More To LifeA Star Is Born
© Copyright 2021 by Saviour Usoro
the atmosphere lies the sound of expectation. The hoping father steps
on the gas in a pursuit to beat time. The sleeping children awakes
waiting for a call. It was a force I could not resist backed with a
sound of encouragement and comfort. In my peripheral view, I saw
beings walking upside down on green mask and clothing. I began to
wonder where I was and why. None of this made sense to me, I began
crying out loud. I could hear the sound of clapping and smiling
faces. Since I did not know what that was, I was terrified and cried
out louder. It didn’t occur to me, but a Star was born.
While purpose was yet to be brought to mind, existing was we were doing. As a child, when asked what I would love to become in the future, my reply was always I don’t know. Life was confusing and not clear. I played a lot and did not understand the reason for my education. My grades were very low and my parents seemed disappointed and thought I did not deserve to play with other kids but to stay home and study with my seniors. My siblings were considerate and allowed me to play with other kids, but inside me, I knew I was not their type, I knew I was not good like them. I was always wavering while playing with them, and lack of confidence made the opposing team keep scoring the goal. Just because I could not play made them position me as the goalkeeper but still, I was not doing well at the goalpost, I became substituted for a fat boy called Biggy, he did better than I.
I was beside the pitch gathering sand over my leg trying to mold something with it. To my unconsciousness, I was enjoying my own company. I did not collect approval or permission from anyone but to do what makes me happy. I heard someone by the sound of his footsteps when he passed by me and stopped. I did not bother to look but saw the shadow. He asked me, “Why are you not playing with your friends?” I replied, “I’m not good at football” and he asked again, “What other things are you not good at?” I was confused about what to answer but I could hear myself telling him “As long as I try doing something, I always find my way to succeed.” He placed his hands in his mouth and then asked me, “What is your name?” I answered “Henry” “Come with me” he replied.
As little children,
we were taught not to follow strangers but my spirit did not even
think twice and I followed him immediately. He took me to an
apartment where he went inside. I was happy to see the things inside.
A lot of portraits and paintings on the wall, colors on the table,
some molded statues around the place. It was a cool place to be. I
walked around the whole room but, in the meantime, he didn’t
say anything, just wanted me to freely stroll around. I demanded his
attention and started asking for things. First of all, I asked,
“Teach me how to draw, teach me how to make a car, teach me how
to carve.” I was so overwhelmed by the amazing stuff he had.
After eating, he said to me, “Before a person on his own asks
to be taught, that means he has a passion for it” In my mind, I
agreed with him. He showed me a partition, as I went closer, I saw a
bucket with clay in it and he said, “This is a prepared clay,
free from impurities and better than the one you normally use for
molding.” I stretched my hand and took a lump. It was very soft
and smooth. I played with it. After a while, he came to me, took a
seat and asked, “What do you want to become in the future?”
I answered, “An artist” “Wow! That’s good, so
what’s your talent?” I thought and answered, “I
draw, paint, mold, design, and also connect circuits” “Very
good, so you do play around with electronics?” “Yes
Uncle” he corrected me and said, “Don’t call me
uncle, call me Artista.” Artista was the name his friends gave
him. He delights in that name more than being called by any title or
profession. Then he asked again, “What do you want to become in
the future?” Since I had all these feelings of becoming a
scientist, doctor, and engineer, I answered and said, “I want
to become a scientist, Doctor and engineer.” He replied, “Nice
professions.” He understood that I did not make any choice and
I was fascinated by the testimony and hyping of those professions and
also a common expectation of our parents, that’s why I gave him
multiple answers. He smiled and asked me this time, “If that’s
what you want to become, then what do you want to be in life?”
As young as I was, I gave this question a thought but could not
comprehend what he meant. Before I could output the rigorous
processing of my brain; he cut into and said, “That’s
heavy stuff, I think is not for your age.” I wanted to convince
him that I understood what he was saying, we heard some footsteps
from the veranda. We paused to see who it was. To my surprise, it was
my sister that came. I was surprised and asked her, “How did
you know I was here?” She seemed angry and said to me, “For
more than two hours, you left your friends without telling them where
you went and you kept everyone worried about you.” She kept
talking to me and did not recognize the presence of Artista. I stood
up gently and followed her, then I heard Artista said, “Whenever
you are free, you're always welcome.” I answered “Okay,”
but she replied spontaneously, “This boy is very stubborn, he
will not be allowed to come next time.” I thought she would say
good things in his presence but she wasn't helping. Artista answered,
“There is no problem with that.” I suppose she thought
Artista would plead on my behalf but he gave no reply. We were about
to leave when our late watchman son who is currently living with the
landlady named Raymond came in with a piece of sculpture he made. I
was astonished that this boy of low stature would have access to this
resourceful man. Even my sister was astonished by the sculpted hand
he made out of wood; it was nice to look at. I did not know what was
going on inside of her but she kept coming back gently towards
Raymond and Artista. She asked, “How do you know each other and
I’m still wondering how my brother got here too.” Artista
smiled and said to her, “Creative people attract themselves.”
From the looks on their faces, it seems Artista had tried to get
closer to her maybe for a date and she refused, but as confident as
he was, he became my hero because I knew sometimes girls are always
rude like my sister. We ended up spending an extra 15 minutes with
them before we finally went home.
I was on a lap trying to recover from the previous subject we had. The mathematics teacher had focused on me based on my low performance in class. My mother had earlier come to my school and reported my performance, so that the teachers would pay attention to me and help me to comprehend faster. And because of this the mathematics teacher always starts his questions with me. I understood the basic examples at first but as he progressed, I got lost along the way. The question he asked this time, I didn’t have any clue. My feet were shivering and I began to sweat very fast. It happened in the live band of my soul; my heart began pounding uncontrollably. Even to my hearing, blood flowing through my veins of my skull. Silence filled my mind so that there was nothing to say. The whole class had expected this silence from me and burst into laughter. Their laughter threw me off balance and I leaned forth to hold the desk tightly. The teacher began to talk to me, making me feel bad or even worse. He asked, “is there anything wrong with you?” I said, “no.” “Then why didn’t you draw my attention to where you didn't understand?” I was speechless and could not answer. The teacher then turned to the class and said, “I’m disappointed with every one of you that laughed at Henry. You should know that the things you see today are temporary. No state or condition is permanent. Some of you here are intelligent, and as time goes on, you will meet people that are extremely intelligent in their field and you will realize that what you already know will not beat their reach. And also, some of you here are hiding under the shadows of the intelligent ones here.” When he made this statement, I was so happy and concurred with him because I knew someone that laughs at me regularly but his sit partner always tips the answer to him before the teacher gets to him. My seat partner was dummy as I was, although he was trying a lot to comprehend the teachings. Our teacher did not finish with me, he called me out and said, “Pack your books and your bag, go and sit with Jane. Let her be teaching you during break time.” I moved gently with my particulars to her seat. She sat at the back. I was happy for something, not to go and hide under her company but to be free from the front seat. Sitting at the front made me conscious that questions will be thrown at me anytime, which truly was minimized when I went to the back. That day during break, I could not go out to eat or ease myself, Jane spent her time teaching me the basics which I was very grateful to understand. Staying in the class together while others were going in and out pulled more attention that I was a dummy.
can be very funny. Jane's friend Rita from the next class walked to
her and whispered to her hearing, “So, this is your new
husband?” I pretended as if I did not hear her but Jane was
smiling. She then replied, “He is so cute.” None of their
words moved me or was very important to me at that moment. I was
stuck at a particular calculation trying to figure out how to call
her attention, instead, she told me to shift so that her friend, Rita
could join us. The desk became too tight that I wanted to say that it
was not enough but at that instance, I realized the solution to the
math problem. I submitted my papers to her and she marked all correct
then circled five over five. Rita stretched her hand for my book, she
turned to the front and read out my name then returned to the page
that was marked. I was happy that I had improved, at least I was not
like those that hid under the shadow of others.
* * * *
After school activities, I rushed back home to be with Artista, that’s the only place that I can exercise my freedom. He started teaching me basic crafts. I learnt how to make houses with cartons. My parents knew where I was, they did not bother me again. It was as if my mother in particular lost hope in me and casted her burden upon Artista to do the panel beating and babysitting job for her. So, she let go of me to be with Artista during my free time to gain knowledge of his art. On Saturdays, I’ll stay from morning till evening with him without thinking about the house or food. But to my surprise, my sister always brings food for me. Sometimes she calls me to come and eat, using that opportunity to talk to Artista that was somehow ignoring her.
I began to understand the different types of structures. Artista did not just teach me the pattern, he taught me the designs and science behind structures. He said, “The beauty of some structures is not only based on the outside but there are things to consider when building a structure, like the position of rooms, doors and windows to prevent darkness and for good ventilation. There are structures that during the day, it becomes very dark.” I was amazed that I learned something new, but that was not enough. He made a little comparison between the structure he made and the one I made. He said, “Look at your window and doors and also look at mine, what have you noticed?” I could not decipher what he wanted me to see. After a long thought, he said, “Doors and windows all lie on the same height, one should not be longer than the other.” I looked at my structure, the windows were very far away from the door level. Too bad I didn’t realize that early. I began to smile and looked at him as if he was a god for knowing so many things. He knew that he had made me surprised by the new knowledge, he also smiled and left me.
* * *
It's said knowledge is a trap, the man is caught up by the things he knows. I did not understand what was happening to me. Anytime I’m out of the house, my eyes are always fixed on buildings, the type of doors, windows, roofing sheets, also patterns. I got addicted to drawing. I've never sat before to draw a house that looks mature in a three-dimensional form, but this experience that compelled me in careful observations automatically improved my drawing skills. I came to my conclusion that practice does not make perfect, practice makes improvement and discipline makes perfection.
TO BELIEVE IN ME
While the morning sun and the night moon came and gone, my confidence in class gradually increased. My scores began to improve with the help of Jane. Sometimes she uses her writing to answer my booklet just for me to submit it on time with the others. She had a surprising character denying that she did not help me to do my classwork, boldly speaking that I did it on my own. Most times questions will be asked, I won’t even bother to answer even though I know the correct answer. At random, the teacher asked me a question. I was confident that I knew the answer, ready to speak but Jane tipped the answer to me. The teacher caught her this time, she could not deny it. He warned her not to try it again, he said to her, “You are not helping him, allow him to answer, if he is wrong, I will correct him.” Our teacher gave another question and I got it right. I always have the usual attention when I’m called to answer a question but when I get it right, I feel like I’m a hero.
Our next period was current affairs and geographical questions. It was the boys against the girls, but we were all still in our seats. Several questions were asked and the scores were even. The girls were too loud anytime they topped. Unfortunately, the boys had carried the lead with two points ahead. The girls had taken their final question and failed. It was the boys to answer their final question. Our teacher asked, “The Apollo disease is said to be brought by a spacecraft called?” I assumed I knew the answer. The other boys attempted and were wrong. Bonus for the girls, Jane was still thinking with other girls, not even an attempt to answer. I was not sure of my answer but my mind was not in the competition. I just wanted to get it right, I thought to myself, the spacecraft I saw in the newspaper my dad bought is always written as APOLLO. With a low tone, I said, “The answer should be Apollo.” Jane did not care if I was correct or not, she immediately raised her hand and the teacher appointed her to speak. She said, “Apollo.” Our teacher was so impressed and said to the class, “That’s beautiful, I never thought that anybody would be able to answer. Jane has proven her intelligence to the class, because of that I am giving the girls two points.” With the two points, the scores became a draw. While she sat, she started dragging my hand to and fro and embraced me. I was just smiling trying to let go.
The next event that set me up was during our quantitative reasoning. The subject varies from the actual mathematics we do. After a long explanation, the class seemed not to understand, this made our teacher give multiple examples until we understood everything. He instructed us to take out our work book and solve the problems. I took it lightly and slowly because I understood what I was doing. Jane was in a rush to finish and submit. She had answered all the questions, showing them to me to copy but she could not explain how she got the answers. It was as if she was fed up with the math. She decided to submit with the rest and went out for a break. I submitted last and decided to bury my book amongst the ones that had been submitted.
next day, our teacher decided to mark the books. There were lots of
failures, only one boy and I in the class got it all right. The boy
was called upon to do the corrections on the board, while I had to
explain whom or where I copied from. I had this sense of pride
standing in front of the class for outstanding performance but my
confidence was reduced when the teacher threatened to punish me for
lying. If Jane had got it all correct, it would have been said that I
copied from her, but she failed at everything. My confidence was
reduced because I forgot everything on how to solve them, I could not
prove myself. I decided to look at the boy’s corrections so
that I can remind myself. So far so good, I was able to defend myself
even if I was not sure. Our teacher had to order everybody to clap
for the both of us. That activity brought a high look on me, I felt
like a dime among pennies.
My parent's advantage over others
I did not understand what was happening around me. Every other child was mentioning what their parents will give to them if they pass their exams. I heard one person mention water game, I wished I had one. The other mentioned toy car, I still wished I had one. Jane began to tell stories of last Christmas and how her parents are going to take her out to so many places if she comes first. We already knew that she would come first and could imagine all the beautiful adventures she will have.
school, I normally trek back home. I began to imagine the sweet
things my parents will do for me if I pass the term examination. I
wished for what my friends would be having for the holiday, but it
was all a lie. I already had most of these things and I have already
been to most of those places they mentioned. The difference was that
they only had what they wanted only when they passed their exams
while I had mine sparingly or at will. I have been trekking to save
up money and buy toys of my own. My situation was different, I almost
judged my parents for not getting stuff for me whenever I pass my
exams, but sadly, I never pass my exams.
My parents had lost faith in me about school, so they decided to provide all the tools and materials that Artista required I should buy for my learning. They were more interested in art than my normal academic studies. Surprisingly, I made it to the top in class. My last position was 22nd. This time, when my sister collected my result booklet, she did not bother to look at it, we just went our way. I was not sure of what my result would look like. The usual tears that get ready anytime I collect my result were not there. At this moment, being able to comprehend gave me the boldness that the result doesn’t matter. My expectation was either 22nd or 23rd. Being fully dressed in my party clothes, I just wondered what the outcome would be. My friend's parents drove past us and Rita called out my name and waved at me. I was ashamed to wave back; it was as if I was stone-hearted like mount zion which cannot be moved. Her father was not satisfied with the fact that I refused to wave back. He stopped and asked about my performance. My sister waved her head in despair while trying to open my booklet. The man was surprised that she did not even check. She finally opened the page and said, “8th position.” The man tried to console my sister that I would do better next term. Meanwhile, she was already in her happiest mind that I did better. Since I didn’t expect such a performance from myself, it didn’t move me. I thought it was a mistake or someone else’s result. No change had affected me; I was stone-hearted because I knew at this time of the year that I will be shamed or mocked.
At home, my performance called for hugs and celebrations. My mom saw that I wasn’t celebrating, she said to me “smile, you have done it this time.” She used her hands to draw my cheek to make me smile. I couldn’t help but I had to respond. It was the kind of love we all have for our mothers that we should make them proud.
flame of doubt was yet to quench from my heart. I still had mixed
feelings about it because I didn’t care about passing or
failing. When I had hold of my booklet, I didn’t see any red
ink in my book, so I went through the exams booklet and compared the
scores to what was written on the result booklet, it was just the
same, there was no mistake, I was like, “You’ve done it
this time” I discovered something, my confidence was built
somewhere, Artista had impacted my life with his approach of
explaining things. My sister turned to him, I could see the smile
they both released. He turned to me and winked then nod making me
The years are gone by, I’m in the junior secondary level, I’ve grown and began to improve on teachings of Artisto. Raymond was doing fine as well, he taught me some of his tricks and brags that Artista cannot do, which was very true. He taught me how to repair earphones. Joining cut wires does not work, I wondered what special wires they used. He said to me, “The colors of the wire won’t allow the wire to have contact for current to flow when we join them, so we have to burn the wire so that the color coat will melt away and our earphones will have contact.” After he did that, he plugged it into his mobile phone and it worked. I could hear music playing through the speakers. It was an advantage to learn from two teachers and also learning something new.
We were opportune to discuss with Artista that fateful afternoon. Raymond asked a question that I wished I should have been the one to ask. These were his words, “Why is it that whenever my friends ask me to do something for them, it will never be beautiful compared to what I will do for myself?” Artista started laughing out loud, we joined him in the laughter but we stopped immediately to listen to his reply. He said to us, “I never thought these things would happen to you too. First, you were doing it to impress your friends; second, you didn’t collect a dime for the job. When I discovered this many years ago, I called it Artista law because I wanted to be known for making a law or principle. But that aside, truth must be told, you guys must understand what you are doing. To understand something is to break down its meaning so that you can explain or teach someone, that someone is yourself. When you become a professional, you know what you are doing, you can spot where you are lacking, so that you can always deliver the best to your customers.” It was clear that we were just entertainers. Business or making money with our crafts was not in our minds. Artista had closed the curtain of business from us.
have been with him for more than 3 years now. I thought that I should
be very good at some things but I was still little and needed to grow
to understand certain things. The things I do for myself, I take the
risk, I put new ideas and methods into it, I’m aware of the
damage, also not in a rush, nobody disturbs or blames you for an
error. I think these are some of the things that hindered us from
rendering perfect work for our friends. Even though they liked it, we
were not satisfied with the outcome because we knew that we were
better than that.
#She can’t see the Science
behaviors my sister had shown towards Artista, but what surprised me
is that she never stopped showing up. She sometimes sits and watches
what we were doing and discusses with Artista. On this Blesses day,
Artista did not give her much attention, so she sat and watched us
while fingering her mobile phone. Before you get me wrong, Artista
was called Artista not because he studied art but because he was
multi-discipline, I call him Wan shi Tong, because he could do plenty
things. We did not focus only on drawing and crafts making, he was
also good at electronic repairs. This time, we were connecting light
in a carton house I made, one knowledge always leads to another.
Through house construction, I learned room setting and lighting, also
types of roofing. There are other things I learned in the process. My
sister was fed up with the things we were doing, she said, “What
are you guys doing, you guys are just less busy and lack handwork.”
I was very angry after hearing her voice. It moved me to tell her to
go but she left before telling her to. Artista said to me, “She
can’t see the science behind everything that we are doing. For
a while, I’ve abandoned doing certain things until you and
Raymond came and rekindled my spirit. The problem is that some people
see things from its surface and say, oh this is just this, oh this is
just that, like what she just did, she felt that what we are doing
here is just a waste of time but she’s wrong. If she looks
closer and deeper, she will find out the reason you always come here.
Nobody understands life to the fullest.” Artista was more than
a genius, his comforting words were satisfying like a melody.
People will always define our lives by what the society thinks. I was thinking of what the society defines today as talent, so I decided to ask him, “Why is it that anytime I draw or do any design, I always hear people say that I have talent and I should leave the science class and switch to art?” Artista gave me a good reply, he said, “Those that cannot draw or do the things you do will always say that you have talent instead of saying you have passion, you have time, you have tolerance and perseverance. Creativity has been confused with talent. I see a lot of young individuals shying away from creative stuff or anything related to crafts. They refuse to hold a painting brush just because they want to become a doctor. They see themselves as a novice while they see you as a talented expert. I have countless friends that could not even draw a cup, but today they are expert drawing and painting artists.” I was so grateful to hear that, but it didn’t finish there. Here is the part that amazed me. He said, “What people fail to understand is that anything can be learned but when given a choice to choose what to learn, they look at things from the surface and jump to conclusions. Of course, you can’t blame anyone for the choice they make, instead of spending time in the university cramming books to become a surgeon, I can simply go into carpentry.” I laughed when he said carpentry. “What’s funny?” he asked. I said to him, “I can’t do carpentry.” Raymond said the same. Artista looked at us very surprised. He said, “Please listen to me carefully, the table, couches, chairs, fine doors, furniture in your house, who made them? You go to an office and you enjoy the comfort of the furniture; it’s not all about looking at carpentry from the surface and saying it is a poor business, but there’s money in it. The profession is called furniture and upholstery. I want the science people that shy away from crafts and creativity to know that wherever they are, creativity is not something that belongs to the artistic field, it belongs to every field of life. Edward Paul Torrance, the father of creativity, defined it as a process of sensing problems or gaps in information, then identifying difficulties and seeking solutions through trial and error or forming hypotheses.” Paul Torrance was right, sensing and identification is a characteristic every person should carry.
The Great Divide
The vice-versa here is science. A lot of artistic people see the people that are into science as gods because of math solving, technical drawings, diagrams, scientific research, and experiment. But actually, that’s a lie, everybody on earth is a scientist because science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology. Simply put, those in the social world can be scientists. Right now, you’ll agree with me that every person is a scientist, but don’t be surprised that even a thief or robber can be a scientist. He observes the environment that he or she wants to rob, then he goes back, drug himself or smoke, he wears his safety shoe before going for a robbery.” That explanation got my hands on my head, I was so concerned that even a robber could be a scientist without solving any problem in the society or make the society an interesting place to live. I hungered to be careful in observation after that day.
As young and talented as I am, I had a lot of drive to become what I wanted. I wanted to be an inventor doing things that will help change the world, but my scores in Senior Secondary were not good enough. I had ideas of levitation, also different prospects for the future but my scores were too low which was a burden to me. I thought of quitting the science class but when I turned and looked at my friend, I had no other choice than to stay. Physics was a problem but I enjoyed chemistry.
My friend Alex lived in a family of all art students. He decided to study science to break that chain, but his parents came and reported that the school should switch him to science. the school did according to the parents. One thing I learned is that even the system of education cannot know what a person is good at. Alex seldom ran from art class to my class and attended all lectures, his parents could not control him. His aim was not only to break the family chain, but he had passion for it. We discussed so many things that I didn’t even know. I was so happy to have such a friend that will be telling me more things. I found him to be my missing piece because he was good at chemistry while I was good at physics. So even if our performance was low, we had to share knowledge. When I look into our lives with low performance, I can conclude that we should not use grades to check our strengths and weaknesses whether to switch to art class because our performance is not the excuse to switch to art course because deep down, we knew we were very good and open minded to practical work. We had great project ideas to do. That resulted in savings which we use to do our research and personal practice.
At a certain point in life, one’s eye gets to open to realize what he never understood. Alex and I had troubles with simple things we did not pay attention to. I regretted not paying attention to my lapses in physics because I preferred chemistry over it or not paying attention to literature or Agricultural science because I preferred physics and Technical Drawing over others as a major in my life. At a certain stage, we began to understand where to apply the basic things we studied. Even the teachers contributed to our lapses. They did not make the class interesting or encourage us the way they should have. It came to our realization that all things are necessary because you will not know when you will be applying them. I never knew I would need the knowledge of literature but I had books written and ideas of books to write.
I had to share this observation with Artista and his reaction left me in awe. He was kind of angry and said to me, “What are you thinking at your age? You’ve been with me for years and you should have learned from me. I won’t express my hate for something so quickly in case I have to withdraw it. You have to learn everything at the earliest opportunity.” He asked me, “Do you have a girlfriend or do you have somebody that you are jealous of?” I never thought of female friendship throughout my life until he mentioned it, but I didn’t give it a big thought. He made me understand something, I quote him, “Life is full of distraction because life is calling for your attention.” He said this word based on insolent behaviors in the society but those were not the things that bothered or affected me.
Everyone has lapses and holes in their life that they have blended or covered. I was so good at technical drawing that I prepared myself for exams and even not exams period. You see! The subject I love, during exams, I don’t cheat. Either I write very well or I don’t, cheating cannot cross my mind for a second. In other subjects that I’m not good at, cheating will cross my mind because I did not love the course, and I was not able to rely on my cramming. But for the things I love, I will not love to see others cheating. To me, it was too cheap and immature. In other words, other people seeing me cheat in their own best subject will feel the same.
I was happy that my parents got me a new phone. My research increased due to the exposure and awareness I had. I accomplished a lot, I made everything about me to be technical, I set traps and indicators to know whoever touches my stuff at home like a carpet alarm. I had my motivation from the movie world, especially science–fiction, I wanted to live like one. I decorated my workspace with lots of DIY crafts like water fountains. My computer screen always shows blank, pure white, everyone thought I had spoiled it but I only removed the polarizer and fit it to my glasses, so that only I could see what was showing. I had these feelings that whosoever saw the beauty in what I was doing would make me gain respect in their sight.
Everything was going well as I aspire to do more things. I wanted to make a wireless remote-control car, so I researched everything required to make the car and listed them down. I walked with Artista throughout the market and could not find any. I wanted the radio frequency module for the transmitter and receiver, including the motor driver IC (Integrated Circuit). For the rest, like the body I could use an aluminum sheet or carton to form the body and other parts. I asked Artista, “Why is it difficult to find those parts here?” and he replied, “people sell only goods of high demand. And we don’t have enough people that cherish creativity in our society today.” When I got home that day, I was very angry about my locality for not having the availability of tools. I began to compare the state I lived in with other states and I wept bitterly. Luckily, I found what I wanted in an online store and I reserved it in my cart so that I could buy it later because the money I had was not enough. Artista did not have enough with him because of his health challenge and no one in my house was ready to sponsor me to make a nonsense toy car. I would simply say, the older you grow the less the chance to be able to request basic things from parents. I saved up the money within the month and went to place my order. Unfortunately, the product was sold out. The ones I saw were not what I wanted; I became so angry. The thing is, there are a lot of young boys and girls going into innovation to help the betterment of the society but the unavailability of resources, time, and money have become a major setback.
As we were getting older and mature, Artista taught us how to paint. Raymond was far back because he was busy running errands for his mistress. Everybody wants his help to carry out house chores. Nobody cared to ask him, “Are you busy?” They always take him at will for their purpose. I used this opportunity to overtake him and learn more. I started painting on plain sheets. My point of concentration was on landscape, I believed I was doing fine until I saw how terrible I was in painting portraits. It wasn’t an easy task; it required a lot of discipline.
Every day, I kept on destroying papers trying to make perfect. Artista was very angry that I did not keep any of them to look upon and compare my faults so that there will be room for improvement. He later stopped me from using papers because I was conscious of making mistakes and condemning them. He instructed me to use canvas and I did so. I tried painting my sister because she was like a symbol of beauty and her name was Beauty. Along the line, I noticed how the proportion was. It was very terrible. Her face looks fatter than in real life. I knew that Artista will laugh if he saw it, so I took to speed and wash the whole picture and dried the canvas using a hot air blower. For quick work, I painted a flowered vest and pretended nothing happened.
He blew my mind
Artista came in and saw the vest that I painted. This time he did not say whether it was beautiful or not, he gave me no remark. He called me and said, “Let's stroll, I want to show you something.” While I gently followed him, he said these words to me; “I’m losing my mind, I don’t want you to be like me but you can learn from me. You might have heard of bad things I’ve done but don’t judge me for it, take the good things you’ve learned from me along with your life, and don’t allow the bad to overpower the good.” I don’t know why he was making this statement but I kept quiet and listened to him. “I’ll show you a few things that have been disturbing me to show you, we will be visiting some places,” he said. We trekked to a graveyard and showed me, he said, “Here are some books that have not been written, songs that have not been sang, cars that have not been built, lessons that have not been taught, inventions that have not been invented, this is a wasted resource.” We now trekked back home. Along the way, we saw a dumpster and we crossed to the other side of the road and stood in front of it. I was embarrassed standing in front of a dumpster but he didn’t give it a second thought. He gave me a reason why we were there, he said with a gentle voice, “Unwanted things are thrown here but some persons unwanted are other persons wanted. Do not blame this place for what it is, there are stuff we could carry, recycle and make use of it.” I saw computer parts, other electronic parts and he said, “Don’t be scared of the people, go, carry what you want, it now belongs to nobody.” I went closer and picked an old radio. I was very hungry to remove the speaker and create my music box. He continued with me and said, “As you get these things, you are helping to recycle them and also know more about them. I also want you to be familiar with your environment, familiar with objects, working tools, working principles and methods, the position of objects, the position of shops, supermarkets, experience, also the character of persons around you. When you’re in need, your brain makes an emergency response and you’ll know the kind of friend that will help you, the kind of tools for a particular job, the kind of shop you get that which you’re looking for. This is the difference between an expert and a professional. It requires practice and focus.” I was like wow when I heard those, it moved me, but I wonder why he was telling me these things.
Few yards away from our street, Artista passed by a girl and said, “Your perfume is not a waste.” She stopped to clear her hearing. Artista said to her, “It's likely to be very expensive.” She smiled and said, “Thank you.” I moved a little bit further to give them privacy. I could hear him loud and clearly saying, “I’ve seen beauties that can be washed with soap and water but yours can’t be washed.” I was thinking he made that statement because she was not wearing make-up but I supposed he saw me wash the canvas that I painted my sister’s. I was destabilized and my heart began to shiver as my face seeks for a hiding place. while I waited for him to finish, he asked the girl for her number and she requested, “Bring your phone let me input the number.” Artista kept blowing my mind with his reply, “Just say it, I’ll memorize it.” I could see the expression of amazement on her face. She said it and he quoted it with confidence.
Ideas (Mental Picture)
I was busy trying to perfect my drawing because I heard artists can’t draw themselves. Artista was just on his own not paying attention to me at all. He looked as though he was in deep thinking. I said to him, “When I look at you, you are always thinking, why?” He smiled and said nothing. I went closer to him and asked, “Why is it that you are the only one that’s always telling me things, my sisters and brothers don’t discuss reasonable things with me.” And he said to me, “Anytime you look at me, I’m always thinking because an idea is a mental picture, they come to me, I don’t go for them, I don’t know about you. Then secondly, why am I the only one telling you things is not what you meant, your family will support you financially, love, and attention but what you were meant to be in life attracts the kind of people that should be in your life.”
Arista has made me get the girls' attention. But there’s a problem, I have this feeling that I sound boring in their presence because all I talk about is science and technology. I believe I’m not the only one passing through this. When I passed this information, he asked me, “Have you used your creativity to attract someone?” I said yes. He replied, “Then you are boring. The majority of boys watch Hollywood, play video games while the majority of girls don’t play action games and watch Nollywood, Bollywood, or Hollywood movies. So, when you are inclined to one side, you won’t be able to please everybody or be romantic. You suppose they should be on your side because you are thinking, talented, and you have plans for yourself. It’s not supposed to work that way, be free so that you will not find yourself judging anyone. In the other way round,” he whispered, “they are intimidated with your potential, saying this guy should just change the topic for a moment.” I laughed out loud. While we were talking, Artista friends, two male and one female came in. They waited at the door until we finished. They were giving him deep hugs asking if all is well. He answered, “I’m okay.” This is the first time I met them. The first one came to me and asked, “Do you think the ladies will do good in a mechanical job?” I replied sharply, “No, I don’t think so, they won’t have the strength to carry heavy loads and handle heavy machinery.” He smiled and said to me, “So you think like them, one of the problems we have in the society is that we have this false sense of reasoning that mechanical work is for men because it deals with strength. Look at me, I’m a mechanical engineer, I try to deal with work stress so that I can have more energy to continue with other stuff. So, I look for easy tools to reduce my efforts and some people mock me for being lazy but I always finish whatever I’m doing on time. The founder of Microsoft once said, ‘I choose a lazy person to do a hard job because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it. It is the same thing applicable to the girls, they will always find an easy way to accomplish the same thing you use strength to do.” I was very happy for that guy, making me not to believe in my strength too much when people are using alternatives to solve their basic problems swiftly.”
THE HARDEST THING CALLED CHOICE
I tried to be consistent in my studies and obtain good grades but something was missing. An unanswered question in my mind, kept on ringing louder and louder. The volume increased as I am about to finish my secondary education. The question is, “What do you want to be?” This is a question I can’t share with my friends or family, I had to share it with only Artista because he was my guide. I asked, “I’m now interested in so many professions and I know I’m good no matter where I find myself, but I don’t know what I should study in the university.” He answered, “To whom more is given, more is expected. You are now being trapped by what you are good at, your new name is Jack, Jack of all trade master of all. What you want to study in the university is left for you to decide, but that does not call for you to abandon the things you have known. Remember how you used the knowledge of development in technical drawing to make package design, especially the way you made a cone with ease. In life, we don’t stop learning, there are times you have to unlearn and relearn new things. You were taught three states of matter but in the real sense, they are more than three.” Artista said a lot but he did not give me a clue on what I should do. I was good at building drawing, and my friends already supposed I should study civil engineering because I was good at it.
The First time I cried after years
I got depressed for days trying to figure out what to study so that I’ll be known as a specialist in a particular field. It cost me an emotional breakdown just to figure out what I should do. I had a headache and was very weak. Artista asked me a question on the first day we met, he asked, “What do you want to become and what do you want to be?” This question kept ringing in my mind.
On a Friday after school was dismissed, I was to go home early by 2.00 pm we normally dismiss but I stayed till 3.00 pm due to body weakness, I did not understand what was happening to me. I told Alex to drop me before going to his house. He was chatting with other friends and did not pay attention to me, and my mind was not on any of their discussions. While we walked together, I slipped away to my house without them noticing. I dropped my bag, took my bath, and just sat on the couch as if I was glued to it. My sister was looking at me as if I had some scars on my face. I did not have an appetite to eat so I decided to dress up for the workshop to meet Artista, somehow, he will restore my right state of mind. When I got there, I saw his friends standing outside trying to make calls. I entered and met Raymond inside and he shook his head the very moment he saw me and said, “Artista is no more.” I asked, “What do you mean?” He replied, “The Doctor said he has less than three months to live, so nobody knows his whereabouts but he dropped a letter for you in particular.” He handed it over to me and I pocketed it. Immediately his friends and my sister came in and explained what happened, “Your teacher was diagnosed with heart disease and it got worse. He was given a few months to live or he can raise money and get himself a new heart. He had not shared it with us early until things got complicated. He was asked to bring $6 million; we tried our best to raise up to 4 million and we don’t know where he is. He had planned on committing suicide and give the 4 million to an orphanage home, since then we have been watching him but unfortunately, he slipped away from our hands. You don’t have to cry, you are now a mature man, this place will now be under your care.” I began to shed tears heavily, my sister rushed and held me tight to herself. The rest of the ladies came to console me, but his friends were busy saying, “Let him be, he has to cry he also said to me, you are matured now, we pray worse should not happen so that the police can find him very early.”
After crying, I tried to hold myself to go home. My sister was strong when she was with the people but secretly at home, she was weeping every day and was depressed. I had to be strong before opening the letter but I think I was not ready for that. I shed tears anytime I thought of him. After a few weeks, I opened the letter. He used a calligraphic pen to write the words.
“Hello Ray, I’m sorry that I have to leave without saying goodbye. I waited for you at the normal time you dismissed from school but you didn’t show up. You’ve heard my story, please console yourself and move on, the difference between the living and the dead is purpose. You are living, so you have purpose, but I’m already dying, just few weeks to live. My greatest achievement is you; I’ve taught you everything I’ve known and opened the doors of knowledge to thy path. Do not withhold your hands from working because they are needed in the society. You will be working alone most of the time and will always need sponsors. Take my advice and succeed, do not wish for sponsors or attention. After creating your product, multiply it, sell it and subdue the market. If you put your trust in people, you will fail and still become average. A lot of people create their local product and get into the news and after, their story is no more. I want you to learn this principle, multiply and gain control of your market. Peradventure, sponsors, or investors come your way, take it as a blessing. Whatever you think, think bigger, and be open-minded, all you do is for the betterment of society and the world. There are lots of problems in the world to solve. War has been a major problem, climate change. I think you can’t solve it all by yourself. This generation might not support talent and creativity but you have to raise a generation of people that will support creativity. All the creativity and innovations are for society but you have to create young artists that will continue the process of inventions and innovations to solve problems and make life worth living. I humbly request you to do this in remembrance of me. Let my memory be passed down.
I felt very bad after reading this letter and regretted staying in school more than the time I should have that day, but this letter contains so much wisdom to adhere to.
My Parents Action
Beauty was also emotionally broken down, she missed him just as I did, but when he is around, she always makes it difficult for Artista to talk to her. My parents came back from their trip to learn what happened. They immediately put me under watch; if I want to go out, the security will ask me several questions before allowing me to go out. My parents further alerted the school about my situation. Once in a while, the principal would come around and ask of me. Already I began to heal and was ready to resume work at the workshop.
I finally had to decide on what to study. It was not easy for me to think it through. I thought of every possible profession just to realize that it is about putting food on the table and catering for oneself. Right from then, I decided to become an artist, not as someone that draws or paints but as someone that makes beauty. Beauty, not appearance but aesthetics, extraordinary values. For example, man made a chair for rest, the extraordinary value came as he refuses to settle for less and apply foam at the top for comfort. This became my belief of who an artist should be. I also thought Artista believed in that, that’s why he calls himself the name. For those of us that are conversant with programming, I define Creativity is the CSS of every profession.
Being an artist was not a profession, it was a disguise of duty we all owe to whatsoever we are doing or thinking, but I needed a profession. When I looked into my gallery, I had a lot of dry crafts stocked there and there was no place for more. Some of the electronics began to malfunction because I’ve not visited them for a long time. This became distressing and I cannot stand myself losing the money I spent on crafts seeing them getting spoilt. I thought of selling them but who was ready to buy my stuff as a whole product not taking the parts individually to sell. A lot of young innovators out there experience the same. They need funding to try and do things. I gave it a thought and decided to come up with an online store where entrepreneurs, innovators, and inventors will showcase their product for sale and someone will buy it. The idea sounds great, but I needed programming skills to do that. I went on the internet to check the requirements and alternatives to make an e-commerce website. When I found it, I decided to start learning how to code.
For that reason, I finally had my decision to study computer science which I became proud of. Wait a second, I was just missing something. I took sides by selecting subjects that I should function actively in with tremendous effort to improve myself but I’ve never put that kind of effort in Computer and I’ve never failed that subject. I’m always the one topping in class. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? When it comes too easy, we neglect them because we love adventures and complexity. It took me almost three months to finally put the website live on the internet. The website was called PROSPECT because I knew the future of the world was in it. So many believed that knowledge of computers is now essential for this modern age especially when applying for a job.
While the website was up during the day and night, I had other teens working with me to monitor the activities. On the other hand, I had to do Artista a favor by teaching younger ones the things he taught. I always believed he would be grateful in the grave.
Not long enough, my sister got married and had her first child. She came over to stay with us while her husband was away. That evening, my parents were about to go out with their car to visit a business partner. Along the way, they stopped and talked to someone which I did not recognize from the balcony. I later went inside trying to calm the baby while I was sitting on the computer. My mirror was beside me that I could spot my beards growing, I smiled and was grateful that I had gone far. I said, “Thank you God”. For an hour, my parents were outside with this man.
I heard my parents directing the person where to enter to come and meet us. So, I stood to check who that was. I opened the door, the man dressed in a suit as though preparing for a wedding with a strong perfume. He looked familiar and I was wondering where I had met him. He smiled as he walked in and sat and decided not to say a word. He smiled at me again and I could recognize his left winking. I was scared thinking if I saw a ghost, it was Artista himself. I said to him, “Is this you?” he nodded followed by the motivated sound of his voice, “What did you expect?” I was shocked to the core and held my face for a few minutes and he said to me, “I’ll explain later, where is your sister?” I took him to her room and knocked, “Sister, somebody wants to see you, a good friend of yours.” She answered, “Come in” Artista collected the baby as he stopped crying followed by a smile. I was surprised by the baby's response. We went inside. When she turned from her mirror to see who it was, she did not need time to recognize the person, she looked down and did not say a word, either him. She began to weep soberly. He asked, “Beauty is that you?” She replied with a cracking voice, “It’s me.” He asked again, “Then why are you crying?” She answered, “Nothing, nothing at all” She stood up from her seat and rushed to embrace him. I was like, “Hey girl, you are married” She started to pour out angry words, “Why did you do that, why couldn’t you let us help you before leaving or disappearing. At least we were there as a family to back you up. Every day, I thought of you wondering if you died like that. You’ve impacted my brother and you’ve impacted my life. You taught me managing skills through the letter you gave my brother, I secretly read it.” Artista was pleading with her and said, “I almost died, you should be considerate for seeing me alive again.” She replied, “I know you just wanted to stay away from me because you were scared of marrying your student’s sister.” At this point, I had to pull over so that I will not hear what I’m not supposed to. Artista looked at me and I began to wonder, “Is it not the same girl that gives Artista a tough time to communicate with despite the countless break-up she had had with other guys.” Artista said to her, “You did not even bother to ask how I survived” I came in again to hear the story, he took a seat with my sister while I sat on the mattress to listen. He proceeded, “When I realized that I had a few weeks to live, I looked for necessary impartations to give to your brother. On the other hand, I was losing my mind and began to talk anyhow and behaved like one that lost his sanity. I wanted to commit suicide instead of dying in pain. But suicide is more painful. I looked for a place to do it and I found a garden of many flowers with trees. I snuck in and started the process. I realized someone was folding hands looking at me and I stopped and he said, ‘Before I get you up there, come down and get this shovel from me lets work’ I silently came down and collected the shovel. We did a lot of transplanting and watering that afternoon and he paid me. On my way out, his wife came after me and said that I should come. I followed her to the house and they served me something. He told me his story of attempting suicide because of bankruptcy but found out that there is more to life than suicide. So, he wanted to live peacefully and built himself a garden called Eden. I stayed with them, and also went out to see if I could get a loan to carry out the operation. I have no parents, so I went to an uncle that abandoned me with boldness to complete the 6 million required. He refused to give me so I said to him, I’ll give you when I grow up. He was rich enough to give me what I wanted but stingy. By pity, he gave me part of it. I also asked the man’s son suit and dressed nice asking for loans. It wasn’t up to three weeks I had the money complete. All this happened at the Federal Capital Territory. I went to the hospital specialist to get the surgery done and I was scared if the doctor would do the wrong thing and I did not want to die again. I fearfully signed and the agreement was done. The gardener visited me and gave me all the supplies I needed and I could stay with them for a while.” Such a touching story, she said, “Why didn’t you allow the people that loved you to help you?” And he replied, “I was not ready to carry my problems to any house. Just check out this fine building you guys are living in now; it costs more than the surgical fee. Do you think your father would have given up all his hard-earned money for a common artist like me?” There is truth in his words, I have to close the curtains here because the morning flowers that blooms at the rising of the sun has fallen asleep.