Yemi is not so comfortable with the fact that I’m taking the trip to Abeokuta with Eben. He tells me this while we make breakfast and goof around in the kitchen with kisses.
“He still loves you. I don’t trust him.”
“I already told him you and I are together,” I respond to him in a moan. The heat of his breath on my ear is too much to bear. He has abandoned the eggs he’s whisking to stand behind me and hold me as I dice carrots.
“I still don’t trust him.”
“Trust me, then.”
“I do.” Yemi’s lips leave a wet spot on my shoulder. We’ve been this way since yesterday, cuddling, spooning, kissing, chatting… Nothing sexual has happened – yet. Yemi assures me that he’s not in a hurry; we’ll get there slowly.
“Just be cautious with him. If he does anything stupid…”
I turn around. Yemi smiles before capturing my lips in a calm but long drawn kiss. Afterwards, I am lifted off the floor, the carrots pushed aside, so that I can be placed on the kitchen counter. We continue kissing until my phone rings.
Yemi returns to his egg-whisking activity while I take Eben’s call. Eben informs me that he has a few things that came up at the office which he must attend to. He wants to know if 2 p.m. is a good time to leave for Abeokuta. I tell him it’s fine. I hang up. Yemi and I resume making breakfast.
“I’m ready to go to the HCT center to do the required tests,” I announce. Yemi stops and looks at me.
“That’s my girl!” He gives me a high five. I slap it. “Let’s go this morning.”
“I don’t see why not? We’ll go after breakfast.”
We manage through making breakfast and eating it with our lips between each other’s and hands exploring our bodies. We get a break from ourselves when it’s time to shower. But Yemi watches me dress up, going through the photos on my phone at the same time. He tells me he’s fascinated by my fashion taste and creativity.
“I’m going to give you all the support you need to have your designs out there,” he says. “You should be doing something with this amazing gift already.”
“I know, right?”
On the way to the HCT center, we hold hands in the back of the cab, sharing an earpiece that is connected to Yemi’s phone. We’re listening to Tupac. I have never been a fan of rap but having been with Yemi this short period has given me a third ear for other genres of music. I find myself picking out and understanding Tupac’s lines.
“He makes a lot of sense,” I comment.
“He was legendary. The good ones always die.”
We fall into silence again. Yemi tugs at my hand. I lift my eyes to stare into his.
“I got a job in Kenya,” he reveals.
“The email came in a week ago. It’s a good job. Awesome pay, apartment, car, all of that.”
“Are you taking it?”
He looks down and starts to stroke my hand. “This job expands my résumé and gives me the opportunity to mix with people in my world, something my mind badly needs. Secondly, the company is a multinational company, so imagine the exposure I’ll get.”
“I understand. When are you leaving?”
He chortles. “I never said I was. I’ve always loved my independence. Being my own boss is something I don’t want to trade for anything.”
“You’re not going?”
“I don’t think so.” His eyes stray to my hair and then to my eyes and lips. It’s a habit I’m getting used to. He worships me with adoring gazes now and then.
“Yemi, don’t do this because of me. If the job means so much to you…”
“I actually get offers like this from time to time. It’s no biggie. Another will come.”
He replies with a peck on my lips. We adjust our sitting arrangement. He stretches on the seat and I settle in-between his legs. Tupac raps on as I receive a steady caress on my tummy all through our journey to the HCT center. When we arrive there, Yemi continues to hold my hand. He grasps it possessively as we walk down a major pathway that is skirted by shrubs and flowers that leads to the laboratory where tests are carried out.
At the reception, my details are taken by a lady manning the front desk.
“First time here?” she asks.
“Not at the center,” I reply, “but yeah, first time here.”
“She’s registering,” Yemi explains. The lady smiles in understanding. It’s too much of a smile. Almost every female we have come across has that look on their face for Yemi. It makes me both proud and jealous.
I remain at the front desk and fill the form offered to me. The lady then takes it and disappears, returning with a file on which she writes my name, address and age. She disappears with that as well. When she appears again, she starts to give directions to where my blood tests would be carried out but Yemi cuts her off politely and grasps my hand.
I follow him to the testing room. When we get in, unpleasant memories fill my head. There’s little difference between the room and Eniola’s office back in Abeokuta. The white walls surrounding us display different medical posters. A table carrying test apparatus is to our right, standing adjacent to the main table in the room. There’s a washbasin and beneath it, a trashcan. Nothing much is left to see except one wants to stare up at a white ceiling fan which is presently not moving or at the stacks of red and brown files that rest on a metal file cabinet which stands beside the apparatus table.
The door opens and the voices of a man and a lady break in. Yemi and I turn, and there is Queen staring at us curiously. The man, wearing a lab coat, walks in, greeting us both. Queen acknowledges Yemi’s presence alone, ignoring me. She doesn’t look different from the last time I saw her at the group session. In fact, I think she is wearing the same clothes.
“What brings you here?” she asks Yemi as she continues to ignore me.
“I’m registering,” I reply with a smile.
“Oh. You haven’t?”
“So they haven’t tested you?”
“Oh. Okay.” She focuses on Yemi again. “Hey, boo, see you after you’re done.”
He nods and she leaves. I don’t make a comment about the ‘boo’ thing.
“So, shall we begin?” the man in the lab coat asks, opening my file which I’m just discovering is on his table.
Halim! Argh! Where the hell did she drop from? Mommy was right about her. The chick is no different from her mother in the art of witchcraft. She rematerializes into Eben’s existence and he switches up like one who is bewitched. He now doesn’t want to touch or kiss me. We haven’t been intimate since her appearance. When I ask if he has plans to get back with her, he tells me casually that they are done. Why do I have a feeling he’s lying?
This morning I take breakfast to him upstairs but I don’t find him in his bedroom. Stepping out, I see Lekan walking down the hallway.
“He’s at the office,” he informs me, snatching the breakfast tray from me. “Let’s talk. Downstairs.”
I follow him to the dining table. We sit. I watch him take three slices of fried plantain from the dish I prepared for Eben before he speaks.
“Halim is done with Eben. She has a new boyfriend. You can relax.”
“He told you this?”
Lekan nods. Our conversation is in Yoruba, just as we do at home.
“Eni, you have to stop being desperate.”
“What does that mean?”
“You already have Eben. You need to back down a little and play your cards well.”
“I’m playing them well,” I respond snappily. “I just need to know what Halim is up to. Why show up after all these months? What’s her aim?”
“Family issues, that’s all. They want to announce to their parents that they’ve officially broken up.”
“Yes. So, I said, relax.”
I take my brother’s words and breathe out a little. The perspiring glass of orange juice on the breakfast tray beckons to me. I lift it off the tray. Lekan frowns. After watching me have a mouthful of it, he says, “Don’t you owe me something?”
“Owe you what?”
“I helped secure Eben for you yesterday as you requested. I deserve payment.”
I hiss. He cackles in a deep voice.
“You’ll do my laundry for a whole month or breakfast for a week.”
“Are you serious?” I ask in English.
He reaches for the glass of juice. I push it towards him. “Choose one,” he says.
“Breakfast for a week.”
“Here’s some advice for you concerning Eben, though. Stop playing wife with him. Keep it simple. Maintain a rational head always. Too much of wife material scares a man away.”
I don’t like Lekan’s advice, but he’s Eben’s closest friend, so he must be speaking from a place of truth. I murmur a word of thanks but resolve in my heart to do as I desire.
Lekan and I spend the morning together, playing computer games. He wins me back to back and I have to part with five thousand naira. Back at Abeokuta we would have been in church at Mommy’s order. Neglecting the gathering of the brethren is not a choice in my house. You just don’t do it. Here in Lagos, I attend one of the big churches in the neighborhood whenever I feel like. There is an enticing assortment of well-to-do bachelors there and a few have picked interest in me already, but I am not fascinated by them. It’s either Eben or nothing.
The morning passes slowly. At exactly half past 1 p.m., Eben returns home. He barely spares us a word as he runs upstairs, showers and comes to announce that he’s going to Abeokuta. He doesn’t say anything about taking Halim along. I receive a hug and a kiss, though. We’re still playing the game of convincing Lekan that I’m not just another lay.
I walk him to the door at the moment his phone begins to ring. He doesn’t pick the call. I know it’s Halim calling. When he steps outside, I see no signs of her. I run upstairs and stand by my window to get a better view, and just as I suspect, she is standing outside a cab. Eben drives out and she gets into his car. I stay by the window until they disappear from sight.
Homecoming is bittersweet for me. Sweet because the joy on the faces of the people I call family is priceless. Aunty Ada and Aunty Bisi burst into tears when I walk in through the door. Together, they hug me and cry.
“This is the naughty, old Halim we all know,” Uncle Greg exclaims. “We’ve missed you, my dear.”
I break into tears when he pulls me into his arms. He’s the only father I’ve known. His gentle taps on my back give me strength.
Homecoming is also bitter for the reason that all of this sweetness and family warmth is only going to be for a moment. I don’t feel like this is home for me anymore. The butterfly in me has left the cocoon and long flown away. I must now move on to build my life while the people I love become an extension of who I am.
We have an early dinner prepared by Aunty Ada, and subsequently, while we eat dessert, we sit in the living room and begin discussions over my inheritance.
“Eben and I are not getting back together,” I inform them. Aunty Bisi interrupts.
“Is it because of the HIV? My dear, a lot of people live with it and live healthy lives. They get married and have kids that are not HIV positive. I know that as long as your viral load is high, you’re in good shape.”
“High kwa!” Aunty Ada exclaims in laughter.
“Oh!” Aunty Bisi laughs too, realizing her gaffe. “I meant low. As long as your viral load is low, you’re good to go. In fact, you won’t be able to infect another person with the disease.”
“We’ve all been reading up on HIV,” Aunty Ada explains. I give her a thorough stare. I notice she has lost some weight. Her shoulders stick out, showing more bone than normal. I don’t want to think I’m responsible for the way she looks.
“You and Delomo can live with HIV, my dear,” Aunty Bisi continues. “We’ve talked about it. And he doesn’t mind.”
I glance at Eben. He tells me, “We actually had the conversation when you left. Not recently. But it’s fine, Mom. Halim and I are okay with being separated.”
“How can you say that?”
“We are,” Eben repeats.
“But you’re meant for each other…”
“Mommy, only on paper,” I respond, “And that’s why I’m here to overwrite that contract that was done without our consent.”
“Haba, Halimnye.” Aunty Bisi looks like she’s about to cry again. “You’re the only girl I want to see with my Delomo.”
“Mom, please don’t start,” Eben pleads.
“You two belong together. Sit down and talk about this thing.”
“We had a long talk on our way here,” I reveal. “We are fine being separated. And we both agree that marriage is not what we individually need right now.”
Eben nods. I open my handbag and take out a handwritten statement, declaring that I have no desire to be Eben’s wife in accordance to the deal our fathers made, that I will not pursue any legal action against the Nosakhares on the issue, and that this new contract nullifies the old one. In the meanwhile, all I want is a stipulated sum of money and ten percent shares of Khare Electronics, adding that in the eventuality that the business is to be sold to an investor, I would own half of the profits made. Lastly, I ask that a financial compensation be given to Aunty Ada.
I hand the contract to them and Uncle Greg reads it out loudly.
“You came up with this all on your own?” he inquires. I smile. I can’t tell them it was Yemi’s idea and that it was he who helped put the words together.
“Impressive,” Uncle Greg concludes.
There is silence after he speaks. He exchanges glances with the mothers and then directs his eyes on me.
“Can you two lend us some privacy to discuss this at length?”
“Sure.” I rise up and lead Eben to my bedroom. Nostalgia which has been heavy on me since my return becomes full blown when I take in my former personal space. It is not as I have left it. Aunty Ada has kept it organized and clean. I suspect that she sometimes sleeps in it, judging by the lingering scent of her perfume.
In the corner, by the window, Bride, the mannequin, stands proudly, wearing my hand-designed wedding gown which Eben is seeing for the first time.
“You designed this?” he asks, eyes admiring the piece.
“Yes.” I walk to Bride and run my hands over the rough but glittery sequins on the dress.
“It’s beautiful,” Eben compliments.
“Can you do me a favor?”
“Can you wear it?”
I laugh with unease. “Why?”
“Halim, you’d have been my wife today if things hadn’t gone south. I would have enjoyed seeing you walk down the aisle in this dress and treasured the memory all my life. I’d have fallen in love with you again. You have no idea how much you mean to me and how much I broke down when you left, do you?”
“You never told me.”
“I never got the chance to tell you. But now I am. Halim, I still want you back…”
“But I know it’s over.”
“I’m sorry, Eben. I’ve been selfish, thinking about only me. I’m sorry for what I put you through when I left.”
“Just do this one thing and I’ll let go. Wear the dress.”
I look into his eyes and see for the first time that there’s a lot of heart in him, hidden behind his impassive exterior. “Why was it hard for you to express yourself to me?” I ask, undoing the buttons of the gown.
“I wanted to be sure that I was with you because I felt something and not because of that stupid contract our fathers signed. I felt pressured by my parents. As the firstborn, you carry the aspirations of your family on your back. I didn’t know how to reconcile all of that with what I felt for you, so I stayed detached. And then on your side, you were all about celibacy… It was not my thing, but I respected it. But God knows I so badly wanted you, Hali.”
I giggle. “You could have tried crossing the line. Sometimes just be the bad boy you are.”
“Remember the night at the club? Conrad’s birthday? We danced, got high…?”
“Yeah. I remember bits of it.”
“We had sex that night.”
“What?” I give a nervous laugh.
“Yeah. We did it in my car.”
“No way. For real?”
“Totally.” Eben nods with a smile. My mouth drops open.
“It was brief but fun. Embarrassing for me. It lasted a couple of minutes.”
“Oh my God.” I snort. “Seriously?”
“I’m such a hoe!”
“No, you’re not.”
And somehow, we both find this funny that we burst into mirth. I laugh until tears fill my eyes. When the laughter dies down, I ask, “Why didn’t you ever talk about it?”
“I wanted to bring it up the next day but since you didn’t mention it, I figured you probably forgot, so I buried it.”
“Why can’t I remember?”
“You were really high. I was too, and we both wanted it badly.”
“I was hoping to have more of that with you as your husband.”
“Eben…” I say sympathetically.
“But you have Eni nau.”
“There’s nothing between us.”
“She was staring at us from a window in your house when we were leaving.”
“Still saying there’s nothing between you guys?”
“Turn around,” I instruct. The gown is now off Bride and is in my hands. Eben turns away. I undress.
“So, have you and Yemi…?” he asks.
“Interesting. But Halim, what happened with the other guy you told me you slept with? The one that infected you? What was so special about him that made you break your vow of celibacy?”
Knowing the state of his heart, I spare him the truth about Paul. “It just happened.”
“Things don’t just happen, Halim. I think I was responsible. I was aloof, and you needed me. I was never there. I’m sorry.”
“So Yemi loves you?”
“Love? That’s too much too early, don’t you think?”
“I guess. I just want to be sure he treats you right.”
I smile, recalling Yemi’s kisses to me before I left the house this afternoon.
I put on the gown. “Don’t turn around,” I instruct.
“I’m staying put.”
“I’ll come in front of you and you will button the dress up. Resist the urge to want to look at me until you’re done with the buttons.”
I walk before him and stand, my back to him. He fastens the gown in a slow pace. “I’m done,” he finally says.
“Close your eyes.”
I give him some distance and swivel around. “I’m ready.”
He opens his eyes. I’m beaming, he’s gawking like a man seeing a woman for the first time. This is probably how Adam gazed at Eve.
“Halim, this is beautiful. I-I don’t know what to say.”
“It’s just a dress.”
“Isn’t there any way we can go back to being us again?”
I shake my head. “That ship has long sailed.”
“Well, just in case the ship wants to return to shore…”
“Help me out of this dress before either of our mothers walks in here and starts having ideas.”
I give him my back once more. He walks over to me and starts to undo the buttons of the gown. But he stops midway and puts his arms around me.
“Just a few seconds.”
I let him be for a couple of seconds and break contact with him. He completes the job of undoing my buttons. I run into the bathroom to undress. When I return, I find the room empty. Our parents are done deliberating. I join them in the living room.
“Halim, we have appended our signatures on this document,” Uncle Greg addresses me, handing my contract back to me. “We are in agreement with all that is put there. You and Eben can sign it too. Tomorrow, I’ll have my PA type the whole thing up and document it properly.”
“Thank you, Uncle Greg. We will sign it.”
“Come to the office tomorrow to meet with the lawyer and the account officer so we can work out modalities.”
“That should be all for now. We’ll be on our way.”
He stands up, as does Aunty Bisi who is still not happy with Eben and I.
“Give him another chance,” she whispers into my ear as they leave. I grin at her. Eben makes his exit as well, and it’s down to Aunty Ada and I like old times.
“You owe me a lot of gist, young lady.” She takes my hand. “Come and tell me everything. Don’t leave anything out.”
“Aunty Ada!” I grunt.
We take one of the sofas and launch into hearty conversation like best friends, drinking white wine while at it. I let it slip out that I’m dating Yemi. She doesn’t take the news in smoothly.
“He’s HIV positive too? Halim…”
“What’s the problem?”
“You want your entire life to revolve around HIV now?”
“My entire life does revolve around HIV, but I don’t live it that way. Same thing with Yemi. We just live. Our statuses do not define us.”
I laugh. “Aunty Ada!”
“I’m just asking. How does it work with HIV couples? Do you have to use condoms too?”
“Yes, we have to use condoms or one of us could get superinfected. That’s what it’s called…”
“Even when your viral load is low?”
“It’ll still be a slippery slope. For instance, I could get infected with his strain of HIV or he could get infected with mine and that could make treatment very complicated and maybe impossible.”
“How about having babies?”
I’m starting to feel uncomfortable. For God’s sake, I just started kissing Yemi yesterday. Having babies with him is the last thing on my mind.
“It’ll take a whole complicated process, Aunty Ada,” I reply gulping down all of my wine.
“I’m sorry for asking all these questions.”
“Yes, please stop. We just started dating.”
“Has he kissed you yet?”
I blush. “A lot.”
She shrugs. “I know when a girl’s in love.”
“Have you ever been in love?”
She smiles as she fills her glass the third time. “Yes.”
She looks at me, her smile dying away quickly.
I read meaning in her eyes. “You didn’t love him?”
“You were just there for the money?”
She nods. This is the one time I wish she isn’t so honest with me.
“So who’s the person you were in love with?”
“Let’s leave that matter, Halimnye. Let’s talk about Yemi, instead. Tell him I want to see him.”
“Yes. He should come over. I need to see the person taking my baby away from me.”
“He’s not taking me away.”
“Please, invite him over.” She takes my phone from the couch and passes it to me. “Call him.”
I do as she requires, asking Yemi if he wants to come over. He responds that he would be pleased to. I pass the message to her.
“Tomorrow morning,” I say.
Aunty Ada and I spend the rest of the evening talking and watching Telemundo. She sleeps off on my laps, head on a pillow, murmuring that I should stop calling her ‘Mommy’. I stay awake a while. When I begin to fall asleep, I mutter my first prayer to God in a long while. My request is simple: keep my mother alive. She’s all I have in the world.
I cover her with a bedspread and retire for the night. Yemi and I chat on the phone for a bit before I finally fall asleep.
The morning comes with the smell of breakfast. When I step out to the living room, I find it sparkling clean and the windows thrown wide open to let air in. Aunty Ada seems excited to meet Yemi. I realize she has fixed not only breakfast, but lunch as well.
“Go and clean your room and then shower, so we can go to Greg’s office” she instructs me.
“Yes ma,” I reply, stealing a piece of French toast from a bowl.
I go for a shower, have breakfast and we leave the house to Khare Electronics. When we’re done there, we return home. I await Yemi’s phone call. It comes after a few minutes of waiting. I tell him Shikiru is at the park, ready to bring him over. I describe the car. He explains, shouting above the noise coming from his end that he can pick out the car. When he gets into it and begins to head my way, I find that I am nervous. My fondness for Yemi seems to be growing without my help.
I sit by the sofa facing the front door. When the doorbell rings, Aunty Ada tells me to stay put.
“I want to see his expression when he sees me. It will tell me a lot about him.”
I roll my eyes. Aunty Ada fancies herself a mind reader sometimes.
I observe as she opens the door and her act of mindreading falls apart when she meets Yemi. He is never what you expect. Limpid eyes like pools of water give his bearded face the appearance of someone who is aloof, but his fashion sense depicts a more outgoing person who is connected to the world around him. And I find him to be a bit of both. He tends to present the side that most suits him at any given time.
He comes bearing gifts, the perfect houseguest.
“He’s so handsome,” Aunty Ada says in Igbo. I shake my head with a smile.
Yemi prostrates to greet her. The act impresses her. She gives him a hug and invites him in. For the rest of the morning, I am largely ignored as they bond through conversation and over a hearty breakfast. The day passes quite fast but not without all of us having a good time. Aunty Ada begs Yemi to stay two more days and he obliges her with a smile that steals her heart. When he goes to bed, she calls me to her room and tells me she endorses my relationship.
“Wasn’t it just yesterday you were all about Eben?”
“Halimnye, all I care about is your happiness. Whether with Eben or with Yemi or with whoever makes you happy out there. The most important thing is that he belongs to you alone. Never settle for a man who shares his heart between you and another woman. A man who should choose you but chooses someone else instead and you are stuck with loving him year after year and he still won’t leave her for you, and when you try to leave him his world falls apart and you have to come back to him to save him while you’re dying away…”
“Mommy?” I search her eyes which have journeyed to some place I am unfamiliar with.
She finds her way back to me and places a hand on my knee, rubbing it. “All I’m saying is that you’re in your twenties. The best time to live without a care in the world. Enjoy it while it lasts.”
“I hear you.”
She walks to her closet, disappears into it for a while and returns with a photo album I have never seen before.
“Your father. Arinze Diobi.”
She passes me the album and I take it with trembling hands.
“There are some pictures in there with his wife. I couldn’t throw them away or cut her out of it. She was as much a part of his life as I was. She was my friend.”
“Can I go through this another time?” I request.
I stand up, clutching the album to my chest. “Goodnight.”
She tugs me towards her and hugs me tightly. The woman has always been touchy-feely. For a single mom who is quite expressive, it’s understandable. But this particular hug is laden with unspoken stories from her past. A past she may never share with me.
“Mommy, you also deserve to be happy. And you should do everything you can to get that happiness.”
“Go to bed, Halim.”
I leave for my bedroom where I hide the album in the overnight bag I have come along with from Lagos. I do not have the heart to journey into my father’s history yet. I snuggle in beside Yemi. He turns and spoons me and I soon fall asleep, having the last dream I’ll ever have of my fantasy father. He is not walking with me in this one. He is walking up ahead and I’m running after him. But I don’t get to him, no matter how fast I run. He fades away, and I stop running.
I wake up and it’s daylight.
The days, like the hours, pass by quickly. Yemi and I announce to Aunty Ada on a terribly cold Saturday that we’ll be returning to Lagos. She is sad. Christmas is just a week away, she reminds us. She also asks if we’ll be returning to enjoy the holiday with her.
“We want to spend our first Christmas together,” I explain, slipping my arm around Yemi’s waist.
“I understand.” She smiles, reaching forward to kiss me on the forehead. For Yemi, she places both palms on his cheek.
“Don’t break her heart.”
He looks at me with warmth. “I won’t.”
I sleep through the journey to Lagos and continue to do so in Yemi’s bedroom when we arrive. By evening, we go to see a movie, snack on ice-cream and cake, and walk about Yaba aimlessly until our feet hurt. At home, I receive a full body massage from Yemi. It’s the first time he’s seeing me nude, but not completely. There’s something sweetly-torturous about hiding parts of my body from him. He enjoys the torture too.
We don’t count the days as they flip past. We simply enjoy the moments. Falling in love is startling. Your entire world seems to come to a halt. All that causes you pain goes away and you’re in this place of delirium. You begin to feel like you have discovered something no one else has experienced before. You look into the mirror and you’re more beautiful, more sensuous, more in touch with your senses. You begin to notice things about yourself you’ve never noticed before like that tiny dimple above the right side of your lips that only shows when you’re blushing over him. Or that quirky expression you get when you are trying hard not to laugh at his dry jokes. You don’t understand how you feel. It’s all so new to you.
Falling for Yemi is different from how I fell for Paul. I’m taken from the butterflies in the tummy stage to something deeper. The best kind of person to catch feelings for is the one who imparts on you positively. These days, I love books and appreciate music more. I eat healthier too and have begun to exercise. Yemi makes me want to be a better version of Halim every day. And I don’t even see myself as someone with a disease anymore. It’s part of me now. And part of Yemi too. He tells me that it’s the one thing that connects us asides our emotions.
“To know someone shares the same space as you, going through the same struggle, makes it easier to face the challenges that come every day.”
I look at him and hide a smile. For the first time since being diagnosed with HIV, I am grateful to have been infected. I know it sounds crazy to think that way, but when you lose your heart to someone, you lose your mind as well.