I took a little trip to Lagos, you see, I’ve been here for about a month and while I’m not conversant with the place, I’m also not a newbie to it.
I have been staying with family, relishing the dishes my sister (She’s a chef) doles out, Drowning myself in the multi-coloured cocktails my other sister makes and completely forgetting to take pictures for you all. I’ll work on it anyway.
Mark Zuckerberg visited, not like I saw him or anything, Jidenna came in for something. Like no surprise anyway, it’s Lagos. The New York of Nigeria.
I’m leaving today and I am more than reluctant to go home. I think I’ve fallen in step with the hustle and bustle of this place. Fallen in love with the views and sights.
So I and a friend of mine worked on a little impulse fiction piece based off the image up there and I decided to share it since I’m leaving. So here goes;
He always said if you wanted something, you’d have to go to where it it in excess. I want money, so I moved to Lagos.
I heard the streets are made of money and shit, and that the city is like a red-eyed demon that has forgotten what the word, sleep, means.
On getting here, it was all matte and textured, as opposed to the gold and lacquer it boasted of. I found my niche easier than switching on a light switch. The climbers; fluid and versatile, with a deep deep hunger for a standard of living unimaginable
But I wasn’t a climber; I couldn’t even help Grandpa tap palmwine from the farm trees when he was too sick to do so himself. But i had a plan. Oxpeckers ride on Buffalos to get food. If I couldn’t climb, I’ll step on shoulders to the top.
Thus began my journey. He had asked me to shield myself from the world. But hell no, I would shine. Even the bible asked me to shine. So I would. The thing about shining, though, is the need for fuel and a stand to shine from. I had to lay that first bait for a payday that would fuel my fire. Selecting a mark for my scheme was easy. I just had to get to that bridge.
Speaking of bridges, The land was full of them. You know how you say “when I reach that bridge, I’ll cross it”. I mentally set the third mainland ablaze on a trafficlogged night. Bridges, just miles and miles away from the lampholder
The evening I arrived Lagos, the first fight I witnessed started with a terse warning from a woman passenger to a snarling conductor who spoke a slurring dialect of Pidgin and Yoruba. “I no come Lagos con count bridge o”. I wondered then why bridges would form such a viable hook to a threat. I no longer did. Miles and miles of bridge spread. A watery grave beneath some. A wheeled death just meters out of your vehicle. After I witnessed my first “accident” on the carter bridge. I understood
I also understood that Lagos had a gift no other city in Nigeria had – it simplified everything. Play or be played. Win or lose. Get rich or die trying. Life becomes alluringly beautiful when it’s so simple.
And within hours of my being here, I fell in love with the hustle and bustle of the streets, the constant hum of machinery, like a car engine idling in the distance, the musicality of all the languages I don’t know fluttering about. I fell in love with that orange corn that ends up being roasted by the road. I always wanted to try it but I couldn’t. I loved going to shops to buy things: to look upon the price given and the laughter I’d create in my head. It fueled me.
Love is rhapsodic, like the high gotten from pure blend Colombian powder. Another habit Lagos taught me. Just as it taught me how important an aso-ebi can distinguish you to receive excellent catering at a party or how easy it can be to split #500,000 on two bottles of Ciroc at Quilox or how slow a yacht can go when it’s bawdily rich fat-bellied owner has designs on your body.
True enough, life is just a wheel of newly cultured cheesecurd, Lagos is just the aging room.
But in Lagos, everyone is young. Everyone is smart. And everyone has a confidence game on. My game was at that bridge, suspended like a webbed guardian spirit watching over the drag of blazing cars…
I had learned to guard my self esteem before I even got here, the lifestyle of people would humble you.
And I didn’t have much of that in the first place. Where I come from, there was just not enough reinforcement to make much bank on that self esteem stack I was born with.
So I shrug my blazer on and walk indifferent to it all, with the knowledge however that I will shineAdvertisements