I always thought true happiness is when you build cars and drive houses, but those won’t satisfy you. I was a pauper who lived at Oshodi, Lagos. Unlike most areas in Lagos, Oshodi is a stinking part, human droppings decorates the street, at every corner you see someone peeing on every plant of peace, if you walk a little farther you meet with thugs with drawn weapon but it is heaven for us who are born on dung heaps.
There is time in human life when you are drawn by the wealth and capability of others and then you wish to have it too. Chinedu crossed his legs on mine, I jabbed it aside and gave him a light spank on his leg, he murmured some indistinct words and went back to sleep; poor thing. Chinedu was the eldest amongst us, he is 25 years old and he was the most agile who defended us when the street thugs bullied us, a dark boy with a gap in his teeth. Someone could mistake him to be a Hausa boy with his fluent Hausa language.
I staggered up, the room looked so small. The air of yesterday’s Origin has not left the air, if you were to inhale the air deeply; you would sniff the aroma of heaven. Origin was our favorite gin because it is the only gin that Mama Khalid could sell for us on credit.
Femi rolled and crossed his hands over David’s tiny body, the bottle of Origin he held rolled and its content spilled on the floor. I wanted to help stand the bottle but it wasn’t the first time it would be spilling on the floor so I just left it. I glued my back to the wall and slowly; I slipped down. I looked across the room; the metal I used in beating my barrow was as usual placed beside my mat ready to suffer the heat of the day’s sun.
Why are some people created for good and flashy things why some are just the people who suffer the wrath of the sun? Why do rich men go to sleep with minted currencies? Why do we have to work till our sweats break and refuse us each inevitable errand? Those thoughts surged through my heart and in no time I was crying already – much more like quiet sobs.
I must visit Baba today and beg him for my arrogance and ignorance beforehand. I would prostrate if I have to. It seems life is a warrior that hands over its treasure to those who can suffer the wounds on war. In no time I got dressed and was determined to visit Baba after the day’s work.
The room was furnished with artwork which exhibits the smell of minted currencies, the room was neatly set. An upholstered chair faced the extra large room, on it sat a young fair man. Full beard, cute short hair, bright and clear eyes, he wheeled the chair here and there and he seemed to enjoy it. He is the same Afolabi who worked as a metal collector at Oshodi and lived at with some few roomies. He walked to the window that faced the Lagos Ocean. The balcony also faced the Ocean but he preferred the window better. His PA entered and gave him some files which he strapped to his side; the PA was obviously smitten by Afolabi’s cute appearance.
He drove around the city for a moment after the hectic meeting; he parked at a restaurant to get some snacks. He alighted from his car. And walked to the other side where the restaurant stood, some children played around and they almost rushed into him, they pleaded and continued playing.
He was smitten by the broad smiles on the faces of the children, it looked bright and original. Their ribs were visible in the torn armless they wore and that makes him wonder why they would laugh and smile with blown out stomach. He loved it. He couldn’t remember the last time he had laughed so heartily. Since he had gotten so rich suddenly, what he sees at night are masquerades on his tale with machetes and other barbaric weapons. Of course he had told Baba about it, but he had said it was normal as that is what happens with most people that did ritual.
He hallucinates even in the day and sees them all around – masquerades that walk around with strokes in the work and set to work at night. If he could go back to being the simple man who laughed with his buddies under the calmness of the moonlight he would take that opportunity, he wished he could go back to those long light talking about the day’s work.
Now what he thinks at night is the whips to appear in his body before dawn, how he would wake at midnight and stay awake till dawn, this night he was going to miss the opportunity for true happiness again.