Ikem couldn’t stand the penury anymore! He stared at his worn out T-shirt with the words “making a difference” printed on it’s back in disgust and dissatisfaction. He had purchased it three months ago from the bend-down-select aka flea market to add to the other two that he possessed, but frequent use and wash had slackened its neckline and faded it’s vibrant colour. It was time to visit the man with the bell; he sold good second-hand clothes from a heap of clothing on the market floor.
With that dissatisfaction dragging him down, he pulled the T-shirt over his head and shoved his feet into an equally worn out pair of rubber soled slippers. Picking up his wooden pallet, he hastened off, making quick strides to the bus-stop where he could hitch an early morning ride by hanging partially on the side of a Molue. Sometimes the conductors were difficult but on a some good days, they also showed their humane sides.
It is a main market day at Ahia Ogige today and there would be a throng of lorries bringing in goods from neighboring villages. If he rushed, he would probably make a good turn around from customers who needed their goods carried from one end to the other.
Yet, as his strides swallowed the distance from his living quarters at the shanty, to the bus-stop, his grumbling mind would not cease to taunt him. How much difference was it really making in his life, eking out a living that was barely enough to put food in his stomach, pay his own portion of rent and minor bills, not to talk of sending money home to his folks? He queried himself.
Christmas was fast approaching. It would soon be time to go to the village to celebrate, but he wasn’t sure he was up to that this year. He thought he would have achieved more by now and he didn’t want to watch in envy as some of his clansmen came home with their new motorcycles and garbs to show off. Chukwudi had really irritated him last year with all his loud talk of making it big.
His angst grew within him as the day wore on. Wearied of carrying back breaking heavy load for peanuts at the end of the day, he stretched out on his small mattress which had a pride of place on the floor and slept like a log of wood.
© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha
Ikem – An shortened version of an Igbo name for a boy; Ikemefuna – which means, may my strength not go missing.
Chukwudi – An Igbo name for a boy and it means; God lives
Ahia Ogige – A market in Nsukka. A town in the Eastern part of Nigeria
Bend-down-select: A heap of mixed used clothing where customers literally bend down to scrounge through the pile and select an item they want to buy.
Molue: Are the locally redesigned and fabricated 44-seat old buses that ply the roads of the city. The original buses are disused school buses imported from other parts of the World
In fulfillment of Writing 101 – Day 12 Assignment: Play with Word Count
I tried to keep my story within 500 words and I think I did it!