The party was a raucous one with loads to eat and drink. I usually enjoyed clubbing but this was on another level. In keeping with her lavish style, Lamide did not skimp in any way. With my golden yellow dress coupled with the ocean of drink I had downed, I felt like a gold fish swimming in a bowl of vodka, dancing and waving its tail like you would not believe it. The DJ certainly knew his onions and was reeling out the kind of songs that made me stamp, stomp and sweat until I was breathless. I was higher than a stoned kite, flying on heady heights, and riding on the wings of marijuana puffs. This was the life. I did not want to leave, would have wanted to groove all night but finally it was time to go.
I was dropped off in front of my house and as I was fumbling with the bolt of the gate, Davidson opened it for me. I barely returned the greeting he gave me. Looking through him, I walked past, carrying my high stilettos in my hands. Walking barefoot is something I would never ordinarily do but there was no need to “form” for this guy (Forming was something I did so naturally and so consistently that these days I couldn’t even differentiate between pretense and reality). He was not in my league in anyway.The brother was from a world where things were dull and grey while in my world, things were brightly hued in the colours of the rainbow. In comparison to the stormy seas and sky diving aspects of life from which I get my high, the brother was placid waters and a monotonous carousel ride. He was a dove, I was a peacock.
Davidson was a guy who had just moved into the neighbourhood, the flat adjoining mine to be precise. To be honest he was quite good looking but way too religious for my liking. Life was too short for me to kill myself with boredom, mi ole dull ara mi o. Furthermore, he was a bit irritating, if I did not know better I would have sworn he was trying to get fresh with me. Always nice and all over me like a rash, he was eternally trying to help carry my groceries and all. I found the attention cloying and offensive. Puhleeeez!
As I walked into my flat, PHCN, the Prince of darkness waved its wand and everywhere went dark. I wondered when someone would tell the people in power that cutting off power supply in a developing nation is like cutting off the placenta of a growing foetus. The baby dies! This is exactly the reason why the growth of our economy was stunted. However, I will leave this to the economists and so called leaders of this nation while I concentrate on partying and grooving. I do not have a problem so long as I have enough cash to keep fueling up.
I went to put on my generator only to discover that there was not a drop of fuel left. Caught up in the rush for Lamide’s party, I had forgotten to buy some and my rechargeable torches were also flat. I made it a point of duty not to buy candles after I had a heart stopping incident where I nearly burnt my apartment down during my youth service year. The whole flat was stygian dark.
Contrary to people’s popular belief, I was not really a soaring eagle but a pigeon with clipped wings. I had learnt over the years to put up a façade and tried to bury my issues beneath tons of crazy fun, alcohol and drugs. Nevertheless, they wouldn’t stay dead; they haunted and tortured my soul so much that I rarely ever slept at night. Most nights, no matter how stoned or sloshed with alcohol I was, insomnia still came visiting.
On a night like this, with the thick river of darkness drowning me, I fell apart. The fever of loneliness heated me up until I became delirious. The chills of despondency made me shiver. In my delirium, the demons of unpaid bills, unrealized marketing targets, low self esteem, endless romantic disappointments and financial stress tortured me with heated forks. Their flaming prongs burnt and charred my mind until I could take it no more. I ran into the bathroom where I heaved, retched and almost vomited my innards out. Taking unsteady steps into the living I collapsed into a heap on the floor with a cry of utter exhaustion and an exclamation of Jesus.
Someone knocked on the door timidly at first then more firmly. “Who is that?” I inquired weakly.
“It is I, Davidson. I heard you cry. Please open the door” the rapping continued.
I would rather be alone right now; however, he was quite stubborn and wisdom told me that I might need some help. Since he was not the kind of guy that would barge in unless I opened the door for him, I somehow managed to do that. As he crossed the threshold I fainted into his arms. I was carried to the bed where he tucked me in, gave me some paracetamol when I came to and tepid sponged my face.
“You must be very hungry” He said in an inquiring tone. He was actually right, though I had stuffed myself at the party, the vomiting had weakened me. I nodded in acquiescence.
He brought out his cell phone and made a call, “Gabriel, kindly come to the next flat and bring some fuel with you.”
A few moments later, a middle aged man came into my flat. He was instructed to put on my generator and rustle up something for me to eat.
“I did not know you had a steward” I said stunned beyond belief.
“How would you when you always rejected my friendly gestures.” he responded.
Lights came on in my flat and a few minutes later, I was served the most delicious chicken pepper soup I had ever eaten in my life with freshly squeezed chilled orange juice. I had not felt good like this in ages without some form of drugs or booze.
“Sandra, you need to get some sleep” he said. He tucked me into bed and drew up the sheets. Without any fear of being violated,I drifted into the dreamy world of sleep, with the aid of Frank Edwards’ “Amam ni ino ya (I know you are there)” playing softly from his phone. Last thing that occurred to me was that this dude gives sleep to his beloved.
As the golden fingers of the sun timidly parted my curtains, I woke up. I looked at my bedside clock and realised it was 10:30am. I felt as fresh as a daisy and well rested. My gaze finally rested on his face and I was amazed to see that he watched over me all night long. Aside from his red rimmed eyes, he still looked unsullied by the happenings of a stressful night. I began to ask myself who this guy really was. Apparently he did not sleep nor slumber during the night because of me.
As the rays of the sun started getting harsh, he quickly got up and fastened my curtains so that they would not strike my face.
That morning we talked and talked without end. It was a cathartic session for me. He was a dry sponge that tirelessly soaked up the dirty water of my past. Even when I told him things that would have made the ears curl, one would think I just narrated how I took a stroll in a park. Afterwards, I felt feather light as if all my burdens had been placed on the shoulders of a man who was more awesome than Atlas. I was absolutely enchanted!
These days we are always together, you will see us walking down the street, in restaurants, at movie houses, and everywhere. Yes, you guessed right.We are dating!
THERE IS A FRIEND WHO STICKS CLOSER THAN A BROTHER…..
© 2013 Ekpo Ezechinyere