Just last week:
I’d caught the girl I liked, fooling around with my very close friend. I’d confronted him to ask why, and what did I get? I got a Mayweather punch. In public.
Anyway, by Monday, I realised two things.
First, the blow Morgan had bestowed on my face had, somehow, shifted my nose upwards. So now my nose looked like that guy in Harry Potter:
Secondly, I had exactly one week to midsemester exams. Seven days. Somebody that I couldn’t tell you which lecturers had been in class the past three weeks, I was going to write 6 papers.
Earlier that morning, I’d called my father to try and beg for some money, and at some point he’d casually asked, “Oh, so when are you writing those your tests?”
I started with, “Oh, hm-” because I forgot who I was talking to. Just like that, the man’s breathing changed.
“Eh? What do you mean “Hm”, Otu?”
I tried to jump in, but he was on a roll. “Do you think I’m paying all this money to be hearing this? Otu, don’t get me upset here! These children!”
“Da, Da, please calm dow-”
“What do you mean I should calm down! Are you learning at all?”
It went on like this for about another 10 minutes. After hanging up (still broke, as the man refused to send me money), I realised something needed to be done if I was going to be allowed to enter my house again. But where to even start learning, eh?
Thankfully, there was the Nigerian girl, Chloe. I think she felt bad about spreading that video of me fainting at the gym, so she’d been nice to me ever since. I figured I might as well start from there. I called, and she said she’d be in her room in about 30 minutes.
I set off, full of high spirits and all that, because the walk to her hostel would take me about 20 minutes. On my way, I passed by the market, and I realised I had some extra time, and I was hungry. So I branched in.
This is where an averagely bad day got worse.
Obviously, if you have only 2 cedis or so to buy food with, the only logical option is buying Gari and beans. You can’t lie to yourself and buy some scanty rice to look cool.
I entered the beans sellers’ stall and got busy. At some point as I was attacking the bowl, my stomach gave a little gurgle, but I figured it was just a sigh of contentment, so I ignored it.
Then, one hour later, when Chloe was explaining Chemistry to me, my stomach gurgled again. But this wasn’t a satisfied gurgle at all. I felt a stab in my guts, and all of a sudden there was a dam of gas blocking my stomach.
Ei. What had this beans woman done to me?
To be fair, I handled that part like a pro. Chloe’s hostel had a flat system i.e. Three rooms share two bathrooms and a hall. We were in the hall, so I just smiled and asked,
“Chloe, do you have water in your fridge? I’m thirsty.”
She paused, mid-sentence. “Okay, but let me finish explaining-”
“Chloe, please!” I’m sure she could hear the desperation in my voice, “I’m very thirsty!”
“Okay, okay.” She got up and walked inside. I Immediately she was past the door, I lifted one leg and I let it all out. Everything. I had no control over what was coming out anymore.
Thankfully I didn’t make any noise, but it smelled like someone had just dragged a corpse through the room. My nose wrinkled with disgust. That had come out of me? What had that woman put in her beans?
At that very moment, A girl in the flat opened the door and entered. The smell hit her right at the front door, and she shouted, “Hei!”
I ignored her and focused seriously on my book. I even started reading out loud. “But the Henderson-Hasselbach equation uses pH-”
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed her stagger inside, holding the wall for support. I had to admit, I felt bad for assaulting her nostrils like this, but this was survival. What could I do? There was even more gas starting to build up.
Chloe came back a few minutes later, when the scent had gone down a bit. I quickly addressed the issue before she could bring it up.
“Wow, Chloe, your cleaning people haven’t come to clear the place today? It’s like there’s some scent here.”
She looked surprised, and a little embarrassed. “These cleaners, they act like they’re not paid, sha.” Then it was forgotten.
Everything was fine for about two hours. This Chloe girl was brilliant o. The way she was explaining the physiology and chemistry to me, I actually felt like I might have a chance at passing the papers. Then my stomach gave me another vibration. Three, in fact.
I could tell that this wasn’t going to end well, because this didn’t feel like just gas asking to be let out. I ignored it the first time and tried to focus on what Chloe was saying.
After another half hour, I knew the time had come. My stomach contents were not going to stay in my stomach for long. I left my bag and just rushed out, shouting, “I’ll be back!” behind me. I didn’t even hear what she said back.
I passed by the taxi rank, and briefly debated whether or not to take a taxi. On one hand, it would make it safer, but on the other hand, my money was very scant right then. I decided to run for it.
It was around 5pm at this point, and there were people walking about, chatting, socializing, and there I was, just sprinting past them like there was a gold medal at repu. People were turning to look at me, but chale, my stomach was raging. I just kept running. I made it to the hall in record time.
There was a small crowd in front of repu, with people milling about, but I was in too much panic to care about it at the time. When I got there, I almost went to the porters for the key, but Abdul was always in the room anyway. I just rushed to the back and up the stairs to my floor.
I tried opening my door, and it was locked. I knocked quietly the first time. They didn’t mind me. Then I started banging the door like they owed me money.
“Abdul! Jeff! You people should wake up and open the door, please!” At this point, my stomach had made me aware that it was releasing things in about 2 minutes, no matter where I was standing.
My voice had cracked as I shouted, so now I sounded like I was crying as I banged the door. “Abdul. Jeff. Anyone, please!” The door remained locked. I tried all the other doors on my floor, but amazingly, they were locked. How was this possible? It occurred to me that they must be part of the boys down there in front of the hall. Chale, what kind of bad luck was this?
I run downstairs to the porters to ask for a spare key, because in my panic, I didn’t think to just go to another floor to ask for toilet roll or paper. I just run through the hall like a madman. The crowd was still there, making noise. I finally noticed what they were watching. Some Kat boys were doing “procession” in front of Queens Hall. I turned to the porter.
“Good evening sir. Please, I’m in room 32 annex. I desperately need the spare key, please.”
This old man looked very bored with his life. He slowly removed his glasses and leaned forward. “What is your name?”
I told him, and he slowly took the book. He was rifling through the pages like he was reading newspaper.
What was this? Were my house witches conspiring to disgrace me?
After a while he found my name. “Okay. We can’t give out the spare key for 32A, currently. You can call your roommate.” Still in a very bored unconcerned voice.
I almost shouted. “They’re not picking their calls! Please, there’s something very important I need to do!”
“Hey, hey! Don’t take that tone with me! You young people come to university, you think you’ve arrived, so you can do whatever you want. I can’t just give you a spare key.”
I looked up to the skies and prayed for mercy. People at the edge of the crowd had started to turn around and look at my exchange with the porter. So couldn’t I have just one disgrace in private, eh?
I leaned my head into the small window and lowered my voice to almost a whisper.
“Please, sir, is there a washroom in the porter’s area that I can use?” The man looked confused for a second, then he understood.
“Oh! You want to shit! Oh, I didn’t know! Come in, come in!”
The entire place became very quiet. The entire crowd had turned to watch me. The man’s voice was still echoing in the place.
want to shit, shit, come in, in, in.
When I turned around, the fine girls had covered their mouths and were looking away, and some boys there were trying to keep straight faces. Chale, I didn’t care. I just rushed in through the other side. He pointed out the room, and I entered. I almost didn’t make it, I tell you.
I came out, after 40 minutes of wrestling with my intestines. I was sweating like I’d been to war. The old man was looking at me with something close to fear. I realised he must’ve heard the wild sounds I had been making; the washroom door wasn’t very thick.
He took off his glasses. “My son, are you okay?” I nodded weakly, thanked him, and left the place.
Most of the people were gone, but there were a few people still around. I could tell they were trying not to look at me. I couldn’t blame them, to be honest. I kept my head down and walked away. Behind me I heard someone say, “Ah, isn’t that the boy who fainted at the gym?”
As I climbed the stairs, I thought to myself that Ahmed better have had an excellent reason for leaving with the key, or else. I was prepared to stand there and wait till he came, but I found the door already open. I entered to find Abdul bent over, looking for something in the fridge.
“So where were you?” I quietly asked him. My throat was dry from all the desperate shouting.
He smiled and rubbed his hands. “Chale, I saw this girl with some nice shape from the balcony eh. I went to go and vibe her…ah, you’re not listening to me?”
I had climbed the bed and gone to sleep. If I’d stood much longer, I would’ve tried beating him, and look what happened to my nose the last time.