And time stood still


My state of mind as I type this is like it is when listening to a goddamn beautiful song from the past. You go back in time to a period so wonderful and unforgettable that you feel like savouring or seizing the moment and putting it in a timeless jar. You shed a tear when you realise that time can never stand still.

Date: 26th September 2006, afternoon hours in Gboko. Benue State Batch B, NYSC Orientation camp closing day. The impressive passing out parade graced by the deputy Governor just ended. Photographers anxious to de-stack are working on the double trying to convince corpers to collect their unclaimed pictures for half the price. All types of buses and taxis with their destination written on cardboard papers and smartly stuck on their windscreens litter the camp ground waiting to convey corpers to their place of primary assignment. Corpers themselves are doing a last minute property check. Bags now stored in a safe place temporarily or strapped on the shoulders everyone proceeds to fall in by number (form lines) one last time to collect primary assignment posting letters.

Excitement is in the air and Jokes on possible postings are sprayed back and forth. Finally the unknown becomes known. There are screams and shouts of joy, unhappy faces and indifferent ones in equal measure. Phone numbers are exchanged and question and answer sessions start all over the place. Suddenly everywhere starts to look like one noisy Jankara market scene. Ironically as I valuably gathered in the next three hours here is to turn into a graveyard. A total contrast to the activity ground it has been for the last three weeks.

The mammy market people and the locals watch us in amazement. Wide eyed like kids deeply engrossed in ant colony observation. Business is effectively over for them, they’ll miss the money but they’ll miss our company more. I find a seat at one of the joints, away from all the madness and I notice the Madam in charge is at the point of tears. Her facial expression is a mixture of fascination and sadness. Fascinated like a student just put through on how to solve a hitherto hard and time consuming maths question and saddened like a newly wedded bride whose husband has just being carted away to join the army.

The saying goes that on this day all three week romances end and all contracts are effectively terminated at the camp gates. I observe a love or lust struck girl following her hunky boyfriend about like a small kid does his mother as he makes his moves to leave the camp. And I shake my head and ponder the wonders of the human hormones. I got involved in a three week old…or two week old relationship as well and later on I’d have a rather formal parting with B. A poor ass one compared to the parting kiss of Chinedu and Joan of Big Brother Nigeria on eviction day.

Corpers bid farewell to each other, friendship crews are dissolved and everyone, the popular and unpopular on camp alike, goes scampering about looking for a ride to help them kick start the next stage of their service year. I munch my buns and gulp down the last bit of my Fanta Orange drink and then I bounce…or literarily hop on the bus. Vex not that it wasn’t the traditional parting whisky shot, I’m drink shy.

The Matrix’s “bullet time” move is the perfect example of time standing still. Brilliant!

Comments (4)

This was one hell of a write up. Brought a tear to my eye. Filled me with loads of nostalgia.

I could go over those 3 weeks again and again and again and again and again and again and again...

thanks man...your comment means a lot to me. first time i'm doing the descriptive/narrative writting ish. glad to know at least one person felt me.

yes i too could go over those three weeks again and again and again…

I've heard a lot about those NYSC romances...
Very interesting...please fill us in oo
lol...see my nosy ways..
have fun ciao

Trae this was beautiful!!! I was taken straight back to my own end of camp...well done