“Look for the signs.” That is what they say.

There was this analogy, that it is when a person wants a G Wagon that they start seeing G Wagons everywhere. It’s not that there are more G Wagons on the planet; they just weren’t looking before. This is meant to mean that if you don’t look for the sign, you won’t see it.

I disagree.

A person who wants and therefore starts seeing more G Wagons around him might take that as a sign and say, “God is getting ready to give me a G Wagon.” But that’s not true, is it? The person has simply erroneously assigned a supernatural status to a very mundane, natural, inconsequential occurrence. That person isn’t getting a G Wagon. For me, it means that if you were looking for it, you have to trust it less when it comes, because you could be reading into things; seeing things that aren’t there.

But, we were supposed to be trying, right? And I was tired, so tired. So why not look for signs.

Once, we were praying at home, and I was totally lost in my mind, thinking about running off again, this time to Ibadan. After the prayer, my mother said she’d seen angels come in to wash my face.

This was the first sign. The way my mother explained this vision of hers, the angels came to wash my face so I could see more clearly. But this was a sign to me, because I interpreted it to mean that since I’d been thinking about running away to Ibadan, then the angels washing my face must be an indication that my thoughts were in the right direction.

That night, I had a dream. It was a very weird dream, but the long and short of it was that in the dream, I was in Ibadan. I had run. I believe I was in the University of Ibadan in the dream.

That was the second sign.

Then I had another dream, an even weirder one. I was lecturing some fellow slaves, who’d been indoctrinated by our captors that “light” and “acid rain” were two completely different things. And then, the next thing was that I was running away from these slave masters, and as I fled, I was thinking: “I left my laptop.”

This was a third sign. I was running away from some people in my dream. And I was thinking: “I left my laptop.” This must mean that my laptop was in the place where I was running away from – and where else would that be but from home?

Someone tweeted about an apartment in Ibadan. And against that tweet, everyone was talking about how cheap Ibadan is.

That was the fourth sign.

A friend – Lucifer bless her soul – was talking to me about calling TIERs for help, also saying that she was thinking of helping me open a GoFundMe profile. We were basically talking about what I could do to get away from home. Then she asked me, “Don’t you have any friends you can stay with?” And I said that the only friend I had who could remotely help in that regard lives in Ibadan – but with his parents and he was also a student. So, that wouldn’t work.

But it was the fifth sign.

Everything seemed to be aligning to the obvious: that I should run away to Ibadan.

I wrote about all these signs inside a book I’d turned into a diary. I also wrote about how I’d be called foolish if I ever spoke about these things. Time passed. I left the book somewhere in my room, because of course privacy is a thing that totally exists in Nigerian homes.

It was on the last day of the year, New Year’s eve, that my mother decided that I’d had the illusion of privacy long enough. I was called downstairs to fine her reading the book. And she fixed an expression of accusation on me as she said, “So you still want to run away?”

In defense of myself, I told my parents that I’d written those things a long time ago, pointing out how old things should have passed away. I told them that it wasn’t fair that we’d be doing this every time something old comes up.

They couldn’t argue with that.

My sister was home during this period, and it was what she said that got to me. She’d been in school all this time and I’d thought she didn’t know about any of the things that were going on. I was wrong. And so, she went on this rant about how my behaviour wasn’t fair. “They’re trying to help you and you’re not even trying at all,” she raged. “They’re treating you like an egg and you’re doing anyhow. And the anger and aggression are being transferred to everyone else and it’s not fair!”

Her diatribe got to me, and I resolved that I would talk to her about it.

The next day was Sunday and we’d gotten to church early. As my parents went in, I took the opportunity to talk to her. I told her whatever our parents had told her was not the whole truth. I told her I hadn’t been talking to her about what was going on because I wanted to respect the fact that she was in school and had to have had a lot going on. I told her about what was really going on. “…treating me like an egg… What does that even mean?” I said, not understanding it. At what point in any of this had I been treated like an egg? When? I told her about how I’d actually tried to run away because I couldn’t give them what they want. I told her about my pain and how I’d cried a lot.

She was full of empathy. “I think you should tell them,” she said. “Tell them the truth about how you feel.”

Oh, my sweet naïve sister. Did she not know that they wouldn’t listen? I told her that I’d tried being truthful many times. How it always ended badly. How after the first time I tried at the end of 2018, I’d been accused of being the reason why our parents’ marriage was troubled. How I had to backtrack and pretend to be repentant so that our father wouldn’t leave and our mother wouldn’t leave and everybody’s lives wouldn’t be so much worse because of me.

She didn’t have anything to say. I’d like to think she was realizing how very different my life was from hers.

We left it there. There wasn’t anything else to say. There wasn’t any real solution to any of it. The only thing that was sure was suffering. Pretending or not, there would be suffering. And it would only get worse.

Written by Dimeji

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  1. Dunder
    June 07, 20:00 Reply

    Another well written piece that unfortunately, communicates the agony of your experiences. I really wish you can seek out professional help and use what you have to get what you want/ need.

    Dimeji, please finish school. Let your parents pay for your emancipation- it is the least they should do.

    Would you not have less problems as a youth corper in another state? Won’t you be free from all these problems as the chief tenant of your own one bedroom apartment which you fund from your own pocket? Would your mother find your diary without giving her keys? Would there be unwanted prayers and unwelcome visitation of the sanitary department of heaven if you were a thousand miles away, living in a free society?

    Even people who rise to stardom have to do some less desirable jobs like waiting tables or driving cabs to finance their freedom as they have no support system. You have a source of school fees, feeding and borad. Use what you have! Some have to finish school and work in a cubicle so they can finance their business idea or afford the degree they want. You e already started the journey. Hold your nose for another two years or do and you can saunter safely to safety. You deserve to have one less problem.

    Changing your family is impossible but changing your own present situation is far easier. You have tried but truthfully, the opportunities you are getting without a degree are not big enough to walk away from this hot mess and never look back. Obtaining a degree is still far easier than inventing Microsoft or Facebook.

    You deserve to be happy but happiness has to be made. Please make a desirable situation with the not-so-desirable spot you are in. Still rooting for you.

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