I’d heard stories about how weed makes the hair grow and how if you put it in your cream you’ll have awesome skin. I didn’t believe the stories, and didn’t care.
Yesterday, My Aunt Bernice came around. Her trademark is her scraggly hair. She had always looked like a rain beaten chicken……till yesterday.
When Aunt B arrived, she had lustrous black hair and she packed it in a bun!
She couldn’t even pack it before!
My sister and I, we stared!
I asked her how her hair had gotten soo long and fine and she said, “my dear, its plants ohh”.
“Aunty, which plant jorrh”
She pulled me towards her and whispered, “Weed!”.
Then she scurried off, with this guilty look, like she had just disclosed a national secret.
Before I went to bed, I stared in my mirror, stroked my receding hairline and decided I would get some “plant” for my hair. I pictured myself with awesome long hair, the kind they had in the 80’s.
In my dream, I played the lead role in tangled.
Early this morning, I asked my neighbour Ade, who always had glazed eyes where I could get some “plant”. He looked at me in amusement, winked and gave me directions.
“Go to Razaak Tijani street, ask for Abagana. Any guy there will show you the place”.
After the directions, he offered me some alcohol and a cigarette. This was a first!
I immediately understood that he thought I smoked weed.
I tried to tell him it was for my hair but all he said was,
For your hair yeah ?”
“Are you sure you don’t want the drink”, he said, as he waved a glass of something under my nose.
I mumbled some words and left his house.
As I walked to Razaak tijani which was two streets away, my heart thumped fast.
Anything could happen to me at a weed selling bar! What the heck was I doing?
I walked down the untarred road and the smell of cigarettes and loud Timaya music helped me find Abagana without asking for directions.
The sign ” ABAGANA COUNTRY CLUB” was perched precariously on top of a rickety wooden shack. The smell of alcohol and smoke from different substances and leaves hit me. My eyes watered.
I entered and approached a lady who my neighbor had described to me.
She was bone thin and had bleached “blond” hair. Her teeth matched the color of her hair a little.
He had said her name was Mama G.
Ade had told me to ask her for “Smoke”.
I had tried to tell him that I didn’t want to smoke anything. He told me to stop whining and just ask for “Smoke”.
As I neared her, the whole “bar” went quiet, the guys- most with half dazed smiles and glazed, sunken eyes- nudged each other.
One hollered, “Baby, reach my side naah (In Ogbomosho accented voice)
I shuddered a little and ignored him.
Mama G smiled at me and asked.
“Na wetin you want”.
“Smoke”, I stuttered.
“Which type you want?”.
What did she mean by which type? Wasn’t all weed… weed?
“Which type?”, I stammered.
“Any type you get, gimme am”(I suck in pidgin by the way)
She showed her “blond” teeth in a repulsive grin.
“Annnnny type?, she drawled and wriggled her brows.
“Any type”, I reiterated.
She opened a box like container and started to scoop with a tiny spoon but stopped half scoop.
“You wan make I roll am abi make I just put am for lylon?”.
I glared at her and almost screamed, “its for my hair dammit!! Put it in the cellophane bag, you brown haired witch”
Instead I said, “lylon”.
(Naija pronunciation stuff going on here people!)
“How much own you want”
“300! Put 300 own”.
I was sweating so bad. The Nigerian police could decide to be effective and swoop in right now.
What would I do?! How would I explain I was buying “this” for beauty reasons.
DAMMIT WOMAN, HURRY!!!
After what seemed like an eternity.
She finally poured the “plant” in a cellophane bag and handed it to me.
She winked as she did this.
I kept a straight face. There was no way I was going to smile with these people.
I scurried out, almost tripping in the process.
Smoke and loud, raucous laughter followed me from the bar.
I stood in front of “Abagana country club” and stared down at the bag of shredded, malnourished looking leaves. Phewww!
Country club indeed!
I started to take a step and a car drove by slowly…….
The driver stopped and wound his passenger window down.
I started, then stared!
It was my pastor.
*That moment when you start explaining stuff you weren’t asked*.