I was Jos and he was Lagos.
I was the quiet streets of Rock Haven: the houses separated by the heavy silence of unanswered ‚hellos‛ from neighbours. the absolute conservation of shades the trees cast here – was totally me.
He was the busy streets of Obalende: the unrepentant conductors yelling:
“Yaba! CMS! Yaba! Yaba!”
the circular circulation of human sweat waving through the air like Oxygen.
Neglecting the weaknesses of island Ajebutters and JJC pedestrians.
At night I was the city of J-Town after 8pm.
Quiet, eerily so. soldiers securing fences of the selected few. smoking stuff and drinking liquor, with AK-forty-somethings to bring down any rebel who dared to equal. he was the busy streets of Lasgidi at night: the traffic, in French translated to, ‘la circulation’ from Admiralty Way through to the Toll gates. Cars honking, drivers cursing, almost excitedly, at each other. LASTMA officers obeying the call to rip-off ‘rich’ drivers. on weekends i’d still be quiet. a little noisier than on weekdays but still generally quiet. like the street of Zaria Road, i’d be mostly quiet unlike the business at Terminus Market and Katako.
Careful lest a bomb might explode taking with it lives by the dozen.
He was the jam of Ekó on weekends,
the religion of strip clubs : Quilox with its bevy of befits artistically exhibiting the lustful need for sexiness.
He’d be busy like Palms, like Ozone, like Spar. spending more than he wished for,
buying stuff for a girl called Ahnika.
And when he’d ask me to be his – I’d hesitate, not because I did not like the feel of Lagos.
No. It wasn’t because he wasn’t a good lover.
The hustle – his hustle – the pure luxury of the Island, the ‘ancientness’ of the Mainland mixed with the air of urgent modernity,
Yellow Danfós by the dozen.
When he asked me to be his,
I thought: ‘but how would you fit me in your heart?‛
You’re bulging to almost breaking point with the erection of over-population,
‘How do you intend to fit me in?‛
How would the waves at Elegushi Beach make love to my mind? enveloped with so much pollution even on her waters?‛
Or the weather? How do I survive the heat that suffocates me? Exchanging the foggy Harmattan and cold of my city?’
‘How can that help?‛ I asked.
And with the immoral grin and general cockiness i’ve come to associate with Lagos, he said, “your life’s a fucking bore. You need me to hook you up with my dealer. Allow me to introduce you to my circle of friends: the are, will be and wanna be’s. And if by chance or grace or luck you ever grow to love me, do not forget to imprint your name on my sands at Alpha Beach.”
”Grace Okogwu feels like screaming at the top of her voice on a rooftop but writes instead. She has been in a very complicated relationship with Lagos but may not commit because she doesn’t get the traffic and entire buzz.”