Disclaimer: Although this is the fictitious story, the history of it is real. I don’t want to rewrite history but certainly to portray the events and characters realistically. Any semblances or similarities to actual events or persons, whether living or dead is entirely coincidental.

All images used belong to Arinzechukwu Patrick unless stated otherwise.

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Ghana, Accra

2012, September, 18th

I was excited.

My first night on campus I was at a house party, innocent, with a glowing complexion and encompassing eyes. It was where I met Quincy, tall and dark like I loved my coffee. Pretty boy was busy and didn’t stay long enough for us to get to know each other. However, I found out we lived in the same hostel, and so one day while he walked the hallway, I saw him and then I called his name.

“Quincy?” I said.

He turned, and then walked back to me. After our first conversation, it was clear we had a history. I and Quincy were classmates in secondary school, but he left. That was a green light, and he had grown handsome.

I was not the shy girl waiting for a guy to take notice. I strategically positioned Quincy to stay up and reacquaint on old school stories. That night, we talked and laughed until the wee hours of the morning and then he saw me off to my room. The next day, Quincy saw me sitting outside on his way back from a beer run and then invited me to where he was with his friends. The whole room was covered in smoke. There, Quincy gave me a joint but I refused, he didn’t insist. I didn’t understand why boys never had chairs in their room and so I sat on the bed closest to the door, the lights were low and a movie was playing.

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints; was that the title of the movie? Halfway through it and I got a call from mother and excused myself to the bathroom to answer. There, I and mother talked about my stay in Accra so far, my studies, the neighbourhood, and the weather. I told her nice indigenes were really nice to foreigners and the rude ones were really rude, and that the air was clean and passed through the lungs smoother than it was in Nigeria. After I dropped the call I missed my family, I was sad. I sobbed quietly in the bathroom and when it felt like I had spent too much time I washed my face and returned to the room.  Quincy noticed my tears and was sensitive to how I felt, he assured me everything will be fine and for some reasons I believed him. Then he offered me the blunt and I took a drag that made me cough and my eyes water, and then I passed it back.

That was my first proficiency with Marijuana, my head spun and my heart hammered; my eyes burned some more and watered in the dark. The feeling washed over me from head to toes and in a moment I was horny, there and then I took Quincy to the bathroom and we fucked.

Sex with Quincy was so painful tears ran down my eyes. I was a virgin, technically, I mean I had been fingered but hadn’t had thrusts. Since things stuck out of my skin without permission, things growing and not stopping, things that make me do bad things; boys in the hood became my favourite pastime. My virginity wasn’t a big deal but I refused to tell Quincy I was one and I doubt he knew, luckily I didn’t bleed. From there onwards Quincy became my lover; we smoked and had sex every day.

Kaima visited from Kumasi; she was my childhood best friend. When she found out I wasn’t in a relationship with Quincy but we had sex she was so appalled.

“That is not how you do it Kaima; you don’t have sex with the one you have feelings for or want to be in a relationship with,” She said. “You have lost your self-respect.”

“Just stop preaching all the time. I only let Quincy and I wanted it too. And you’re no saint,” I said to Kaima.

Kaima was a storybook girl, traditional when it came to relationships. No sex before marriage period. To her, it was mandatory to have a boyfriend if you wanted an intimate relationship, and he had to respect you enough to wait. And for that she disliked Quincy.

I and Quincy were good together, almost perfect.  But our beginning came to an end. We squabbled; he was dramatic and acted like a boyfriend. I loved him but it was stressful to deal with. We stopped having sex and only talked. He got too attached and I didn’t want to encourage him with sex or frequent conversations. After a while I distanced myself, seldom smoking or talking. I busied myself more with studies until I met with new friends and hung out with them. Going over to their houses to pass time, which was when I met Ibimmina.

Ibimmina was my kind of crazy. She was dark, beautiful and her diastema was the sexiest thing when she smiled. She was timid and delicate and tended to blend into a crowd. Not that she was innocent. She transferred from Kumasi to a school in Accra because it was where all the fun happened.  She was the one who organized most of the hangouts; she got invitations from guys on twitter. I and Ibimmina went out, smoked, sometimes crashed at guy’s houses, ate their food, smoked, and if we felt like one of the boys deserved it we’d fuck, nothing drastic. It was at those hangouts I met Laisse. Laisse was half Brazilian and Nigerian; the good part was Nigerian. He saw me at the spot, moved in, and then engaged me a conversation. I liked him, especially his hazel eyes, bushy hair, friendliness and charm. We exchanged numbers and began seeing each other.

I forgot one thing, books before boys because boys bring babies, or bad luck, or both. I moved in with Laisse against good judgment. It was then I found out he was a student that never went to school; he stayed home to smoke and tweet. He used his fees to run shows and organize parties. It was actually in one of his shows I met him. Soon, I stopped going to classes and stayed home to fuck and smoke with Laisse. After a couple months together we broke up because he kept hitting on Ibimmina.

When Lassie’s mother found out he wasn’t in school she came for him. I had nowhere to stay because I had squandered my fees and so I move in with a guy who had been on my neck. I stayed over at his house for a while, ate his food, smoked his weed, and maybe spent pocket change of his money; very soon, like most men he made it clear to me that I had to give myself in exchange. I had no choice. Ibimmina too was strung out and moved with a guy. We had a fight when I learnt she had sex with Laisse behind my back.

At the end of my 100 level, my GPA was nothing to write Nigeria about; I had incomplete results. There was no way I could get it up and so I salvaged the situation, I stayed back for the long vacation like most of my friends and switched schools to start afresh; I asked around, it was easy as clockwork.

 

2013, September, 23th

 

New school, new friends, who dis?

Bose was Yoruba, slender with slightly bow long legs. She engaged in some vices we had in common, things the bible forbade, boys. We were always off to meet a couple of them. We hung at the beach, school shows and low-key clubs. It was at one of those shows I met Elvis. Bose introduced us.

Elvis was in a band that performed regularly in school, he was relatively famous. It started with me going over for piano lessons, and then we’d smoke a joint and talk. Soon we started having sex and then he asked me to be his girlfriend because he wasn’t into the casual sex thing. I thought it was cute. We had sex every minute in an hour because I was in love with him.

God must have been sick, tired, and ready to punish me for my sins because even though we used protection I was knocked up. I had no idea, only that as I walked by random people said I looked fresher and plump. My feet swell and I became temperamental. Finally, I visited the pharmacy for test kits. When I got home I entered into the bathroom and sat on the porcelain seat. I finished the routine and stared at the plastic with optimism for negativity until slowly I saw a second red line fade in and turn bright red. The test came out positive. I shook my head, took another kit and peed on it. Same result, again and again, and again. My life flashed before my eyes and a sob formed in my throat and burned.

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I refused to attend classes that day, I was silenced by worry. When Bose arrived home from school, I explained everything and she advised I told Elvis.

“I knew how such stories go that’s why I’m unwilling to share my plight with him, more from being rejected,” I said.

“But you will never now if you don’t try, at least hear what he will say you never know some guys.” She said, and I acquiesced to tell Elvis.

Elvis laughed; “You told me if you got pregnant I will never know because you will never tell me and now you expect me to believe this… prank?” He thought it was a joke. When it escalated he bawled and became angry. “Stupid girl you want to ruin my life, that’s your plan, what do you want me to tell my fucking family, they will pull me out of school?” he said.

“Is that all you have to say?” I asked.

“How could you have been so stupid?” he asked.

“Why don’t you care about what I think? You yell like that will solve anything.”

Elvis said nothing and then asked me to leave his place.

The next day he called and apologized. He was confused and that was why he acted irrationally. After, He sent a picture of a concert he performed at and told me the number of attendance.

“You should think about my bright future before doing something stupid,” He said. And then he hung up.

The next week, Elvis called again and asked if I carried out the order. when I told him I was still carrying he blocked me on social media and stopped communicating. Not like I didn’t already know but, I became sure the only thing predictable about a man is his unpredictability.

I cried all night, stopped going to classes or grooming. My hair, my appearance was scruffy and I remained indoors. I smoked, drank and ate unripe pawpaw to wash the baby away. Elvis eventually came around, but not to me. He visited my hostel but never came up to my room to ask if I was okay, I heard him strum on his Piano in his friends’ room. He withdrew his care.

End of semester exams came and I couldn’t afford to fail or transfer, so I decided to take permanent action.  Bose asked around for private clinics. Who knew? We knew nothing. When finally we found we checked all the requirements and then returned home. That night I felt the baby inside me, like water in a cask. I became of two minds.

Exams came during contemplation so it was easy to put it behind. After exams, my mother’s reality dawned on me, and with my stomach? Three months down and it was obvious. Finally, I made up my mind and went back to the hospital.

The doctor examined me and gave me pills to relax my uterus, and then asked me to return in three days.

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On the morning of the third day, I felt sharp labour-like pains that drove me crazy, couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t eat, couldn’t stand and I couldn’t seat. I called Bose and she came over to take me to the hospital. On the way, there was traffic like I couldn’t believe it. I retched twice and then vomited; before we got to the hospital I had died and risen again.

At the hospital, the Doctor gave me a coat to change into and afterwards told me to lie on the table and spread my legs far apart from each other as the sun and moon. I felt breeze crawl between my legs. After that, the doctor gave me injections for the pain.

No injection can stop you from feeling the pain inside. The dilators felt like a part of me was breaking, the forceps and then the curette. The cold metallic tool entered inside me, scrapped my insides, and when suction from the vacuum aspiration came I gritted my teeth. I felt flesh being ripped out. I was unconscious when it was over.

Bose sat in the lobby crying her eyes out. When she saw me she rushed and hugged me and we cried together. When we got home I tried to rest, I was exhausted. Bose asked me to lie down and then she squeezed warm water out of a bucket and rubbed a rag my face while she sobbed. She felt my neck, then forehead while I was between asleep and awake.

I tried to put it behind me but after moments of realization, I slipped into depression. I felt bad, so bitter, I hated men, and I hated myself.

My mother by then was upset.  “Jesus, Ama! We have been so worried and trying our best to reach you but your phones have been switched off, are you okay? It’s almost Christmas when are you coming home,” she said.

“I still have things to take care of in school before I come home,” I lied.

“Just make sure you come home.”

It was late; I could never make it home for Christmas, not in my condition. One look at me in Nigeria and my mother noticed a difference. Hospital tests and exams revealed everything.

***

 

Lagos, Nigeria

2014, November, 26

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Ogo was the only sister to three boys so she was used to being with boys than girls. A tomboy, but she was girly at the club or streets when she saw guys she liked. Her facial features were manly but handsome. High cheek bones and a sharp jaw, her eyes were dark and her lips were thin and tight. Nice body features too, her breasts can make your mouth go dry and her curves were to die for. She saw guys how most guys saw girls (if we’re being honest), sex, no strings attached. She had sex like taking handshakes, and she never attached emotions to a guy. It was different when it came to women when she met a girl she liked she was stern about it. Ogo became emotional, jealous, and possessive. She didn’t like to share.

I met Ogo through Ibimmina. I know right? But when facing common enemies friends at arms must unite with each other.  When I and Ibimmina returned to Nigeria we were ensconced by our Parents who found out the extravagant life we lived in Accra, schooling there was over. Ennui was the order of my days. Before I met Ogo, Ibimmina talked about how “crazy” she was and their adventures together. When I finally met Ogo she met Ibiminna’s descriptions. We smoked together and talked, I noticed the way she clung to Ibimmina and touched her. I inquired; Ibimmina said they were just friends.

We hung out most of the time, me, Ibimmina and Ogo, as well as other girls and guys. We smoked crack, whollahs, popped roofies and dirty sprite. I considered harder drugs another dimension of high I didn’t want to get into, I read books and watched movies and had a clear understanding of addiction. I didn’t want to mess with it, but the pressure.

 

I smoked crack after Christmas when we decided to hit the club together. It was me, Ibimmina, Ogo, and Nessa. Nessa was introduced by Ibimmina, her lips were thick like fruit and her eyes like a cat robbed of sleep; they met god-knows-where. We were all in the same house, dolled up and waiting for our taxi. Ogo spread the solidified pieces of crack on the table and broke it into pieces with her fingers, and then she put it into the pipe. The pipe was a small clear tube; the rod portion was half an inch in diameter, and about two to three inches long with a hollow end where you smoke the crack in.

Ibimmina put bumps in the bowl and sparked a light under the bowl. The crystals melted, and then the smoke appeared. She sucked tight on the pipe and exhaled. She grunted and shuddered sickly and then with eyes still closed passed the pipe to me. I was caught off-guard. It was my moment of truth, I felt eyes on me as I took the pipe, and it felt like an initiation. The art of peer pressure, because they were my peers, and in their eyes, I saw monkey pressure mount on my back.

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I put a bump inside the bowl and then tucked my hair behind my ear. The lighter died out the first three times, but the fourth it did and I imitated Ogo. The bump bubbled up in smoke and I sucked and exhaled softly. Immediately a fog swept over me, my heart galloped and yet I felt better than I had before. The nerves in my body tingled; I was higher than I had ever been. The feeling was pure, not hazy like Marijuana. My senses heightened and my mind was on a trip.

Ogo grinned ominously, she knew. Nessa smiled so wide like a sword sliced her face in half. She and Ogo took turns and then we went out.

At the club, I danced off beat, laughed at everything and had so much fun. I rocked the party; I was out of my mind.

After that day I never took crack again or any other drugs.

One evening, a cool breeze howled quietly as I sat outside. I felt serene and suddenly the feeling was accompanied by the thought of how crack made me feel like you lift your dress to wipe your face and the night breeze make your naked legs shiver. I called Ogo for her dealer’s number. From then on I smoked regularly and was close to Ogo.

I and Ogo did everything together, smoked, ate, shopped, smoked, night ride, clubbed, smoked more, everything! Ibimmina and I fell off because Ogo left her despite how she said they were only friends.

Ogo took me everywhere; I was her girlfriend except for sex. I wasn’t having sex yet; my Accra experience scarred me. The last thing I wanted was pregnancy and go through the same ordeal. But when I met Humphrey I had sex with him.

Humphrey happened at the club with Ogo, we were drunk and high so he drove us to his place. We spent two days there.

There, I and Ogo used and were horny. There was Humphrey and I saw the way he looked at me, the type where you don’t look back but can feel the person on you. I went to his room. I sucked him off like a Popsicle and plunged warm veiny wormwood inside me. I rode him until he pried me off and flipped me on my stomach, and then stroked me from behind. It turned me on and I clapped my ass at him and begged him to go harder. He pounded furiously and asked what I wanted him to do. I smiled and batted fuck-me lashes at him and he kept ramming. He pulled out right before he busted and flicked it on my back. After that, I had a bath and my body settled like Ijebu garri.

Ogo heard everything and was livid; the flash in her eyes said it all. But when I said I only wanted him because of the high, she felt better. To be certain, before we left, she had sex with Humphrey.

Ogo didn’t like me having sex with guys, though she did. She wanted me; I saw the way she looked at me, especially after using. One day we lay in bed and she starred at me. I leant in and kissed her and she kissed me back. I fondled her soft breasts as we shared passionate kisses and soon the reluctance in her body fell off with each cloth I removed. Soon, I stripped her down to her panties.

When my finger touched her puss it was moist. I smiled and she looked away, embarrassed that her body betrayed her. I ate her out and explored her body until she came in my mouth, and then I fell back, exhausted. She turned and whispered she wanted to do the same to me, I agreed. Ogo was a little rough but she got better. She tongue bath me dug her fingers into my butt cheeks with my thighs suffocating her. I shuddered and I felt myself about to climax. She didn’t stop. Before I came we got into a sixty-nine. We came together. After that, we smoked and gazed at the ceiling boards.

Peer pressure teaches you about drugs but not what to do when there wasn’t more. The drug use became evident in my character. When I was strung out I looked it. My face was sunken, hair uncombed, barely bothered to iron clothes, or even to have a change of them. I can’t say how I became temperamental and aggressive. It was the first time I experienced a high so intense, but it seemed the highest was out of reach and I tried hard to grab it like an elusive dream. I got high but came down and found myself craving. . I used to be in denial, not until I slapped my younger sister so hard because I felt itchy and she was in my face. I knew I had a problem. That day, after apologizing severally I sat still for close to half an hour, sobbing in the bathroom when I realized things were out of hand. I had to get control. After an hour of loathing I itched to get rid of the guilt. I pulled out the pebbles wrapped in a brown paper and held it in my palm. I marvelled that such a tiny object brought me such huge problems. And then I got high. I sucked on the pipe and felt my head get light, felt her worries slip away. Piece by piece I felt the pain dissipate, and in its place came peace.

I spent less time with family as my addiction blossomed; I spent more with Ogo so we could smoke together. I spent nights at her place and soon I moved in.

 

2015, June, 26

 Ogo and her brothers lived and shared vices as a family. Staying with Ogo, I thought she had the coolest family. Cooking commences early in the morning because of the high. There were pork, beef and fish to stew, chicken, and crab to pickle.

All her brothers kept hitting on me. Her oldest brother had a fiancée and didn’t bother me much after I turned him down. Her second third brother bothered me for two weeks but later backed off.  Of all I liked Kel more, he paid me no mind.

Kel was the youngest. He was cool, stayed indoors, didn’t have many female friends, and he was a virgin. I positioned him and then we became friends. He introduced me to his friends and we smoked and played card games, and soon we started having sex. It wasn’t too long before Ogo found out I messed around with her brother and kicked me out. She was more upset I cheated on her. I became strung out, not because she kicked me out but because she had the dealer’s contacts.

The night it happened I called Nessa to ask if she had drugs to spare. When she picked up she said she had but she wanted to use it with a guy, and then she gave me an option to a threesome, I had no choice. I got dressed and went to her place. We got high before the sex and that helped to stomach it. In that state, I slinked away into in my head.

I did all sorts; I dated and slept with guys just to score free rocks.

It was the eighties again with the drug use all over Nigeria, like oil money high. I was Marion in Requiem for a dream and the guys in my life were Tyron C love and Harry, and big Tim. The People were either tippling or doing drugs, like life became harder that we needed drugs to step the pain down a notch. It affected our lives, our politics, the movies that we watched and the music that we listened to. And it destroyed our community piece by piece. It’s an epidemic, especially in the north.

2015, 2nd September

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I had met a cool cat, Onume. Fair complexion, small eyes like a sloth, full upper lips and thin lower lips he sucked on. He kept to himself and barely spoke, at first. Anyway, we got past formalities and he opened up. He was funny, intelligent, risqué, talked a lot and was easy to talk to. We hung out for long talks, mostly about girls and social situations. His vibe was pretty, like the northern lights. Weird was he was never too personal; he hardly said anything about himself that wasn’t shallow water, or not at all. I won’t say… weird because weird is cliché, he was cool. His non-judgemental presence made me feel… ashamed of my usage. Onume was perceptive and since we connected that much he knew when I used, not like he had anything to say, not like he liked it, he believed everyone had a choice.

“There are forces that don’t let you turn back and undo things, perhaps because that will deny what is in motion a chance to manifest, I want to get clean,” I said, to someone and to no one.

“Profound,” Onume said.

He knew how to fade into silence like he was not in the room at the same time; comfortable silence… is that it?

“At least for you,”

“Okay, now you sound stupid,”

“Is that all you have to say?”

“Well, you can do it for me, but what if I leave and never come back?”

I stayed quiet.

“Well, addictions have pitfalls and could you be exposed again. Certain situations, persons, even certain smells could trigger memories and make you use again, so, you really have to make up your mind,”

“All I can think about are things I did and men I vended myself to. I look at my body and…”

“And you have a sexy body, look; I’m about to port the black ball in this game I’m playing.”

I said nothing, I smiled.

Onume was helpful in every way possible, encouragements and a sense of reason. I was my own rock most of the way but, he pushed the rock uphill.

“Do you feel like our generation is the fucking eighties replaying itself, the drugs, the women and the sex, the parties and gay frivolities?” Onume asked.

“I reckon, I have had similar thoughts,” I said

“It’s crazy don’t you think? People are either tippling or doing one drug or the other, like life became harder and the people need drugs to step it down a notch.”

“Life is hard.”

“Life is life, a bitch, and if she doesn’t happen there will be no stories to tell.”

“Funny, I want to tell you a story, about sex and drugs.”

Onume stopped his game and turned on his recorder.

 

End

 

Acknowledgements

Andie Leo-Akpan

Tinuade Agoi-George   

Ruby Aan-Eikeya Aryeh

Oluwatosin Oyetade

Onume Precious

Simbiat Somorin Sima

Precious Osuji