The first interview I attended had my village people at the driver’s seat of things, and I had an argument with my long-time friend who lived in VGC, over stains of polish on his rug, and the quantity of Nutella i scooped. I knew i wouldn’t live there. I made two phone calls, and by night, i was in an old friend’s house at Ikotun.
My Ikotun paddy lived in an old house with his mother, two teenage sisters and a younger brother who, unwilling to learn from our mistakes, took up Law as a course of study.
The interview at Ibadan was a success ultimately, but 40k/month was not my idea of ‘life as a thriving young lawyer’, so i remained in Lagos, while the corp member i left in Asaba found her way into the arms of another, unable to make sense of the unreturned calls.
(She got married last month, by the way)
For one week, i walked the streets of Ikoyi and Onikan, dropping hard copies of what I felt was a good CV, on the desks of ladies who probably used the documents to dispose of groundnut shells, and maybe even toss dirt.
My wallet was undergoing a weight loss program.
My uncles, three of whom had egged me on in happier years with “just graduate first” began to have perennial network issues whenever i dialled their numbers. Days passed, and mails sent didn’t even enjoy the dignity of an acknowledgement.
I began to think of that old aunt I refused to greet on my last visit to the village.
My mind also drifted to the ladies I had pulled an up and leaving on in a phase of “curiosity”. Had one risen up at 1.34am one night, and sworn by two strands of pubic hair that my abilities would be invisible to recruiters?
I was not sure of things anymore. I needed answers.
Of my friend’s two sisters, one was really nice, seeing that I was fed everyday.
The other treated me with indifference, preferring to watch episodes of Empire, Blacklist and The Following. It mattered little; I had shelter…..
Until a week later when my friend’s mother said something about “her husband being unaware of my presence”. My friend, however, confided in me that his mother wasnt particular comfortable with her daughters being home with a jobless, bushy-haired six footer.
I gave that plastic “i understand” smile, and thanked the mother of the house for the packs of Indomie, the loaves of unsliced bread, and the sardines.
Jobless and homeless, i scrolled down my contact list and reached for the phone number of a senior colleague who lived in Ajah and worked in Lekki.
Jerry: He always said i reminded him of a younger brother who succumbed to Death’s chokehold years earlier, and when he heard of my situation he said i could come over.
It was a Tuesday. The ‘ride’ from Ikotun to Ajah lasted three hours. Within that time frame, i would have driven from Asaba to Benin and back.
“Ah, Jerry, you’ve finally come to hustle”, said Onyeka, the one who lived at Ajah. “How long will you be staying? “
“Two weeks”, I replied.
(Two weeks would later become 18 month, but that narrative is for another day.)