The Diary of a Warri Boy……Eghele Akpere
New Story Series Alert
The Diary of a Warri boy is a new story series on the blog. It is a powerful non fictional story. The story is more than engrossing. It is captivating, very real, ‘unputdownable’ and it brings to fore some of the sad realities in our day to day Nigeria.
The writer, Eghele is a young man whom I tutored in GNS(General Studies) during his Pre-degree(or was it jambite days).
I just got connected with him recently. I must confess that I never saw this side of him. He is so good with poetry and nonfiction. With this debut novella, he has actually surpassed my expectations. He is based in Warri, Nigeria where he is presently working on his second book.
From the surface; A Coastal Town
That scent of water fresh,
The sights of the mangrove stretch,
The rays of sunshine bright,
That burst of rainfall might,
The swagger of branching trees,
The stagger of drunken bees.
From pipes and choppers,
The unfiltered mix;
Of blood with diesel,
Then the fading Sunshine;
Not of nightfall,
But from an inferno;
The burning of a trampled dignity.
Yes, it’s just one of those days when you know something big has to happen. Yes, something big, something really big.
It was a calm morning as usual in the city of Warri. The showers just came down, it must have known that NEPA, the National Electric Power Authority, later changed to PHCN – the Power Holding Company of Nigeria – was not interested in helping our cooling systems that morning. My phone had buzzed a while ago, and I had a little calm conversation with my mother-in-law to be. It was a normal conversation, just that it was a reminder that I had to be “the man”. I always remember when I told my lovely babe that “I am your man”. Well, her mum was not there when I said all that except that she had whispered it to her of course.
* * *
I had been without job for about four months now; I had taken the risk to quit my former job, in pursuit of a more excellent course. The reality of this whole thing was that I was keeping a good girl waiting. We’d been together for close to three years now and we were in no way getting younger. My sincere conscience always reminded me that I must be quick about the whole settling down thing.
Well, I guess the morning call, my conscience and everything around quietly whispered the same alarm “be the man”. I still stand grateful for the call though. She had known about the decision on the former job and in the past three months, every time she called, she asked what I was up to. Let me believe it was a question born out of love and concern and not the whole “when will you be the man” thing that even I, started asking myself.
* * *
In recent weeks my brain must have been working harder than the entire Nigerian army in “the Sambisa”. I had slept, even though I did not crave for it like those days in previous years when I wished the government will declare a two-week holiday, to celebrate something, something to give workers rest from the everyday hustling. Now I did not want holidays, I wanted something that will make me fulfilled from inside. That’s what I always told my lady: Hey babe I want to come home every day and give you and the kids’ very interesting gist of how the period at work went, not tales of the AC stopped working or the DSTV scrambled or I slept and woke up at exactly closing time. She had liked that reason, I had found out that ladies loved those stories, and especially when they are true life.
For now, I still tell her tales, of the folks I had met recently, of the events in Warri, of my love for her, though she’d say: “Babe, I’ve heard that one before”. Recently I was standing outside the gate of our compound when I saw this man, he should be in his thirties. He was brushing his head as seriously as he passed by. The funny thing was that he was bald. He must have hoped his hair would spring up anytime soon. If I had half the faith that dude had, ha, I should be moving mountains around.
* * *
I had applied already to all the jobs that made sense, even those that did not, I had heard and read tales, slangs, and stories of successful people. Some were true but it was a known reality that these tales are recited and preached mostly by a whole lot of “unsuccessful” folks. At a time they would get depressed later enough though, only after splitting through the pages of reality. I was definitely determined not to fall on any of that lot, I made up my mind to make the difference. I was definitely not going to prescribe doses that did not work for me, so I chose to deliberately live a successful reality.
I sincerely wanted to try out something, at least to make some few coins – or more – to stay off the economists’ “vicious cycle of poverty”, I honestly wanted out. I’ve always fancied when the analysts on TV talked about “purchasing power”; oh, how I loved that phrase. I had sworn to myself that “I’d make it”, not forgetting the vow of integrity and honesty that happily soared on the sea of my conscience.
I had once been stranded in an exam hall, I remembered that episode; it still plays like in an action movie scene. It was a Physics course that I had to pass and I could bet that day, or was it just me? The script was a mix of Arabic and Chinese. I had promised my being not to cheat in any exam, so I just sat looking. I had just spent about ten minutes writing my name and other information on my answer booklet.
It must have been quite too early to submit, or so I had thought. The invigilator, a man in his mid-thirties, must have walked past a couple of times till he finally tapped on me and said; “young man, don’t you know Physics?”
.to be continued next friday
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