When he came back home from abroad with a Master of Arts in his hand, and a smirk on his face, I was glad to have my friend back. Now we will pick up from where we left off painting Lagos red, exploring the out skirt of the open city, but I assumed wrong. We had had such memorable times together- exploring the red-light districts of Okokomaiko; the flies-swamped Bukas at Abulé; the paraga watering holes of Mushin Olorisha; and the ganja-polluted atmosphere of Bariga: sowing wild oats, getting high and strutting like God owe us money; doing our damnedest to change the world or discover new ones; With not a care in the world if we got rich quickly or get killed ridding on Okada.
It was our “Vida Lorca”, The Good Life, and we lived it like it was all ending tomorrow, but that tomorrow never come until Jonah was pushed abroad to study for a second degree. It was all one big waste, thinking of the difference now. Not much has changed at home since my friend left, two very long years ago: but we have changed.
Uncle Ebele Azikiwe, who had no shoes now wears Fendi to bed; every home, school, office, mosque and Church have their privately maintained mini power-generating plants now; the ex-militants have handed over power and arms to Boko Haram; politicians now have private mints, and oil blocs (loyal politicians only) Big Bros Ibori got convicted at last and jailed in Europe.
There’s been very few happenings, nothing much has changed really. But, there has been a boom in mushroom or churches, and mosques since Bishop Oyedipo started a airline of his own. That baba had to be a short of comtemporary David, taking on the daunting Goliath of the Nigerian business environment. I heard the man started his business in his living room way back in those lean years, now see what the Lord’s done for him in such short time; This Man, amongst the hoards of cut-throat-competing Men of Gods, has done well for him self. He has kept setting the pace. I am still jobless, myself, but I am contemplating opening a church rather than contemplate suicide out of frustration, or the sheer need to draw attention to our National problems.
The ruts in our roads are deeper now; the streets are crowdier and noisier- you would think all the 150-million+counting good people of the this great country live in Lagos now. More Landlords now have Hummer Jeeps- the disrepair that has made our streets such rugged terrains have necessitated and inspired this trend of utility vehicle acquisition. Yahoo-yahoo is listed on our Stock Exchange. And the G-men are being conferred with the national award of Commander Of The Order of The Naija (CON)- Envy has made Achebe so peeved that he rejected the MON conferred on him. Achebe actually smashed the plaque on the floor of the house, complaining that the E.Y. has not been appended to the MON. Who wouldn’t be pissed like that? I will be so mad myself, I will jump off the Third Mainland Bridge to take a swim in the Lagoon.
We are all still living here, the good, the not-so-good and the ugly. Many have given up hope on the second coming, and have sold their souls to Human Traffickers and body parts dealers. Many now live happily as slaves and refugees in Europe- realizing their full potentials and the Good Life of making ends meet. Those who sold their Kidneys, lungs, livers, brain matters, and hearts to body-part racketeers have also met their ends. Some whose hearts and livers are rotten and un-salable have taken to trading in other peoples’ innards. Everyone has got to get rich or die trying.
I was glad at my friend’s home-coming, it was a fresh breathe of air, or so it seemed, in a short spell. But a lot has changed about him since he got back from the belly of the beast. He, who was a fair-skinned, fine boy, before he traveled abroad, now is so tattooed he’s black as wannde coal. When he speaks (when he cares to talk to you) He punctuates his half-sentences with Niggah, Bitch, fuck, shit, crap- but I don’t, for the frustrated life of me, know which is comma, which is colon, which is semi-colon, which is period or which is question mark. We still manage to communicate, wif #emocions or by #tweereen @eachother.
When you say something funny he stoically replies by saying “lol”. If what you were saying sounded really funny to him, he says to you “lmao”, if your jokes really impresses him, he pats you in the back and say “rofl”. The other day we got so drunk the whole world seemed funny, all he said throughout was “lwkmd”. While I kept giggling away embarrassingly at nothing at all.
I have learnt to leave him be. He has found a new friend in his Blackerry, (his nose is always glued to the screen of the thing. I leave him be since what he does nowadays is shut the olde worlde out with his ipod and Beats By Dre (trademark) well, I will shut him and the ignorant world out too, when my Amazon Kindle get here.
I have lost my friend for good. His body came back to me, but his soul is left back in Malaysia where he sojourned with a study visa for two years. No, it wasn’t America o! but it could have been, for forgeting his roots like he’s done: He can’t seem to anymore remember what Ewa Agọin is; you mention Burédi Agege, he says “bread whart?”; he speaks funny like he got hot yam or too much water in his mouf. Everything has become so mixed up. In the whole mix, I am the one who is lost. I am so lost I can’t even find myself in the mix, or find my way around all that bull crap.