By Ugochukwu Odenigbo
I never liked going to hospitals. Besides the sickening feeling I get in there, there’s this deathly stench that literally drives me haywire. But if you have got the kind of mom I got; trust me- you’d understand how foolish it is to argue.
“For Christ sake, it’s your uncle’s wife!”
I argued with her- in my mind, of course- before jumping into the Sienna.
To register my displeasure; I made sure I didn’t say anything once we hit the road. I quickly connected by Dre Beats headphones and put on Jesse Jags’ ‘jargo’. I didn’t realize when I started stamping my feet and humming.
“Bia this boy. What is wrong with you?”
That look on her face was in itself a lecture manual on how to destroy headphones and have you grounded all at once. I didn’t need to be told what to do.
As the trip ascended brand new heights of boredom, the leather seats got a lot cosier and I fell asleep . In my dream; I was cracking a jokes with Nicki Minaj and boy; you needed to have seen her laughing her head off. Seeing how captivated she was by my jokes; I was going to ask her for her number when she snapped; “Get up boy; we are here”
Oops- that was mom and there was again that sickening hospital smell. I just wanted to puke!
Mom resumed her routine lectures of how much bacteria there was in the rails, the walls and even on the hospital beds. I’m not sure she remembers how many times she’d said all that. Or maybe she thinks my ears are leaky.
Anyway; there I was- choking on the smell and blinded by a dozen half naked people; and there was my uncle’s wife talking about how much I had grown and speaking some weird Ibo dialect. It was then I noticed that I left my headphones in the car.
I took an excuse to pee- and naturally, I reappeared with my headphones. Thankfully, mom had started telling my aunt how Jesus could her hubby. And when she gets all Jesus, she never seems to notice anybody around- perfect time to put on my headphones. Slower songs this time though, so that I don’t stamping my feet unconsciously.
Tracy Chapman put me in the mood. But then; that was changed by some hungry looking people interrupting my mom’s Christian lecture. I removed my headset momentarily and then realized they were prayer warriors.
They started shaking and swaying and casting and binding invisible bad guys. One of the ladies started beating her chest. She beat it so hard that she brought memories of that baboon in the original Tarzan movie.
I was enjoying the entire drama- better than anything Africa Magic could put together; but all that changed after the prayer session.
The ill lady on the adjacent bed started gulping down what looked like custard or soaked garri. Whatever it was; it didn’t look good- and sounded even worse in her mouth. And if that wasn’t bad enough, she chose me of all people in the hospital ward to ask if I’d eat!
“bia rie nri”
“Mama thank you, afo ejugo mu”
I had to take a walk- before someone asked for a hug.
Down the hall; there was this nurse whose smile drove away the scowl on my face. My heart beats suddenly drowned whatever song was playing on the Dre Beats.
I couldn’t think straight- let alone of a way to start a conversation with her. I needed to act like I was sick; but what was the guarantee that she’d be the one to attend to me? There were a dozen fat and shapeless nurses in the hospital- the odds were against me.
But just when I gave up hope; fortune smiled at me and I smiled back. Right on her office desk was a copy of Cruise Magazine. And not just any Cruise Magazine; but the edition in which I was Prom King!
I’m sure she thought I was crazy, but then she asked how she could help me.
“I’ve been looking for my copy of that magazine. I lost my complimentary copy”
“You have a complimentary copy? Oh I now remember me- I knew you were familiar. Can I take a photo?”
I shrugged, “Why not?”
Her shapeless friend flashed all thirty-two as she snapped us. You could tell she wanted to be in the picture too… I didn’t.
She asked me to escort her as she made her rounds in the Cancer ward. Boy, I hated that word, ‘cancer’ and that moment; I wished ‘cancer’ got cancer and died!
I heard mom call; and that was a good excuse to say my goodbyes.
“Do you have a blackberry?” I boasted, “What’s your pin?”
I didn’t need her pin. I needed her number and boy, didn’t she burst my bubble? That nurse brought out from her white gown the latest edition of Bold- bold 5!
I almost swallowed my tongue- but pretended it was nothing.
“Holla at your boy” Wizkid swag
Just then, Gold woke me up- reminding me how late I was for school. I tossed and turned on my bed- stumbling on my Nokia express music and N200 earpiece.
I chose Jesse Jags ‘Jonzing world’- knowing that it was all a dream.
In the real world; I had no Dre Beats and no blackberries… I had been jonzing all along!