So beautiful a night it was. The joy of getting to the promise land; where dreams come true. An Exodus without a guide, but a Prophesy that must come true. So mighty were the obstacles, but alas, the winner must definitely come through.
Eddie couldn’t sleep under the canopy of the beautiful skies. His, was a gaze, fixed to the stars and wondering what really they are. Are they the picture depicted in destiny? ‘’And how do they say it?’’ he asked himself- he has a bright star. He was amazed how some shone and others dim their lights. So also he thought to himself, time and tide changes for man. It’s just a matter of time! Long before the present moment, Dr Okonta, from whom he derived his epithet; Okonta, had explained with what would be conceivable to his loyal student cum servant cum son, how far the stars are to the earth. He tarried long before he could only suggest how long his breadth can take calling Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar repeatedly to a number without limits. Eddie understood from the explanation that they are far beyond man’s reach, yet he wondered laboriously how their reflection illuminates the world. His resolve was simple: no matter how far he is, he would definitely let his little light shine and make a difference in this ephemeral world. ‘’How is it going to happen? I don’t know’’, he whispered to his mind.
Although the humming of the mosquitoes was not new a thing to him, his greatest shock and amazement however was the quaking that cut short his thought-full sleep. The voice of an Agbero who demanded for a lodging fee! Yes! He had slept in a well perfumed and aerated space. Perfumed with the aura of urine tinkled carelessly all around and the humidly aerated space with the decaying stench of human fecal matter. He definitely would have given in for a fight- as a commando he was, but the bass voice of the man from the bus came ringing in his head. ‘’Never prove too smart boy….Never look so dull’’. He succumbed and proceeded as instructed by the said Agbero to the address with him- now with no extra charges. ‘’Patience pays! Who knows he would be of tremendous help’’, he murmured.
Zachara had changed but a little. He still stands under four feet with his half empty front dentition. It is so gapped that he can’t say ‘’sisi’’, he would rather pronounce ‘’shishi’’. His pot belly, still a trademark peculiar to him but it’s so surprising how he could carry himself with speed and dexterity. What surprisingly changed was the grandeur and splendor with which he carried himself. Indeed, he has become a big man just as they say. He had no fashion sense as regards colour combination. Everything that has the name cloth goes for him. Don’t be fooled… he can wear a round neck over a lace material trouser. He was such a ‘’nerd’’ then. But ‘’here is my man in polo and jeans…. Who says money no fit do everything’’, Eddie said smiling as he hugged his long lost friend whose excitement new no bounds when he saw him too.
‘’Eddie the Eddie! Eddie the Murphy! Eddie macaroni! Eddie the Heady Okonta!’’, said Zachara as he gushes about his friends august arrival. Astonishingly surprised was he as he offered a chair to the already blushing Eddie who was short of words. For his wit couldn’t match Zachara’s.
Eddie explained his plight over the bottle of coke he was served and sort his friend’s help whom he thought is surely a big man in Lagos. To his dismay, Zachara told him nothing but the truth as he isn’t a big man. He lives in a room apartment in one of the ghettos of lagos. He had but lied to John. He is just a manager in the big shop. ‘’The good news is……’’, he continued; ‘’ I am not yet married. We could share my room till you get settled and find your way’’.
Apart from the ghettos, bustles and the hustles that is characteristic of the normal Lagos life, this geographic entity would have been the best place to be on earth. Noisome, the atmosphere of most part might seem, yet her inhabitants are of one common goal- to make cool and calm money! ‘’Are they really making it? Or is success here just a mirage?’’ those thoughts rang through Eddie’s excitedly hopeful mind as he fights his way through the passage of the Brazilian design home popularly known as the face me face you to join the endless queue waiting impatiently at the bathroom door for their turn and raining curses on any person taking so long a time to come out.
If not for the want and/or need of money and the love of it, this would have been, among others a recreational spot for whosoever care to leave his or her mind bare for realities, facts and indeed fun; simultaneously. Here, issues are raised and argued; facts developed and negated, thoughts opposed and reviewed; belief affirmed and disavowed; values opposed and strengthened; taboos renewed and adjudged. In fact it is far beyond academic a setting, it is so edu-taining. Here, you forget your sorrows and look forward to the morrow- at the bathroom door. Here, we shouldn’t forget is the site of the dirtiest and lewdest of all fights; especially among women. Why? Because they wear nothing but a small wrapper tied across their chests. One of which Eddie happened to have experienced on his first day officially in Lagos.
Iya Moji as she is being fondly called would have been a beauty among bevies when she was in her late teens. Known by all as a charming but loquacious housewife, her faithfulness to her husband wasn’t debatable but one would wonder how she ended up with a drunk. A fact attested to by many, is that she has been an advocate of teetotalism. It was on account that she had once been in a quandary about what to serve his hubby’s friends who believed strongly that being a teetotaler is losing the salt embedded in life. When confronted with the dangers associated with taking excessivce alcohol, they reply profanely that drunkards and non drunkards are to die at one point in their life- either young or old.
Her courting days with Jide; Baba Moji had been one seasoned with scandals and repudiation. Theirs can be termed the Lagos version of Romeo and Juliet!
She is the only daughter of a rich man who preached and waged war against her eventual matrimony with Jide. But drunk with love and affection, she ran away from the prison of advice and taunts to the warmth of love and affection the latter she found in immense measure with Jide. In short, she got pregnant for the cab driver in the one room rented apartment and the father had no choice but to give in to the choice of his beloved but stubborn daughter.
The union had from time to time hit the rocks but it, after each storm session come back miraculously to more amorous glue.
As usual, it started little. Little Moji; the seven year old dance queen of the district had innocently asked her father what the night’s menu would be. ‘’Daddy! Fufu agaaaaaaaain…?’’ That struck the cord of annoyance in the heart of the rather hardworking father who despite the heavy traffic of Lagos manages to take home a thousand and a half home. This can only be possible if all things went well with motor park fee, Police settlement, conductor charges and off course, Mama Nkechi’s beer. He couldn’t bear seeing his capability as a father and husband go unappreciated. This resulted into a yell on the poor girl. ‘’Yes! Fufu it is. And yes! The menu hasn’t changed’’ he retorted. This reply enraged the wife and before you know it, a hot argument ensued and as expected it degenerated into a full-blown fight. Iya Moji as usual was beaten inside out and later exhibited the test for starch-blue black.
Co-tenants viz-a-viz spectators who always watch out for the next bout in their usual manner ran to her aid despite the queue at the bathroom with the victim raining heavy curses on the father of her children; that Eddie heard was a normal thing and that she didn’t mean it.
After half an hour of waiting, Eddie found himself on his way to work- Zachara’s shop, as an attendant and accountant.
What he is to face, he didn’t know. Expectation? He was oblivious. Hope? he can’t say, for they say Lagos is a city of miracles.