Nightmares and dreams
The crescendo, the concerts, the fame
When the music stops and the crowd screams
Will earth know your name?
Do you know what it’s like to have only one hundred naira and a dream? Ahmed did. How to make it, was something that had haunted Ahmed’s pillow since he was a boy. Monday morning, he laid on his 4-inch high mattress that flattened out into a mat under his weight and stared into the dark, wondering if dreams came true in this part of the world. He held in his left hand an envelope he was sure was an eviction notice. His room had almost no furniture, no electricity and only one window that ushered the harmattan air in. The sound of firecrackers would periodically interrupt his thoughts, thoughts of his father’s words ‘you’d never make it’.
Ahmed didn’t always live in this dingy apartment, he had a home, a family. He was always the type of kid that heard music notes in everything – sweeping, car engines, grazing cattle, chalk on a chalkboard, he could even make music from his cohabiting neighbours’ uncontrolled baby-making, everything had its own melody! He was genius, just in a shell; he lived in the music.
Although nobody was surprised when he spent his Primary 6 tuition on a brand new guitar, it was however a surprise when that one action meant Ahmed was no longer Alhaji Mukhtar’s son. Ahmed’s dad had cut him off! Ahmed remembered also how he started life in this new city, how he picked his guitar, left home and arrived in Ibadan in the back of a truck carrying sheep.
He finally decided to open the contents of the envelope . . . it wasn’t an eviction; it was an audition! Without taking his bath, he rushed outta the room, took two long breaths, wondered if he had ‘‘t-fare’’, dipped his hand into the pockets of his khaki pants and found a hundred naira note . . . in his other hand, the guitar. It was time to see if his dreams could metamorphose into reality. So it didn’t matter to Ahmed that he left home with nothing and in tears, what mattered was the beauty in his hand and how well he had now learned to stroke her and touch her strings like he was ‘a grade 8’.
He knew he was going to succeed, come what bloody may!
Nightmares and dreams
For your name in the bright lights
Go o’er your head, beat the struggles, the extremes
Be big in the limelight
Adaeze had been told she had to lose her virtue and/or be anorexic if she was ever going to be the queen of the runway she always imagined. ‘You are a smart young woman, you do realize I’m your only road to success, right?’ the words of the fourth manager she had met in barely two years as an upcoming model. The cycle was always the same; she was either being forced to trim down to hospital patient weight or asked to lay her back on the beds of these managers to get the gigs she wanted. Still a teen but she had her principles, she was never going to trade her body for favours, but it now seemed like it was the only way. Her childhood dream had suddenly become a nightmare.
Adaeze always wanted to be a top model, she lived for the day she’d be on magazines; she even practiced her autograph with clothes hanging from her wardrobe imagining them to be adoring fans. Ada would battle the demons in her head—to stop believing that there was a higher power or not, to throw her principles away or not, to starve into shape or not, she had to make a decision soon or forget about modelling. She decided she was going to go to the nearest pub, get drunk, then make a decision . . . a rash one.
‘Your body is fine, are you a model?’ a male voice said from behind her. ‘I don’t think so anymore. Abeg, leave me alone’ she drunkenly replied without looking back. ‘My apologies, my name is Ahmed, I’m a guitarist, the owner of the record label I just signed for wants to start an agency, a modelling agency and he thinks you look entrancing. So I came over to find out if you are ready . . . to dominate. Yes?’
Traditional, eclectic, tenacious and blessed with a penchant for the overkill.