Twenty-six years ago, the world evicted me. Even now, I know that death could not take resistible ridiculous stars.
The gloom of depression, anxiety, and emotional breakdown covered me simply because I was a star in the making. I have picked up myself after series of failed suicide attempts and went on to become an electrical engineer, acclaimed actor, extraordinary international bestselling novelist, scriptwriter, and a marriage counsellor.
Victor’s scream at midnight cut through the flashback of the twelve years’ experience that played in my joyful head. Like a swift waterfall running down a mountain, I heeded Victor’s call.
‘Did you bed-wet again?’
I patted his back gently. He was bitter and ashamed.
‘I want to die and rest,’ he muttered.
‘God forbid!’ I shuddered.
Many thoughts fled through my mind and I decided to tell him how I rose above a tough challenge to become a star.
‘Dad, I’m 18 and I still bed-wet. I’ve become the subject of mockery to my peers at the university’s hall of residence. I’m also ridiculed for my big nose and bald head’ Victor sobbed.
Merit, my wife, and I recognised that a seed of greatness was in Victor. He was aged enough to receive my stinking cat out of the bag. I wiped his tears and began my story.
On January 15th, 1991, after my registration in Federal University of Technology, Owerri, I moved into room 226 in Jumbo hall of residence, the only male hall then. Some students were infected because bathrooms and toilets were usually dirty.
There, I excitedly entered to take my bath the second time and the first in the morning. As I removed my boxer short, behold my joystick had shrunk to a peppercorn.
Bathing students rained me with surprising mopes. The penis of the student next to mine in size was bigger by five. Yet my body size made me look five years older than the youngest student in the bathroom. That was my first experience of bathing with group of boys. I had jumped into the bathroom unaware of my joystick’s strange behaviour.
‘What the heck!’ I pulled it out in shame and wonder, bathing it in cold water which made it shrink further. I desired to disappear but could not. So I bent forward to hide my genital in-between my legs.
‘Dead-rat-men avoid women. Sleep with women to enlarge your blokos,’ Tochukwu, the hall clown, taunted as he zoomed out of the bathroom. I imagined what he would tell the students.
A day before, I bathed with few students in a hot afternoon just after housekeepers had cleaned the bathrooms, my joystick was okay.
‘Why hadn’t these mockers seen me then?’ I wondered.
The following morning, I went into the bathroom to show how big I could be. Unknowingly, students crowded just as I entered with their handsets eager to see for themselves and take snapshots.
It shrivelled, my heart bled. I dressed up in a flash and left shamefully. I buried myself in my room wondering how to get out of the evolving mess.
‘That impotent guy lives here.’ Romanus, a Mechanical Engineering student living in room 227 said to Helen, his friend and course-mate, pointing at my room. Helen’s knowledge of the lie broke the camel’s back. She was my secret lover.
‘You’re finished in this school.’ They peeped through my window.
‘Die or disappear from this school! The whole school is waiting for you outside.’ I heard again from anonymous voice.
‘Oh, my education and life are the targets.’ I wept for the height of public shame awaiting me.
Victor grunted heavily, I watched his eyes dried. ‘Dad, did you go to class that day afterwards?’ Victor enquired.
‘Goodness! See.’ Victor showed me his arms grained with goose pimples.
Persuaded by my love for education, I picked up my school bag. Students swarmed the common room and the lounge. When I bounced out beside the hall’s entrance, multitude followed me. They also called on others on phones to come towards my direction.
‘See the dead’ I heard from the crowd who were eager to feed their eyes and share my naked pictures.
Students’ eyes were pushing. ‘I can’t live to face this public shame.’
‘Painful story brings glory,’ my mind motivated.
‘Go to blazes, evil glory.’ I shrieked.
Songs of mockery thundered along my way to class. I met Carl who lived in room 224.
‘Guy! Are you going to class?’ I shook his hand cringing.
‘Yeah, how many morning have you had since lecture?’ I beamed as if all was well, stuttering wrongly.
‘None… Students drove three lecturers away with noise.’ Carl signalled his friends and I caught him red-handed. He joined his friends and they walked away happily.
Wherever I turned, I caught students pointing at me and telling their friends my ordeal.
‘God, I hope to survive this mess.’ My whole body heated up. My legs refused to go to class.
I entered a flooded lounge of our classroom block. ‘What is going on here?’ We were not expecting any result on the board flocked by students. A student had made it viral by publishing a caricature of me when I bent down covering my minute private part. On seeing me, they faced me. I lost my feet to step further to class.
By the class’ window, students cursed me for being disabled. My body resonated. I checked my timetable the tenth time, Introduction to Electronics was to commence by 2pm.
‘Will I live for fifteen minutes?’ I soliloquized.
Tochukwu and Carl came into the class. All the students waited to see what Tochukwu, the departmental comedian, would display.
‘Please lend me your pen,’ Tochukwu said.
‘How come you came into this microcosm without a pen?’ Carl taunted.
‘Sorry, I can feel my big pen in-between my legs, writing better than yours.’ Tochukwu twittered like a cock.
I caught the joke and melted like an ice on my seat. My body soaked with sweat and my muscles vibrated.
‘Why hasn’t the lecturer arrived by this time’ I protested to Emeka sitting close to me. It was 2.05 pm and I was dying as the cadence of mockery echoed in the classroom. The students by the windows chanted songs to ridicule me.
By 2.15pm, Dr. Chibundu entered the class. ‘What’s on the notice board that you’re all jostling to see?’ He asked, pretending he has not heard.
Tochukwu stepped out to the front, bent forward, covered his private part with his left palm and scooped water from an invisible bucket to his body with his right palm. There was a long, long syllable of cackle.
‘Sir, Jumbo bathroom exposed a walking corpse today.’ Tochukwu winked at me from that position.
The end-of-rainy-season thunder-like laughter struck me. My muscles shook the desk I sat on with Emeka. He noticed that my emotion has broken down.
“Chinasa, please go home and take care of yourself” Emeka pleaded, he was a Christian, so he did not join others in ridiculing me.
My heart failed and I needed to hide. But if I did, I would miss lectures. The zeal to learn held me on my vibrating chair.
‘Who’s the student?’ Chibundu asked.
‘Boob, don’t mess with my class.’
‘Sir, I am surprised you’re unaware of the latest news. It’s everywhere,’ Tochukwu chuckled.
Dr. Chibundu could not calm the students. He became infuriated as more students obstructed ventilation in a class without Air Condition, trying to see me.
‘Guys, see you next week, read up.’ Chibundu left.
I walked briskly to my room with numerous mocking escorts. Students continued sharing my naked pictures through Bluetooth in their phones on the road. I buried myself in my bed and my pillow soaked in tears. After an hour of emotional trauma, I pleaded with death to take me.
If it was now, someone would have posted my naked pictures on social media. He would have tagged me, my friends and roommates via unknown profiles. In two hours, my naked picture would have gone viral with thousands of views, shares and likes. I would not have done anything against such users as there is no law against such act in Nigeria yet.
‘Who will marry a man rumoured to be impotent?’ I wept for ambition to marry.
Though I was still convinced that I was normal, but the aim of living in the school premises to study harder was defeated. Lectures fled behind my ears. I only came out of my room at night. Death refused to take my life as I prayed.
Shortly, I consulted an obstetrician. I explained my predicament and answered his questions.
‘Your penis is largely comprised of masses of super sensitive erectile tissue called corpus cavernosum.’ Dr Charles explained.
‘Stress, depression, cold, anxiety, pungent smell and dirt constrict the flow of blood in and out of your penis more than usual; hence, your penis shrinks unusually.’
‘The pores on the penis need to close when it is in a threatening environment. When there is enough flow of blood into the penis, it dilates, and the penis becomes turgid. This is adaptation.’ Dr Charles continued.
‘Why then have people been ridiculing me all this while?’
‘People were laughing at their calamities. They want you to have low self-esteem which in itself could trigger erectile dysfunction.’
My mouth was agape. I remembered I had been having wet-dreams.
‘Let me see it’ Dr Charles closed his curtains and put on his hand gloves in readiness to examine me.
‘I told you you’re fine…’ he nodded as he felt my testicles with his hands.
He traced the ducts that reached out to my testicles. Then he rubbed my penis’ gland and I danced uncontrollably.
‘You’ve passed sensitivity test already,’ Dr Charles said.
‘If the genitals of students you bath with never diminished like yours in such dirty and cold conditions as you said, it means that you are sexually active than them’
‘Go ahead and have sex with any girl you are attracted to.’
‘To make it big at all times?’ I jumped in.
‘Nope, having sex might not enlarge it.’
‘Are you satisfied with the size when it gains erection?’ Dr Charles asked when he saw that written doubt persisted on my face.
‘Yeah, it’s 8inches long and 2inches in diameter’
‘You’ve even measured it?’ He smiled.
‘I sense that you’re passing through a test. Bright future awaits you if you persevere.’
After my birth, my community smeared a stain on my private part’s foreskin only which a virginal fluid can clean. My community promised a mansion, wedding sponsorship and chieftaincy title for any man or woman who remained chaste two days to his or her wedding day- A way to reduce immorality among the youths. But I cared the least, preferring that to having as much sex as possible to enlarge my penis.
‘Avoid herbal drugs sold at some parks or in drug stores. They will damage this superb system. Remember, not everyone who went to university is educated. People do not research on simple issues of life before jumping to conclusion.’ Dr Charles looked at my eyeballs.
My eyes opened wider. I didn’t mind if my penis was inactive or even damaged as long as it’s sizeable while bathing in the hall to ward off shame.
‘Sir, do me a semen analysis.’
‘Why…? Penis size does not matter in fertility’
‘Hopefully I will marry. I will not want to put my wife into trouble tomorrow. You know that she would bear most of the blame if we can’t have children.’ I replied.
‘Believe my report. I’ve been in this career for thirty years. But if you insist…”
I shook my head.
‘Go into the toilet next door and masturbate until you get the milk to put in this bottle.’ I collected the container.
While I was in the toilet, Dr Charles made suspicious calls. ‘Come fast!’ he said, sotto voce. My penis became callous, to get the semen.
‘Isn’t this a sign of danger?’ I wondered.
I have heard that doctors use patient’s sperms for diabolical money making. Those patients remained infertile for life. I caressed myself anyway until semen gushed out from my flaccid penis into the sterile bottle.
Grudgingly, I walked out only to meet a heavily grey-haired man like a witch doctor who sat on my seat, waiting. I concluded that the man was a witch doctor working with Charles. That worsened my anxiety.
‘The semen Doc,’ I said, handing it over to him.
‘Drop it on that tub’ he gesticulated, avoiding any form of contact even with my eyes.
‘See you in a week time,’ he added.
When I returned for the result, he appeared too busy to meet me for interpretation. My suspicion heightened.
I thought I would be sterile for life. If I knew I was sexually sound, I would not have run the test in the first instance.
With Victor listening intently, I explained how I made a book titled -‘Misunderstood’ – out of my story as a way of encouraging people in difficult situations.
‘Honey, ‘Misunderstood’ isn’t your first novel.’ Merit interrupted.
While I tried to find a solution to the rain of ridicule on me, my imagination grew wild and wide. I started writing classical stories. I was afraid that publishing stories with my name and picture at the back covers would spread the rumour the more.
‘Daddy, you had a mountainous experience. What was your saving grace?’ Victor jumped in.
‘Better he died than live,’ people would say if I had committed suicide. You, the epitome of truth would have been hidden forever.
I bore the shame to prove rumourmongers wrong. My experience taught me what a hero in my own fiction entailed.
Also, as a Christian, if I kill or commit suicide, hell awaits me. I learnt that most serial killers, insane and dead persons were pushed to ruin by people around them.
Hold life firmly and be liberal with your ego, then you can live when your esteem is in the bin.
Back to my story; I remained in Jumbo hall for one year. I made sure to have my bath earlier or later than other students – at about 5am or 11pm. Yet students still woke up at those ungodly hours to ridicule me.
‘Hahaha, Jumbo boy is taking her bath,’ students had shouted.
Then, I knew how valuable the night was. People discussed me while I passed unidentified. I learnt a skill by the night outings – assume you’re not the one mocked but one existing only in your imagination.
I persevered to attend classes. Immediately after my first year in the five-year degree programme, I left the hall to relieve myself of the shame a bit. I vowed never to return to the hall.
‘Finally, Jumbo boy ran out of the hall!’ The cartoons on the boards stated. It became crystal clear that students actually monitored me. I decided to bear the shame.
The rumour flew like a wild fire in a bush in hamattan season. It waited for me in the company where I had my two months of industrial attachment. Workers mocked me mercilessly with songs, jokes and raining different animal-sound laughter. After my industrial training experience, I returned to my parents, having seen my poor results, they wept for me.
I made up my mind to live off campus the following year but hid my plans from my parents, Mr and Mrs Kalu. How could I possibly tell them this type of awful ordeal? Would it change anything?
One morning, a week to the end of my holidays, I approached them. ‘Dad, I need twenty naira for my second year accommodation in school.’
‘Talk of school fees and not accommodation,’ Mum snapped, flashing a gaze as blinding as a car’s headlights.
‘My school fees can wait till we start examinations. I need to secure the best room early.’ I returned the look with a beam from my mean eyeballs.
‘From my experience when Baker was in FUTO, second year payment was lower.’ Dad waited for my reply.
‘Who’s, the chick urging you to live off campus?’ Mum teased.
‘Yeah. No wonder the poor result.’ Dad starred, ready to hit me blue black.
‘I will do best if I live off campus.’ I muttered.
‘How?’ Mum interrupted.
‘No girl is after me …’
‘Our tradition and your advice are my bible. I wish that our community will sponsor my wedding. I want to get my rights afterwards.’
‘That’s only if you survive this,’ an evil thought dropped in my mind.
‘Honey, how did you overcome the shame to become a celebrated star?’ Merit cut in.
I became as busy as a bee moving in cycle, from canteen to class, library and my room. The library was my refuge in-between lectures. And whenever I was ridiculed, I imagined a fake me taking it all in, so the real me was sustained. I persevered with some health consequences until I completed my degree with second class upper honours in 1996. But I was afraid of any form of camping that will make me bath with guys in the same bathroom.
Six months after my graduation at 24, I was shortlisted for a National Youth Service Corps, a one-year programme for all Nigerian graduates not older than thirty years of age. The certificate awarded at the end of the programme was a prerequisite to get a job in Nigeria. The service was for ethnic reintegration. Fresh graduates home and abroad were posted to states far from their states of origin.
I could not opt out as it was compulsory. The graduates usually camp for three weeks with common bathroom for boys; from my secret findings.
‘Oh God, this predicament is going global,’ I groaned.
I collected the call-up letter from Students’ Affairs Department of my alma mater. I looked for students who were posted to serve in Abuja. My jaw dropped when I noticed I will serve with Tochukwu and Romanus.
‘My prayer wasn’t answered!’ I wept.
We agreed to converge at Onitsha Motor Park with other students posted to Abuja. I was dog-tired as I thought of the new dimension of shame looming. While travelling to the camp, I avoided the convergence. That avoidance made Tochukwu and Romanus to freely tell the story from soup to nuts. They told our schoolmates that I avoided them because of my trouble.
‘Chinasa will never bath in the same bathroom with other guys,’ the students from my school told graduates from other schools to watch out.
The trauma started afresh. My private part shrank the more. People followed me when I sneaked out of our room to bath in the morning.
‘Alas!’ They took away my clothes from where I hid them one morning. On seeing me naked as many of them lined up, it seemed to all that I was truly impotent. Those who were not around tracked me in the urinary closets.
After the programme, I returned to Port Harcourt where we resided. Shortly, I received invitations for aptitude tests and interviews. Other guys who graduated with me were invited.
‘See the guy I told you is impotent.’ Students from my school pointed at me.
At those instances, I became mentally disoriented, not able to do well in the tests or interviews.
‘God, forgive me any sin that led to this. Give me a job so that I stop appearing in the crowd where I am butchered.’ I prayed.
Blessed by the stars, I got a job with Refined Oil & Gas Ltd., a multinational company with good renumeration.
Romanus was also successful in the recruitment and was in the induction hall. I thought that I was finished. But I reassured myself that since I could make a good grade right in the university’s oven, I would equally do well in my job. The worst Romanus would do was to tell those who had not heard the story.’
Shockingly, the story was already there by my predecessors in school who joined before us. Then, it seemed as if the Jumbo incident just happened. I was uptight.
After our induction, we went to Abu Dhabi for one year training. There, I was surprised that Nigerians in Dubai and their white friends knew my story.
Six months into the program we were notified of an upcoming team building camping at Wonder Lead Sports, United Arab Emirate.
‘Camping again?’ My heart broke.
Romanus moved from house to house telling our doubting colleagues the opportunity the training has brought.
‘After camping, you’ll never doubt what I tell you,’ he affirmed.
‘I am finished!’ My heart pounded on hearing the training commencement date.
I became more sober as the day approached. That day, I sat right at the back of the bus, quiet and unable to make some jokes as usual.
‘Chinasa has no marriage surd, unless you want your sister to be a harlot’ Romanus told my colleagues who wanted to recommend their sisters for me to marry. He thought that I did not understand.
‘Today they will believe Romanus.’ My voice cracked.
As we arrived, we grouped ourselves in fours, but my group was eight. Everyone wanted to see things for themselves.
‘Why do you all want to stay in the same room with this guy?’ The worker in the training centre asked and picked three guys to join me.
My feet dragged to enter the room. I dropped my bags and sought for the bathroom. To my consolation, it was a one-man at a time bathroom.
Romanus was disappointed when he saw that my training was full of fun.
‘Go and marry, I will help you.’ Some friends told me.
When I unravelled their statement, I wept. Then nine of twelve guys amongst us got married. I took a bold step.
My fiancée and I met our pastor for our plans and marriage counselling. Then the rumours took on a new dimension, even in church.
‘Girls love wealth a lot. Why will a pretty girl marry a barren man?’ Church members protested. I wondered why singles who were too sure that they would give birth to children mocked me who they assumed will not give birth for being rich.
Pastor Cohen referred us to a Rhema Laboratory to run tests for HIV, genotype and blood group. When we got to the hospital for sample collection, I requested that we run fertility test. The tests were fine including my semen analysis.
Many people confronted Reverend Cohen telling him that my manhood was dead. Cohen had simply invited them for a meeting where they would say it to my face, but they absconded.
Then people extended bad treatment to my wife-to-be.
‘Prospective harlot,’ society stigmatized Merit.
‘It seems that there’s something you’re not telling me’ Merit queried me, a week to our wedding.
‘O boy, I wouldn’t have survived this shame.’ She replied when I told her the story.
‘Trying to survive, I learnt chameleonogy which sharpened my acting talent. My imagination widened, plunging me into the realm where ideas flourish. My writing talent was refined in that I understood hero making in a story’ I replied.
When you, Victor, were borne, I published this experience as Misunderstood. That was how doors to write and act great novels and movies opened.
‘Very well dad. Did your community give you your due rights?’
Two days to my wedding, I visited home and the delegates came to examine my private part. Fear and anxiety gripped me.
We went to my room immediately, and with utmost tension I undressed.
‘God, I am disappointed! They’ll think that I am impotent.’
Surprisingly, Chief Uche said. ‘Though the stain is still intact, but this promise is not for people like you’
‘It’s just that I am tensed,’ I thought he would understand as a man.
‘Nze, off I go. Let’s give feedback to our people first.’
Different news circulated my home country. I also heard that guys who lived with me in Jumbo hall would stop my wedding. I calmed Merit.
A day to our wedding, we visited the vicarage with the wedding gown for approval after which my wife ran a pregnancy test. If it was positive, the wedding would have been suspended.
Surprisingly, members of the church committee gathered in the lounge waiting for us. We greeted them. I looked by my left and saw a young man with a mask on his face. I assumed that they were rehearsing a drama ahead of Sunday service.
‘There’s an impediment raised against your wedding.’
My heart pounced.
‘Before now no one owned up’ Reverend Cohen continued.
‘Youngman come forward,’ Reverend Cohen bid him. A guy with the masked face approached me.
‘Chinasa’s manhood is dead!’ He pointed at me, and walked away.
The voice was Carl’s and the mask did not cover completely the queer ear I used to know him with. ‘Carl!’ I screamed in my mind.
‘Chinasa, let’s check you inside,’ we went into the vicarage with an obstetrician. He had a bottle of drinking water and a glove in his hands.
As I went with them I felt my penis shrinking slowly into my body. I removed my clothes and saw wonder on the face of Reverend Cohen.
Dr Chinda sought for my testicles. ‘They’re to size. That’s the most important,’ he said, not directing his comment to anyone in particular.
‘I think he’s okay. Let’s check if the testicles are working.’ He poured some drops of water on my right toes.
My testicles moved angrily. ‘He’s healthy Reverend; you can proceed with the wedding.’
Merit entered with face like burnt slice of unripe plantain. ‘Hon, this examination is taking time. People are calling to enquire into our wedding.’
‘Are you aware of your husband’s condition?’ Cohen asked with doubt.
‘Yeah, he also ran a semen analysis with Rhema Laboratory.’
‘How’s the result?’
‘Let me call the technician, our parishioner to confirm.’ Cohen said, doubting.
‘John, is it true that Chinasa Kalu ran a semen analysis in your lab?’
‘Is the result okay?’ The reverend asked.
‘Sir, ask him the sperm count, the motility rate…’ Chinda interfered.
‘With due respect sir, it is against our ethics.’
‘He’s here, talk!’
‘John, Chinasa’s on a hot seat. His wedding is jeopardised, and we need this information to continue.’
‘He’s fine go ahead.’ John answered.
The wedding continued the next day with the reverend condemning rumour mongering during his sermon.
After the wedding I ran with my wife to Tinapa Resort Centre in Cross River State, Nigeria. We checked in to the most hidden room in Mary Slessor Guest House.
We agreed to make love in the morning of the following day. I had no erection while we romanced. My wife’s countenance changed.
The second day, after we dined and sipped a little quantity of alcohol, my prick remained lifeless as we played. Anxiety gripped me. Merit stayed naked, expecting a baptism of fire. I lay on the bed, slept and woke up with boiling head the next morning. Merit had cleaved to me with her succulent body all through the night and nothing happened.
‘God help me before my wife runs out to have extramarital affairs.’ I prayed. People made nasty comments in a loud voice around my room.
The guys knew me and maintained that I could never fulfil husband’s assignment. On the third day which was the peak of Merit’s ovulation period unknown to me, her desire for sex skyrocketed. All her efforts to get me aroused proved abortive.
Merit was so angry, disappointed and confused. She started hanging around the window looking outside.
‘God, please help me.’
She became arrogant for the first time since I had known her.
‘Honey, leave the window!’ I said as she stared at guys in the garden with their lovers.
‘Then make me happy, I am a woman,’ she sobbed.
I tried to pet her but she gazed earnestly in between my two legs. She left the room with anger to the love garden just by the door side. When the guys saw Merit moody, and I, pleading, they raised their voices mocking us.
To add salt to the injury, they made love right there in the garden. Suddenly, my prick heard a scream from the girl and jumped up. My wife saw it and pulled me to the hotel room. We had good sex for the first time.
After then, the jinx was broken. My wife took in that day and delivered you exactly nine months later. Well-wishers who saw you on your bed confessed that you were the chip of the old block. They asked me to pray for Romanus’ family who married four years before us and was still without an issue.
I prayed for them with passion born out of my experience and what I think childless couple face in the society. Shortly, his wife delivered twins.
On your delivery, I published the novel of this short story and gave complimentary copies to all that slandered me. As for other novels that I wrote before now, I have adapted them into movies and participated in acting them. That’s how I became a renowned novelist, scriptwriter and actor.
‘You made mention of few students who saw you a day your manhood was sizeable. Why didn’t they stop the rumour?’
‘The problem we have in the world today is that we talk more of evil than of good. As long as it doesn’t affect us directly, we don’t care. James, your mum’s brother, is one of those few guys who bathed with me that afternoon.’
‘What about our community people?’
‘On seeing your resemblance with me, they gave us our rights.’
‘Wow, by this story, I can stand to anything.’
‘Yeah. Everyone should write their own ‘Misunderstood’, publish or produce and give copies to those who were ignorant. Read, see and buy novels or movies to learn how heroes survive.
Victor and Merit hugged me as I rounded off my story and got ready for an audition.