An ATM Tale

Story time…


If you live in the laudable and notable commercial and bustling centre of excellence like me, tendencies are that your financial life just might be revolving around your ATM debit card. Today’s tale has my very own infamous bank card under the spotlight.
Stepping outside your door at anytime of the day is more or less an adventure in this part of the world. You never know what it is that you’re going to encounter; what tales, sordid or ecstatic, you might be telling at the conclusion of your outing. So begins my tale…


It all started with a very important and unavoidable trip to the fascinating and jungle groomed outdoors of Lagos. I barely had enough physical cash on me for the trips I had to imperatively make but ‘hey’ I had my ATM card so, I was good…so I thought.


After hitting the spots my available cash allowed, I was down to the last financial note on me, and I thought to myself, do I use the ATM or get to the final place with this one…decisions…decisions. The cash would be enough to get me there but not back home. Then a silent nudge from an unseen force and voila! An ATM in all it’s relief-goodness…it was a sign from heaven. I got there, no queue whatsoever, just me and this baby in the blazing hot and humid afternoon. I asked the gentleman on the other machine the customary Lagos-at-the-ATM question “is it paying.” He replied politely that his wasn’t but I could try the one in front of me.
I still payed no heed to the voice in my head telling me to finish my trip with my ‘last cash.’ I slipped my card into the machine and let it suck it out of my fingers…then the horror of ATM relationships unfolded before my very eyes. The advert display didn’t change to request for my PIN like it ought to instead it kept playing …


…was this a dream, is this machine playing me April fool in August ni??


I had entered MFM prayer mode in my head as I maintained my unruffled disposition on the outside. My people, five whole minutes later, this thing finally asked for my PIN! You’d think I’d cancel, get my card and bolt! But nah, I was determined to see where this toxic relationship with this ATM was gonna end.


I put in my PIN o.


This how the next season of keeping up with the ATM horror show started. My brain finally checked back in and I started tapping the “Cancel” button.


For where!


The Machine had vowed to teach me a lesson that afternoon, passersby and others who wanted to use the ATM as well threw concerned glances my way, as I had been there for a little over thirty minutes. It felt like my whole life flashed before me, what if this machine now seized my card, who will I go to? I didn’t have enough cash to take me to my nearest bank branch nor did I have the time, as I had a pending engagement I had to get to.


So many questions, as my mind played and replayed the scenarios of the eventuality of an ATM cardless day. I began to reject it and kept pressing the cancel button. Eventually, the heavens opened and my prayers gained access as the ATM proceeded to return my card to me. I grabbed it with such speed, that I’m sure even the ATM would have been surprised. I staggered back and turned to my heels as I warned those waiting in line of the impending doom that would befall those seeking to transact with that particular machine sent from the abyss.
With that, I jumped on the next bus to my destination to meet up with my appointment.


I dodged a bullet with that ATM. Did I still get cash? Of course I did! I used a more reasonable ATM that had onsite testimonials of delivery.
Well…it wasn’t a bad day after all.

Photo image courtesy https://unsplash.com/s/photos/atm

Overwhelmed

Tidal waves overwhelming and frightening.
Emotions dashing reasoning against rocky shores of jagged decisions made.
Scares of lessons learnt to be learnt again.
Bitterness of regret pale in the shadows of the rising waves.
Thunderous cries held back by the bright and blinding lights’ lust.
Time and time again the mistakes are made and history repeats itself.
The enemy within is the true enemy.
The voyage to graduation is perilous with familiar foes.
The finish line looks like the starting line.
The cycle repeats itself as the waves rise covering the hopeful brightness of a lesson learnt to be learnt.

Love Gone

The cool breeze caresses her tear-stained cheeks as the moonlight tries to cheer her up.

The day was dull and full of empty activities.

It was a day like many, stumbling and fumbling through mindless chores.

Daytime, nighttime; they were all the same to her…time stretching on into repetitive toxic cycles of nothingness.

Unwilling to change the nothingness that had become her existence, she made her way through the lonely and sloppy sidewalk. A road she’d travelled all too well between work and board.

But today was different, from the silence of the wind she heard her own thoughts out loud. The flowers bloomed under the moonlight with the reassuring fragrance of freshness.

Was that a smile creeping on her face, she couldn’t let herself hope, the world was too dark and dreary. Every time she opened up her heart, one waited to chisel it out. How could she hope for love? But here, under the moon dominated night, she had her constant companions. The flowers will always bloom for her, the wind will always caress her. Maybe the love she loved was gone from this world. Maybe the love she loved was never meant for this world.

She had loved too many and lost many more; there was no more love to give.

Love had gone; where to, she could not tell.

Love had gone; when will it return, she could not tell.

But this road will always be here, and she will walk it as she had so many times with a will of iron and a determination fashioned from scarred heart.

HOPE

I hope when you find the courage to love, you do it with all your heart and with everything you’ve got.

I hope when you have to let go, you do with no regrets.

I hope when you have to hold on, you do with all the strength you can muster.

I hope when you feel like crying, you pour your heart out and know it’s ok to hurt.

I hope when the clouds pass and the sun comes out, you can find love again and just love all love brings into your life.

I hope your life is full and meaningful.

I hope every day is a full and fulfilling one.

Do You See Me?

It will only be as important as you make it.

It will only be as strong as you believe it is.

It will only be as popular as you talk about it.

What’s racism, skin segregation?

Something that exists in the minds of the shortsighted.

Something distracting our minds from seeing all the colourful beauty the world offers.

So, you can’t see me beyond my skin which is the least part of me; after all we are all only skin-deep.

When you look at the sea, do you just see the endless blue water or all the sea holds, the ships on it, the children playing by its shores, the millions of life hosted by its endless vastness? Do you see it?

When you look at the forest, do you just see a sea of green or the different trees, flowers, grasses, animals and all the precious lives hosted by its richness? Do you see it?

So, why do you look at me and see only what’s on the surface? When deep down in me is endless vastness and richness.

Look at me and see me.

Constant Companions

As the day dawns, I roll over to your waking kisses
Another’s cry reminds me to put you before my eyes
We go through the day together…
hand in hand, task by task
Your voice rings louder than my desires.
The day wanes and I say goodbye to you.
The night stretches endlessly as my new companion arrives
My silent partner, no voices, no words, just a mocking silence.
I cuddle my unfriendly companion and bid the lonely looking night clouds hung upon the sky canvas ‘good night’.
Tomorrow, I will roll over to your waking kisses and go through the day with you.

Far Up North

Up north is filled with media dread but I really didn’t care. I love adventures and no amount of media horror could scare me away.
So, with my bags packed and ticket in hand, off I went. To the far up north where only the insane would journey and those who had little or no regard for their lives, so everyone said.
Was I scared? To be honest, I wasn’t as I was more excited about all the dread surrounding my journey (adrenaline adrenaline).
Want to know just how far up north I went? Borno State. Yup the very same dreaded terror haven! The thrill I felt to be at the forefront and to see firsthand if all the media hullabaloo was true. What did I find? Well, I found that the media has a doctorate degree in exaggeration! This is not to in any way down play the seriousness of the instability caused by insurgency, not at all; rather, it’s to let you know that people still live there. In truth ‘death’ isn’t a resident in Borno, life is ongoing.
My flight was a rather long one as I boarded a connect flight from Lagos with one stop over at Abuja before proceeding to our final destination (not the movie).
The flight was long and satisfying. Each moment that passed meant we were getting closer to our destination. My excitement was through the roof. Like yay! I’m finally going to see this Maiduguri everyone’s been buzzing about.
Our flight landed in the hot town of Maiduguri around noonish. I was just happy to put my feet on solid ground; after more than an hour airborne, you start to miss the ground.
Finally, here I was in the strangely infamous town of Maiduguri, Borno State.
What my eyes beheld can be summed in just one word ‘simple.’
This place was nothing like the noisy Lagos I was coming from. I half expected to be greeted with heavily armed soldiers and then be subjected to a thorough search for prohibited items; but all of that only happened in my dreamy head.
In reality, I was greeted by simple looking men asking in barely audible English if I wanted a cab to which I declined. I exited the arrival lounge to meet up with a friend.
The drive through Maiduguri town was uneventful and quiet. Not the Lagos bustling and shoveling through ‘sent from hell’ traffic I had become unwelcomingly accustomed to. Ladies and gentlemen, I arrived my lodge in a few minutes. Wow!
What can I say about the lovely little town of Maiduguri? Far up north in Maiduguri, the tomatoes remain as red as ever and commerce thrives. People wake up in the morning, go out, make money and return home to their families and they do it again the next day. The only unfriendly person I met was the Sun. It was so hot, it felt like the sun was literally standing beside me and just pinching me mercilessly.
In summary, life is far from over far up north. I hope you’ll get to visit it too and experience the peace I did. Till next time, cheers and thanks for reading.

I’m Still Writing…

I started my story…

It was beautiful, all things went well, no accidents no hiccups.

Looks like a good story, I’ll keep writing…

But the first stage passed and a few hiccups but it’s still a good story, I’ll keep writing…

The next stage, a whole lot more hiccups and some bumps too.

But it’s still a good story, I’ll keep writing…

Another stage begins, it’s smooth, dodged all hiccups and bumps but now there are walls.

Walls so high with no way to climb!

Is it still a good story? Do I keep writing?

I went around the wall, well that wasn’t so bad, it’s still a good story, I’ll keep writing…

Yet another stage, more hiccups, more bumps and more walls, but I’ve seen this all before, I know to keep writing.

Then the road ends, it’s pitch black, what’s there to write, it’s all ‘Nothing’

But even ‘nothing’ is worth writing…it’s still a good story, I’ll keep writing…

Hiccups, bumps, walls, darkness, road ends…and my story is still on and I’m still writing…

Beginnings

This morning I woke and felt I should end it all.

It all seemed so meaningless and pointless

Directionless and void

Everything seemed empty but that’s how the end is…

Pointless and void. Just nothing.

An abyss of the unimaginable,

A plane of the non-existent void of hope.

In the end, there’s no escape and nothing to ‘end.’

So, today might feel like an end, it’s not the end, there’s tomorrow and the day after.

There’s the warm sun or cloudy skies to look forward to.

There’s the stray dog and homeless cat to feed.

There’s the uninvited orchestra of birds in the neighbour’s tree.

There’s so much imaginable beauty free from the unhappiness and heaviness in the world.

So, wake up and don’t end it but start it all over again, that’s what new days are for.

Freedom

The wild wind tickles the leaves and swirls the dust in my face. It’s a beautiful sunny day with the beauty of the world missing in my mind. My thoughts are wild and unfocused like the wind. I want it to carry me away to where it’s going. To visit but not to stay, how amazing it would be. No one to hold me down or make me go, no need for a home.

But the wind has no love, no loyalties, no families, and no home. I have love, family, and home, yet the freedom of being free is calling me. The sound of the thunder as it claps brings me back to my hateful reality. Unable to escape this mortality, bound by this dust mold to behold an absent beauty and yearn for the intangible. My thoughts spawn on endless possibilities of a future void of the realities of this existence. My thoughts are the wind, free to go where no one can hold it, visiting and not staying. It’s amazing, my freedom is in me.

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