He used all his week’s pay to purchase the ticket from Miami to New York City (NYC). It was an opportunity not to be missed. He has been away from home for twenty years. He didn’t go for his dad’s funeral and couldn’t make it for his mum’s funeral due to immigration restrictions. Finally, when the national convention of his tribe’s people was convened at Marriott hotel he had saved three months wages to pay for the hotel, flight and spending money.
He has been in the US for twenty years and the only thing he knew about NYC was from newspapers, internet and the news. This was going to be his moment to explore NYC and make new connections especially with his kinsfolk.
He has been living alone for the past twenty years. The lady he married in order to secure his papers showed him hell. He literally lived and worked for that girl- Shameen her name was.
Anytime his phone rang and it was Shameen, his heart would skip a beat. He still remembered the last awkward moment with her.
It was about 6.30am and his phone buzzed. He was on his way home from work.
“Hey, how are you doing?”
“Very well thanks, yourself?”
“I would have been better if you had at least replied my last call to you.”
“You know I work nights and it is crazy out here. Anyways I am sorry. How can I help?”
“I have just seen the car I would love to buy” Shameen said.
“Are you there?” Shameen asked.
“Then why ain’t you saying something?”
“What am I supposed to say?”
“Anyways I would like you to get this car for me.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I am saying that I want you to get this car for me.”
“That is not part of our agreement. Where on earth am I supposed to get the money from?”
“I don’t know. You are working I guess.”
“I ain’t getting you no car. Everytime I get a call from you, it’s always to ask for one thing or the other as if I owe you. This is not even part of the agreement we had.”
“Well, I will leave you to decide when you want to make the purchase, otherwise you gonna see your black butt on the plane back to Africa.”
“You know what. I am tired. I am fed up. Call ‘em up. Tell them I am an illegal immigrant. I got my bags packed and I am ready to get back to Africa. By the way where are you from if I may ask?”
Ntokon was sick and tired of being drained by Shameen. What crime did he commit? Was he the only illegal immigrant in the United States? Was that how other people were being treated? Since he got into this arrangement, he has spent over USD40k on this project with this lady. The initial contract was for USD15k. Why was she so heartless? Why was she taking advantage of him?
Things took a nosedive when they went on a supposed family holiday and they stayed in Hampton Inn, Atlanta. After taking some photos in the room, Shameen fell on the bed and slept off. Ntokon woke her up to go to her room and sleep. She said they should get down and he refused. Things were never the same for him after that denial.
His mind flashed back to the hot exchange they had.
“Are we not supposed to be a married couple?”
“Yes we are but that was not part of the deal?”
“Why can’t it be part of the deal now?”
“No, let’s stick to the terms and conditions.”
The look on Shameen said it all. ‘I will make you pay for this. You will pay for this dearly’ her exit seemed to announce.
Since then it has always been one demand or the other.
When Ntokon finally wrangled himself free from her claws. He vowed never to get entangled with any woman from the States. He knew it was an unfair judgement to make but he preferred it that way.
It took him 10 years to get his papers and he has been studying and recuperating from the emotional and psychological torture of the bygone years.
He was ready now for a fresh start. At 43 he looked well enough to pass off for a 35 years old.
At the ballroom of Marriott hotel, New York, the drummers from the warrior tribe began to drum. Different people went to the stage to dance. People displayed their flexibility. Waists bent and shoulders stooped in a mimic of the war dance. People applauded. A particular guy, Mbueze did such a magical performance as he danced such an authentic dance.
Ntokon stood up from his chair. He felt nervous. He took a step to the stage. He shot out his chest. He arched his chests. It felt so stiff. His body was in trepidation. His flexibility was almost nonexistent. He removed his shoes, took off his hat and began to jump. He did the circle dance. He stopped and bent down and dug it in. His body was on fire. The drummers and flautists stepped up the level, and he was seized by the spirits. He danced until he forgot his name. People joined him at the stage and some sprayed him money. He was like a lost son who has just come back home. At one stage he was the only one dancing on stage. The MC grabbed the microphone and thanked him for such a spectacular performance. However, he was clawed to the stage.
“What’s your good name sir?”
“You danced so well.”
“Where did you learn to dance like this?”
“I used to belong to the Ndaeze cultural dance troupe some twenty odd years ago. We used to dance for a living.”
“Twenty odd years ago?”
“How do you still maintain such dexterity and flexibility?”
“Unfortunately, I haven’t danced for twenty five years. The last time I danced was during my last outing in Aba and since then I haven’t even moved a step, though I see myself dancing in my dream many times.”
“Wow! So this is your first dance in twenty five years?
“Yes sir. It’s my freedom dance.”
The crowd erupted into a cheer. The war dance music came back on even though it was drowned by crowd’s cheer.
Ntokon did the acrobatic dance and the crowd joined him.