The road swings down the streets of Lagos, the air smelled of nothing, but of soar breeze that went around the streets, although Feyisara had always complained of the dryness of the leafless trees planted in the streets. The rough streets and old houses planted along the road is one that makes him protest, perhaps it was because of this unconventional nature of the environment that made him missed the Islands, because the smell of Ajegunle is nothing to be compared with that of the beautiful streets of the Island. The streets of Victoria Island were very smooth, the gutters were clean, Lekki had fresh green environment, and Banana Island had blissful and warmed vicinity. But Ajegunle had no environment, except for old posters pasted on walls, dirt’s in the gutters, port holes on the Streets, many hoodlums hanging around the community. He liked walking around the rugged society and taking a lot of Journalistic image gives him confident in the community. While he was on holidays at the Islands, he would take pictures of the fresh environment with people modestly minding their business. He liked their old structured campus and had been part of many protests by the students, the last aluta draw a lot of media attention. He could easily lie about his root; rather he chose to be original telling people about Ajegunle where he grew up.
Still he disliked the fact that what he temporary enjoyed on the Island could not be brought to his underdeveloped community. He bought most of his stuff in the urban areas where street lights at night make the environment appear as a paradise on earth. As poor as his rural area appears he still appreciates quality. He walked around the nooks of the Island trying to locate a newspaper where He could do is internship. He knew finding his way through life is the only way he could create his own society. After six months of not finding a place where he could do his one year internship. He had been turn down on several occasions. The last place he went, the gate man said ‘we are not taking any intern, we are still managing ourselves.’ And this statement surprised him. The other big media organizations he went, some would say they do not accept intern, others will simply tell him to write down his phone numbers that they are going to get in touch. One of those frustrating days he had asked himself ‘what is happening in Nigeria? Is this what I will face after graduation?’ a thought that gave him insomnia that night. ‘If an intern cannot get a job, so what is the faith of the graduating students?’ He had said to himself, not faulting the present government, but the greed and battered corruption that no one knows when it will eventually stop.
He walked into Truth Magazine and had resolved in his mind that if they turn him down, it would be his last time, he met with the security at the reception, their recent papers was decorated on the table for visitors who might have interest in reading, but majority of the visitors glance through the pages of the magazine that had a punchy headline like ‘OVER 200 GIRLS HAVE BEEN KIDNAPPED IN CHIBOK’ with the pictures of a small hopeless girl who had a slight water draining from one side of her chick. The security called him; he was directed to the office of the human resource manager, where he was later asked to meet one of the Editors-in-Chief in the news room. The news room was full of apple computers, each person stay glued to his system as if they were to win a medal as the lay hands on the keyboard with much concentration.
‘What is your name?’ the editor asks
‘My name is Feyisara Onolapo’ he looked at him, thinking of the next question he would be asked.
‘Which school did you attend?’
‘Nigerian Institute of Journalism.’
‘Oh! I was there ten years ago for my post graduate diploma,’ he had lost count on the numbers of editors who had told him that. ‘I have gone through your C.V and I think it looks good for someone who is just starting a career’
‘Can you just put down your contact?’ he asks
‘My phone is on the curriculum vitae’ Feyisara replied, disappointed with the fact that this organization will not accept him as an intern. He was devastated, because he knew he had just been turned down again. He jumped back to the bus stop hoping to board a bus back to Ajegunle.
He lie-down on the bed looking at the white ceiling which had turned grey, everything he sees in the room most times upset him, the bed that seems to be almost damaged and darkness that engraved the house, because of the absence of power. The candle that was blinking pitied the poor community. His Mother Mrs Onolapo appeared at his bed side, he tried to pretend as if sleep had become his master. She called his name warmly twice until he answered. He hates to see his mother bettered. His eyes were not pleasant and that sent a wrong signal to the mother and she tried to talk him down has she had always done, his mother’s words always struck him like thunder, because that is what kept him going right from child hood, his single mother trained him carefully.
‘Feyisara, Olorun to n sebe, o kuro ni idi aaro’ she says ‘why would you retire yourself into soberness, because you’ve been turned down many times or you think you got to this point yourself?’
Water was almost forming in his eyes and he could not get the words out of his mouth, his mother has just made a point out of what seem hopeless to him.
‘Sleep and don’t think. God will surely make a way, o gbudo ro nu’ the words collapsed in his heart. It was a room apartment with a demarcation by the long curtains. He could not look at his single mother, the love he had for her made him feel as if he had done his mother wrong, because his mother has trained him not to give up on his goals. While he was working as a customer care at a government organization his mother will tell him never to drop a call until he win the heart of a customer, for him failure is an opportunity to do more, yet some of his contemporaries has no opportunity he had. Her mother leaves him to sleep, but he would not sleep. He thought about his mother’s word all night. The following morning he would wake up to clean the house and prepare his mother’s meal, he wanted to show that he was grateful for the wise words.
Feyisara joined the BRT queue to board a bus that will take him to Ikeja. He was going to see his class mate Ada at GRA, she had already started her internship at the Guardian Newspaper. He sat down beside the window, the woman sitting next to him was reading a novel, A for Alibi one of Patricia Cornwell crime series, he tried to develop a conversation, but the lady wasn’t showing any interest. The bus had a poster more or less a notice at the walls No preaching No hawking. The lady shouted pleasantly-forgot she was in a public transport, she had just read an intriguing part of the book. He gave the lady a close look, she was clear with pink lipstick and clean look, and she bend her neck reading the book which she held with her left palm.
‘I guess you are enjoying your read?’ he asks
‘Sure, sorry for my loud expression’
‘No offence, are you a die-hard fan of Cornwell?’
‘Not really, but I love reading crime novel’
‘So I guess you will like Lawrence Sander’
‘Yes, one of the best crime writer’
‘He is one of my favourite’ he was already taking her attention away from the book and it will be short before she realized this boy is distracting her.
‘I don’t really have a favourite writer, I guess I am still discovering the old voice’
‘Really, you are the first person telling me that’ his destination approaches ‘enjoying the discovery that is one of the essence of reading. I am alighting now’
‘Oh! I am Gbemisola’
‘Feyisara, it was nice knowing you’ she is around her early twenties, she had some eye brows, and an average height of about 5.3 fit, she was wearing a black cotton top with a blue jean trousers, the saint of her attachment seems so fascinating. Getting down from the bus he knew he was back to the world he left a minute ago as he walks through the bridge of Ikeja, the noise of buyers and sellers were more than the horn of the vehicle, different retailers picked a corner to sell their products, some popcorn, some newspapers, others shoes. He walks down to board a tricycle going to GRA.
Ada was the chatty type. As soon as he saw Feyisara entered, she hugged him and one could feel a change of mood by both parties, one a sense of pleasure, the other comfort. She looked admirable in his sight. She had known Feyisara right from the day they wrote their first entrance examination into journalism school, they had exchanged pen and talked for a few minutes, they argued about the school. She had blue eyes with pink lips and white teeth with little gap in between the upper front, her long natural hair which had no relaxer make her unique from other girls. He had told her she resembled her grandmother which seems funny and strange to her. She was tall, she wore a long red gown and black slippers, and her face was as smooth as the moon. He touched her wide hips while they hugged and the breast that stood out collided with his chest, and they equally had the same height. They were best friend who would not compromise their relationship for anything, he always feel unpleased when she spend a lot of time talking to other guys, something he had no control over, because their relationship was just platonic. He refused to let his deep feelings known to her which made them go along as good friends. But friends will not understand the logic as they will always call him ‘Mumu’ because he was not in a sexual relationship with Ada.
‘Look at you, what is going on with you Feyisara?’ she uttered softly in a low tone. She was curious everything going on with him, she wanted every detail, but he kept it short.
‘I have been where you kept me’ he replied
‘Where have I kept you? You know we’ve all been busy with this internship stuff’
‘I see you are busy inside this your GRA and I am not busy inside my Ajegunle’ they both smile ‘seriously babe I am happy to see you, where do you work now?’
‘I am nowhere’
‘Get out of here; I am serious where are you?’
‘Okay, I have visited so many organizations, but they tell me stories and end up not giving me a space.’
‘God! You mean six months down the line you are still yet to get a place’ she was surprised and unpleasant, because she never thought he would find it hard getting a place to intern, ‘the people who rejected you are losers.’
‘I am sorry, but why can’t you get a way to reach me, can’t you call my phone’ she says ‘at least I could help’
‘It is not been easy for me Ada, good for you, you are from a rich home, and I am trying to survive’ he muttered ‘I just got a new phone and I called you just shortly after I got the phone.’
‘I will help in my own capacity; I will try to talk to my father.’ She assured.
‘I will be grateful’
‘So what, tell me something, everything you’ve been up to’ she says standing up to get some drinks for the two of them, he looked at her bouncing butts lustfully.
‘Okay, let me start with the lady I met inside the bus while coming here, we were talking about novels till I got down and had no opportunity to collect her contact’
‘Whatever, tell me something that make sense’
‘You tell me something, hope you are with a good boyfriend, you know I don’t want any damage on you till I get to pay your bride price.’
‘Look at your tone, in fact I have a dozen of them talking to me’
‘This girl, I said one is enough’ he uttered ‘I am really happy to know you are happy’
‘Where were you today’ his mother asked with a sense of responsibility, she noticed the changed in his countenance since he came back from Ikeja. The curiosity to know what really happened today led them into another conversation, which would lead to an argument for a second.
‘I was with Ada today at Ikeja’ she knew Ada very well and since she observed the level of closeness between them, she had always detest Feyisara from seeing Ada all because she is Igbo and the thoughts on her head is always ‘my children will not marry Igbo’ she told Feyisara most times to stay away from Ada, but he will not agree with her mother on this, even though he just smile when she make those statement.
‘Iyan nii mu nii je eso igi kigi.’ She uttered in despair ‘Olorun oni je ko siyan’ Mrs Onolapo told him several times not to go into any form of relationship with an Igbo girl, with the fear of getting married to someone from another tribe, someone she does not know her language. ‘Have I not warned you not to see that girl again?’
‘I don’t want anything to do with Igbo o’
‘The girl you said I should not see is now helping me to find a place for my internship’ he says ‘when will you drop this your ethnic and tribal discrimination, if you go to church and the bible say love your neighbour as thyself, now is an Igbo person not my neighbour?
‘Mother all I know is you are not going to marry my wife for me and moreover Ada is my best friend’
Though, they always disagree on some matters especially when it comes to this issue of ethnicity, she will tell him that the earlier he knows the embargo attached to some of the decisions he will make, the better for him. The first time his senior sister brought his boyfriend home, Azikwe was not welcomed and this poised Folake to stop seeing him, but Feyisara had always stand on the point that his mother will not influence his decision on who to relate with. This was not the beginning of the argument, neither is it the end, because they’ve never for once resolve the argument before they end it.
The weather was bright on that Wednesday noon, he put on his knickers with a white singlet, and the call from Ada came in hoping that it was good news.
‘Feyisara, I got my father to make a few phone calls for you and it turns out that you are needed at OURS Magazine.’ She says tumultuously
‘Really’ happiness got clouded on his face.
‘The only thing you need to do is to get yourself to OURS Magazine on Monday morning for the interview.’
‘I am grateful, thank you’ he was really grateful and those words could not express it before hanging up.
He got to the OURS Magazine very early at 8 A.M he sat down at the reception, seeing some past editions. The next two hours he sat their expectantly waiting to see the editor, he read eight stories before Ms Anita walks inside the reception signalling him to come. She gestured to the file of his curriculum vitae and she shrugged and asked him series of question, which he had answered at other interview. The only disk reading on his mind was just a prayer for them to accept him.
‘Honestly we do not plan to accept more interns this year’ Anita picked her words ‘but because of Mr Lewis you can come and start working with us. Resume next Monday 9A.M, we will pay you N30, 000.’ She was talking like someone who is full of words and not ready to finish the words.
‘Thank you very much ma!’ Feyisara was speechless; he could not wait to bounce out of that office, in other to express his joy and also to share the good news with his mother.
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