It was 2’ O clock in the afternoon when he heard the first foot step approach the gate since the afternoon. “This is it!” he thought, “at least whatever cooking should have been completed by now”. But the woman only greeted him and walked away.
No plate in her hands. No bottle. No money.
“God, I don’t want to go hungry today!”, “No…Not on a day like this”.
“I can’t afford to start the New Year with hunger”.
He turned on the bench he laid. He couldn’t concentrate on the book he was reading, ‘Ideas Rule the world’ by Sam Adeyemi, as the discomfort in his stomach grew.
“Why is this New Year day like this”, he wondered.
He had collected his salary a week before, having pleaded to the landlady to pay him early, and had sent it to the village for his mother’s hospital bill. A whole #20,000 and they complained it wasn’t enough. “So much for the first-born”, he thought. Imagining how many families will eat and waste so much on a day like this, he muttered, “God, did I beg you to create me that you make my life so miserable?”
He had thought that the occupants of the house will extend their celebrations to him but his expectation was getting cut short when he realized it was 3’O clock already.
“Have they forgotten him?” he wondered.
It was until 4:30pm that he heard another foot step and sound of plates approach the gate.
“Lord, Let it be for me!” he prayed. He sat up, waiting.
“Michael”, he heard. “Yes ma”, he shouted, even before she had finished the second syllable.
He opened the plate with amazement, ‘Red-blooded’ vegetable and pounded yam. He didn’t bother washing his hands as he rushed it. And with each morsel came different thoughts:
How long shall I live like this?
What hope for a young man like me?
What could I have done differently?
What didn’t my parent teach or tell me?
Why did my father leave my mum alone to cater for us?
Why would you have sex when you can’t take responsibility? Maybe not now, but one day, I will ask him.
What would I do with myself now?”
He put the plate aside and washed his hands.
He opened his mouth, at least, to put the rest of his miseries to song-the only thing that brings comfort to his world. Having learnt the habit of singing out his pain, he kept the vamp of the latest song he wrote in his mouth and with each line of the song, a tear dropped.
“I’m hungry for a change”
“And I will fight with all of my might…I am hungry…”
“Daddy, what’s wrong?” his youngest daughter asked. He startled as the voice of his wife followed, “Honey, what’s on your mind?” He didn’t realize he had been lost in thoughts.
He could remember, vividly, how fifteen years ago, he had only been a gate-man in a house in Aguda.
But was that all there was about him then? No! There had been more.
And it had only taken a few years before he discovered himself.
It was in the year ‘twenty fifteen’, the great year that had become significant in the history of Nigeria that his life changed. It was in that year of the great election. The year Gen. Buhari had emerged president of Nigeria.
It was in that year that someone heard his voice and had thought it was of value.
And as if he and Nigeria had been plagued by the same problem, it was that same year that both began to find straight course for their paths.
Maybe it was the emergence of the ‘Change’ campaign that brought good fortune to him or maybe it was a coincidence, he couldn’t tell. All he knew was that it was in 2015 that his life began to change.
He looked over the table, to his wife and two children who had become more worried about their father’s disposition, and smiled. There he was, a multiple award-winning artist with two successful albums, living in the heart of Chevy Hills Estate.
He touched his remote, and only one song could have come out of his home theater-his favorite song of his latest album: ‘Dreams do come true’.
(C) 2015, Imisioluwa.