All too soon, the taxi ride came to an end. As I alighted at Area 3, Open University, I knew I had found my City. I was never going to leave. I was home.
I looked around with that tremulous half smile still hovering over and around my face. I knew I must have looked like the proverbial jjc with my travel bags and wide-eyed looks but I didn’t care.My friend, at whose invitation, (not quite, she didn’t invite me but she was my host), stepped out of her office to receive me and finally I could release the smile I’d been struggling to keep in check.
My friend had always been a beautiful lady. We grew up together and her ebony beauty was always legendary but here she was before me and she looked like a movie star to me.
Ok, maybe not quite like a move star but she looked so good!
As we walked together into her office I noticed that most people had a similar kind of look. I sat down in the office which she shared with several other people and politely looked around.
Suddenly it hit me. Fresh. Freshness.
That was the quality; that’s the similarity I was seeing. Everyone looked relaxed, fresh, calm, peaceful. The sense of aggression I was used to seeing in Lagos was absent. No one looked tensed or hurried; it was closing time but there was no frenzy to pack up and leave. I did my best to keep my mouth from hanging open as I was introduced to colleagues and office friends.
Then we took our exit. I’m not too sure now but I think someone offered us a ride home. Within five minutes we were at Area 2 where my friend lived at the time. I wondered why we had not walked the very short distance, but I kept my thoughts hidden, too many things were going on in my head. I needed sometime to take it all in. Again I asked myself, is this Nigeria?
It was a question I would keep asking for several weeks but on this first day, I sat down and waited for a delicious meal of egusi soup and eba. But first we went shopping.
I’ll be back.