Mike wanted to write a story, his own story, but he knew better because these types of stories never go right. They were always lacking simpler things. Those little things that made life just a bit more bearable. A quiet home, a family that loved one another, decent friends, mental stability. This was, or still are, what we (Mike) perceive when we think of simpler things. Things like that. In the quaint, metropolitan city of London, this was not the case. Everything was just too much and never enough.

It was 11:30 am. The sky was empty, the streets were kissed with sun rays so intense that made you feel like you were walking on hot coals. Swarms of bodies were draped in ostentatious clothes and corporate ties; pushing and clashing against each other in rapid, fast-paced motions. The traffic from the other end of the main road was coming in, putting Mike, along with the sea of unknown faces, ensembled in front of the pedestrian crossing part of the road. He felt like a sardine in a tight can. The feeling of elbows brushed against him, slight kicks and lower leg jabs felt from down under, made him dizzy and irritated. The musty, perforating smell of odors and pungent perfumes irritated his nostrils, while the blazing sun with its powerful rays brought his dark, rich, ‘melanated’ skin into the traffic’s attention.

Looking at the left, right, then left again, he proceeds to move past and out of the proximity of traffic goers unto the nearest sidewalk. The sun’s rays followed him with rising intensity as the clouds began to slip away, allowing its benevolent rays to kiss the earth. He barely even recognized the sun’s presence, however, or that of anyone else around him. Fully submerged in deep thought on his writing, he slowly became weary while walking at the mere thought of it. The unfinished, crumpled work of prose, squeezed, squished, and thrown into a clutter of other unsuccessful attempts.

Beads of sweat mixed with a slight timidness glazed his face. The streets reeked of hustle and street food vendors nearby. Looking again, like a slightly deranged man, he traversed to the other side of the street that was covered with the shadow of skyscrapers to get a break from the boiling sun. Mixing into a haze of different bodies, smells, and energies, he became submerged in his own thoughts once more. This led to a “tout est devenu flou” moment, as the French would say, but this wasn’t a new occurrence for him. London was never the reality he chose to exist in, neither was it the same choice for the passerby's he found himself journeying around. Economic opportunity, a shot at a ‘better life’, and the interpellated idea of owning one’s mind (as long as it resonated with principals of the bourgeoisie ideology) led every fiber of races and ethnicities to be here and not here at the same time.

Mike always wanted those simpler things that London could just never give him.

j’écris. nigerian, and other associations.

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