Eziaghighala Chinaza Ebere: Looking for utopia [Nigerian Voices]

by Eziaghighala Chinaza Ebere

Empty streets like a ghost town except for the orange outfits or savage bike riders who break every rule imaginable due to suffering and sadness. The old woman is sweeping.

“Good morning ma”, I said as I walk beside her appreciating her workmanship. She looks back and I see in her yellow coloured eyes the sadness of a thousand stray bullets. She doesn’t say anything yet her eyes are filled with stories untold.

“How will I pay my children’s school fees with the amount I am being paid per month? The minimum wage of #18,000 is not sufficient in these harsh times of “change”.I have not eaten since Friday and then it was soaked garri without sugar. My husband is a brute, he gave me a black eye this morning. I might as well be dead since I am a hepatitis B carrier. I don’t want this life for my children, I want a better one for them”.  She continues her work diligent and unwavering.

I am never going to complain about my life again, God is good and I will not take that for granted. Just when I thought I couldn’t encounter worse I see the boys playing football down Ojuelegba road.

“Sister, fine girl, come join us”, he smirks. I cannot even direct a gaze talkless of a spherical play thingy. I look to the voice arousing me from my sleep in thoughts. A young man not more than 22 with yellow and black teeth, A frame that exclaimed poverty, sickly thin with dark skin, he reminded me of Oliver Twist or at least how Charles Dickens described him.

“I wished for an opportunity such as yours, I wish I had gone to school or I had been born with a silver spoon. Life has pushed me to a place with goons and miscreants too. I would marry a fat black wife who would nag me day and night and would have up to 8 children whom I cannot take care of. This match I play is all I have such that I won’t commit suicide”

“Poom poom”, the buses hooted and I was back into the land of the living. I kept walking, leaving Mr Twist in the background.

I just realised how the streets seemed deserted where there was no ball or no cleaners. There were some stray cars on the road hopefully able to escape the mobile policemen. There are no girls on the road just men and very few young women I wonder if  that is racist too or just a coincidence or  am I outside on an un-fateful  oro day since I hear Obas have been dying of recent. I clutch my bag and walk faster.

The okada rider stops in front of me, “where do you want to go?”

I wanted to say take me to a place of no suffering, where people can be happy, free and everyone is equal and life doesn’t have to be so cruel. Where you are not a bike man and I am not a student but we can eat from each other’s hands without fear of poison or black magic. Take me to that place for the starry-eyed like me, who love to be young and free, take me to Utopia, second turning from the left.

“Madam  where na?”, he says impatiently. Snapping back to normality, I realise that I cannot waste more time, I was late for work.

“Take me to CMS”.

This entry was submitted as part of the Nigerian Voices competition organized by YNaija.com.

We publish, un-edited, Nigerians telling the stories of their everyday lives. Read all the narratives daily on the Nigerian Voices vertical. You can also contribute your own story titled ‘Nigerian Voices’ to [email protected]

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