Psych Ward Diaries. Addendum 2.

I’m going to call Mr Dayo today.

I’m chilling in this alright apartment at Victoria Island. I have no serious doubts with regard to my sanity or mental wellbeing, and I’m plotting some schemes to enable me discontinue my enrolment at that soul-eroding university.

Life is good.

I call Mr Dayo’s number.

The phone rings for a bit.

Someone answers. It is a woman’s voice.

“Hello?”

“Hello, Good evening. My name is Mayowa. Mr Dayo gave me this number.”

We speak for a bit.

I mention how I know Mr Dayo. I say we spent some time at the Psych Ward together.

It’s his wife.

The one who he said left to go live with some guy.

Hmm.

We exchange some more words, and then she says something that completely suspends my thoughts.

“Mister Dayo is dead.”


Sorry What?

Mister Dayo is what?

It takes me a while to process the implication of that statement on all of the things I was initially planing to say.

Sorry What?

“He died late last year.”

I am thoroughly disoriented. And very sad.

I do not understand.

She says he died in his sleep. That the autopsy said it was some sort of a heart condition.

I feel so sad. And shocked.

We keep talking.

She says he got depressed when his friend died.

I recall him mentioning that.

After my time in the Psych facility- When I regained access to the internet, I googled his friend’s name. He was spoken of, as someone with a renowned reputation. Like someone I should know by name.

No results on Google.

Most likely for people in Mr Dayo’s generation, the establishment of their careers/reputations predated the prevalence of the internet. In Nigeria at least.

Dated newspapers, physical memorabilia, and collective memory are probably the places where they still exist now.


We talk a bit about their relationship.

She says his family interfered a lot. Says that was very frustrating for her.

I recall him mentioning something like that. He said his siblings were trying to turn him into a Pastor of sorts. Said he was like the black sheep the family.

I am extremely sad to hear that he’s dead.

I was looking forward to catching up, and laughing and recalling our shared experiences in the Psych facility. We spent a number of months as inpatients in the hospital. In such close quarters and insulation from the outside world, there’s little else to do but talk to pass the time.

This is so so sad.

My own life in like the past two years has been full of its own tumults I’ve had to navigate, and so calling or paying a visit hadn’t been anywhere in my plans until now.


We keep talking.

I mention that he was also pretty upset because she left. He seemed largely nonchalant about it in our discussions, but he had to be upset. He had to be.

She says she never left him. That she never went to live with any guy. That she had just one husband. That she’s a Christian. That she’s a Pastor blah blah blah.

Mhm.

Oh now you’re a Christian. Now you’re a Pastor.

I’m not so surprised anyway. It’s not like I expect her to be so forthcoming with tales of her affairs, while answering a call on her dead husband’s phone.

We exchange some more words, and then say goodbye.

The phone call ends.


I delete the phone number. Mr Dayo is permanently unreachable now.

I take some time to try making sense of everything.

This was completely unexpected. Completely.

Damn.


This post is one in a Series. Feel free to view the other pieces here.


Image: Random stretch of Lagos countryside road.

Cape Verde: A Story of a Transgender Prostitute [Part 1.5]

This post is one in a Series. A list of all of the posts in this Series can be accessed here.


We’re walking down one of the cobblestone streets of Santa Maria.

He’s sashaying beside me, in his black lipstick and dark-auburn gown.

We’re definitely getting stares.

We come across Anso.

“Heeeyyyyy Ansoooo!!!!”

“Heyyyyyyy Mayowaaaaa!!! Begeeeee!!!”

We exchange pleasantries, amidst excited laughter.

Anso is one of my Senegalese neighbours.

He is also a member of the Baye Fall- an Islamic sect whose meetings I regularly frequent for the free food.

I usually understand nothing that is said at the meetings. Usually they’re just chanting strange things in Wolof.

But food.

Food.

That is a language we all have in common.

Bege” is this word the Senegalese guys use when they’re greeting each other. It’s some sort of an expression of regard for the other person.

I don’t know if it’s a Senegalese thing, or a Baye Fall thing. I don’t know.

Anso has his dreadlocks wrapped up in a swollen rastacap which sports the usual Jamaica-colour stripes.

After Anso and I are done exchanging pleasantries, I continue heading down the street with the sashaying trans-woman beside me.

“Hm, you’re very popular.”

It’s the transgender guy.

Hm.

Well I certainly don’t see things that way. Although to be fair we have come across a good number of people with whom I’ve stopped to exchange excited greetings.

Hm.

I don’t know. I still don’t see myself as a popular person. I think today is just a good day.


We’re walking by a roadside grocery store. A Mini Mercado.

The Mini Mercado is owned by a Cape Verdean couple. It is situated on the ground floor of their 1-storey home.

The woman is usually seated at the counter- processing purchases with a smile, and counting money with a very remarkable air of satisfaction with life.

Her husband on the other hand, is an extremely annoying guy- I don’t like him. I don’t like him one bit.

He’s this pesky stocky guy that walks about by piercing the air in front of him with his big round stomach. In actual fact there is nothing so annoying about his physical appearance- I’ve just grown very inclined to perceive it negatively because of the pointless hurt and frustration he has made me experience.

Every once in a while I’ll be somewhere in the store- maybe selecting eggs or picking onions. This guy- this despicable edifice of annoyance, just appears from nowhere and begins to accost me. He tries to budge me about with his stocky frame, with a bewilderingly unfounded frown on his face.

And he doesn’t speak English!

So I never understand what exactly his problem is. In spite of the fact that I can speak enough Cape Verdean Creole to get by, his mutterings usually don’t feel sensible enough to make any real meaning to me.

Like, what the fuck is this guy saying please

And then I myself get upset to the point that my limited Creole becomes inadequate as an avenue for verbal expression.

So I switch to English:

What the fuck is your problem, What exactly is the issue, Why in the name of God are you bothering my life, etc etc.

But of course he never understands anything I’m saying.

And so to him I’m just uttering this jumble of unintelligible sounds.

And worst of all, he mimics me.

He pouts his lips and sticks his tongue out in my face and goes “Tfe tfe tfe tfe tfe“, making fun of my English fricatives.


One day at dawn, I was walking by his house. To my pained dismay I looked up and saw him standing at his balcony, gripping the railings with his stocky arms and frowning down at me.

In my head I thought:

“Jesus Christ, this guy again.

The day has barely started for God’s sake.

I’m barely awake.

I’m still navigating the realm of inspiration that exists between sleeping and waking.

What is all of this nonsense?”

I saw Anso hanging out by the road with a number of his Senegalese friends.

I drew his attention to the glaring gargoyle on the balcony.

“Anso, what is this guy’s problem?! He’s always staring at me and trying to make my life miserable for no good reason. What the fuck is his problem?”

“Hahaha! You’re not the only one who experiences that! He does it to everyone! His wife never lets him have sex and so he’s always walking about in a horrible mood.”

Now I had absolutely no idea if what Anso said was true, but it made perfect sense. And it felt good. It was a very enjoyable explanation for the pesky guy’s inexplicable irritability. So I chose to believe it.

I raised my eyes up to the stocky frowning being on the balcony- seeing him then in a very different light. I pointed my finger at him and began to laugh out of spite.

Haha motherfucker.

Haha.

Your wife is completely satisfied by the fulfilment of managing a successful grocery store. The grocery store gives her all of the stimulation and excitement and catharsis she needs in life, and she has no need for sex.

You’re probably bound both by your marriage vows and by the possible societal disapproval of marital infidelity by a man your age, and so that leaves you stuck in a sexless marriage.

Plus, having sex elsewhere will cause problems with your primary source of income- which is the grocery store you both manage.

She probably just turned away your sexual advances. That’s why you’re out here fuming on the balcony at 6 o’ clock in the morning.

Hahaha motherfucker.

Hahaha.


We’re still walking down one of the cobblestone streets of Santa Maria- The trans-woman and I.

He’s still sashaying beside me, in his black lipstick and dark-auburn gown.

Something I think I’ll always find strange about seeing a biological man in a gown, are the narrow hips. The gown just goes straight down from the waist. Like it tapers from the shoulders down to the waist, and then poom– just sharply straight down from there. I actually think it’s a bit funny.


We’re still walking down one of the cobblestone streets of Santa Maria.

We’re still getting stares.


Image: Bunch of people gambling somewhere on the streets of Santa Maria.