As I opened my eyes to a dark and musty atmosphere, I wondered where I was and what I was doing there. I tried to retrace my mental steps to find out what I had been doing and with whom. Is anyone looking for me? Am I missing? Where is Mommy? I wondered how I got to this state, and a thought popped into my head, “What state am I even in, sef?” I patted around me, felt a bed and sighed with relief. Thank God I’m on a bed; that is good news, right? I patted my body and realised that I was almost naked under a duvet. I instantly froze in fear, “What is going on?” I wiggled my legs, and another wave of relief washed through my body as I realised they were not bound. “Nibo ni Mo wa oo Ọlọrun?” I thought. My throat felt like I had swallowed a tipper of sand; my eyes were heavy with evidence of oversleeping. My body ached as if a thousand men had stepped on me.
I tried to retrace my mental steps, but this time I was too lazy to think of faraway memories; I could only hope and pray to regain the memories of a few hours ago. I turned my head in remembrance to the side as they would on Africa Magic Epic; I still have the strength to make a joke, abi? With a little bit of mental exercise, I remembered. I had prepared for an interview for a role that I craved badly. The weekend before, I had made a ponytail style and loved how bright my face had been as I sat across the half-broken mirror in the salon. I remember asking the nail technician to adorn my nails, so I’d look like a money bag. On the morning of the interview, I wore a red dress that hugged my body in the right places without seeming seductive. I had told Mommy that I hoped I get the job so that I could place her on a salary and she would stop working late. She smiled with a wishful expression and said, “Amin omo mi; everything will go as God has planned it.” ordering a ride to avoid ruining my new heels and perfectly made-up face. How could I forget that I ‘stole’ mommy’s expensive perfume so that I could turn heads when I walked into the building.
As I waited at the reception that had a large screen TV that I wished was in my room so that I’d stop watching Africa Magic Epic against my will, I remembered constantly looking at the front desk executive in awe of her beauty and poise whilst thinking, “This is where I should be.” I kept looking at her again as she walked me to the interview room whilst producing my best smile upon seeing my interviewers and future colleagues. The interview, which later became a chat, went well until he walked in. While he was introduced to me as the new country manager, I was frozen with mixed emotions. Why am I shocked, angry and filled with questions? I looked at him and saw the look of shock sitting firmly on his face. I can still hear the questions from others in the room, “Boss, are you okay?” and “Young lady, are you fine?”
I recall being asked to wait as I hurried away as fast as I could before my strength failed me, but it did as I was halted by bumping into a woman – whose face holds no memory in my head – at the reception. As I muttered an apology, she looked behind me and said, “Honey, I came to take you out for lunch.” Curiosity outshone flight as I looked behind to see who she called Honey and realised it was him. He is Honey!! I instantly became filled with so many emotions that I could not identify which was more prominent. Taking a deep breath that had no effect on me, I turned to face him and asked the questions I had been burning to ask for years.
Why? Daddy, why? Why did you leave to go on a trip and never come back to us? Why did I say goodbye to you before leaving for school and returning with the expectations that you would return with a new set of books for my library? Why did I have to look at the gradual changes on Mommy’s face from excitement to worry and finally to sadness? Why did you have to put Mommy through the endless emotional turmoil? How come you never returned all my calls? Why, Daddy?
My wandering ears picked up the sound of gasp from the side, which came from the lips that had earlier called him Honey. I couldn’t take the leisure of shifting my eyes from him in case he disappeared once again. In dismay, I realised that he was lost for words and trying to say something to the other woman and me. Talk about killing two birds with one dangerous stone. He called my name as I chuckled bitterly before turning around to leave the building that I had dreamt of walking into for a 9-5 job a few minutes ago. I kept walking in disbelief until my feet hurt, and I walked into a random wine shop to buy bottles of liquid that would somewhat convince me that it was all a dream. My head was void of thoughts as I ordered a ride to take me to the apartment that Mommy and I call home. I remember drinking until I could not remember.
As the window of remembrance shuts with a promise of its return, I realise that I am safe but in pain, emotionally and physically. As I pondered on the decision to tell Mommy or not, I turned on the light and saw Mommy laying at the foot of the bed. I had drunk myself to near death.
By Ese Esiedesa