Today, the drum came alive. Today, I knew why I could not be with a woman. Today, I beat my GAN GAN nonetheless…


We are sitting far from each other, and allowing silence take preeminence. She is sobbing and murmuring things that my ears cannot pick – I was not even interested. Why did she choose to smash my heart against broken bottles? I really did not see this coming, I thought she meant the three popular words of I LOVE YOU – she was not different from the rest, she was just a vulture. “True love is a bastard, a concept coined not in a dictionary but a fairy tale annoyingly believed by man. A bastard being emptiness, it never existed. A true lie”. I was saying inwardly with a bitter and damaged heart.

Titi is supposed to be my wife in a month time, a woman that I was to call my other half. We kept a vow, we were not going to have sex before our big wedding, and whenever she says this all my replies took one form I HAVE HEARD BABY, WHATEVER BABY SAYS IS COOL BY ME. I always smiled whenever her face and mannerism tiptoed into my exclusive thoughts, she was all I could talk about whenever I chill at Mama Ndubisi’s beer joint with my friends all tagged along – little did I know I was in for a shocker.

I met Titi somewhere in Abuja during my huzzling years. She has this pointed nose, slim body, and big smile. I knew she was the girl for me, and after two months of meeting, we were the perfect love birds. I remember how we shopped in every shopping mall in Abuja – tuesday nights were never complete without a late night movie in Jabi. I enjoyed her company so much, and it was not long after that that I slipped an engagement ring down her finger. “Oh man, as money don kiss my life, and as e don sama me with better girl, why will I not dance shoki?”, that was my give away punchline whenever my friends and I discussed our escapades, attachments, and breakups. 

“Yoruba? Yoruba girl?? last year was Calabar, earlier this year was Igbo and one tomboy Fulani girl. Ugochukwu, what is with the swap of girls? I hope you are not looking forward to tasting every tribe before you inform us of the final pick? Hmm”. Mama was saying all these upon my last visit to her and as you would expect, I was with the defense. “Ehn oo! I did not come to get a slight affront from you or anybody. She is Yoruba, and so? Later we gon be saying Nigeria is doing bad when all we do is foster discrimination even within our country. I am getting married on Christmas day which is a month away and your blessings would matter.” My mum was sluggishly saying “sorry, Mr. Lawyer, I hope you win this case”. I hate how she twists all those words to cause a pierce in my chest. I left her sight immediately and was quickly in the available bus to the city.

Titi always said she was a virgin. It was what even gave her a pass mark as I boasted same. “I am slightly unwell”, I was telling her over my mobile phone. I did not think she would come that night as it was almost 11pm. “Boo boo, what is wrong na?” Her hug was comforting, I seemed to have suffered I MISS YOU sickness as my body began to shape well; for a second, I was off colour, but on seeing her I was as a monkey. With ripened and overdue want, I muttered something like KISS ME. All her efforts to make me see the possible effect my advances would have on our vows. It did not work, she laughed like a witch, it worried me a bit but I shook it off as one of those lady-like way of expressing TAKE ME IN YOUR ARMS. With my lights switched off, the sex episode was granted adventure for extras as I had to find her tiny lips, and every organ sensually relevant. One pound, no screams; she lied to me, Titi was no virgin – what if it was our wedding night?…I was completely disappointed, my mood was out, and like faint drops from a tap, my libido was shrinking calculatedly. A white flash from her eyes! I jumped up immediately, and she quick to put on the light. “Baby what is the problem?”, she asked with the hope that I did not notice she was not a virgin. I kept mute and backed her sitting far from her while still on the bed. Her groanings flew in, she was apologizing – she felt I noticed the easy access and leak in her forbidden fruit.

Here am I, completely silent and glancing at the hour-glass shaped instrument my grand ma bought for me when I was 10. I did not say a word to Titi, if I wanted to, it will be to apologize for believing in true love. I sat in silence, the talking drum had its bigger face staring back at me. “Oh! This must be the encumbrance to my emotional prosperity”, I said aloud. My grand ma never liked me, she is probably the talking drum, the five girls I ditched were of similar situations – all non virgins, all with a shiny white eye flashing once. “Tonight I smash you”, I talked to the talking drum. Upon exiting my door, the curved stick, the well polished membrane used in beating melodious rhythms on the gan gan (talking drum), aroused me in a manner never experienced. So I play my gan gan, and I smash it not.

                                            OKOCHA OBED.