Eighteen months ago, Ducat and Mercy shared the same front seat in the popular Hiace transportation bus from Onitsha to Lagos. It was Ducat’s first trip to Lagos and Mercy was returning to Lagos after a short holiday to see her mother in Onitsha.
“Driver please don’t forget I will drop off at Ojudu/Berger bus stop when we arrive Lagos.”
“Relax my friend, we never even start the journey, I tell you say, I go drop you there, no worry my friend” the driver hummed to Ducat.
All through the drive from Onitsha to Benin city, Ducat slept. He snored so loud. Mercy had to readjust for most of the journey because of his drooping body towards her and bearing the weight of his body on her lean torso. At one stage she pushed him gently over to the other side. Mercy understood what it meant to be a tired soul. She has been in similar postures and wasn’t harsh on him. At Ore, during the brief stopover for food, Ducat awoke. He dipped his hand into the breast pocket of his shirt and brought out a piece of paper and stared at it. Mercy excused him to get off and catch some fresh air. Ducat followed suit.
“Why are you so anxious” Mercy asked Ducat.
“I don’t know. I guess because it’s my first time of visiting Lagos and I hear Lagos is a very big city.”
“Well, so is Onitsha. If you have lived in Onitsha then you shouldn’t be intimidated by the size of Lagos”.
“But it is a new experience and I cannot seem to handle it well” Ducat whispered. Ducat didn’t want people to know that he was a JJC (Johnny Just Come).
Mercy was astonished at such transparency.
“My name is Mercy and what’s your name?”
“I am Ducat but my tribe’s name is Ndubisi”
“Who gave you the name Ducat? It is a very beautiful name. I love it.”
“Well during one of my travels to the future, I thought that I needed a name that would transport me to my destination in life and no name befits me better than, Ducat”.
“Wow, what does the name mean?”
“Gold coin, and since I plan to be a vendor of precious metals and stones, the name befits me”.
Mercy was genuinely intrigued at how someone would travel to the future and that was the beginning of a friendship that would transcend gender and boundaries.
Mercy worked at a restaurant in Ojuelegba, one of the suburbs in Lagos State. She didn’t earn a lot but her job provided her with accommodation, food and little money. She was saving money to get herself prepared for the university. She was thirsty for knowledge. She wanted to be a graduate. How that would happen she did not know, but she had faith that it would come to pass.
Thus, they were united in faith and hope.
Ducat settled down to hustling life in Lagos. He worked different jobs at Lagos. He worked as a bus conductor, as a mechanic, in the ports as a loader, you name it, just to keep it going. He hadn’t struck it yet. Mercy kept telling him to zoom into a pathway and pay the price to success rather than being a jack of all trade and master of none.
On one of those Fridays when he went to visit Mercy and for his month end rendezvous, Mercy asked him whether he has made up his mind on what he wanted to do. He replied that his desire would be to work for an automobile firm like BMW, Mercedes or Toyota where he would rip cars to pieces and re-assemble them, fix the cars and build engines. His only fear was that in Lagos, he stood little or no chance and Mercy kept telling him, when once you zoom your mind in to this, leave the rest for fate to course out.
Their relationship blossomed and grew. They had each other’s back and they were bonded by their dreams and desire to succeed in life despite their humble backgrounds. They both knew that the biggest mistake they could ever make was to cheapen themselves to live that low life and mortgage their future. They didn’t know where life would drift them but they were all waiting for an opportunity to strike.
Mercy had decided that she was going to take a leap of faith to buy the entrance form to the university and study for the entrance exams. She had nowhere near enough money to last her a term, but she kept believing that hope will see her through somehow. Ducat promised to give her all the support he could offer and they hoped for the best.