Yes. It is official. I am an addict.
You never really realize that you are one until it is too late, until that powdery bliss has completely taken you over and you have just but to go on with life or seek help. But by the time you reach that level, you are already too far gone. No amount of therapy or a purge can help you and so you console yourself with the emptiness that comes after defeat.
It began in high school when everybody was doing it. When everyone was sneaking in huge tubs of it, and all I wondered was is it really allowed? Why are the gatemen not confiscating it? And because I was an imbecilic high schooler, I wanted to be just like the others. I wanted to be just like the cool kids where I could whip out my stash and enjoy with the rest.
Oh the glory! Oh the sweetness and the decadent joy that came with the taste because, unlike other addictions, this was taken by mouth upon which it would melt at the slightest contact with saliva and stick everywhere: within the groves of my teeth, at the back of my tongue, at the roof of my mouth… And none of us would ever mind because thank God for the wonders that are the toothbrush and toothpaste.
I had the brilliant idea of mixing it with the famous Cadbury Coffee Caramel back then. And it felt like a burst of heaven in my mouth, while everyone else enjoyed it with plain old water. It was a memorable experience.
Then days came and went and I was in university, purging myself of the horrible body degradation by means of endless, torturous studies. There was no time to indulge, to simply take an oral puff and let it melt in my mouth. I was broke. I was busy. I was brainwashed to thinking that I could become the next inventor, the next humanitarian, the next Nobel Peace Prize winner. I was going to change the world but then shimata happens. The workload became immense. I was tired all the time and I needed some form of release. And that was when, after almost 7 years of being free of that bondage, I was lured back into that trap by that sweet aroma of candy powder. Yes, ‘Candy powder’ I called it, because that was just exactly what it was. A powder made of sweet memories that made me forget my woes and my pain.
It soon became a ritual. Every evening, after classes, I would rush back to my dormitory, or hostel, or bedsitter, or wherever new place to which I had moved then. I would hurry into my room like a derelict junky and steal my arm to the back of the cupboard where I hid it behind bread and eggs and a packet of Raha Drinking Chocolate (because Cadbury Coffee Caramel was out of stock), where I had packed it into a cylindrical tupperware container with three working locks and one broken one. And I would take it out and hug it and say something as absurdly stupid as “Oh Milk Powder-Chan! I missed you so much!”
Yes. Milk Powder. That is my addiction.
It had become mighty expensive. I had bought the smallest amount from the supermarket at the steep price akin to the cost of an arm and a leg, knowing I would regret every cent I spent on it, but I would engorge myself in it. I would make one cup of milk powder cocoa and drink it, and I would make another and drink it, and I would make yet another one again and gulp that one down too like the Luhya I am. And I would make sure I take another just after a heavy meal of Ugali and either Ingokho or fish or sossi sauce (since I am ‘born-town’ as my more agricultural friends would say) because I was sure to sleep very deeply immediately after, knowing very well that the processed sweetness was poisoning my insides and fattening me up by the minute for Lord Death to swiftly take me. But I would still sleep soundly, knowing that the next day’s drink awaited me.
It has ruined me. Goodness gracious this addiction has ruined me. Perhaps the milk powder has gone to my head because all I see in my waking moments are mountains of white powder tall enough to reach the clouds. I would then see myself swimming in it the same way rotten-toothed pirates swim in discovered treasure, or maybe making snow angels the way fat American kids do during Winter despite the load of laundry they would leave for their Mexican househelps.
I have discovered that I am in urgent need of help. And, perhaps if you thought I was talking about cocaine, then you need help even more than I do.
P.S.: I am writing this at 2 in the morning, the time of sleepless creatives, and also the same time African witches and wizards are wide awake since I can hear one chanting outside, probably begging his pagan god for a raise or a curse upon his bitter romantic rival.