areas or if they come in contact with them.”
1: “Oh okay.”
2: “Like we have zongos where Muslims live in each city.”
1: “Zongos?”
2: Yeah like a more inner city place, an area, like a Jane and Finch kind of thing, but all over the country. The Muslims have shops in the market, you know, they’re more hands on.”
1: “Cool, so where are you from?”
2: “Kumasi.”
1: “Nice. Your name?”
2: “Lewis.”
1: “Lewis eh? I guess you’re Christian?”
2: “Actually. I’m Muslim.”
1: “Really?”
2: “Yeah. I converted back in 2005, a bunch of us.”
1: “Oh. Like here?”
2: “Yeah, in a mosque in Toronto. Some of us were involved in stuff, and some still are. But, we all converted.”
1: “Like you pray and all?”
2: “Mmm, not so much right now. I was more into it before.”
1: “Inshallah bro, it’s a process, you know, work through it. We need you!” 1 grins.
2: 2 laughs. “For sure.”
1: “How come you converted?”
2: “I just remember the Muslim boys when I was growing up. You know teachers used to beat the kids sometimes.”
1: “Yeah, yeah.”
2: “These guys would just stand there and take it like a man.”
1: “The Muslim kids? Not the other kids?”
2: “Nah, just the Muslims. And I still remember that.”
1: “Wow. It left an impression.”
2: 2 nods. “It left an impression.”