Where are thou?

Source:screwface’s diary on NL

July 10th, 2012. Ikare Akoko, Ondo State. Nostalgia.
Memories. Reaching out.
It was my service year, my fourth day in camp. Uche had
since had his seizures and was forced to leave camp. Omoh,
the tall and fine face from Edo was the new guy I was rolling
with. SG, the other new friend I had, a yoruba boy, the first
real yahoo boy I was meeting in person-who by the way,
was a 2’1 graduate but could not make a complete sentence
in English without getting tenses all muddled up. He had
money, lots of it. He had dress sense, lots of it. He was poor
in every form of communications. He was academically dull,
very obvious. But he had girls, very very clean girls, lots of
them.
On the 10th, I was with Omoh. We were almost the last set
of people to have heard about the invitation of our Platoon
leader. We got there late, and met a long queue. Omoh
avoided the tail end of the queue, and found himself almost
at the middle. I did ssme; I smuggled myself in the next
available space I found in front of me.
I felt a tap behind me. I turned to look into the face of a tall
and fair guy. He almost towered above me. Calmly, he told
me I was not to be standing ahead of him. I replied and told
him I’d been on the queue before, but had to leave. I was
lying. Calmly, he repeated his stance; I was not supposed to
be there.
Defeated, I made to leave. He also had a change of mind,
and told me to stay.
Fifteen minutes later, I discovered he was Mark (all real
names). He was a graduate of Architecture from FUT Minna.
He married in April, only two months before NYSC. He had
his wedding ring on. He was unquestionably and undeniably
looking fresh; fresh skin, hairy, clean face and a nicely built
figure. He was 28. And obviously a butty. He also had this
very visible scar, just underneath his nose, beside his lips.
It was our turn before the LI. I found her openly flirting
with Mark, and each time she did, he made his fourth finger
very visible. Neither was successful in passing their
message across to the other.
A few minutes later, we were both done. And while talking,
he told me he was leaving camp the next day. He had some
businesses to attend to, and he’ll be gone for 10 days,
minimum. We exchanged numbers, and he was gone. He
was my fourth guy friend in camp.
Some days later, a number was repeatedly called out over
the OBS. It was called out more than 5 times before I
remembered Mark. I quickly sent him a message
demanding for his NYSC state code, but soon found out it
wasn’t his. He promptly sent me airtime after our
discussion on phone. And that’s how it began. I started
sending him real life updates about the happenings in
camp. I doubt it meant anything to him, but he was still
appreciative.
More than a week later, and he was back in camp. He was at
Mammy, he called me up to join him. Reluctantly, I joined
him. I was a bed guy, and I loved that bed more than
anything in the world then. (I wrote a quarter of that book
on my bed in camp, using my dependable Nokia phone).
I met him in Mammy, over a plate of noodles and eggs. He
beckoned that I placed my order. I declined, saying I’d just
ate lunch provided by the camp. He sorta looks at me, like,
who rejects free food in camp??
We gisted, while he ate. We were on it when the Military
men walked in, towards our ends. One of the Military guys
was the most popular in camp. He was nicknamed
Armedforces. He was built like a macho man, very
handsome, and he had a new car, a Peugeot 407. He was
virtually the most talked about guy on camp. The gist was,
he slept with any girl he wanted. He had his picks, anytime
he wanted.
Both of them approached our table. Shook hands, and
we’re gone. Mark signaled the woman who was making full
chicken barbecue. She would later serve them full
dismantled chicken parts. Then beer followed. Heineken.
We continued with our own gist. Two guys would later join
us. Lunch was over, and all four of us moved to a new table.
Orders were taken. And I requested for coke. Mark was
surprised, and deeply embarrassed. I don’t drink? He
bursted out laughing. He had a good laugh. He warned the
waitress not to come back with coke. I should ask for any
other drink, apart from coke. He wouldn’t spend his money
on that.
I later requested for Powerhorse. My first energy drink,
ever.
After three pieces of Chicken, I’d had my feel. If I continued,
I’d throw up. They were on the 2nd round, and third bottle
of Heineken. The military guys were doing the same thing
too.
Mark leaned over, and while pointing at me, he said, “You
are the cheapest friend I’ve ever had to spend on”. But it
was obvious, the respect he had for me from then on, was
top notch.
While leaving Mammy, (we incurred a bill of over 16k) we
passed by the most talked about automobile in camp, the
new Army color 407 parked in front of the Mammy
entrance. Without looking at the car, or stopping, he told
me the car was his.
Which car?
The 407. Without looking still, he called out the plate
number.
I didn’t believe him still.
When we got to the NYSC lecture Hall, we sat there and
continued with our gist. There he showed me his wedding
photos. And photos of the car. They were two. The other
was red, but same make. A wedding gift to his equally young
wife. There again, I also discovered Mark was an employer
of labor. He had 7 graduates working for him, one, an MSc
holder.
He had the platform, but he was a self-made millionaire. I
told him I’d like to work for him after the NYSC, he told me
he’d be honored to have me. But before the completion of
the nysc, I got my first job.
After that day at Mammy, he would always ask me to bring
my female friends (I had them many). They’d join us, drink
smirnoff ice, eat noodles, bread, suya, everything, incur
debts, Mark would pay. They’d eventually beg me for his
number. I rarely gave out, the ones I gave to, came back
defeated. He wasn’t interested.
On the last Sunday in camp, I asked for his meal ticket. I
needed to get extra rice and chicken. And as expected, his
had never been used.
On the Tuesday, the last day in camp. He asked me to wait
behind, he was going to drop me off wherever I was posted
to, before heading out to Abuja. He was not interested in
serving. And he didn’t.
When the posting came out, I had to choose between NFCS
provided bus, or the comfort of his car. Eventually, I chose
to go with NFCS for one single reason.
Twice, he checked on me during service year, on his way to
do necessary clearance or documentations. On both
occasions, he gave me money.
His beautiful wife gave birth to a lovely lovely looking angel.
He sent me photos.
Unfortunately, we didn’t see on our POP. He couldn’t make
it. He came some days later, but I was in training in Abuja
then. We were going to see, but we couldn’t.
We kept in touch for almost a year after, then I lost his
contact. Of all contacts to misplace. . I’m sure he did too.
I’m looking for Mark. He’s from Benue state. Like I said, he’s
tall, almost 6′, has an ajebo skin and very ambitious. If his
dreams have come true, then he should be the owner of the
largest farmland in Benue state, along with is other
businesses.
If you know anyone who knows anyone that knows anyone
who knows him, he should please reach out. I am doing just
fine too, and I need to ask him ONE question

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