Day 20: Ekwem

My year really began with the end of my NYSC service year on Valentine’s Day. It was a sad day for me, for it closed a chapter on the wealth of experience which I had become accustomed to gaining in the preceding year.

Immediately after it came that waiting period which most first born males must dread. Your folks make the stupid, frustrating error of forgetting that the gods cracked our palm nuts in different ways, and instantly wish to see you make something of your life within a few days. Not weeks or months. Days.

The two weeks that accompanied my return marked the worst weeks of my last few years. It was the first time I realized my carefree nature was susceptible to great depression. I cannot reiterate how extended conversations with a particular twitter friend helped me not hurt somebody or myself. During, I learnt that the most important facility a man has is the strength of his mind, and that if he will not allow himself break down, all obstacles become surmountable. In the sustaining of this strength, prayer is an invaluable resource.

I worked a bit of the circuitry looking for work, and it was a difficult experience for those weeks, because my introvert lifestyle came to bite me in the ass. I discovered I didn’t have anyone to go to.

Tempers were raging in that house for reasons I still can’t unravel, so you can understand how glad I was when I was offered a job at long last (‘At long last’ was exactly 3 weeks, but you may not understand how many eternities were seemingly crammed therein). Dad didn’t even know I found a job until my first day of work.

Transport was torture. I work on the island. I used to leave home at 4.30am to escape Ikorodu traffic because of my terrible motion sickness…but there was no escape on the return journey as I left work at 6pm and got home at about 11 or 12 every day. I did this for three months, and yet, they were very happy months because the alternative was a frustrating home I wasn’t sure I wanted to belong to anymore.

Soon the distance of the work place necessitated my moving out earlier than I planned. It was the greatest moment of my life, because it felt like for first time in ages, I could chart the course of my life without distraction.

Since I began working, I have learned a lot of things about how other humans behave, and how disconsolate the world can be sometimes, but I have only myself to blame for my previous ignorance, for I have never been one to enjoy the close company of others, even until now.

Perhaps the most touching happening of this year was the painful and untimely death of the most cheerful person at my workplace. His picture is still on his former desk. Everytime I look at it (and I force myself to look at it), I am reminded of the fleetingness of my mortality, and the need to appreciate the effort of every breath.

I didn’t write as much as I would have loved to this year, despite the promises I made last year. I only wrote one major short story, which ended up taking more out of me than I bargained me, seeing as its creation spanned over 6 months…but I am infinitely proud of it.

When I hold this year against all the others, despite the early frustration and despair, I come to appreciate it and see it as the Genesis of my turning point, and the year to which, years from now, I would hold a glass of wine to my friends and toast, as the beginning of the rest of my life.

This is the year in which Yahweh came through.


Indeed, he always comes through. Missed your tortuous long stories this year, weird as it seems. Also like the quiet grown up Ekwem. Expecting loads from you in 2014. Bless


I love to learn. I love to teach. For me the two are the same.


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