Medical Centre, 2:40pm,
I reluctantly took the phone from my teachers hand. Despite all my pleas not to call my mum, she clearly translated my words as gibberish and went to do so.
“Edima, what is it this time? Ehn… Nsutto mkpo? (what kind of thing is this?),” she said in her usual dramatic high-pitched tone. I could imagine her drawing attention to herself as she paced up and down in her shop, occasionally clapping the back of her palm on her hips.
“Mummy, it’s nothing… just malaria.”
“Atang ndiseme (you are saying nonsense). This is the third time you are fainting this month Edima. One… two… three ! And you say it is nothing ehn? Are you now a blood fountain? Is it only your blood that mosquitoes see to suck huh?”
“No, Mum… It…”
She cut me short and continued, “Aren’t you using the mosquito repellant I gave you? Don’t you sleep under net?” She paused, long enough for me to breathe. “This girl, you will not kill me. You must stay in that boarding house, you want to come and finish all my food.”
Trust me, food was the last thing on my mind but I let her rant on.
“Come oh, are the senior students maltreating you?”
“Your mates nkor?”
“Then what is it?” I bit my lower lips and fought back the tears. I tried to speak but the words couldn’t get past the lump in my throat. I swallowed hard.
I wanted to tell her
I wanted to tell her that I was too fat to fit in
My chubby cheeks and cute dimples didn’t classify as beauty
I wanted to tell her that they laughed at me
These girls were so ruthless and mean
I wanted to tell her I had to withstands hours and hours of body shaming, name calling, tongue bashing, heavy yabbing
I wasn’t just a table shaker
I was a table breaker.
I wanted to tell her that I hate the way I am
So I have decided to take matters into my hands
I starve myself of daily bread and feast on crumbs.
The rich may look like me, but I’d rather take Lazarus’ form
And if perfection was a myth, I’d still chase on.
“Empty vessels make the loudest noise.”
My stomach testified in a loud voice
But my mind was made, my body had to pay
I wanted to tell her the number of times my hand kissed my throat
Pulling with it what I placed only to float
To ingest not digest, that was the goal
I wanted to tell her Edima, her beloved
Was struggling to be loved…
I was startled, brought out of my momentary trance and dumped in reality. Mum was clearly ranting on and didn’t notice my silence until now.
“Answer me,” she fired on.
“Sorry, please what did you say?”
“Do you need more provisions?”
“Uhmm… I am okay. I need to rest now, the nurse placed me on drip.”
“Hmm… It’s alright, give the phone to your teacher.”
“Bye Mum.” I signaled to Mrs Ngo and she got her phone.
The call ended with a long thank you speech from my Mum with prayers and blessings for my teacher. I closed my eyes and pretended to be fast asleep so she won’t linger and ask me further questions.
Mrs Ngo left the ward, leaving instructions with the nurse to take good care of me. Once I was sure there was no one in sight, I managed to stop the drip and headed for the restroom.
I went down on my knees to force out all the calories my teacher pushed down my oesophagus. She insisted that I ate before I getting the injection.
As far as I’m concerned, this was just the beginning of my agony…