Balikis responded unnecessarily cold as she bade her ‘first love’ (as she fondly called him) good bye. Saying ‘good bye’ wasn’t one of the usual; at least; for her. It was as if her ‘tendered’ tender heart practically got pierced into flints. It was indeed ‘tendered’. August 9, 1999 was a date she would never forget pretty soon. She had been waiting for a week for the post office official to bring her much anticipated admission letter. She had long craved to gain admission into the Premier University. It was unusually unsurprising when she left her mother’s hut around 6am to await the arrival of the post man.
The sonorous rhythm of her joyous poem turned sour and she was wholly at tears when she discovered the post man was no longer coming to Iroko Village until the next Monday. It was as if her heaven was closed. She was still soaked in tears when a young charming man walked up to her and effortlessly torn part of his wrapper for her to clean her tears. It was as if she was in a new world. It was no later than 2 days that the whole village felt their escalating love escapade. She was indeed in love with the chief Priest’s son! She gave in almost immediately. Her innocent heart was indeed ‘tendered’ by her.
Their ‘under-the-mango-tree’ love was the trending gist in all nooks and cranny. The absence of the post man was actually a blessing in disguise. The ‘love birds’ were always seen cuddling and staring at one another. She was always checking the admission letter and counting her fingers. September 20, 1999 was practically on her mind and as days were rolling off, she was gradually undoubtedly unsure if she indeed wished to go to the Premier University at the expense of her scintillating ‘heaven-on-earth’ love. The decision was a hard one on her. It was a fist between her thirst for higher education and her ‘ever green’ love. As she was saying good bye, the charming face of Gbade was fast evaporating into the thin ‘smoky’ air as the ‘smoky’ lorry conveying her zoomed off. She wrote Gbade for four weeks consecutively and same letters were correspondingly replied.
Her first week at the Premier University made her rechecked if she was indeed or had ever been the dazzling ‘peacock’ that no eye ever passed without fixing a gaze. She knew she was no match to the ‘premier queens’. She had to move with the happening cliques to change her physical look and stock her wardrobe. It was truly a ‘new dawn’ for Becky. I’m sure you don’t even know, she actually did change her name from Balikis to Becky. She became the expected damsel at every party tagged ‘XXX’ or ‘free for ladies’ at the Koko Dome. It was as if her ‘father cocoa money’ was used in erecting the popular artefact ‘Cocoa House’ which housed the Koko Dome. She practically turned Koko Dome to her sweet abode. She slept with any ‘deep voice’ that bought her a drink or asked her to a dance. She was indeed at her best.
After her stay at the Premier University; even though she bagged B.A in Philosophy; she knew it was high time she changed from her waywardness to loving God. She later got frustrated as no responsive response came from any responsible man. Her marital hope seemed faint and tainted by her unending past. She resorted to waiving at every car once it was a male ‘shadow’ controlling the wheels. Her seemingly love for God automatically turned love for Gold. Money, men, sex and fame were her taste and thirst. She jumped at every imaginary beck that seemed to have these at their abundance and awaited the day the ‘smile of the heaven’ would be directed to her ‘world’ to see her own ‘Adam’.
Events after these rewrote the diary of her life. On one ‘blessed’ evening, a black new model Rolls Royce packed beside her and she knew immediately her wonder land had come. She said in her heart “at last” and had a deep relieve sigh. She was too deep in thought as to the fantastic fantasy of the car and the fortune that God had brought her way that she didn’t even realise what was going on. ‘This is a night I would never forget’, he said and gave her a deep kiss as he dropped her at the T- junction close to the hotel. She rechecked to confirm if the $1,000 was still in her hand bag, said in her heart “this is my year of sudden visitation by God” and took a taxi to her apartment.
It was not long that she got home. It was while on bed that she discovered unease in her body. She was feeling hot and almost immediately cold. She felt like eating and at the same time felt like using the loo. Upon getting to the toilet, she discovered her underwear was soaked with blood and couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw maggots oozing out of her vagina. Her legs became swollen and she began feeling bangs on her head. It was indeed her year of sudden visitation! Her cry was heard by her neighbour who took her to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), and subsequently transferred to the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan, and finally to Psychiatric Hospital (ARO) at Abeokuta.
It was at that point the doctor knew her ailment wasn’t ordinary and adviced she be taken to ‘one Iroko Village to seek help from the only herbalist there who incidentally is their Chief Priest’. ‘From frying pan to fire’ they say. Balikis is now but a living corpse as she awaits her name being on the mercy list of Gbade who succeeded his father. What a life full of nonsense!!
Daniel tweets from @dkingschamber