The first time I understood the things I want, was the first day I discovered that, there is a frosty weather I need to encounter in Lagos. The Lagos I know as a toddler is different from the Lagos I know as a teenager. No matter how I have lived in the city, there are factors that comes to me, and they are the same things that comes to the mind of my friends. In my last days of secondary education, I told my uncle, that I would love to travel to Lagos so that I could witness the colour, facade skyscrapers, and the flippant men and women. Meanwhile, I noticed his reaction as I talked about Lagos. His countenance about Lagos wries me; as if there was something scary about the city and its residence.
‘’ Lagos is dreadful’’ My uncle said.
And after his statement, I asked my friend who stays in Lagos via WhatsApp. I never let him know my step. After I have messaged my friend, he told me Lagos has its own culture and magic; and that became fascinating to me. I await his response so that he could describe Lagos for me. As I waited, I knew my uncle was finding trick to convince me not to espy Lagos with its stench.
However, that certain evening, I had finished eating my supper. I became restless; and my emotion was disparaging. But my expectation was that, my friend whom I have trusted on Lagos issue via WhatsApp would respond to my message. I paced through my WhatsApp messages as if something bizarre had happened. My phone became a guard that night. To the level that his message became what I was expecting. Surprisingly, unknown to me, my uncle was at the door, eavesdropping my soliloquy.
Though I once heard his footsteps approaching my room, I mistook it for just an illusion. And, later, I began to hear the tiles fillip-flop; and what came to my mind was that my uncle is coming towards my room. I kept mute. I held my breath. I feigned sleeping. I noticed him behind the door. He stood to hear if I was conversing with anyone or my phone’s beam would reflect. Since he didn’t see anything, he sauntered back to his room. And all of a sudden, I saw my friend’s message.
‘’Hello, I have replied you a long time ago. It is the network that was fluctuating. Take my heart of honour’’.
As I beheld the message, I became shard. I went insouciant. I mourn myself with the message he has sent. And immediately, I replied him with a cohesive message. To me, the message was as a serrated saw when I typed the words on my new phone.
‘’ Thank you— but what I wanted from you is to know if I can come to Lagos. There is a time for you to send this message. Well, I am highly disappointed as you can’t give me, what is Lagos and of whom you have been living for decades’’
Immediately, I sent him the message, I heard my uncle’s hoarse voice. He laughed exceedingly. His laughter that night was optic to the extent that I began to feel, maybe, he has begun to suffer from mental disorder. He continued laughing steadily. And I become seriously scared to the level that, I began to wonder what I can do to resuscitate him from this. I can’t even leave my room not until I see my friend’s message again. That message came like an ease. I began to imagine, what he would have written to what I had written. When I checked my phone to read the message, my emotion became frenetic.
‘’ Lagos is deadly. I won’t advice you to come. Lagos is harmful. It has putrefied environs where everybody inhales and they die gradually. So to say, human skin is skewered in Lagos. Please don’t come to Lagos’’
As soon as I saw the message, I began to imagine why my uncle had consistently restricted me from going to Lagos. But then, my uncle kept laughing. It became rectitude for me to take care of him that night. I was perplexed. I ran from one shelf to the other in our archaic living room; to search for any drug that could sustain his mawkish laughter. It became likely a cornucopia of drugs; since I do not recognise his drug from the ones I saw on the shelf closer to the refrigerator.
‘’ Don’t worry yourself, because I did this, just to gain your attention. Just to know how sympathetic you are. See, I know you want to visit Lagos and in Lagos, you don’t have sympathy on people’s reaction. Your gesture in Lagos is not embraced because, Lagos deals with Samaritan in a merciless way.’’
‘’ I know. I have read about the Eyo masquerade. I know that Lagos commercial buses are tumultuous. I even know everywhere is macabre. Uncle, you are saying this, not because of Lagos, but because you want to frighten me from going into the city. I love the kaleidoscopic ambience of Lagos.’’
‘’ He giggled’’
I noticed his facial look. It was somehow filled with taut. His eyebrows disagreed with me. I noticed that, he was trying to convince me. And, I decide not to look at him anymore.
‘’Uncle, these are the drugs’’
I drop the drugs on the table. On entering my room, what I saw from the Sharp Television on the stool was that Channels TV had already begun a documentary on Marako inhabitants. I gazed at the television screen with intensity; and the monolithic appearance of the documentary became sordid. Later, I hoed my phone and switched on my internet so that I can see Lagos. I checked Google; perhaps, what I saw dazzled me. And I begin to coalesce to my idea on what I will do when I get to Lagos.
‘’ When I get to Lagos, I will visit the Lagoon’’ I said.
‘’ Ah! You want to die’’ I heard behind the door. I know it’s my uncle. He had stood there because he wants to know my plans.
‘’ Uncle, can’t I make decision on my own?’’
‘’ You can’t because if your parent were alive they won’t give you any opportunity to leave for Lagos. Lagos turns innocent children to wayward children. There are lot of atrocities in that Lagos. There is gridlock everywhere. Mad man poses for photography when he seems not to see a photographer’’.
“But you aren’t my parent. Sir, don’t remind me of my parent because if you keep talking about them—I will go to Lagos. I will go discover a new beginning for myself. However, I heard that in Lagos, nobody could squelch to the taste of glittering women at parties’’.
“Okay. I know you are anticipating going but I know I have warned you that children are in Lagos because they want to live alone. They want to see the adorned politicians’ posters being pasted by the bridges. Children in Lagos are interpreters of ebb that comes both at night and in a diurnal day. You are not yet independent.’’
‘’ You are wrong’’ I replied with annoyance. My voice became gruffish. I even shouted at him from the room. When I realized I have made the right choice; then I began to pack my luggage.
‘’ Okay. I will allow you to take permission from the priest before you journey to Lagos’’.
‘’ I don’t need anybody’s permission. I will locate myself. And I believe God will be my guardian. I will even go with the Bible and Quran’’ I told him.
‘’ He grunted’’.
I began to think in ambivalence. I rechecked the message my friend had sent. I looked at the walls in my room; and my eyes stared at the calendar behind my bed. And I saw where I have an asterisk, to a particular date. That date, is the day, I promised myself to leave Abeokuta for Lagos.
Unexpectedly, my uncle came into my room and started acting like a consummate vicar who went to church last week Sunday to preach about Jesus’ Immigration.
‘’ My dear nephew, you can go since your mind is already there. But one thing is certain, if you are not careful, you will later feel remorse. Lagos is a chrome city where everybody looks like a victim.’’ My uncle muttered before departing my room. As he approached my room’s door, he turned back and even looked at me, sorrowfully.
‘’ I will go to Lagos because I have determined to leave my comfort zone. If the sky in Lagos is purple; and the mendicant masturbates on the highway; that is not my business. My business in Lagos is to go and find a fringe to my problems’’ I confidently said to myself.
‘’ Lagos is a city where many people hide their melancholic face with fake smiles’’, my uncle replied.
‘’ I know. But I will light Lagos from opaque’’ I retorted arrogantly.
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