Story By Valentine
Time: 7:15am Date: 22nd March 2012, Location: Ibeme village (Imo state Nigeria) ———–
In front of an uncompleted one storey building, stood a boy of about twenty three years old. He was standing in front of a fresh grave, holding a candle with his right hand as tears fell from his eyes.
My name is Jude Ibeh, a half Nigerian, and half American. Yes I used the term because my mother was a white American while my father was a Nigerian, however I never got to know my mum because she died when I was two years old leaving me solely under my dad’s care who did a good job raising me up. All I inherited from my mother was her skin color and smile.
I grew to love my dad with all my heart even though we disagreed on many things because he was so traditional and had a sort of old school mentality. He believed a lot in tradition and wanted me to accept all his beliefs which never went down well with me.
I was forced to return to Nigerian for my university education after high school without caring for my feelings. Yes Nigeria is a great country but the temperature, attitude of the people and everything about the country never suited my lifestyle.
I was admitted into Imo state university to study industrial chemistry and it really was hell for me. The lecture rush, the intonation of lecturers, the overcrowding of lecture halls, the noise and the struggles really left a sore taste in my mouth. I simply managed to pass over to my second year with lots of carryovers and yes the second year was equally stressful but much better because I was slowly adapting much to my dad’s pleasure.
But on my third year when I was finally about becoming a full time Igbo boy, my dad left me all alone in the world. He returned to Nigeria on March 1st 2012 for a little business but never lived to see the next day. You can’t imagine the shock I had when I got a call from one of my uncles that my father was dead. That he died in his sleep. I simply couldn’t believe my ears. It sounded so unreal and unbelievable but on getting home I found out that the only person I had in the world was gone.
My life instantly came to a standstill. I just felt like killing myself and leaving the world as well.
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My dad’s burial was quickly organized by my uncles who didn’t give me any say in the matter since I wasn’t yet recognized as a man. I knew my dad was murdered but I had no evidence. I had no money. I equally wasn’t *man enough* to challenge anyone. I simply was in a tight corner and all I did was observe and cry out my heart.
After the burial, I was left all alone to manage and cater for myself. I just didn’t know what to think or where to start reorganizing my life. I wasn’t good at any type of hustling. Menial jobs just weren’t for me and my uncles never seemed to care.
My dad equally never left much for me apart from the uncompleted building at home and the little he had left in his bank account after the burial ceremony.
As I stood before my father’s grave, crying out my heart. I was at lost. I was so empty and alone. I never knew life could be so difficult and mean. I badly had the urge to abandon my studies and return to America but none of the options before me looked easy.
I felt a strong hand land on my shoulder. I turned to see one of my senior cousins smiling at me. I looked at him and swallowed hard. Kelvin was the only person who cared of my well-being during the course of my father’s burial but then his father was equally one of my uncles that I was suspecting over my father’s strange death which made me not to trust his kind gestures towards me.
Kelvin was around twenty eight years old. He looked quite rich and had two expensive cars that rolled people’s eyes but then no one could say exactly the business he was into and he never cared what people felt about his source of wealth.
‘’I know how you feel right now. I know you think the world is nothing but hell. I’m here to help you. I’m here to turn you into something you never imagined you would be. Stop crying for your dad. He is already done. It’s now left for you to continue his legacy. You are going back with me to the city and I will teach you how to survive in a Nigerian way.’’
He said with a smile while I curiously stared at him a bit confused over his words.
‘’How to survive in a Nigerian way’’ I muttered over and over to myself as I stared at him.
To be continued