I could not control my breath as the plane landed in Abuja. I was smiling sheepishly and walking with a spring in my steps.
The dust smelt like coffee complementing the beautiful view I saw from the windows of the aeroplane.
I observed the posh appearance of Abuja people. The men wore trousers with knife-edged creases and shoes glistering like the early morning sun while the women were standing tall in high heels with glistening lips and nice hair dos.
“Welcome to Abuja!” I whispered to myself.
I boarded a taxi to the orientation camp. As I got in, I dreamt of a luxurious life.
Was it called the capital city for nothing?
As we approached the oriention camp, my heart raced and I couldn’t control the sweat that tricked down my armpits. My hands quavered and I could no longer pay attention to what the driver was saying.
I steped down from the taxi and was blinded by the ray of the scorching sun. I shielded my eyes with the back of my hand. My knees knocked against each other as I motioned to the trunk of the taxi to pick up my luggage.
“If you’re walking you’re wrong!”
I heard the roaring voice of a solider at the entrance.
“What does he mean?” I wondered “Aren’t we supposed to walk?”
I paid no attention to him. I kept walking, at the same time, struggling with my oversized luggage.
To my utmost surprise, the other people who got into the camp with me were getting on their knees. My eyes widened, my jaw dropped and I started sweating profusely. It dawned on me that I had not come to Abuja to catwalk but to frog jump. I woke up to reality and the luxurious fantasies flew out of my head.
I swallowed hard, my stomach churned and my face turned into a frown. I placed my box on my head and got down to join the others.
“Is this also part of the orientation?” I asked a young man beside me.
He laughed hysterically. “Do you think you have come here to play? Well, welcome to the orientation camp.”
I could not believe my ears.
My legs wobbled as I dragged my box to the hostel. At a point, I started limping like a dog with three legs. My body was aching. I didn’t care about food. All I wanted was a place to stretch and rest my aching back.
“Joan!” I heard someone call excitedly as I approached the door.
My eyes nearly popped out of its sockets.
“Nike! Nike! It’s a lie!”
I walked faster towards her and we embraced.
Nike was my childhood friend and also a neighbour. After her family relocated, we lost contact and had not seen each other.
“I’m so excited seeing you. It’s been a very long time.”
Nike giggled. Her smile lighted up my heart with joy.
Nike helped me with my luggage. As we walked together into the hostel, I saw my dreams coming to life. I might not have the luxurious life I dreamt of but I was going to enjoy the luxury of my friend’s company.
photo credit: Google