I heard horrible tales of my short spell of madness when I eventually became aware of the reality of what happened to me. I should have just passed, but I had to join Sly and consume his eba. The moment he told me he made the soup with marijuana, I became conscious of my actions. I double-checked every step I took and thought through all my moves. I wanted to make sure I was not misbehaving. For every sentence that came out of my mouth, I became over analytic. I explained the simplest of words, and kept reassuring Sly that all was well. At some point, I began to converse with myself quietly. I felt like going to bed but my mind kept fighting it, reminding me that, it would mean I was high. Then after some moments, I started questioning that too, calling myself stupid for even considering the former. I thought within me,
“Abbey, if you are restraining yourself from sleeping because you think it will affirm a state of insanity then maybe you are already insane.”
Apparently, I was thinking out loud. Sly looked at me and burst into laughter, hailing me, “My guy.” I contested his mockery,
“Alaye, no dey use me play. I no high.” He laughed again and awakened my attention to the fact that I was sweating profusely. My body was heavy and light at the same time. Light when I moved, with the feeling that a gentle breeze could bow me away. And heavy when I was immobile, feeling like a burden unto myself.At that moment I knew that I was in trouble, but I never imagined that it would be as bad as they narrated. I was told I wore every wet cloth on the line, checking to see if it they were dried. I didn’t remember anything. In fact, I was told I forgot Friday. Days after, Emem began to call me ‘the man who forgot Friday’. The last thing I remembered was that I was thirsty, eyes red and heavy, and laughing uncontrollably. Every other escapade happened when I was in limbo.
“You have been asleep for over 10 hours, according to Auntie Emem.” It was Aisha welcoming me back to reality as soon as I opened my eyes. I was tired, naked and ashamed. She emptied a takeaway plate filled with egusi soup into a bowl and set beside it a large lump of fufu.
“You should eat, that is the easiest way to get rid of the highness in its entirety.” I was famished but that didn’t stop me from pulling the sheet over my butt. Aisha winked at me, giggling as she set the food before me.
“Ehn en Kopa Abbey, I heard you stripped and dance naked at the center of the compound. Is that so?”
“That is impossible,” I replied faintly. “By the way, why did you have to go out of your way to do this?” I was referring to the food she brought.
“Because I know it is what a man recovering from an overload of igbo needs.”
“Who told you I ate weed?” I questioned.
“Who else? Sly na! Everyone on the street knows. It is like the hot gist at Iya Ai’s joint this morning.”
I was embarrassed. She passed me a bottle of water, and I began to eat. I had my bath afterwards and lurked myself in Aisha’s company; talking and sharing the tales of people who had walked in the same shoes I was in. I lacked the courage to face the boys. Aisha finally persuaded me to step out for fresh air. I was trying to sneak into the corridor when Lameda screamed from the gym,
“Alaye welcome back o.” Before I knew it, everyone had gathered, and I was being interrogated, rhetorically. I didn’t have to say a word; I just had to listen to the story of my insanity. I was told of how I danced naked, spoke many big grammars that made no sense, and took a walk of shame to showcase my talent as a model.
“Baba, you get talent pa!” Larry Combe chipped in.
Emem laughed hysterically, calling me ‘the man that forgot Friday’. I was told of how when I entered my room I began to knock on the door from inside, screaming for someone to open the door for me to get out; an unlocked door. At some point I joined in the laughter. Perry rolled a joint and asked me to take a drag but I declined, respectfully. I vowed never to indulge anymore, and that specifically meant not eating from any of their meals. I didn’t care whether it was laced with vegetable or not. It occurred to me that I could have run mad, been recorded and then posted on the social media with the caption;
“Corp member runs mad after smoking marijuana.”
I imagined how many ill comments that would generate. I felt miserable and shed a tear. I was disappointed. When it was about 8pm, I decided to walk Aisha back to her mother’s shop. She wanted to stay for longer but I didn’t see the need. I was determined to protect her at any cost. After few minutes of persuading her to leave without result, I compelled her to do so, emotionally. I told her,
“This way, I will go ahead and love someone else. You won’t have me now, and you will definitely not have me then. I will only wait for you if we do this the right way.”
She was shocked! She believed me at that moment and I kind of meant it too; perhaps because she was kind to stay with me all through the day. I felt connected to her in a distinctive way. She hugged me tightly after walking her halfway, then kissed my cheek before walking away.
I was woken up by heavy bangs coming from my door. I managed to rise from the bed, furious that I was woken up in such ill-manner. I opened the door and it was the police with Iya Aisha, yelling as she barged into my room,
“Where is my daughter? What did you do to her?”
Aisha didn’t go home the previous night.