After Flo finished had with school, she settled at the Federal Capital Territory in search of greener pastures. To chase the big dream. She had stayed there throughout her school days and was familiar with the enviroment, all her friends resided there. Her favourite Uncle, Uncle Suleiman had accommodated her throughout the short holidays during her time in school. And was still willing to accommodate her even now when she decided that Minna, Niger state, where her parents resided was not really the place to conquer the world from.
Abuja, the capital of Nigeria was the land of opportunities. People always said that there was money in Abuja as if special officers were directed to move around on a daily basis holding packages full of cash from house to house asking. “Here is your money for the day, do with it whatever you wish, Compliments, the government.” But Abuja was supposedly a ‘sophisticated’ town and it was the perfect starting point for any newly graduated intellectual to put herself/himself out there.
But Flo’s stay in the Capital sofar mostly involved going out with her equally idle friend, Eno. She spent half her time going to Eno’s place or going to a place that Eno had recommended. Occasionally, it involved accompanying Eno to the mall or to Wuse Market to buy clothes.
She was just coming back from Eno’s house at Katampe after having a sleepover planned to discuss a strategy to open Eno’s fashion business. Flo was supposed to help Eno with the paperwork but the sleepover ended up being, well, just a sleepover. They ended up looking at pretty dresses on instagram all night.
On Flo’s return to Uncle Sulieman’s house the next morning, which was located the other way from town, Flo stood on the highway as cars zoomed past her giving her a Marilyn Monroe moment. She felt less glamorous than the movie star though because she had been waiting for a bus for close to thirty minutes now to no avail. At the moment when she was about to give up and head right back to Eno’s house, a shiny blue Toyota pulled over beside her.
Knowing where ‘this’ usually went, she groaned mechanically. The window wound down and she saw a smiling face peering out at her. A face that she recognised as Max’s.
“You need a ride?” He said.
“No Max.” Flo said unsmiling. She remembered that Eno had told her that he was the son of the horrible Uncle Akpan. Bridget’s brother. The arrogance was bound to run in his vein.
He beamed. “You remembered my name. We only really met that one time at Eno’s party and you remembered. C’mon. Get in. The sun is coming out.”
Flo shook her head. “I’m fine. Really.” She looked out to see if she could find a bus. “I’m sure that I’m not even going in your direction.”
“It’s not like I’m a stranger Flo. It’s just a ride. Please Flo.”
Flo deliberated a bit in her mind and then finally got in.
“Miss Flower Jiya. I don’t want to come on creepy but you are an intriguing mind. I’m a fan.”
“You don’t need to be a fan. I’m not a celebrity.” Flo said modestly.
Max laughed. “That depends on who you regard as a celebrity. The world considers people who wear torn clothes with no sense of morality as celebrities. I on the other hand chose to consider an individual with the power to illuminate a celebrity.”
“I know you heard of my writing from Eno but it’s not such a big deal. I’m not exactly published or anything. So basically, if people have not read my work, I’m not exactly “illuminating” anything.”
“I beg to differ.” Max said as he concentrated on driving.
Flo rolled her eyes. She didn’t really have anything against him but the fact that his father was General Douche LeBage really made her not to regard his fondness for her. She just wanted to go home without being involved in any further conversation.
“It’s obvious you know.” Max said after a great deal of silence.
“Its obvious that you are not overly fond of me. But I don’t blame anyone though. My father and sister are quite egotistical. They have given me a bad name. Their attitudes cannot be overlooked. But I am not like them. If it makes any difference, I also can’t stand my father and sister.”
Flo’s eyes widened and he laughed.”
“You did it again.” She said. “You got into my head like the other day. How?”
“It is the light.” Max said simply.
Flo stared quizzically at him.
“And you have a very expressional face.” He added.
Flo still looked surprised. How did he really get into her head. He might blame it on faces or whatever but it was weird. She was a little spooked.
“I’m serious you know. I consider myself as a different breed. I’m not half like my dad. Not as corruptible. That is because there is a light in me. A light that makes me to see clearly. Just like I saw your sadness that day at Eno’s party, just like I saw your contempt towards me just moments ago.”
“What is this light?” Flo heard herself say.
“It’s a redeeming light. A light that makes all things right. It is something which purifies all the greed and vanity and pride of life and replaces it with sincerity and something clean. It makes you see achievements not in the material but in the imperishable soul. Unfortunately, that light is dwindling in this world. The world is being shrouded in a deep darkness of self. That is why I try so hard to protect that light in me.To remind myself of what is in me so that I might not lose it.”
On a normal day, Flo would think that it was all Kumbaya but she found that she really wanted to understand his words. She felt as if there were truth in what he said. Truth which she had to search deeper to understand. As if the pillars of life itself rested on this truth.
“So with this… light. You can see the future? All the problems can disappear? You can read minds?” Flo asked sounding intrigued. She was always one to be intrigued by deep thoughts.
“Not really. Rather than making problems disappear, the light causes the problems to morph into stepping stones. And the future is seen as a clear perspective. It also makes you less concieted so you can read and understand others. It makes you see everything differently than what the normal human being is capable of seeing. Tell me Flo. Do you have that light?”
“I don’t know but I’d like to.” Flo said.
“How is your faith? What do you believe in? What is your stand?” Max asked.
“I’m a Christian. I’m- I’m a good girl. I’m honest. Sincere… I think. I hardly have a reason to lie, or cheat. I try my best to make the right decisions. Most of the time. Is that the light that you are talking about?”
“Well Flo, this light I’m talking about, it’s beyond trying or feeling. It engineers you to function as an inspiration to all those around you. To become a light yourself.” Flo did not realise but Max had stopped the car in front of Uncle Suleiman’s house.
“It’s like a shield to depression and anger. It makes life way easier. It’s a superpower Flo. If there was a chance to let that dwindling light live in you, would you be willing to be a bearer. So that you can transfer it to others as I am so desperately trying to do to you right now.”
If Flo got what he was saying, He was talking about a life-hack. A way, a truth to an easy life. He was talking about opening a door to a higher power that made life bearable. To let a spirit to live in you, to make you truly alive. She saw that Max was really not like his father or Bridget. Possessions didn’t move him, what motivated him, controlled him was this so-called light. Before she could illuminate the world, she decided that she had to illuminate herself. She nodded. “If there is such a light, then I want it.” Flo said.
“One question.” Flo said.
“Did the light give you my address.”
Max laughed. “No, actually, Eno did.”