How do I get over this influence?
It's Koko, a close friend's birthday. King, another close friend of mine, and I are in Koko's mom's kitchen cooking fresh fish and unripe plantains for the birthday's guests, who are mostly our peers. We are all young men in our late teens and early twenties, with a greater number of us being university students.
The guests are mostly folks we fraternise with. But Koko, King, and I are the closest of friends, which is why he let us in his mom's kitchen while others are outside, drinking, bantering, and chattering, waiting for the food we are preparing to arrive.
Koko steps into the kitchen, wearing a serious look. King and I give him a look that says, "What's it?"
"My mom is back, and I'm not sure she'll appreciate seeing you guys in her kitchen." Koko says, looking oddly sad.
There is something off about his appearance. I could swear that the frown and sad look are all made up. But not wanting to give out my curious, inquisitive, and argumentative self to Koko's mom, Kingsley and I quietly step out without hesitating for a second.
We join our friends outside, who are all littered around—sitting, standing, or perching, occupying every available space, from the balcony of the bungalow's building to the not-too-large courtyard. They're in different subgroups—in twos, threes, fours, and so on.
Seamlessly, King and I blended into one of the groups. We join the boys to banter about football, music, girls, and whatnot.
Just as I lean my ears closer to listen to Deebo, one of the boys, as he starts explaining why he just can't let go of Clara, despite being mocked by fellow young men for being a simp, Koko walks towards me with a satisfying and somewhat mischievous grin. He whispers to my ears, "You guys can go back to the kitchen; I've spoken with mom."
"Didn't you tell your mom earlier on that you'd be having friends in her kitchen?" I reason within myself without saying it out loud.
I'm already known as a lover of arguments. So, I have to be careful not to call attention to myself, and thereby diverting people's attention from the main event. It's the least I can do to honour a good friend's birthday.
As I move, King quickly follows me back to the kitchen. We taste the food to be sure that the ingredients, including the spices, are well mixed.
"This tastes so good!" exclaimed King.
"Bro, didn't I tell you that I'm a good cook?" I boast.
"Master Chef," King taunts. We both let out a hearty laugh that reverberates through the whole kitchen.
King opens one of the cabinets that Koko earlier showed us. He brings out ceramic plates. I begin dishing on the plates, intermittently throwing some into my mouth. King does the same.
The food is taken to the guests, who wasted no time joyfully stuffing it into their mouths while still chattering.
Isaac, one of the boys known for his notoriety, asks in a loud voice, "Who cooked this food?"
"Mfoniso did," some of the boys say.
"I'm not sure; Mfoniso wouldn't do this." Isaac speaks again, smiling.
"Do what exactly?" Someone else asks from the crowd.
"King was in the kitchen with Mfoniso." Says another person.
"Maybe it's King. This food is spiked with marijuana." Isaac finally let out his observation.
I know that King isn't the one who spiked the food. I quickly look for Koko. Our gazes meet. I see that same familiar, mischievous grin he wore earlier on.
"So this is what all those odd demeanours were all about. Hmmm, so Koko deliberately sent us out of his mom's kitchen." I thought to myself.
Upon the revelation, you'll expect some people to stop eating or those yet to collect their portions to desist from doing so. But none of those happen. The innocent ones are influenced by their peers to keep gulping down food laced with psychedelics.
The dizzy feelings, the cooling sensation in my frontal lobe, the dimming of my eyeball, and the relaxation of my eyelids suddenly begin to make sense.
"I'm under the influence of marijuana." The realisation almost scares the life out of me. The once-plain ground suddenly becomes steep, resembling a staircase and a rapid escalator all at once.
One thing is sure: I have to get home without tripping down. If I trip down, my ego will be shattered. Carefully, I place one foot forward slowly before lifting the other.
I'm home. I'm aware of how dim my eyes are; I can't look my mom in the eye. I speak only a few words. I don't want mom to notice the sudden relaxedness and huskiness of my voice tone.
I pick up a few things and leave the house.
I will be staying with a friend till I figure out how to get over this influence.