In my deepest grief, I mourn the demise of my precious one. Looking out through the window of my room, staring at the raindrops falling gently, I feel a deep loneliness, so deep that I feel empty.
The bore in my heart is too deep, is there anything that can fill it up and make my life whole again? I doubt it. Yet, beyond the emptiness her death has left behind, lies a new passion. Beneath my deep misery is a new sense, a new awakening that has opened up my eyes to another misfortune which, though, is the root of my calamity, supersedes my own grief in its catastrophic proportions. The debacle of my country is a great tragedy that has spurned in me, a determination to work passionately for the liberation of my Nation. Sadly, the true paradox is that my motherland is not yet a Nation; it is still struggling to be one. I have realized that, if the root problem is not solved, then more kinds of my tragedy will occur. In my deepest torment, I tried to gather the pieces of the story together. I remember with nostalgia, the good times I had with her and how it all ended in tragedy. Yet, no matter how much I could figure out, everything still remains a puzzle. Even the inception of our affair was a mystery because I never thought I could find love with someone so far from me in background and ideology.
I met Miriam in the second semester of my first year in the university. She used to sit at the front in the class, behind the window, just opposite my left, back seat. I used to be a womanizer and my eyes usually wandered around the class from time to time to scan the faces of pretty girls in the class. I had gone out with many of the girls and earned a reputation as a Casanova. Of course, the girls fell at my feet like ninepins; I was the Don Juan of the class. By the second semester, they were beginning to bore me, and I was going to other departments to have a taste of something new. However, this beautiful, veil-wearing, mysterious Muslim girl had always elicited a strange curiosity in me. One day in a psychology class, my eyes darted towards her in the extreme front right. Suddenly, we made eye contact. She flushed briefly, then looked forward to concentrate on the lecture. I thought I saw her blush but I wasn’t sure. That was when I realized that she was very beautiful. After the lecture, I tried to speak to her but she avoided me. After several other attempts, I decided to forget about her. But she continued to linger on in my mind though I occupied myself with other things. She was a challenge I needed to overcome; a problem I needed to solve.
One day, Chidi, my best friend and roommate received a bad news, his father had just been retrenched in the civil service, and he sent to him that he had no means of paying the school fees of his five siblings. I met Chidi under the oak tree in front of the college; he was full of hatred for the Government.
“Akin, look what these bastards have done to my father. After twenty years of selfless service and three months without pay, they threw him away like a dirty rag!”
He waved the paper in the air, his eyes glowing with anger. I tried in my best way to console him to no avail. I am lucky enough to have come from a family that was comfortable enough to provide for all my needs, so I never knew what it meant to be living from hand to mouth. Of course, I couldn’t understand Chidi’s predicament, I couldn’t comfort him though I tried.
“Let’s just hope they will call him back. Or, they will pay up his entitlements.”
Chidi looked at me in the eye, his eyes were red. Slowly, he shook his head.
“No Akin. This country is doomed, nothing works anymore. There is no more truth, and the day truth dies in a nation, the people’s trust also dies and eventually, the nation dies for want of truth.” he said softly, but firmly. Then, he stood up and walked away.
Throughout the day, Chidi’s words continued to haunt me. Although I knew there were problems in my country, I looked at them as minor challenges in the process of National development. My father is an engineer in a multinational oil company that pays well, my mother is a senior accountant in an auditing firm. My parents built a house in Victoria Island where we lived. I went to expensive private nursery and primary schools run by rich companies. My secondary education was the same. I went to a boarding school, fully owned and managed by foreigners. I had escaped the horrors of the terrible Nigerian educational system. I met children from very wealthy families and other ones from families that were just as rich as mine. Due to my upbringing and non-exposure to the horrible side of my country, I had come to think of my family as the normal Nigerian family. Never did I know that my family was just one of the 30% that could be said to be living above poverty level.