25 : ROOM ALONE

That coward from Camerounian had taken my weed. The weed I had saved all my money to buy. The weed where all my hopes had been hinged had been stolen.

* one bad thing about drugs was that you can’t report that you lost it to the authorities. It was an illegal business and you couldn’t even make noise about it.*

What was the next thing to do?
My heart was beating faster than normal, my blood had gone hot.
I left my door open and went down to the first floor where Johnson lived. As soon as he saw my eyes, he knew that something had happened.

He asked what it was and I told him. He asked me to sit down and calm down first. He brought out a can of becks beer and gave me. He told me not to make noise about it. He closed his doors and we went outside to look for the thief.
I had seen him rushing outside on my way back from where I went to buy the airfreshner.
We searched everywhere but couldn’t find him. On our way back to Johnson’s room, we heard the Camerounians drinking beer inside one room. We knocked and opened the door, the thief was among them. As soon as he saw us, he looked away.
They all stopped talking and looked at us. I called him outside and asked where he had kept my weeds. He denied stealing it.*
I told him that the receptionist said he had taken our key when I went outside, he maintained that he didn’t take it.
Johnson dragged me away from him because I was beginning to shout.
We got back to Johnson’s room and I helped him packaged his own goods.
When we finished, he gave me another 50grams and asked me to pay him up when I had enough money.
That was the only thing that calmed me down because I was not ready to sell for them again and wait for another one month to get my allowance.

In the night, I went up to my room and find the useless Thief on his bed. As soon as he saw me, he got up and sat down. I didn’t say anything, I just opened my cupboard to bring out my knife to cut chicken that I had bought the day before. As soon as he saw the long stainless blade, he jumped out of the room like hussain bolt. It was funny but I didn’t laugh.
I had just found the opportunity to chase him out and own the room all alone.
I came out to the passage and as soon as he saw me, he quickened his pace and vanished. I went inside the house and laughed.
Later that night, a Camerounian called Guy (pronounced Gee) knocked on my door. When I opened it, he said he had come to carry his friends bag. I allowed him to take the bag and some other things that belonged to the thief.

(That was how I got the room all to myself until the day I left the HEIM)

From then on, I stopped keeping my key at the reception. The room belonged to me alone and there was no need to keep the key there. The thief had moved in with Guy. Each time we met on the road, he would be on alert as if I was going to stab him to death. He eventually left the HEIM and relocated to where I never found out. He only returned to take his allowances at the end of every month.

I made almost 450 euros from the weed Johnson gave me. I gave him all the money and he gave me more. Within one week, I returned his credit to him and from the profit I had made, I started my own business.
The room was mine alone, so I didn’t fear losing my goods anymore.
Life became sweeter from then on.

Sometimes I would call Agnes and ask her how she was doing. I didn’t know the whereabouts of Awiti and Melinda, I would have been calling them too.

I called Africa almost every day as well. I talked to Efuah all the time. Sometimes, I would offer to send her money but she always said that she had enough. She just wanted me to be alright. Her pregnancy had reached four months and her stomach was getting bigger everyday. She would take pictures and send to my email address.

By the ending of November 2002, I had saved up over 8000 euro of my own.
I would mentally change my money to Naira sometimes and smile.

Life on the street remained the same. We would go out in the morning and return in the noon. Then we would rest and go back in the evening.
By November, the winter had come. Everywhere was very cold.
The authorities had given us winter allowance of 100 euros. I used mine to but winter jackets and winter boots.
I hated cold, so I would wear three pullover inside before Jacket. I would also wear a tight trousers before putting on my regular trousers.
I had fitted in perfectly into the system and there was no stopping me.
I was the youngest Nigerian in the HEIM at 22. Years, so the older ones such as Jordan who was 35 then and Tony who was 40 then would encourage me to save money. They said that if I continued the way I was hustling for three consecutive years, I would have enough money to live a free life. They were right.

* There was a thread I created sometime ago about where I had been and the people I had meet. someone asked me how I got the money to travel all over Europe. I wish the person is following this thread because I didn’t want to talk about drugs on that thread and I didn’t want to lie either, so gave him no answer. The link to the thread is this www.nairaland.com/1269303/nairalander-poses-tuface-ifeanyi-udeze )

by December 2002, the snow had fallen everywhere. The whole city was covered with white. We wore boots with snow soles because the flat soles were slippery.

On December 29, 2002, the day of our monthly allowance, Agnes returned to the HEIM to collect her money. Her stomach was somehow big. I had approached her and we got talking. She said she had heard that I was doing fine in the HEIM. She said she missed me and that life was not easy for her. I wanted to ask her to return to the HEIM so that I can cover her. I could have been paying her more than the authorities were paying us. I was making over 1500 euros every month.
The problem was that she had taken in. My Agnes was pregnant and the worst of it all was that it was for John the Bighead.
That bastard had won Agnes while I was busy looking for money.

I cried.

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