Uncle had brought me from Benue. He is a fan of my writing and he said I should come to Lagos and make my writing useful and
It was my first day in Lagos, there were beautiful lights, everywhere looked like a garden, I felt like I was in heaven.
“This must the passage to paradise,” I said to myself. But the reality was that we were on the island going to the mainland. Suddenly, I saw a house just like the same one in the
village, surrounded by bush and thick sound of crickets and frogs.
Finally, we got home—a ‘face me, I face you’ compound somewhere around Ogba Ikeja. Greetings came from neighbors up and down the compound.
“Welcome o, na ur broda bi this?”
“Welcome o, wetin you bring for us na?”
“Chaii you don fat finish o. Village is good indeed.”
We were about entering the house when NEPA took light (power supply was interrupted). It was a different atmosphere this time around, the abuse being rained on NEPA was so heavy even I felt for them.
“Thunder go fire NEPA whether dem change or not,” a neighbor said.
“How NEPA wan take make heaven like this?
“Na fire go burn their company,” another said.
But there won’t be light again if fire really burnt their company. I thought to myself.
Sleep was scarce that night, my body couldn’t relate to the new environment. The bed seemed too soft, mosquitoes were having a vigil and the venue was beside me ears. I couldn’t take it anymore, I started killing as much as I could, then I put them on a table so the other ones would see how dangerous I could be.
I woke up feeling like a child on it’s first day at school; no friend, nothing to do. I looked through my window, wow! There was an angel in the compound, she hadn’t any wings, and she walked amongst humans. She spoke the human language, she even did house chores! This meant we could get close too.
She saw me stealing glances and I quickly looked away.
“Anthony,” my uncle called from the other room. I went to meet him and he said to me, “We are to do some driving around the city later today. Everywhere is an inspiration center, you will love it here, I promise. Go have your bath, we leave in an hour.”
We drove through Ogba, Berger and it’s new bridge in my uncle’s Toyota Camry, then we went to Shoprite to shop food for items.
Our little drive around town was over and we drove back home. We came back home late in the evening, our hands were full of yellow nylons.
There was no light, so all our neighbors were outside the compound. She was outside too, I mean the angel. Her beauty glowed, she shone like light. I caught her smiling and I knew I’d fallen in love. I got lost staring at her, I couldn’t get my eyes off her.
Uncle caught me looking. “Anthony be focused, you’re here to hustle,” he said. Then my senses came back together.
That night sleep was scarce again, it wasn’t because the bed was too soft or because of
change of environment, it was because I was in love. I stayed up thinking, imagining, planning on how to get her.
At 3:00 am, Uncle went to use the toilet, he saw me still awake, I wanted to act like I was asleep but it was too late. I knew he would be sad because he didn’t meet me writing. He knew I was thinking of her.
At 7:47 am, I woke up. First, I did some house chores, then thoughts of her came into my head again. I was like a dead man, unconscious of his environment. Uncle had walked pass me twice without me noticing. He was expecting greetings from me, but he didn’t get any. He went back to his room then yelled my name, “Anthony! Come over here.”
He started by asking, “What’s wrong with you?”
“I passed right in front of you twice but you didn’t notice.”
“Yes. I was having a silent prayer, that’s why I kept quiet.” He knew it was a lie.
“Anthony, you’re in love with Rejoice Williams.” Wow! So that’s her name.
“You can’t let that distract you now. You came here for a reason remember? And I haven’t seen you with a pen ever since you came, let alone writing. Anthony, I need write ups like your previous ones. Come on boy, this is not time for love.” He was not happy, but he was careful with his choice of words, so as not to worsen things.
I couldn’t say anything, I felt bad for having not made any attempt to write. I’m definitely writing something tonight. Night came and I decided to write.
I strolled to the new Berger’s Bridge. Inspiration was scarce, as it was covered with thoughts of Rejoice. I went back home with nothing.
Books in hand, I walked into the house. I saw my uncle with a big smile on his face, sitting on a couch in the living room. He must have thought I had done some writing.
” Good evening, uncle,” I greeted.
“How are you, Tony? I can see you did some writing tonight, that’s good. Okay, here’s the thing, there’s going to be a writing competition coming up soon, the prize is huge and I know you will win this for us. I just need you to do as much good writing as possible.”
“Sir, can’t we use any of my old writings?”
“I already used them for you during qualification so now we are going to the finals, We need new ones.”
“Okay sir, by God’s grace I will do new ones.”
It was two days to the competition, I had less than twenty four hours to submit. I had writings yet, all I could think of was Rejoice and her angelic features. My Uncle had been expecting me to submit the new write up he thought I had made, I was expecting myself to have said something to Rejoice. Nothing yet, not in a write up, not a talk with Rejoice.
“Anthony, what’s wrong with you? Why are you slacking? We have limited time.”
“Okay uncle, here’s the case, I can’t write now. Rejoice is all over my head, she has taken over my mind, my thoughts and all that has to do with my thinking. I’m sorry uncle I can’t write.”
“Hmm okay.” He went outside, came back with Rejoice and said to her, “Rejoice, please sit. Anthony wants to have a talk with you.” Then he left us in the living room.
I wasn’t feeling right, everywhere suddenly became hot.
“Hi, Rejoice,” I said in a small voice.
“Hi, Anthony.” Damn it, she knew my name.
“I have caught you staring at me many times before, anything strange about me?” she asked.
“No, not really, just that you are beautiful.”
Our chat was long, fun and filled with laughter. That was my best time yet in Lagos. My disturbed mind was put to rest, I was feeling invulnerable that night, like I could go get a pen from the sun, sit amongst the stars and write on the moon. I finally wrote a story that night.
I woke up feeling bright, Like the sun was just outside our house. I showed uncle the write up, he was pleased with how I used my challenges to put up a write up.
Rejoice saw it too, she saw her name in it and all the sleepless nights I had had because of her, and she gave me a hug for it.
This is the story, I called it ‘The Hustle’.
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