The project attempts to take you on a journey that is planned around how the life of a man is at different stages of his life. We use the lives of different men, some of which are intertwined to paint this picture. The stages are in ten-year intervals, hence the name project name.
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“The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step?” Right? WRONG! It starts when your car breaks in the middle of nowhere and there’s no one to help push! It’s worse when the car is broken beyond repair or recognition and you can’t even move… not to talk of taking a step…
My journey begins here, it begins at the end. This is the end…
My story for your sake starts at age eleven and this is because I’m not about to bore you or myself with the less interesting details of my formative years. I’m Olufemi Olusola Coker born to a very well to do family residing in Oniru area of Lagos state. Dad is a highly respected Justice of the Court of Appeal and mum, well the ever supportive wife and mother. I’m the second of three kids both being sisters… (My younger sister is sickle cell anaemic. Sigh!) Maybe its because I’m the only boy in the family, but I’m used to all the female attention. Mother still bathed me till I was 10 because as far as she knew, I never washed my bum-bum well enough, when I turned 11 though, I put a stop to it and became responsible for my body. As time passed and lots of water went down the drain, I discovered some changes in my body, there was hair growing in strange places. What do I call this now? I referred to it as my “willy willy” and my friends in class JSS1 had laughed at me without any sane answer. Well my willy region was getting hairy and I told mother about it. “Its normal, she said..you’re just growing up! Its puberty” the hair seemed to also proceed to my armpits..I took it in my stride though…and then IT happened…
I remember that night so clearly, I had slept so peacefully like any normal human being only to awake sometime in the course of the night with a weight in my pyjamas, it was coming from my willy region again! What is it with this Puberty guy and my willy? What has my willy done to deserve this? I peep down my pyjamas and whatever is down there nods back at me kinda like saying “Yo! Whatsup? I see u” I run into father’s room for an explanation… It’s mother who gives any though (father wasn’t much of a talker, was quiet lots of time, except when he quarreled with mother which was quite often).. “Come here, let me see… Oh! Obi’m (Mum being ibo called me this pet name) there’s nothing to worry about, your penis . is .just… charged” Charged? What the hell is that? She proceeds “As you grow, you become more excited at some sights and thoughts, also when you wake up in the morning, your penis will wake up with you” Oh! I said, relaxing and staring at the ‘guy’, he was in mother’s hands and was growing and nodding more. She let me go and as I turned to leave she said “Obi’m you are now a MAN, stay away from girls!”
She shouldn’t have said that.
At age thirteen, now fully a teenager, I felt like I could take on the world. I was the ‘Man’ as mother had said and father often echoed. My sisters had developed a healthy respect for me and thus I demanded such from all of like specie. I didn’t get it though! I felt becoming a teenager automatically meant I should have a girlfriend. I didn’t know the use of them but it just seemed cool to have one. Most of my classmates (though older) seemed to have girlfriends and it wasn’t cool to be left behind.
Enter Nadia, my classmate, well I really can’t say she was beautiful because I didn’t quite know what qualified anyone as such but she made my willy ‘charge’ and since mother said I should stay away from girls like this, the rebel in me was attracted..I couldn’t approach her directly so I wrote her a letter…
Tell me how I’m supposed to breathe with no air? You take my breath away and living without you is like living without breathing – Impossible! It’s been hard all this while and I can’t take it anymore.
My main purpose of writing this letter is to let you know that you rock my world, you are the girl of my dreams and I want to be your man. Baby, you should let me love you. I will buy you snacks at break time, Help you carry your bag at closing time and also make sure your name isn’t among noisemakers, you know Kunle (the class captain) is my friend.
I will be honoured and completely excited if my love application is considered and granted.
I love you
PS: This letter is sealed with a kiss
Did she say yes? NO! Did she reply? NO!
Kunle said “maybe its because you are not man enough!” I got home that day, dejected. Father was reading a paper as I walked in, I greeted him and stared at him for a while trying to understand what made me not man enough! What did he have that I didn’t? Then it finally hit me!
I rushed to the bathroom and brought out the methylated Spirit…facial hair, here I come! Aaaarrrrghhhh!!!!!
Lets just say I quickly realised that i couldn’t cheat nature ‘spiritually’, I was doomed to facial features akin to baby bum freshness.
Years came along and at age 16, I became more aware of happenings around me. Father and mother would engage themselves in frequent quarrels, and mother would always be left emotionally scarred. This seemed to draw her close to her ‘creator’ as she called him. Methinks her creator was one pastor dude who seemed to believe I had something to be delivered from! The fucker!
I had sat for and successfully failed the UME/JAMB exam yet father wasted no time in getting me admitted into Unilag. I was offered Computer Science. While my mates were in class most times, I was at Ozone hanging with the boys and chics, headphones blaring, window shopping and stuff. Weekends were spent at Oniru and Elegushi. In my mind, this was life and I was rocking it!
A day to my 18th birthday, I had sex…
I’m going to spare the details but just let you know it was NOTHING like I had seen in all the porn videos I had studied prior to the act. My iPod was full of moves and sexual stunts but in 5 minutes, I was done! The chic (my girlfriend Segi) didn’t even moan like they did! Where where the ‘ooohs and aahhs?’ All I got was ‘wikki wikki wikki wikki’ the sound of the cheap hotel bed spring… Oh yeah, and her frequent “easy o!”
My birthday party was arranged for Caliénté and it turned out to be a blast. Samuel (father’s driver) brought me to the venue in dad’s Range Sport (father was away at the time, mother was at her frequent ‘night vigils’). Lots of dancing, booze and eventually ‘Kush’ yes! My first time of doing the stuff and I immediately understod the inspiration behind Dr.Sid’s “flying over the moon” song. I was still on a high, I didn’t hear the sirens, people scampering looked like a crowd of jerkers, even the cop car lights seemed like an extension of the Disco ones…
Father worked his magic. His disappointment was glaring, his eyes showed it but he said nothing.
But I wouldn’t stop. Maybe I should have changed my friends, maybe I should have put things in perspective, but I couldn’t. I was just having too much fun. My friends took me deeper, into an illicit ‘brotherhood’ and school eventually lost meaning. I was carried away by the plentiful drugs, the girls and the reputation; It was an addictive rush, but like every other good thing I’d found in life, paradise came crashing down eventually. The brotherhood got me in trouble and I was asked to leave school for cult-related activities. Of course, my grades were no good and my life had taken a total downturn by then – I was hooked on drugs, mother had become a permanent occupant at THAT church, my lil’ sis wasn’t getting better – my world had come crashing down all at once; I couldn’t piece my life together anymore.
This morning, two years of frustration after, I picked up the car keys. Drove far. Drove Fast. Kept driving. To nowhere. To anywhere. Pedal Down. Tears Falling. Eyes NOT on the road. BlackBerry holding. Hands typing THIS…
“The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step?” Right? WRONG! It starts when your car breaks in the middle of nowhere and there’s no one to help push! Its worse when the car is broken beyond repair or recognition and you can’t even move… not to talk of taking a step…
This IS the END..
SO THANKS FOR READING. ARE THERE ANY AWKWARD PUBERTY MOMENTS? ANY MISTAKES FROM THE TEENAGE YEARS? ANY WRONG DECISIONS FROM THE EARLY UNIVERSITY DAYS?
A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS?
FIND THE ART OF @KevinWithAnL here
N.B. The project still goes on for the following six days. Tomorrow we have The third Decade by @thetoolsman.
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