Pure bliss it was, the land I grew up on.
It all started the day I was born, in the shittiest part of town. Coming out of the warm comfort of a womb that seemed to provide everything I needed in life, I already felt bad. There was wailing and crying and gross sadness. The little me could not comprehend this new vastness. Air rushed through my body like the sound of bath curtains on a ghetto rail. Sounds, ever so loud, reverberated my ever so tender membranes. The doctor held me upside-down – only he knows what he was looking for. As if the initial initiation into Earth was not enough, as if my incident pain and tremor was not enough proof of life, he sought to smack my butt (aah, that’s what he was looking for! damn perv). As his hands approached, appearing rock solid in my then primitive vision, he slipped and fell. That was when the city first introduced himself to me. “I am Port Harcourt”, he said, “and I will be your city”.
Growing up, Port Harcourt showed me life as it was in a vibrant city. Not being a dense metropolitan, nature had its course. I was greeted every morning with a fresh breeze, dew on my garden and a bright morning sun that never blinded the eyes but happened to be a doctor dishing out Vitamin D and curing Jaundice. Getting around during weekdays was fun because there was no N.S.E.W coordinates. Getting to school was a permutation of turns and landmarks which changed with respect to the economic state of the country. The morning sun gives way for the afternoon sun which cleanses your pores naturally by making you sweat profusely. Proactive ain’t got nothing in Port Harcourt’s afternoon sun. The evening time comes with a game of soccer played bare feet. There’s something about playing soccer bare feet that connects you with the land which gives you the space to hone your skills. I and Port Harcourt slowly became one. I am him and he is me.
Demographically, the people are excruciatingly nice. Port Harcourt had so many friends. Once I introduced myself to anyone and I said I knew or was from Port Harcourt, a sudden joy kindled in their hearts. This obviously infected to people around and me too.
Port Harcourt taught me how to speak, run, climb, jump, sing, love, care, dream, swagger, be lazy, street intelligent, eat, slangs, respect, work, power…waaaaah! My memory fails me. But Port Harcourt taught me all. A city where everything and anything was possible. A city where every man is his own country: a territory, security forces and military, intelligence agencies, economic system, allies and enemies, power generation and distribution industries…yes, one man has to have these and some more to survive at par. In all these he still kept the fun coming. He gave me the nickname “Yaasky” and I nicknamed him “PH City – The land of Purple Haze”. The city I grew up in.