My name is Georgia, and I am addicted to mangoes.
I first discovered mangoes when I was on my way to In Service Training, or IST. There had been a slip-up in the plans and instead of going to a fellow PCV’s post, I was to travel four more hours south. In the lowest of my lows, sitting in between two sweating Cameroonians in the Kumba carpark, mangoes found me. Mangoes found me and gripped my very soul.
A little boy wheeled over a rusty wheelbarrow to the window. “Mangoes?” he asked with a sly smile. I had never had an African mango before. They were five for a mere 100 CFA. I mean, sure, I’d heard of them. A lot of my friends had tried them and told me they were good. “Just eat one” they said “you can just stop with one.”
Minutes later I held my mango like a lollipop gripped with both hands. I gnawed at that mango like I hadn’t eaten all day, which I hadn’t except for the peels of its delicious relatives now resting in the black wrapper in my lap. Four down, one to go. Grotesque slurps and squishes came forth from my gnashing maw. Was that really me making those animalistic noises? Is that why the bus is staring at me? Had I succumbed to that base of emotion?
Yes, yes I had.
During the party that night I found myself sneaking into another room, away from all the noise. I’d reach into my mango stash, quickly peeling and slurping down the fruit. The pit would come to rest outside, where nobody could find the evidence of my growing addiction until the morning light. Feeling invincible on mangoes, I duet-ed at a Buea karaoke club. Our version of ‘My Humps’ brought down the house, a testament to the power of the mango, not me.
Mangoes lingered on my mind during the following week of In Service Training. I could quit any time I wanted, but why would I want to? Oh, to be eating that delicious flesh of bright orange concealed by a skin so slightly waxy. They looked like dinosaur eggs, I found myself thinking, their rounded shape married with speckled green skin. Perhaps on a few of my binges I even found myself making T-rex noises, pretending that I was as Jurassic as these faux-ovum. It was the mangoes talking. They make you do crazy things.
I returned to post after a successful mango detox. Sure, I was gluttonous when I had them, gorging on ten at a time, hands sticky with juice. I didn’t need them now, though. I had kicked that habit. I was a stronger woman than that.
I cleaned all of Tuesday, the day after returning home. The ripe trees hung all around my village, but I wouldn’t succumb. Then, a knock on my door revealed a horde of pikin, smiling from ear to ear and holding a bowl of twenty mangoes. My pushermen had arrived.
Not a single one of those twenty remains in my house. Same goes for the ten they brought yesterday morning. My mouth now has burns from where citric acid irritated mucosal membranes. I’ve got a problem, and it hurts so good.
Like I was saying, my name is Georgia, and I’m addicted to mangoes.