With a deep sigh, I fold the last shirt and tuck it into my bag. Then I zip it up, securing my valuables.
I wear the bag, adjusting it's straps as I listen to the silence of the empty house. This has been my home for five years plus, ever since I had lost my parents. It has sheltered me from the rain and sun, protected me from the world at large. And now, it would belong to the past. Only with my memories.
I've always been an average guy doing the average thing to survive in Lagos Nigeria. I'm not a criminal and I'm not a billionaire either. I make just enough money to put clothes on my body, roof over my head and food in my belly. I'm single and searching, looking for the woman who I would build an empire with and make her my Queen.
That's me, living the average life. Until two weeks ago when I had been severely beaten by rain and my life had been turned upside down.
That night had been a stormy one, one I should have never been out in. The wind had been blowing all day, but still I decided to go on a stroll. I was on my way back when the rain began. In less than ten seconds, I was drenched to the skin. I began to run home.
That was when the lightning struck, zipping through the dark sky and lighting up the world for a second. Then thunder swiftly followed. That was when I passed out.
When I woke up, the rain had stopped, but it was still dark. I was half in and out of flood, and I was still drenched. This could mean two things; either I had not been out for long or the rain stopped not too long ago. Either way, I was only interested in getting out of the cold.
I got to my feet and returned home. Went straight to the bathroom and washed myself in a steaming bath. Then I treated myself to an equally steaming cup of tea to fight off the cold.
It was that very night the dreams began.
I was seeing myself in a foreign country, eating foreign food and playing with foreigners.
When I woke up the next morning, the dream lingered in my memory. So did the aroma of the food.
"Bacon." I muttered quietly. Bacon was something I've never tasted or seen, I had no idea how I could even recognize its smell.
It didn't stop there though, I began to have flashbacks, recalling memories of events I never attended and people I never knew. All in the same country which I later realized to be Antarctica.
I could put names to the faces I saw in my dream. And in my memory, I could recall going to the cinema, I remembered the cold weather, playing with my wife and kids in the snow.
But how is that even possible? I'm single and without kids. And I've spent my entire life in Nigeria. How the he'll could I be having memories of a life in halfway across the world?
Or could it be reincarnation? Am I the reincarnation of someone who had once lived in Antarctica? That could be why I was having these memories that weren't mine.
But I eventually disregarded the idea. I didn't know anyone in my family who had been to Antarctica. And reincarnation passed through bloodline. Or so I've been told.
I tried to ignore the dreams and memories, but with time it became more and more impossible. I could be reading the day's paper, then find myself laughing at an old joke I never heard. Or I could be doing my laundry, then suddenly start crying over an old heartbreak. And almost every time, my nose is assaulted with the sickly sweet smell of freshly cooked bacon.
And as the days wore on, it became harder and harder. I tried avoiding sleep altogether. But it was no good. The memories assaulted me. And the aroma of the bacon clung stubbornly to my nostrils.
Eventually, to save my sanity, I came up with a solution. To get to the root of the matter. And the only way I could do that was to go to Antarctica and find out who owns these memories. Then find out why they're stuck in my head.
I knew that the rain and lightning of that night had something to do with it. But I needed to know one crucial thing; why me?
And now, two weeks after passing out on the street, I've said my goodbyes to the few friends I have. I hope it's not a final goodbye because I would love to return to the country of my birth. But I don't know what I'll find during this journey.
So, with my bag on my back, the smell of the bacon still on my nose, I walk out of the house and slide the door shut. I don't lock it.
I begin to walk towards the street but pause midway, I look back to my home for the past five years. Through the half open window, I can see the emptiness within. There's nothing for me there.
So, I turn and resume walking. Making my way to the park where I'll get a bus to the airport. There, I'll get a plane that'll take me to Antarctica.
This could be a journey, a quest of sorts or even an adventure, I don't know yet. But I do know one thing, I'm on a mission of discovery. Not just to find the owners of the memories, but also to discover myself.
I pray I find what I'm looking for.