Saturday, May 2, 2015

STORY: When In Nigeria – Part 2

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I had visited six other countries before coming to Nigeria. Romania was my first stop. I don’t know what I was looking for in that country but I definitely didn’t find it. Even though I hadn’t been in Romania before, I managed it quite well. My mother called me almost every day to check if I was enjoying my stay there, while my father just asked if I needed more money. As I walked beside this man who said his name was Daniel, I knew that what I might be looking for still wasn’t in this country I had stubbornly decided to visit.
“Home sweet home.” he said. We were in front of a building. Lots of building merged together to be precise. The buildings were all high up, like the ones in Manhattan but this ones, he called it home; I called it— well I simply smiled. It was extremely dark, no electricity. Loud sounds of what I assumed to be his neighbor’s generators were all I heard. The noise prevented me from even thinking.

“Where do we begin?” I think I sensed a hint of nervousness in his voice. “Its a very small place, not what you are used to but,” He turned to look at me who was standing behind him, steadily waiting to see what he meant. “anyway, here we go.” He placed his key into his lock.  The door flew open. I took a sneak peek into what he called heaven while he dragged my luggage into the one room apartment.
“I hope I’m not intruding?” I said, stepping into the room. It seemed like he lived alone but I was curious. The room— well, there is little I can say about it. The room was smaller than the size of my bathroom back in France, which explained why he lived alone. A curtain divided the room in two to give him a bedroom. In his pretense living room, an old grumpy looking long couch sat pushed to the wall, and then a small TV was placed on top a wooden table. I shivered.
“Nah, you’re fine. Try to make yourself at home.” He grinned; dusting the couch which I knew would be my resting place for the night. He rushed towards his windows and pushed them open, letting fresh air into the room. I watched as he tried making his living area suitable for me.
“It’s not what your used to but its—”
“It’s fine.” I walked to the window. It seemed this was the city where no one slept, a misrepresentation of New-York. I could hear the sounds of children playing which made me wonder if they had a curfew.  Moving away from the window I asked, “How much am I paying for the night?”

“Excuse me?” His voice, it had lost a touch of niceness I felt before when he spoke this time.
“Look I know you are helping me but I will like to pay you back, so just tell me how much.”
“I know I’m not running a charity foundation here, not that you need it but ma’am I wish you wouldn’t insult me.” I figured I had hurt his pride. I always had a way with words; the reason why my last 3 relationships never moved past the first date.
“Hey I’m sorry…” I moved closer to him. He shook his head and walked out on my apology. He came back out from his bedroom and handed me a flash light.
“I think you can figure your way around with this.” I had managed to make an enemy off the one person who I now depended if I was to survive a day in Nigeria.
“Your bag is there if you need it,” he said, scratching his neatly shaved head. “I think my work here is done. Tomorrow I will take you to a hotel. Goodnight.”
“Good night.” I said softly.
With a stranger lying a few feet away, there was no way I could change out of the dirty clothes I had on since I boarded the plane from New-York. I sighed. I was frustrated with my current condition, no way of changing out of my clothes and a warm bath for the night was out of the question. The flash light he gave me came in handy as I used it to locate my luggage bag. I brought out some of my expensive long gowns to serve as my blanket for the night. Who would have thought I would go a night, cold with no shelter of a warm fluffy blanket and no pillow to cushion my head?
An hour later, I thought I had been thrown into a pool of water. The sweat that made my shirt stick to my body confirmed that there was no need for a blanket after all. All my sweat glands were active. I felt like I was suffocating as I focused all my attention to the heat in the room. To myself, I complained. I shouldn’t have come here in the first place. I should have just used the money I used in buying a plane ticket to Nigeria for something else. I could have gone to India again or something.
The heat had no chill. At one point, I thought I was running high with fever. Daniel slept just fine. His soft snore was all I heard as I finally allowed sleep to take over.
Some minutes later, the loud cheer of voices jerked me up from the sleep. I screamed along with the voices I heard. The cheering didn’t stop. I panicked. I thought to myself, this has to be a bad dream.
My scream woke Daniel up. “What’s wrong?” He asked as he came in front of me. He placed his hand on my shoulders to get me to look at him. That was the closest we had ever been since meeting. He forgot that he was half naked but I didn’t. I was flushed with embarrassment; I couldn’t even bring myself to look at his chest.
“I’m sorry I woke you up, I thought I was having a bad dream…” He shook his head. He went over to where the light switch was and flipped it on. A dimmed light came through.

He hissed, “What is this, just look at this?” he pointed to the light bulb. “It’s not even a full current.” He said. But it was enough for me; I could see all of him now. His muscles, his flat tummy withheld no inch of fat; he was all man.
“I wasn’t dreaming?” It was more of a personal statement than a question.
“No, it’s normal.” He said, moving away from the light switch.  “The noise you heard is from my neighbors. It gets this way when Nepa decides to save us from darkness.”
My mouth curved into an “Oh.” Whatever that word nepa was, I absorbed it in as if I knew what he meant.
“You can go back to sleep now, no one is coming for you.”
As he was about going back into his room, I figured that was my only chance at apologizing about what I said before.
“I am sorry about earlier, I didn’t mean it like that, I just thought…” I was rushing out the first words I could think of before my nerves get the best of me.
“It’s nothing, just try and sleep. We have a long day tomorrow.” I did miss the chatty guy who had paid for my taxi fee earlier on. When we first met, the way he openly spoke to me made me feel like I had someone in Nigeria but now, he was simply cold. Throughout the whole night, I turned and turned. I was all by myself even though Daniel slept a few feet away from me.


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