Categories > Books > Classics

Lagos Through His Eyes

by nicknwaogu 0 reviews

Segun isn’t the type of man Nnenna wants to end up with. Apart from acting immature and completely unfocused, he is Muslim and Yoruba, and every possible thing she never wants in her man. Without...

Category: Classics - Rating: G - Genres: Romance - Published: 2017-03-05 - 2493 words - Complete

It was few minutes to midnight, with grave silence sneaking through the often ignored and somewhat complex fabrics of emptiness, leaping boundlessly into obscurity.
The faint tick-tick of Segun’s one hundred and sixty gram heavy, gold Rolex Tudor Heritage wristwatch echoed like sweet soul music through a vast distance of nothing. The familiar white noise blazing from the garden beyond the walls of his Banana-Island mansion persisted throughout the night, and this drove Sasha, Segun’s rare Dalmatian, crazy.
Of course, Segun wasn’t left out of the late night party of crazies. He couldn’t concentrate either, even after downing five cups of hot Mexican coffee in order to stay up through the night and study for tomorrow’s marriage-counselling test.
He was getting married to Amina, a girl he hadn’t locked eyes on yet. I know what you’re thinking and yes, you’re right—It was an arranged marriage. Segun’s father controlled Adeleke Cement, the largest cement factory in Sub-Sahara Africa, and Amina’s father held the largest stake in RefineOil, the largest oil refinery in the continent. The marriage of the children was a way to foster the continuous growth of both conglomerates.
Segun wasn’t a huge fan of arranged marriages or Mallam Hassan, his Imam. Why grow your beards so thick and bushy? he would think to himself each time he glared at the middle-aged figure of holiness. Earlier, his father had gifted him with what looked like a ‘titanic pile of gibberish’ to him, which he christened ‘the answers to your tomorrow’s test’. Every one of his four siblings, and six half-siblings, had been equally tested, and they all managed to scale through, and are now married at first sight to the child of some Forbes’ billionaire.
‘I best not fail this test,’ he sighed heavily.
Edgily seated before a busy desk, Segun couldn’t think of anything but role-playing video games and wild partying till dawn. It was a Friday night, and the only thing that kept him from an unholy celebration with like-minded friends was ‘this stupid marriage-counselling test he’d to study for’, else, he should be stamping his custom-made Nike sneakers to the deafening Reggae music blaring from the Dee-jay’s five foot tall loudspeakers, clutching the big ass of a loose girl with one hand, with his other hand holding a half-downed red cup of mixed alcohol contaminated with pure Jamaican Indian hemp, surrounded by cheering drunks he hadn’t seen before, and sweating profusely on his day-old tee-shirt with an inscription that read, ‘Live Your Life’. That was how Segun spent his Friday nights for the past decade after graduating from British International Secondary School at sixteen. He’d refused to attend a university, even after acing his SATs and TOEFL, and gaining admission three times into the prestigious Ivy League Harvard Business School.
Across Segun’s desk was a white laptop streaming a full-length HD pornographic film off Pornhub. The faked erotic noises were blocked out from the rest of the innocent world, and plugged deep into his violated ears by a twenty-four thousand naira Beats By Dre headphone, bought with his father’s American Express credit card, of course. The key to his 2017 Range Rover, a bar of Snickers chocolate, and a broken grain of Burger peanut defaced the keyboard of his MacBook Pro Retina. A neat stack of lengthy graphic novels wasn’t left out of the scene. A rare and expensive issue of Amazing Spiderman was flicked open beside his sinning laptop, with a broad inset of Spiderman’s alter ego Peter Parker, kissing the beautiful Mary Jane Watson for the first time.
Realistic miniature models of famous superheroes stood tall, in line, on his desk.
Aqua man
Plastic man
Hawk man
Animal man
And any other ‘man’ superhero you’ve possibly heard of.
He had them.
He had them all.
A green ceramic cup of colorful HB pencils, a broken pack of chewing gum, a stripped and signed copy of the first edition of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, a half-filled Pepsi can with a straw tucked in it, a green miniature model of the 1957 Chevrolet Impala, a tall stack of PlayStation 4 compact discs, a variety of valid premium credit cards with his father’s name engraved in all, a tray of smoked White London cigarettes, a stick of cheap candy, a postcard from his rogue writer brother, Lanre, experiencing first-hand love with his skinny French model girlfriend, Adreanna, in the beautiful city of Nice, and a perfect mini-library of untouched texts on Islam, defaced the top of his desk, and were beautifully lit by a table lamp mounted by the edge of the desk.
For a twenty-six year old man, he was way too immature and completely unfocused.
Quickly he flipped the Spidey issue close, and flung it against his classic collection of superhero models.
Spiderman was struck down.
He tapped the ‘spacebar’ key on his laptop.
It was time to get ready for tomorrow’s test, and he was putting away every form of distraction. ‘Time to get serious,’ he took a long shot at being part of the real world. The headphone, Pepsi can, and broken pack of Orbit chewing gum were casted to a neglected corner of the desk as he wiped a large portion of the desk clear with his right hand. He slammed with a bang, the ‘pile of gibberish’ titled ‘Marriage, the Islam Way’, an empty jotter from his older sister’s wedding at Saudi Arabia, a hot cup of rich black coffee, and a broken bar of white eraser, on the cleared portion of the desk. With the white noise from the garden still buzzing in persistently, he shoved himself forward, closer to the desk for some serious ‘jacking’, like he fondly called it in secondary school. He flicked the text’s cover open, hunched over, and began to read aloud with a deep crooked voice that sounded almost serious, tracing through the printed words on the text with a green HB pencil.
It was obvious that green was his favorite color. Even his Range Rover was Army green in color.
‘Both the groom and the bride are to consent to the marriage of their own free wills. A formal, binding contract is considered integral to a religiously valid Islamic marriage, and outlines the rights and responsibilities of the groom and bride. There must be two Muslim witnesses of the marriage contract,’ Segun read out with a growing frown. The words ‘free wills’ failed to make any sense to him.
This was by far nothing like free will.
Staying up all night, forcefully reading a boring lengthy text for a test tomorrow, in order to get married to a complete stranger, didn’t, in any way, or any form, fit into the simplest meaning of the words ‘free will’. To be certain he wasn’t wrong, he flicked his laptop open again, maximized his Chrome window, and googled up the words ‘free will’ for himself.
Free will (noun)
The power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one's own discretion.
Synonyms: volition, independence, self-determination, self-sufficiency, autonomy, spontaneity.
Antonyms: under duress.

‘Under duress’—that was exactly how he felt, so this certainly wasn’t ‘Marriage, the Islam Way’, but ‘Marriage, my father’s way!’ he revolted within himself.
He stroked his hair with the butt of his pencil.
‘I can’t believe I’m even doing this!’
He shook his head twice and dropped it, still seated upright. ‘You need to stay focused, mehn! Pass this test, get married and inherit a cool billion naira, that’s the goal, and that’s what this is all about, nothing more, nothing less.’ He raised his head up again, and stared hard at the wall before him. His eyes wandered across the wall defaced with stripped Playboy magazine pages of Pamela Anderson, Sarah McDaniel, Camille Rowe, and Eugena Washington, and then across the desk, freezing on the Spidey issue. He tried to avert his gaze, but his effort was futile. If I’m not going to study tonight, at least I shouldn’t spend the night watching half-naked models or reading graphic novels, he cautioned himself.
The familiar Skype ringtone streamed from his laptop’s speakers into his ears.
It was Rasheed calling!
He grinned at the name on the screen.
Hurriedly, he sat up and tapped the ‘Enter’ key almost immediately.
‘You’re a lifesaver, mehn! You called at the right time. Al-ḥamdu lillāh!’
‘Is your old man troubling you again?’
‘It’s enough nightmare that I’m getting married in order to claim my inheritance, and all my nights of drinking parties are over, but he’s making me study for a marriage-counselling test taking place tomorrow at the Central mosque! What is that all about?!’
‘Yeah, that’s true. Everybody takes it. It is tradition.’
‘I’m not everybody! I’m Segun! In a few weeks, I’ll be a billionaire. Someone should better write that test for me.’
‘Anyway, I called so we could play ‘Call of Duty’ together. I heard the city of Lagos is insane in that game, but it seems like you have your hands full. Maybe some other time.’
‘Connect your console to the Internet, mate. Let’s do this!’
‘Right away!’
And that was it—study was over for Segun, before it even began.
Immediately, he slapped his MacBook close with a smirk, stared hard for a bit, at the beautiful French ceiling suspended above him, then shoved his chair backwards. Excitedly, he rose to his feet, spun around with a reckless swing, leaped high into the frozen air, and freefell on his seven foot wide water bed with a scream of self-satisfaction.
His bed was an eyesore.
Samantha King’s Born to Love, Cursed to Feel was buried under his SpongeBob duvet, flicked open, and page down. That was exactly how he felt—willing to love, but no one to feel it with—heart wide open to love, but shut down whenever he tried to reach for it.
He was on a blue Star Wars’ socks that terminated few inches below his knees, a sky-blue underpants that exposed his skinny hairy thighs, and a disgustingly simple grey tee-shirt, much like those of billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, and he also had a dozen of those—same color. Sealed envelopes of elite party invitation were littered all over his white bedsheet, including his Levi sleeveless jean jacket, more graphic novels, a Rose-gold iPhone 7, a sealed jar of TomTom mint candy, a green bandana, a red British travel passport, and remote controls to his fifty-four inch wide television, home theatre and air-conditioner.
All Samsung electronics.
Yes, Segun was born in East London, like the rest of his siblings, but he lacked a fancy British accent because he returned to Nigeria shortly afterwards with his mother and had refused to return to England ever since.
Seated on a jade-colored seven-foot long couch by his seventy-two inch wide window, with muffled crackling sounds of dry leaves whooshing through the air as he surfed through Cheki for the latest automobile to add to his twenty-car capacity garage—that was a typical boring night for Segun.
Fierce-looking and heavily-built bodyguards stood ten foot apart and around the mansion to ensure Segun didn’t sneak out late at night to one of his infamous Island club parties. As a result, he would revert to flipping through comic books he’d read before, or taking bedroom photographs with his twenty-two thousand dollar Leica 10803 camera, which he posted to his Tumblr photo-blog.
He had considered a degree in Photography, but his billionaire father had always wanted a Harvard Business School graduate instead, so Segun discarded college completely. He didn’t want to be part of the booming family business. It just isn’t me, he would think to himself.
His wallboard was completely defaced with pinned photographs of his last trip to The Bahamas. It was an insane adventure—one he would love to experience again. His refrigerator was always stuck with junk foods. He would spend the night watching movie adaptations of his favorite comic books, body frozen, breath held, eyes glued on the television screen, and mouth munching a delicious Skippy peanut butter sandwich.
It was 5am already, and Rasheed had already gone to bed, so Segun decided to study again. He boorishly paced through his half-black bedroom, towards his study desk. He sank into the chair exhaustedly, sipped his coffee, flicked the text open again, and dropped on the desk, fast asleep.
I know what you’re thinking.
Keep it to yourself.

——— ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ———

Fast forward five hours later.
Segun was still fast asleep!
A familiar bang dropped on his door nicely made of mahogany, but he failed to rise up on his feet. ‘Open the door, Segun! Son, you’ll be late for your test, open the door now! What are you doing in there?’
Segun rubbed his eyes open, still half-asleep.
‘Open the door! You’ll be late for your test. It’s ten in the morning already!’
It was the familiar voice and banging of his mother that struck him awake and back to his senses.
Hurriedly, he picked his Rolex, and glared at its face. It was 10:05am!
Segun’s face morphed into disappointment. He shoved the chair backwards, dashed for the door, turned the key in the locks speedily, gripped the doorknob firmly, and swung the door open. There his mother stood by the doorway with his breakfast.
‘Yes it’s me. Your eyes are red. Are you still asleep?’
‘Mom! Why didn’t you wake me up sooner? Now, I’ll definitely be late for this stupid test, and father will start his famous whining.’
‘I didn’t want to disturb your studying. And it’s not a stupid test. You better ask Allah for his forgiveness. And I thought you’d be up by now. Did you study at all? Don’t forget what you get if you pass.’
Segun abandoned his mother at the doorway, spun around and marched back into his room. His eyes circled for his jean trouser pant, which laid on the bed, next to his Levi. He quickly slipped into the Wrangler, pulled out his green Timbaland boots from underneath his bed, and jumped into them.
‘Aren’t you going to have breakfast before you leave? At least put on something better than these rags you have on. Remember you’re going to the mosque. It’s a holy place and you need to look good for Allah,’ his mother pleaded with a squint, but Segun snatched his black Vaschy backpack from the closet and breezed away without uttering a single word. ‘Best of luck, darling!’ His mother stood frozen until his footsteps were heard no more.
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