Coming of Age Creative Nonfiction Teens & Young Adult

That's the thing about this city. Knowing that I would be only a walking distance away from the nine-metre tall Nelson Mandela statue should have persuaded me to come here but it never even once crossed my mind. As I walked along the city streets for the first time I could feel my heartbeat changing. It was as if there was music playing but only my heart could hear it and I was expected to just dance along. I guess that's the reason I chose to come here after all...the uncertainty. I knew of day and night as two different entities that influenced each other in no way but my truth was far from this place's reality. 

A day before I came here I received a rejection letter from one of the two Colleges I had applied to. The other had me on its waitlist. That coupled with a larger than life desire to do something with my life pushed me to make a decision most thought I was insane for making. At ten am that same day I called my grandmother into my room and broke the rejection news to her. She already knew that I was waitlisted at the other college so I guess me dropping the "I was rejected" bomb on her must have felt like it was the end of the world. surprisingly, I wasn't heartbroken, relief is what I felt. 

I called her into my room so that my great grandmother would not hear the news and my decision. Don't look at me like that...I had my reasons. My great grandmother whom I refer to as GOGRI, had and has always been an integral part of my life. Her wish was to see me go to school because to her, that was the only way I was going to succeed. Now you see why I couldn't exactly say "hey Gogri 'bout that school thing I'm no longer going". As my grandmother was still recovering from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki situation I dropped yet another bomb. "Grandma I've decided to head to the country's capital tomorrow ". "To do what?" She asked. "I don't know yet. All i know is that all will be clear once I'm there" I confidently replied. "Who do you know there?" She enquired. "No one but I never walk alone" I answered. That instantly put a smile on her face and she immediately gave me her blessings. My family's very religious so the "I never walk alone" statement always does the trick. 

The next morning I with only around $70 in my pocket, headed out into the great unknown. I had all my belongings on me. Of course chances were I was going to get robbed upon arrival but my mind was occupied with the best case scenario. I got off the truck I had hitchhiked and started walking like I knew the place and where I was going. "The fearful are those who let fear seep into their heads. If you believe that all's gon go well then all's gon go well." My grandmother's last words to me. I immediately felt like I was home. Funny because I had never been in a large city on my own before. As I was walking like one with the land I found myself in, I fell into the hands of a man who after hearing my story gave me a full scholarship at his performance art academy and arranged for me to stay with one of his students. But I had to pay $150 in registration fees in order to secure my scholarship. I could only afford to pay $30 and luckily, he was understanding. Now that I was a school kid again...in no man's land, the exploring began.

The first two days my roommate tried showing me how to get to and from school. I however, don't remember us using the same route to and from school. It was always two completely different routes but somehow he expected me to learn the "route". What a bad teacher. While he was teaching me the "route" I was focused on another subject, the lifestyle. People here don't sleep. They walk with purpose and they live their lives as such. I'd look outside at eleven in the evening and people would still be going about their lives. If people had flavors this is where I found all of them.

Just as not all flavors are good flavors, so are the people here. In other parts of town it's not rare to see someone being robbed in broad daylight while other people just pass by with no care whatsoever. That didn't sit right with me so I enquired. I learned that the muggings would often be staged to lure heroes into the trap of being mugged themself. Once the hero tried to help the "victim ", he'd instantly be surrounded by the group and within seconds his belongings would be gone. They'd often go as far as leaving the hero with nothing but his underwear. That lead me to the first rule of the streets: YOU HELP NO ONE BUT YOURSELF. Cruel but rather effective.

But of course if everyone applied that rule I wouldn't be here now would I? I feel like the rule was made by selfish individuals who used it to justify their selfishness. Most people choose to help others...but carefully. The secret is not to let the city consume you as that would result in you being an ass. Most people know and put the secret to use daily. This helps in unleashing different personalities and thus exposing me and the occupants of the city to an abundance of greatness all round. 

I have been here for two weeks now. I've met thousands of people whom others would consider as potential partners but none of them gave me the urge to pursue them. Well that was until earlier today. As I was walking from school with my roommate and two of his lady friends, I found myself looking the other way but walking in another direction. I don't believe in love at first sight but something happened as soon as I laid my eyes on her. I knew I had to go talk to her but she was with her grandmother. I watched them as they disappeared into the distance but carefully observed their route. I quickly went home to drop my bag and change my sneakers for slides. 

By the time I got out to follow them they were in no sight. I just walked and judging from what the grandmother was wearing decided to get into a Market which my grandmother and I often went into when I was still at home. There she was. Light skinned, short and caring. Just the right ingredients for me to whip up my favorite poison. Now I had to figure out a way to talk to her without stepping over any lines with her grandma. Futile exercise. It's like wanting to take an egg from an Ostrich without upsetting it. Soon as I figured that out I went in for the kill. She was walking slowly behind her grandma so I poked her. She looked back and there I was with my phone, ready to take down her number. She immediately looked to the front again and started walking faster towards her grandmother. 

I had no money on me but decided to grab a basket and fill it up with fruits so it wouldn't be obvious to the grandma that I was following them around the store. Shortest thirty minutes of my life. I made eye contact with her(the girl) a few times so I assume she was aware of my presence and maybe even thought I was creepy. They paid for their groceries and went out. I obviously followed but empty handed. The following around continued till I at some point passed them. Not moving far away from them though. The aim was to see where they lived so I could wait for her outside in the morning. Hearing myself say it out loud makes me realize that I really am a creep. EEW!. Needless to say I now know where she stays and intend to pursue her till she says "I do".

That's the thing about this city. It gives you the energy to do things beyond yourself and sets your soul on fire. Now I know why when I could have chosen Africa's richest city as my new home I didn't but went with this one. My soul was after a rainbow of experiences and my subconscious knew that this was the place to find that rainbow.

March 19, 2021 23:12

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