I see a lot of new faces every day. Sometimes, someone I can't tell how I knew would smile at me and offer me a handshake. Although, I wish I could be smiling back at everybody; frowning, however, is often the best way to keep peace.
Wetin police-man dey do with fire-arm? Okay, they're trained but black kids keep getting shot everywhere in the world. This is how your brain works when you're in a Lagos ghetto---zig-zag. You’re hardly calm. Once you lift up a book to start reading, a knock would sound on your door. What does the knocker want? To borrow your lighter.Tomorrow, you're the one to knock on his door, what for? To collect a movie. As you leave your room, you would see a stranger walking past your backyard, smoking and making a pass at your neighbour's hot sister .
The next day, the noise of people fighting would wake you up. The fight is between your landlord's son and some gangster who feels it's his right to turn your compound's backyard to a walk way. Later on, someone would get stabbed. The next morning, you'd hear that another person was killed. The cases are not even related at all. Then, in the evening, you'd watch people running for their lives. Wetin happen? There's a cult crash and some gangsters are making the best use of the situation to rob. Once they're about leaving, you'd start hearing police siren. And you'd be wondering - were the police-men pinged? And you can't visit your homies in the next block without being harassed by the police. Worse than that, you can't even go to your favorite ewa-agoyin joint without some boys blocking you. Then, you'd find yourself saved by a stranger who happened to see the inscription on your t-shirt and thought you've worked with him sometime somewhere. E never finish oo...
A day later, you go to a bar you chilled with your hommies a few days back and you hear that about an hour after your exit, something happened. At first, you'd think it was a joke. Then you look around and notice that there are more broken seats around. You also observe that there's a minor change in the arrangement of the furniture. Then you wonder 'How come no one talked about that?' Later, you learn that some people didn't even hear about any of the incidents. Worse, the girl you're chyking would call to tell you she broke her waist while people were running away from bad boys and the police. Just like that - you lose the opportunity to straff and you'd be wondering how long the condom in your wallet would be there before you put it to proper use. Mtcheeew...!!!
Within those days - you had been to a cinema in Lekki, hung out with some of your secondary school friends in Ikoyi, visited Amala Shitta with your distant cousin, bought some cloths in a bend-down-select shop in Yaba, had some drinks with a girl you met on Facebook in Festac, quarreled with some stupid driver in Ojuelegba, had a meeting in Ikeja and gotten stuck in the kind of traffic I'm stuck in as I write this. And someone still tells you 'Eko o ni
The funny thing is - once you start parking your bag to leave, you remember the beautiful faces of the kids who call you 'brother', the taste of the cheapest yet sweetest croaker fish you've ever tasted in your life, dancing your heart out in an open party with some of the liveliest people you've ever met, the street that fed and covered you when you knew no one in Lagos, your first breathe of the greatest city in Africa and a personal experience of the ghetto. Then, you just sit back and start trying to wrap your head around that word - ghetto.
This ghetto is more populous than some local governments in Nigeria. In this ghetto, you'd find every tribe in Nigeria. You go hear language tire. In this ghetto, you could be woken up by some preacher or have your siesta ruined when the muslims begin their prayers. In this ghetto, there are graduates, drop-outs, people who've never seen a class-room, pot heads older than your father, mothers less than 16, soldiers, teachers, prostitutes, pastors, imams, electricians, geniuses and up-coming artists. In this ghetto, you'd see everything. A fight could burst here any minute. People save each other's life here every second. Here, you'd see lovers doper than Julia Robert and Richard Gere in Pretty Woman. Here you'd see people who work hard. Here, laziness breathes. Here, you'd see different levels of stupidity. Here, you'd understand you ain’t even smart enough. Here, you'd see angels. Here, you'd see hell.
The funny thing is, I know that the more the street gives you, the more it takes away from you. What I don't know is why I keep coming back to this ghetto.