I went into the printing press and I have to tell you that it was the best press I have ever seen in my life. It was beautiful. There were customers. There was help on the floor. One of the staff approached me. He greeted, “Good evening sir.” Smile paraded his face.
“Good evening, young man,” I replied, beaming with confidence. “Where is your boss? I came for my books. Are they ready?”
He shifted his weight to one leg. He smiled, and threw out a question, “Are you, Mr Robert?”
“Yes!” I nodded affirmatively.
“My boss is not in the office but he left a note for you!” He handed the letter over to me and moved to one side.
Without wasting time, I browsed through the piece. In a couple of minutes, I was done. I let go of a mighty heave, raised my head and turned to the young man. “Thank you, I got the message. Where are the books?”
“They are over there,” he pointed to a corner in the press. “Please, follow me.” We walked to the corner where the books were neatly packed.
I considered myself the happiest visitor. My first book was finally printed and they are now within my reach. Beautiful prints and my world has become an intriguing place. It was the best any first-time author could ever ask for.
I was starting a new life altogether. Every turn had taught me a lesson. Richer in wisdom but I could not tell if my new endeavour would turn to be a gold mine that I could be mining forever. My passion was great, taller than the pair of legs that carried me.
Some of the valuable lessons will certainly stay with me forever. If I do not make them applicable to my everyday life, I will be a loser and it might haunt me for the rest of my life. We ought not to look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors and for profiting by dearly bought experience.
The process of getting the book published was turbulent. I met folks who challenged me. They hit me hard and I almost gave up. It was obvious that it was up to me if anything remarkable would happen. If I were not forthcoming with money as quickly as possible, my job would be thrown out of the window. It is dangerous to hang around the wrong people. I was as a man brought to his knees by bandits with guns pointed at him. They made me tough.
Most people want their lives to keep improving, yet they value peace and stability at the same time. People often forget that you cannot improve and still stay the same. Growth means change. Change requires challenging the status quo. I had stumbled on a path that I would be glad to see where it would lead me.
The printer had done his job. The books were glossy and neat. Not everyone will be this meticulous given the short time he had to deliver. My life was a festival. The young man joined me and we moved all of the books to my car outside. After the excruciating exercise of arranging them in the boot of my car, I was exhausted. I thanked the good soul and he walked back into the office.
I dusted my clothes and got the car keys from my chest pocket. My rickety legs carried me to the driver’s seat where I settled into the car. My eyes travelled quickly about to see if everything was in place. The books had settled in nicely in the boot, there was no stone left unturned, so I ignited the engine and drove off.
It is cruel to negotiate some roads. One could spend several hours and some do not care if you die trying. It hurts. The loser is a meal to the bald vultures.
Regularly counting the cost of my valour has helped my poor soul to tread cautiously. Smart people draw strength from their fall. The cost of finishing strong and staying alive against all odds is not cheap.
I drove through Lawanson road, an old narrow way leading off Itire. I had my first sight of the Palace of the Itire Monarch. It was old-fashioned. It was African with a fine red-painted threshold. Here, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Every day is a journey. The day we close our eyes upon the light of the world, the journey ends. Most times, it is out of our hands to choose how we will embrace the next world. There are forces that rule in the affair of men but fate would place a man where he truly belongs.
Now I am on a journey that looks like a formality. Sadly, in this ever-changing world, there are challenges. A man must bend any circumstance to his favour.
The Lawanson road connects the Oshodi-Apapa expressway. If you are in a hurry to embrace silence, get out of misery, you are welcome to this part of the world. You can never have enough of the misfortune on this highway. Trucks queue on both sides, trapped in a constant battle to outsmart one another. There are dilapidated buildings along the road and their numbers are scary.
Most of the buildings have no occupants because they are like a dead man bound by horrible tradition that made it difficult for his people to commit him to mother earth. The cost of maintenance and travelling back and forth from the buildings would leave a deep hole in any pocket. The implications are damning and grievous. Weight of which tied to a large man and tossed overboard a ship into the sea would drown him.
No matter how frugal, miserly or clever a man is, he can hardly recover all of the loss of wasting his time. You cannot live out your life in happiness in a poorly organized city. It is a tragedy to be born in such a place.
Wild waves of the sea are casting up the foam of their own shame. Wandering stars, for which the gloom of utter darkness reserved forever. Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousand of his soldiers to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodliness.
All the harsh things punished and the law exalted. When hope comes, it comes with vengeance and the downtrodden are blessed. The tragedy of the time will not hurt the labourers and workers who long night and day for change.
Every culture has its own story. If we have to see a future, a vision of hope, we have to do what is right. Sometimes the city feels sick as if there is a plague. With every victory, their evil grows and darkness descends. When have we allowed evil to be stronger than we have? She has elevated above her means and then suffers the disappointment of being overlooked.
Sanity is a very expensive commodity. Every single day, we risk raising weak people. When weak people are more in number, they are powerful. If unhindered, they could also raise for themselves a leader. You will think like the people with whom you spend most of your time. The world will suffer at the feet of the weak. Of noble blood or of weak conscience, we are in troubled times.
The recklessness of men has made it tough. The gods of the underworld or the people on the street, there is a drop of evil lurking in the dark. It does not require an invitation to unleash terror. It is second nature to leave men humiliated. Humanity is at her mercy. Man-made of the dust has but a short time. The circle hardly ends before the ruthless creatures overtake him. Disrupt his path and cast shadows over him. Men who no one can predict have overtaken the world. It is insanity. It is grave danger to exist alongside these creatures. The brutish, the brutality and the brash which demeaning any unfortunate soul lives within our walls. At what cost?
Hang in there for too long, you are marked. If you slip, you are in the web, grovelling at the feet of the hungry spider. The creature twists and turns, entangling her soul all the more. In the passage to demise, the countryside where hell is a permanent resident, you are stung. The dreadful sting leaves you with no chance of seeing tomorrow.
To Be Continued!
Omoruyi Uwuigiaren is a former cartoonist turned writer. When he was a kid, he loved music and composed songs for his high school band. After school, he wanted to pursue a career in music. Instead, he embraced writing and studied Mass Communications. His literary works and books have appeared in Moronic Ox Literary and Cultural Journal, Open Books and many more. He’s the owner of Ruyi’s World of Books and Stories.