Chapter 1 – THE BEGINNING
How did I get to this point in my life? When did things get so out of hand that I can no longer get a grip of my emotions? NO! This isn’t me. This isn’t Sylvia Nkemjika Agu. I would like to explain to you why I’m ranting so, but it might not make sense so I’d have to tell you the whole story.
I’ve heard that the most difficult part of a story is the beginning. I would understand why anyone would think that now. Where do I start? What do I say? What do I not say? I need to start writing soon despite my confusion because some of the precious things I would love to remember are slowly but very surely fading away. I have had a long memory for too long; it’s time to start putting it down in black and white before it’s all gone and forgotten.
It all started in September 1996; I can remember that much because for the first time in my life I felt “grown up.” In retrospect that was a really funny thought considering the fact that I was only 12 years old. Having been born the last in a family of 4, I lived a very sheltered life. My father worked as an oil contractor and my mother as an independent business woman. The nature of my dad’s work caused him to constantly move from place to place; in order to maintain a stable household he opted to move alone while we stayed home with my mom. She didn’t have a problem because she was her boss and her business headquarters was in the house anyway. Every holiday we would visit my dad wherever his base at the time was or we would vacation outside the country. On his path, my dad did his best to make sure he came home to visit as much as he could.
As kids we weren’t able to just go out and play in the streets like kids our age did. We were only permitted supervised visits and we only visited homes our parents approved of. We lived in a house that could more aptly be described as a mansion. Too many rooms, too many living rooms, too many bathrooms! Playing hide-and-seek used to be so much fun because there were many choices of hiding spots. There was no wanting for help in this mansion thanks to the 6 maids, chef, and 2 security guards on the payroll. What a charmed life I’m sure you think.
I’m not ungrateful for the life I had, but I did not care so much for it. I liked to work and feel that sense of achievement after having completed a task; I still do till this day. I loved to challenge myself, and push my limits just to see how far I could go before breaking. This might just be the way I am because I have been that way for as long as I can remember, or maybe it’s because at every given opportunity my dad liked to announce to all of us, “I am the millionaire not you oh! You better work hard and make your own.” That’s exactly what I intended on doing.
This success driven attitude of mine probably didn’t sit well with some of the kids that went to my elementary school. They saw me as a privileged kid who just got whatever she wanted; I’m not quite sure if they just never took note of how much work I put in to achieving my goals. I just could not accept anything less than perfect. Maybe it’s my blessing, but many times it has been my curse. For this reason I didn’t have many friends. They were either intimidated by me and my size I should add, or they simply hated me. For a young child this could be emotionally draining but all I could look forward to was finally being done with those shallow minded people and start afresh. I was very excited at the news that I was admitted into Lariba International Secondary School in 1996. It was going to be a new place with new faces, new people, a new start. For the first time in my life I was going to be away from home, by myself. I opted to go to boarding school just so I could feel that sense of independence. I just knew from the first day I stepped foot there that it was going to be a memorable journey, and it was.
I met Obioma Okorocha on the first day of school. We were both assigned to JSS 1C. He was a small, lanky, dark skinned kid with a mouth that spat fire. It was hard to imagine why such a fragile looking individual could be so rude and obnoxious. Sometimes I would look at him and think to myself, “Nkem you probably could beat this boy up oh,” reasons being I was taller than him and had at least 20 pounds over him too. He argued over everything, and he just had to have the last word. I tried my best to ignore him in class just so I wouldn’t have to get into any arguments with him, but that did not work for very long. The events that followed were to shape my life in Lariba and beyond. There was no way for me to know that meeting this boy would affect my life so drastically. There was no way for me to see that my life was going to be irrevocably intertwined with that of this skinny little boy. This marked the beginning of a whole new turn in my life indeed.
(To be continued)
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Property of Pretty of Pot Of Africa.