Today, I did something I haven’t done in two years and I felt like a
bird set free from its cage Tigress released from captivity.
I opened my Oven.
Phase one: The reason
I had been very excited about going to Lawschool and couldn’t wait for the monday to come. I was a grilled chicken addict, It was pleasurable to my tongue, more pleasurable when I shared it to awon boys with beer over their playstation.
That friday’s chicken must have been a bitter violent thing when it was alive, it was taking too long. I stooped for a check, right in front of the Oven(and if you do this, you should never ever do it again) and opened it…
The sound first, then the cloud of blue ball followed, in those seconds, I was very convinced I was dead. I heard the way I screamed was one of the scariest shouts ever.
When I realised I wasn’t as dead as I thought, excruciating pain had taken over, then that smell, my hair was on fire.
When we laughed about it months later, Kabiyesi said
” As I was rushing to the kitchen, she fled past me and went to dive into the bathroom booter of water”
He confessed he was amused for a second and waiting for what episode his drama queen wife was about to unfold again, only to hear a sizzling sound and see smoke evaporating from the water.
Its amusing to recall now, how they were trying to convince me to come out of the water, I no gree o.
“I’m finished o! I can’t see, my eyes are refusing to open!”
And to be honest, I was afraid of how maimed I would be.
Finally I got out, and they relaxed me enough to open my eyes. Then I started checking in this order;
a. The first thing I remembered as soon as I lay on the bed, I was six full months preggers with 100watts. I prodded my tommy endlessly and kept thinking ‘Did this fire burn through my skin and this people are lying to me that my baby is okay?’ ‘Did I hurt my baby when I did that long jump into the water?’
b. I asked for a mirror, the front part of my hair was burnt, my eye lashes and brows were gone. I’m hairy, so the hair on my arms were gone too.
c. Lastly, the pain. Excruciating doesn’t begin to describe it. My entire face, arms and upper body hurt like the fire was still there.
Iya Ada sent her 100% pure honey immediately, she swore it was the best way to ensure I didnt get too much scars. At that moment I was ready to bath in tortoise faeces.
So the honey dousing began. I was a sticky mess. When they finally left me to sleep, I turned to the side and wept my eyes out.
Because you see, not everyone survives a domestic accident of that magnitude.
In that alone time, I didn’t care anymore how I would turn out or look, I was just grateful I was alive and my baby growing was fine. It was fine that way, anything else I told God, would be a generous bonus.
By the third day, I had been Kabiyesi’s honey in deed and in truth. I drank water like a fish as was recommended and had some light pain killers, the throbbing was gone.
Phase two: Damage control
My left fingers were all blistered and some of my wrist, same with my right hand. My face looked like someone had slapped and punched me in some places and that was it. It felt too good to be true.
I was ready for Lawschool by the second day of resumption. My friend Rosie took me to a hair stylist and explained what happened, the guy did some wonder weave that I couldn’t stop flipping. It was hair I would never have fixed at gun point…and I loved it.
Then he put me through a make up crash course, I learnt to draw in my brows as naturally as possible so it was near impossible to tell they had suffered some recent loss. I learnt to apply blush to my cheekbones, I got red lipstick and some loud eyeshadow. So tey someone teased
“Ahan, this your burn did you well o”
I resumed school and met the most amazing girls, especially from the Eastern universities. It was hilarious the way they whispered
“Is she really pregnant?”
And all the “Please can I touch your stomach?” I felt like a tourist attraction sometimes.
I had worn a long sleeved black shirt on a black skirt, it didn’t take long for the heat to bring the burning pain back. The girl beside me noticed and insisted on knowing what was wrong
“I had a fire accident at home”
I reluctantly showed her.
She gasped “Is that why your hand has been in your pocket since!?” I moped stupidly
“Open it joor, look at this girl, dont you know you are too beautiful for all this nonsense?”
I felt naked when she rolled up those sleeves, everyone around saw the blisters and were pretty nice. One guy even went
“All I am seeing is that ring finger, mehn that bros dikwa very sharp”
Phase three: Healing
The blisters soon dried up, I was asked not to prick them myself and oh my! For someone who likes to pinch any and everybody and pop pimples (Gross, sorry) that was a herculean task. After some weeks of more honey and sheabutter, I looked brand new.
Everything cleared by that christmas. The brows and lashes grew back, my front hair grew too, just uneveningly (and it didnt matter for long, I had a nice african queen haircut about a year after).
Phase four: Final healing
Even after the scars had long left, I would be sleeping and just imagine a ball of fire chasing me and jolt awake. That faded off with time.
But I had never opened that oven since that day and nobody was permitted to open it in my front. The repair guy came and said it was gas that had leaked from some place and it was all fixed now. I was like
“Na you sabi o”
A few times some people have taken pity I
On it and dusted it out in my absence, but me I restricted my wiping of it to the part I use to cook jeje.
So today I was marinating some chicken when the voice came in my head
I literally dropped everything I was doing and ran out of the kitchen. I glanced at the oven door handle and moved myself to open. I stood far off and kept my face turned away and opened.
I ran away to the parlor.
TheBoss: Mommy who is chasing you?
I felt foolish and crilaughed.*
*Crilaughed:Adverb: The act of crying and laughing at the same time, usually caused by overwhelming emotions.
I went back to the kitchen and peeped through the keyhole first. Nothing. Good.
Next was to turn it on. This was the hardest part. I paced up and down, opened and closed, paced, opened, closed. I finally got it on and the journey to my good old brown chicken began. The final step was to open and close to check like I had been doing when it happened. I did that successfully.
I nearly cried. I felt lighter. I felt like some imaginary chains had snapped free.
Freedom had come.
I sat on the floor there laughing at myself.
A lot of our limitations are set by our minds, sometimes without trying, sometimes by the memories of the times we tried and failed.
But if we survived, remember, trying again never runs out of second chances