THE CHEAPEST COMMODITY

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‘Nice choice of words!’ I marvelled at my own writing and muttered huge thanks when I called to mind, Mr. Akomolede, my eagle-eyed primary school teacher who discovered my remarkable gift in writing at a very tender age.

‘Justina, my dear,’ he once told me, ‘I see the female version of Chinua Achebe in you; keep it up.’

Those little remarks boosted my confidence and I saw myself as a young star back then.

Teacher Akomolede’s expectation became full bloom and in no short time, trophies of different sizes graced the wall of my room.

Fifteen years down the line and yet no single published book to my credit!

My writing flair is still intact, I would cheer myself each time I felt guilty for not living up to my dream of being an author.

‘I would surely surpass Achebe’s writings,’ I bragged to my friends, ‘I will write a world-class novel that appeals to all and sundry, something out of this world.’

One day, I had the privilege of meeting a celebrated young female author whose fame traversed the shores of this country. I picked up a copy of her book and my critical lens swung into action.

 ‘My writing will sure knock off this piece when it is finally published,’ I soliloquized.

My dream book would definitely sail through at the right timing when piracy is completely knocked out and of course, it would be devoid of any form of criticisms.

Ten years down the line… no book attached to my name yet!

At least I can write, I cheered myself; I have got all it takes, the trophies I had received stood as witness to that fact.

Audition! Audition!! Audition!!!  A popular tabloid advertised one day.

Smart guys, I mocked when I saw the ad. They only want to steal ideas from gullible writers.

A month later, the winner of the contest was announced rewarded with just a paltry sum of one thousand naira!

My usual curiosity came to play as I skimmed through the write-up:

The cheapest commodity in the market

With the increasing rate of inflation in the country, a majority of the masses explore shops where they can get cheap products; little wonder why discount shops are gaining much ground …

Recently, I made a discovery on a particular product which several folks are buying free of charge without realizing it!

Talk is cheap. Several people spend hours talking, making resolutions and affirming their visions without actually accomplishing anything…

I froze; the writer was referring to me! Those words shook me to my marrow and just as I pulled my locker to toss the paper, some sheets fell on the floor.

The handwriting was familiar; written when I was just twelve. The title further crushed me and reduced me to a mere hypocrite:

Action speaks louder than words.

Enough is enough! The message is clear; enough of cheap talk; enough of building castles in the air – it is time to act.

If there is any time appropriate for me to write, it is now; because the cheapest commodity most times comes with thorns of regrets.

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