It was an unusually hot night. There was no light which was surprising. Since I got home from, NEPA has been suspiciously nice compared to the higi-haga-ishiousness they’re known for in these parts. After half-heartedly watching the England – Italy match, (‘half-heartedly’ because I was distracted by a phone call that turned out to be worth the time) Dad and I began to discuss about the match. About how Pirlo was too sublime with his every move and Liverpool’s really good performance. I wanted to see the Ivory Coast – Japan game but there was church early the next day. After praying, everyone left for their various rooms while I went outside to turn off the gen. In my room, and on my bed, I found it hard to sleep so I decided to read a book on my laptop. Sure enough, I slept off. The room was dark, except for this really thin ray of moonlight from the window. ‘Argghh’. That was me feeling the excruciating pain in my chest. I was used to the pain from a good number of experiences I’d had with this stupid thing I didn’t ask for; but it hurt like hell regardless. I’d slept shirtless so the heat wouldn’t get to me if the room became hot. I ran my fingers through the sheets as I searched for my inhaler (That sheets part is a lie. Man doesn’t lay his bed like that). Searched for it for about a minute and I didn’t find it. Checked under my pillow and it wasn’t there either. ‘Oh no!’. This was going to be a really painful night. I’ve found myself in this kind of situation a good number of times so I had discovered by trial and error, different ways to ‘treat’ myself. One very good solution was drinking hot water. I know it doesn’t actually work medically, but it works fine for me psychologically. So with the little strength I had left, owing to the fact that I couldn’t take in enough oxygen, I dragged myself to the kitchen. I’m used to the house so it wasn’t tasking to find my way in the partial darkness. I went to the water dispenser to check if the ‘hot water’ was still hot. Now that I’m thinking about it, that was a really ‘Super-eagles-esque’ move. Only one option was left and so I lit the gas cooker and placed a kettle on the fire. While I waited for the water to get hot enough, I went to get my laptop and continued reading ‘Deception Point’. Five and a half pages later, the kettle began to bubble so I knew the water was ‘done’. After two mugs of hot water, I sat on the kitchen floor and waited to see if I was going to feel better. Sure enough, I did. ‘Haha in your face Chest pain’ My laptop was dead by now. Sleep was obviously the next thing. While I took really short steps on my way to my room, I couldn’t help but perceive the aroma of this really nice stew Mum prepared earlier. You know that stew that Yoruba people take with Ofada rice? That one that’s often peppery and garnished with all kinds of meat; from shaki to pomo to ‘round-about’ to regular beef? Yeah, that stew. That Iya Basira kind of stew. That stew that Esau sold his birthright for. The same stew that can cure madness and cancer? Yaah, that’s the one. We had eaten rice with the stew that night. In fact, we had been eating Rice or anything that goes with the stew for the past week and were not stopping until it is finished. Surely, you should know it was me that forced Ma to prepare the same meal all week. Many times after she cooked that stew, I found myself, no sugarcoating, stealing it. It was good enough to be taken as a meal itself. Mum caught me once or twice and of course, as the proper Yoruba woman she is, shouted at me. After eating, Mum had told me to put the pot of stew in the freezer but I had forgotten. I’m sure some rats from my school that surely know their way around the country had somehow gotten to my house and taken some of the stew with them to wherever. I turned back for the kitchen and carried to pot to the freezer. The pot was still hot and so a really great idea crossed my mind. Obviously, I don’t need to spell it out that I thought of taking some of the stew. And so, I took a small saucer and scooped some of the stew into it. Sure enough, I made sure there were enough pieces of meat in every scoop. Two scoops seemed fair enough and so I covered the pot and dropped it to the freezer. It was time to get down. Definitely, I was going to enjoy those two scoops with the confidence of 300 Spartans since no one was awake. I took a teaspoon from the dish drainer, sat down on the freezer and said that, ‘Bless this food o Lord for Christ’s sake’ prayer in my head. As I scooped a tea spoonful of the ‘obé –aiye’, in the words of Lord Azu of Hebron, ‘I was like them that dream’ when the unexpected happened. Like joke, Like joke, Like Ronaldo during that Germany match, Like when a rich nigga wants you, and your nigga actually can do nothing for ya, Like Ghanaians after 32 seconds, I thought it wasn’t time, I wasn’t ready, I didn’t see it coming………….. A voice spoke, chillingly close.
“Do not move”