I LOST MYSELF

I was lost when I entered the supermarket. Goodness me. I bought 3 canned beers and took them home to drink. Pastor, do you drink alcohol? No, I had stopped that after I gave my life to Christ. I can’t tell when and how I bought those canned drinks. My wife looked at them and said “These are alcoholic”. That’s when the veil fell. Something was off. I lost myself

The next day, “Stainless” died. One of my closest spiritual daughters at Church. I miss her. Hurts a little now. But what do we do? A part of my life was gone. We took her to the morgue. Her husband, a friend and I hand-carried her. I was numb with shock. My innocence about life got raped that day. It’s still hard to take.

A mindless drifter on the steering wheel. Hellos and Hi’s exchanging pleasantries with folks as I drove by. I went into a street. I knew it was against the law. “One way” as we call it in Nigeria. The law shows up. They arrested me. “Why did you do it”? the drunken officer asked. “Don’t know”, my reply. “This I know”, so I told him. “At the point, I entered the street, I knew I violated the law., but I can’t explain why I did it”. “You knew”. “Yes, but I can’t provide a reason, for why I did it.” 

He saw reason with me and told me to leave. He was drunk and lost himself. Two lost fellows. They understood each other. He was drinking, trying to find himself in a bottle. I was driving, trying to find myself on the streets. 

I still can’t tell you why I did that. The pressure of life stole me. In today’s world, that is a mental health issue. I wasn’t crazy, I had too much on my plate.

I became lost when it happened at school. They took away my most treasured subject from me. The law does not permit you to study literature and physics together. Why? No one answered. Out of its socket came my life. My father wanted me to become an engineer. So physics had the day, literature got the boot. 

I hated physics because it separated me from my love. Who cares if a train traveled 90 degrees due north? I don’t care how long it will take it to come back. I didn’t send it on any errand. All I asked for was time with William Shakespeare and Chinua Achebe. I prefer “things fall apart”, not “action and reaction are equal and opposite”. “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players” made sense to me. Not E = mc2.

Studying Newton’s thoughts on the objects at rest became my daily grind. Let the student breathe. Don’t tell me about the benefits. I don’t care if the object moved or stayed. Thank you, Mr. Newton. I respect you, and what you did for humanity, but I still don’t care.

Do you want to know why I preferred literature?

Better to be “lost and found” traveling with Gulliver and the Lilliputians. Instead, I was “lost and found” in the Lab, pretending I understood what a Vernier caliper does.

Gen Z, please step aside. This is for Gen X and Baby Boomers.

My favorite lost and found books were, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Jeffrey Archer’s “The First Amongst Equals”, and Sidney Sheldon’s “Rage of Angels” took me to La La Land. Now you understand.

James Clavell – Shogun, my first over 1,000-page book, captivated me and I got lost in it. I read it from sunup to sundown because the owner gave me 24 hours.

These books affected me. Who remembers Nick Carter and James Hadley Chase? Those were my version of Netflix action. They had me and I loved them for having me. Then came Pacesetters Novels – Evbu my Love, Sisi, For Mbatha and Rebeka, Rich Girl, Poor Boy, etc. 

Good news, Pacesetters Novels are online. I didn’t know until when I was writing this piece. I will be back.

Those were times when it was preferable to be lost and not be found.

Let’s stop for now and conclude.

My kid brother brought it home. My parents never knew what went down. We went to a secluded spot and ogled at its destructive content. Beginning of my unholy days. Only if I knew I would get lost. I wouldn’t have touched or gazed into it. A pornographic mag. Glossy and colored with sin. I drank everything it offered. Moved on to fornication and adultery. Only Jesus delivered me from that narrow pit several years later. My eyes encouraged my lust but betrayed my conscience.

Through books, I lost myself. Through books, I found myself. That is, in writing and the Bible.

Are you lost?

To be continued.

SELAH

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