Yes, I am an Island
I was going to camp. New environment, new personality. Hence, I decided to be a loner. Not just a loner but a really queer fellow. I decided I was going to wear dark makeup and black nail polish, have a perpetual wide-eyed glassy stare, then, I’d top it off with a constant background soundtrack of Classical Music, Enya or Yanni.
If I couldn’t use my headset, then I’d hum the music. Of course I wasn’t going to be speaking to people. Except when absolutely necessary. Chit-chat? No.
All was going on well till the soldiers at the gate asked me to carry my box on my head and run into the compound. Of course I didn’t dare have my headset on.
Then, the rigorous registration process began. I didn’t break character. Someone tapped me. She wanted to ask a question.. I turned my head really slowly, gave her my glassy unblinking stare, reduced the pitch of my voice several tones lower than normal and answered the question, all the while speaking slowly. Of course she scurried. I smiled and congratulated myself.
Then, I got hungry. No, I was already hungry. Got hungrier. And hungrier…
(Stomach growls). Me: Sister, abeg I’m behind you, let me go get something.
Got back, thanked her and got back in character (meanwhile I’d already asked someone where I could buy food). “Well, they’re just two persons, Lau you can still do this”, I thought.
Then, bunks were brought to the camp and I didn’t have a sleeping space. Everyone was scrambling, no dulling. I noticed that the girl who had saved my place on the queue seemed to have an upper hand in the hustle. She’d gotten a bunk after warding away the other scavengers! But couldn’t carry it alone.
Me: Excuse me, please can I be your bunkmate?
She: No wahala, let’s take this one
Me: Thank you. (Hesitates… Smiles) I’m Laura. What’s your name?
She: (Smiles and says her name) Which state do you come from?…
And the dialogue with her continued… Later, “let’s go fetch water/eat, etc”
Now the dialogue isn’t just with her. “You’re in my platoon? Nice to meet you, I’m Laura, you? Yes, I’m Igbo. Kedu?”
I’m sure you’ve gotten my point by now. We DO need people. We do need friends. Value relationships. Be a better friend today.
*whistle blows* *jumps off my bunk and ties my shoe laces*