How I Lost My First Million And Other Figments Of My Imagination

The sun was hot… very hot. All the anxiety and enthusiasm was almost dried up by the time I made it up the pedestrian bridge and back down. I was convinced that the sun hadsucked some of my will power, leaving me with exhaustion and sweaty thighs and breasts. I stood waiting for a cab, for the nextforty – five minutes, nothing! I tried to think about something else, but I couldn’t get my mind off where I was going. I had even started conjuring up millions that were mine for the taking by then, if only I would play ball,and play it whole heartedly. Well of course, I was going to play ball, what am I doing with my time and body? So I waited on, and the Sun blazed on.By the time I decided to take a “drop”, there were tiny rivulets of fake MaryKay flowing down all surfaces on my face. I mopped, smeared, blended, and kept mopping. The sun was relentless, and the heat more so. The last thing I needed was the small talk thedriver was making. I was trying to concentrate on the details of the text message my friend sent me. These people were the real deal…millions? Exotic vacations? I couldn’t possibly miss out on these men. They weren’t going to be in town for very long, better seize the opportunity.By the time I arrived at the hotel, I was dehydrated, nervous, sweaty and fully aware that I forgot to apply deodorant. I made a bee line for the nearest bathroom, to “freshen up”. To my absolute horror, upon looking in the mirror to perform an appraisal of how I looked, I discovered that I had sweat rings under my armpit, my face was fifty shades of brown and my eyes looked puffy for no reason at all. The devil is a liar, I said to myself, so I pulled out my cheap make up supplies and did a halfhearted job of retouching my face. I exited the bathroom with a surge of confidence, if I was going to nail this, I had to exude confidence. I casually sauntered, or at least I tried to, back to the reception and waited for my friend.I had called her earlier and she said to give her a few minutes. So I sat and thought aboutmy tall, lean, athletic, Latin speaking friend. She was so perfect and so lovable. My mind strayed back to the order of business for the day and was still there when my friend breezed into the reception. She was all smiles and hugs. We hadn’t even seen each other since camp! But she looked so damn good. I could even swear she was glowing. She had to be in money! She apologized for the delay and explained she had to go and re – park her car.It never occurred to me that maybe my mind was just projecting the rosy glow, or that the spring in my friends step was due to another reason. I was so ready for this, and I let my friend know as much. We headed into the elevator and she started briefing me, as expected. She reminded me that we just couldn’t possibly live on the meager NYSC allowance, and place ourselves at the mercy of those nasty old men at our work places. My heart did a lurch in my chest, this was it, time to play ball. She scrolled through her phone and showed me pictures of a very pretty girl with a very nice car, very young too. My throat constricted and my mouth watered, I retorted that the girl must have worked very hard for this kind of car. She smiled at me and said “you have no idea”. My resolve was strengthened, I had to do this, had to. We stepped out on the 10thfloor and she led me to a door, announcing that we had reached our destination. I plastered the smile I had been rehearsing on my face, crossed my fingers behind my back, held my breath, and stepped into the room after her.I do not know till today if it was the air conditioning, or unadulterated shock I felt upon what I saw in that room that gave me instant chills. I was literally shivering by the time I was seated. She asked me to sit, gave me a bottle of water, offered me orbit and sat beside me. She then asked me to wait while she stepped out to call our host. I just nodded weakly.You might be wondering what happened when I got into that room. Well, let me tell you. I saw ten other people in there, seated, waiting also for our host. Ten more arrived within the next five minutes, another ten in the next five minutes, and so forth. Do you see where I am going with this yet? No? Okay, another clue. There was a stool in the middle of the room; on that stool was a glassof water…Nothing still? Ugh…THERE WAS A PROJECTOR IN THE ROOM!!!!!!!I was just there, seated quietly. I was still quiet when my friend came back, all smiles, introduced me to our host, the facilitator. I smiled and we shook hands. He then went tothe front of the room and introduced himself, told us the exact same thing my friend sent to me in the text…”hey girl, are you interested in making unbelievable amounts of money with little or no stress? Ride a car of your dreams within a month? go on exotic vacations thrice a year? If you are, let’s discuss it. I know a group of businessmen who are looking to help young people like us achieve this and more”. Please, if it was you, what would you have thought?Well, I was sorely disappointed to say the least. It turned out to be one of those pyramid marketing seminars. I had previously attended three different ones, which I was invited to by three different friends, with three different baits. I guess youknow how this story ends by now, I stayed and tried to enjoy the seminar, I clung to my bottle of water and chewed vigorously on mygum, smacked it even. When the seminar was over, I hugged my athletic friend and told her I missed her, and that we should see more often. I promised to show up with the registration fee in the coming week, I complained about the facilitator, asking him why he wasn’t taking the weight loss pills he was selling; his guts were spilling over his belt. My friend laughed and said his wife likes him just like so…I couldn’t disagree.I followed my friend to her car, and she dropped me off at Berger, where I had to endure some more evening heat, and cramp myself into the back seat of a Lugbe bound cab, with two rude Ibo lawyers who told me I was a fat girl with a big ass who was taking up all the space meant for four people. I was tired, angry and disappointed, but I smiled anyway, and kept asking myself, “what were you even expecting sef?”I honestly didn’t know what I was expecting; Ijust learned that the worst place to have highexpectations is in Abuja. The cab driver started the engine and eased onto the freeway, the obnoxious “lawyers” were bragging about a “matter” they had in court the next day, the Idoma girl in the front seat was complaining about the oil in the soggy fried plantain she bought, the driver was complaining about the garage touts. I closed my eyes and leaned back in my seat and allowed those sounds to blend into one another as I began mentally counting down to the end of NYSC…April wasn’t too far away anymore, I just had to make it to my bed tonight first.

source: newsroom