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Title: 'Just because my path is different doesn't mean I am lost'

It was never a challenge to me. The challenge wasn't my academic prowess as my father thought; all I needed was focus. In our village, the locals used to say "Gorno surd ayor" which roughly translates as "know yourself and focus", this had been my little slogan since I was eleven. My father had just I and my younger brother,his love for us was divided and somewhat partial, favouring my brother more.

     Daniel was every parents' dream. He was very brilliant and handsome. My father used to say I was lucky to be born, but for Daniel, he said he was born lucky. He topped his class after every terminal examinations. My father's pride, my younger brother, my love.

     I was quite the matyr, my father loathed me to an extent and would sometimes call me a disappointment unworthy of being his first son. He exalted Daniel over me and this soon gave Daniel an aura of superiority. Daniel would sometimes question my orders and say insulting words to me. I didn't blame him much, i didn't expect any less from him of course; favourite son of a favourite son. Sometimes i'd blame myself more, for while my little brother was studious and brilliant, I was the brilliant chap who longed for more than just books and being top of the class. I had great love for money. I had always dreamt of owning a car at the age of 20. So great was my passion that I would sometimes steal my Dad's money to gamble at the local bet shop.

     I was careless and I knew I deserved every right to be in this cell. The torments of the previous night was almost unbearable,the mosquitoes feasted upon my skin and I had the cold of the night to augment my torment. I was here because of my recklessness, because of my passion, my greed, my love for Money. I had used the money my father gave me to register my final Exams to play the lottery, worst still; my father borrowed it just to ensure I didn't miss the exam. I blamed myself, I spent two days in the cell and was bailed by my uncle. That's it, my Dad intended to send me back to the village. I had no choice, The king had decreed and I had no choice than to obey.

     The Journey to my village was such a long one. I had already fallen asleep in the mega bus when we hit a pothole. I jerked forward as though I leapt from dream land into earth. I was unable to sleep again, we soon got to a check point and I finally had a chance to buy some snacks from the Hawkers on the road. I bought some few biscuits and sachet water and was about to pay when I found something in my pockets rather fascinating. It was my ticket, the ticket I got from the bet store. I hurriedly paid for the snacks and looked at the ticket heart-racingly. Two nights of torment in a police cell is enough to make one forget a fortune. I looked at the passenger beside me and asked rather shyly ; "please can I use ur phone? I want to check my JAMB result". She handed over her phone: quickly, I surfed the net for the results of the bets I placed and I found that I had won. It worked, it worked, I screamed, It worked. Every passenger in the bus looked at me as if I were an Allien. The Euphoria didn't last long, fear and paranoia soon set in. I folded my ticket into my pocket as though I had the souls of my loved ones in it.

     As soon as the bus stopped at its station, I boarded another back to the city. My father was a bit furious to see me, to him I was like an infirmity; a wound that has refused to heal. Before he could rant I went on my knees and asked for forgiveness. He seemed rather Adamant and unwilling to forgive. I brought out the ticket from my pocket and told him I just won 25million naira from the money I gambled. He looked me in the eyes to verify the truth of my claim, he saw that I wasn't lying. Tears rolled down his cheek as he held me up. He took me into the palour and sat me down and these were the words that came from his mouth: "I have faulted you and I had always done my part as a parent to discipline you, even now I do not regret my actions towards you. You are almost an Adult now and I expect you to begin to set your own morality, no more an extension of my own morality. You see son, Just because your path is different doesn't mean you are lost".

     The last words of his speech or his apologetic statement as I deem it to be became my new slogan: "just because I am different doesn't mean I am lost"

Author: Onnoghen Emara-atu Nkanu

Title: 'Just because my path is different doesn't mean I am lost'

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