SHADES OF LUST
In front of an uncompleted one Storey building, stood a boy of about twenty three years old. He was standing in front of a fresh grave, holding a candle with his right hand as tears fell from his eyes.
My name is Jude Ibeh, a half Nigerian, and half American. Yes I used the term because my mother was a white American while my father was a Nigerian, however I never got to know my mum because she died when I was two years old leaving me solely under my dad’s care who did a good job raising me up. All I inherited from my mother was her skin color and smile.
I grew to love my dad with all my heart even though we disagreed on many things because he was so traditional and had a sort of old school mentality. He believed a lot in tradition and wanted me to accept all his beliefs which never went down well with me.
I was forced to return to Nigerian for my university education after high school without caring for my feelings. Yes Nigeria is a great country but the temperature, attitude of the people and everything about the country never suited my lifestyle. I was admitted into Imo state university to study industrial chemistry and it really was hell for me. The lecture rush, the intonation of lecturers, the overcrowding of lecture halls, the noise and the struggles really left a sore taste in my mouth. I simply managed to pass over to my second year with lots of carryovers and yes the second year was equally stressful but much better because I was slowly adapting much to my dad’s pleasure.
But on my third year when I was finally about becoming a full time Igbo boy, my dad left me all alone in the world. He returned to Nigeria on March 1st 2012 for a little business but never lived to see the next day. You can’t imagine the shock I had when I got a call from one of my uncles that my father was dead. That he died in his sleep. I simply couldn’t believe my ears. It sounded so unreal and unbelievable but on getting home I found out that the only person I had in the world was gone. My life instantly came to a standstill. I just felt like killing myself and leaving the world as well.
My dad’s burial was quickly organized by my uncles who didn’t give me any say in the matter since I wasn’t yet recognized as a man. I knew my dad was murdered but I had no evidence. I had no money. I equally wasn’t *man enough* to challenge anyone. I simply was in a tight corner and all I did was observe and cry out my heart. After the burial, I was left all alone to manage and cater for myself. I just didn’t know what to think or where to start reorganizing my life. I wasn’t good at any type of hustling. Menial jobs just weren’t for me and my uncles never seemed to care.
My dad equally never left much for me apart from the uncompleted building at home and the little he had left in his bank account after the burial ceremony.
As I stood before my father’s grave, crying out my heart. I was at lost. I was so empty and alone. I never knew life could be so difficult and mean. I badly had the urge to abandon my studies and return to America but none of the options before me looked easy. I felt a strong hand land on my shoulder. I turned to see one of my senior cousins smiling at me. I looked at him and swallowed hard. Kelvin was the only person who cared of my well-being during the course of my father’s burial but then his father was equally one of my uncles that I was suspecting over my father’s strange death which made me not to trust his kind gestures towards me.
Kelvin was around twenty eight years old. He looked quite rich and had two expensive cars that rolled people’s eyes but then no one could say exactly the business he was into and he never cared what people felt about his source of wealth.
‘’I know how you feel right now. I know you think the world is nothing but hell. I’m here to help you. I’m here to turn you into l something you never imagined you would be. Stop crying for your dad. He is already done. It’s now left for you to continue his legacy. You are going back with me to the city and I will teach you how to survive in a Nigerian way.’’ He said with a smile while I curiously stared at him a bit confused over his words.
‘’How to survive in a Nigerian way’’ I muttered over and over to myself as I stared at him.
‘’are you for real?’’ I asked breathlessly as a new kind of relief filled my entire being. I wasn’t expecting such generosity. It really came as a great surprise to me.
‘’we will leave for the city in two days. You will stay with me until you get your spirit back’’ he answered, tapped my shoulder and left with a smile. And that was how I became very close to Kelvin. We left the village two days later and headed to his house as he promised. He owned a very cute bungalow, well furnished and designed with superior taste.
‘’this is my house. I pay no rent to anyone’’ he revealed as we walked into the plush apartment, leaving me gasping with disbelief as I imagined how much he’s worth.
‘’this is not only my home but yours as well. In no time you will understand a lot. You will get answers to the questions I know running through your young mind’’ he said with a savvy smile. I shrugged and smiled at him.
My uncle’s death really came as a great blow to me. He was the only uncle that encouraged and regularly sent me money when I dropped out of school due to my stupidity years ago.
Before his death, he confided in me that he planned returning permanently to Nigeria to run a business. He never told me the details of the business or who was helping him with it. Hence my great surprise to learn of his death, just a day after his arrival to the country.
Yes it definitely looked like murder to me even though the medical report obtained said he died of natural causes. I was just so helpless and couldn’t do a thing than to observe as my father and uncles speedily buried the unfortunate man, leaving his young son who really didn’t know much about life or Nigeria to fend on his own.
Jude was more of an American than a Nigerian. The color of his skin, his voice, his behavior, the way he walked and everything about him was just American. I took pity on him and had to offer him a life even though what I was offering was a life of crime but then with it he could maintain his rich lifestyle, finish his education and be a good man.
So what exactly do I mean by a life of crime?? Hmmmm
Yes having dropped out of school, my parents cursed and left me on my own. I had to survive. I had to do everything to make money and of course I succeeded.
I had to join some friends in yahoo scam, we lied, we duped, we robbed unfortunate victims but it never stopped there. We upgraded to kidnapping and oil theft. In two years I had a house in Owerri where I based, plus a very fat bank account. The easiest way to make real money was through crime but it equally was easiest to die.
Young Jude had the looks, the charms and the brain for business. Everything about him was good for business and as his new guardian, my job was to take care of him and help him to the top via any means.
Nevertheless I still had my doubts. Jude looked so tender and gentle. Somehow I was scared if he could really live up to expectation.
Jude’s side of the story continues
‘’Thanks Kelvin for everything. You are the last person I expected to help me’’ I said to him with a heart filled with gratitude as we enjoyed an evening meal in a very plush fast food joint. He smiled and nodded.
‘’so tell me, are you a virgin?’’ he suddenly asked, leaving me totally embarrassed. I almost choked with embarrassment.
‘’come on be free with me” he urged with a short laugh. I shrugged with hesitation as my school life flashed back to my head. I never had a girlfriend but my affluent lifestyle and look really left a dozen girls on my speed dial.
‘’no, I’m no virgin’’ I stammered softly. He laughed and offered his hand for a handshake.
‘’that’s good’’ he surprisingly said, leaving me wondering what he asked the uncomfortable question for.
I had my doubts about Kelvin but he was a very likeable parson and the only one that offered me what no one else cared to offer me. I had to be strong and focused to survive and dig out those behind my father’s death.
To be continued……