Final semester in FUTO, I was on my project writing which involved a lot of researches. I had to visit several Libraries and nearby higher institutions to get materials for my project. I choose a fresh topic for my project and as such I have a lot of inputs to make.
The strain in my relationship with Chioma deepened and after several visits to make her see reasons proved abortive, I had to focus more on other things, more over Katty and Tessy were taking her space. She said I was uncaring and selfish; she accused me of being stingy and lots more.
On one occasion that I had gone to her hostel room to plead with her, she was not at home and Tessy attended to me. I explained my position on our issue to Tessy and she saw reasons with me. She said I should move on with my life and get another girl that would be more appreciative and understanding, a girl that could give me double of the attention and care Chioma was giving me, a girl that does not want my money, a girl like her!
I was not surprised, DJ Slam had prophesied it. She slept in my room that night; it was one hell of a night!
The next morning was a Saturday and we were cleaning the hotel premises when I gave Slam the gist of who slept my room the previous night. He laughed and jumped about, then he came and gave me a hand shake and said “Welcome to Owerri” the “O” town! Na now you dey do like a guy! Just dey wire dem de go! BJ the bad guy! Now na Amara remain o! You got to wire Amara so that the equations go complete!
Which yeye equation be that? I asked.
Omo my Man! He saw Emeka walking by and he called him; Mekus “lekwa”! Omo yoruba a bukwa a very bad nigga! You are here selling beer while Omo is here eating all the meat! He laughed hysterically and hugged me! Nna men! You have made me proud today omo.
Ogini k’a Omo mere? What did he do? Emeka asked
Look at you! So you want to know? Jew man! Common get away from here! Go and bring your sister so Omo can show you what he did! He rebuked Emeka.
DJ Slam, please stop insulting me! You were the one that called my attention to your gist! Emeka said.
Who is insulting you? Have you been drinking soured beer so early in the day? Or don’t you know your mates again? Common si ebe a puta kita! Get out from here! Small boy! I invited you to a senior joke and you are already feeling like a senior boy!
Is that why you said I should give him my sister? Emeka countered
Oh! Is that your problem? Okay don’t give him your sister! Give him your mother! DJ Slam said.
Chineke mee! Mma m! DJ, Mmam! I will report you to manager today! Emeka ran off crying towards Oga Dan’s room upstairs, he did not know that Oga Dan had travelled to Enugu the previous evening.
Look at him whining like a baby! Slam said after him; small boy!
He was so happy and I could not help feeling like I did something heroic though I don’t revel in such things.
I defended my project on the 17th of October 1996, it was a memorable day. As I came out of the project defense hall to the open field where students were gathered rejoicing, I was immediately picked up by my friends. I was raised up high and carried to the center of the field where DJ Slam was waiting with his instrument in his Car boot blaring aloud. I was stripped to my boxers alone and bathed with wine, water and beer, some guys pulled off their belts and whipped me. It was the ritual and it was fun coupled with the sound coming out of Slams car. Every other student that defended their project joined the party as they came out of the hall.
Amara was around to congratulate me, Katty left her school to FUTO to rejoice with me. Chioma was invited by Slam but she did not turn up, she was the one that told her friends and Katty alone came.
We moved the party from the school arena only to join another party being arranged in my honor by Oga Dan and the management of Vita Logistics and Construction Company. It was crazy, I was bathed over and over with alcohol, there was enough to eat and drink. I woke up the next morning in DJ Slams bed with Katty and Tessy by my side and we were all unclad. Till date I cannot remember how that happened but one thing I know for such is that it was one hell of a night.
Two weeks after my project defense I was summoned by the school’s senate board to defend my result. I got a cumulative average of 4.98. First class. It was not difficult defending my result because I worked hard for it. I demonstrated complete theoretical and practical competence expected of an electrical engineering graduate and I impressed all the academic professors and Doctors on the board. I was adjudged the overall best graduating student and I set a new record in the department of electrical electronics engineering. I left the office walking in the air.
I wrote a letter to my mentor and gave him an update of happenings in my life. I continued working at the hotel as an all-rounder. By this time, my proficiency in Igbo language had improved tremendously. Katty and Tessy are still friends and they share my bed individually. I still wondered what they did to me on my project defense night. Chioma had finally abandoned me because I refused to part with a huge sum of money and buy her a car.
Amara on the other hand was still crazy over me, I do not love her, even Tessy and Katty are mere bed mates with mutual understanding of the limits of our relationship, my hand was full already and I was not ready to add Amara to the mix. This was the scenario I painted to DJ Slam inside his Cubicle on a certain night while he was entertaining our guests at the Bush Bar.
Why you no just wire Amara so that her body go calm down? He asked
Haba Slam! I protested; why your own no dey pass to wire? You mean I should take advantage of the girls love for me? I asked
Who tell you say she love you? He asked; ever heard of the word infatuation? She just wants to wire you! So wire her! He advised
How you take sabi say na wire she wan wire me? I asked
Listen BJ! She knows you and Chioma have issues now and she is not happy that Chioma’s friends are closing in on you. It would have been her opportunity to get you! Look! Don’t be a Jew! Wire her! You don’t even need to toast her, just grab her hand and say; Amara follow me! And you will see how she will follow you like mumu to your room! The girl dey melt for you my guy!
Slam, I beg my hand don full already! I no want any more girl! I said
Stupid Jew man! So all these your muscle and six packs na for fashion! I beg come wear head phone biko make I go ease myself! He handed the head phone to me and left the cubicle while I took over the wheel of steel mixing sounds for the peoples delight
It was Mr. Goke’s reply to my letter that helped me to retrace my steps. He wrote in his letter that I have graduated with the prospect of a good job at sight, he said I should not rest on my oars. He wrote that I should not forget where I came from, he reminded me of my home town, he reminded me of my mother whom I do not know, he reminded me of my house in the Village and he reminded me of the need for a serious relationship with a responsible girl who would love me for who I am and not for what I would become. He reminded me of Modupe and her mother. His letter took me back through memory lane as I reflected back to secondary school days when Modupe made school unbearable for me, I remembered my dog Pharaoh that was beheaded in his sleep, what a way to die! I reflected on the adventures I had with Pharaoh as company, we had scavenged together, we hunted together and we slept together on the same mat back then. I remember the house on the hill top, Alabi and his family and the encounter with Baba Oloro. I remembered my Village in the suburb of Ekiti land.
So many years have passed, I left the village as a seventeen years old Lad and now I am almost twenty seven. A full grown man with prospects. I now could speak good English and Igbo languages and a graduate engineer. I really have weathered the storm and all thanks to my mentor that brought out the best in me by mere words of mouth! He challenged me years back! He dared me to change my life situation and make a name for myself. I smiled as I imagined that I, Bolaji will now be referred to as Engineer Bolaji, I went through school and of course school went through me. It felt good but I felt a vacuum still needed to be filled in my life. My mother was still aloof, I never knew my father or his back ground. Am I Yoruba for real or not I mean biologically, where is the man that impregnated my mother from? How absurd it would be if I finally find out that I am not a Yoruba boy? There are some tribes I never wished to come from. I could even be from one of these small neighboring countries.
To Be Continued…