WORDS to EAT by: Slow Burn

I have a thriving counselling practice that I run from my home.

Not inside my home exactly but within the premises. I converted the guest chalet into my home office. A relaxing and soothing space conducive for my clients to feel comfortable enough to unburden themselves to me.

This work from home situation means I control how many clients I see everyday and what times their appointments are. Today is an example of a light yet heavy day. I have only one appointment today, but this is one special appointment. Sessions are usually an hour long, but this client has 2-hour slots booked. She is a rather demanding client. Her sessions with me are more like a one-sided conversation. She rarely gives me a chance to interject with observations or to ask leading questions. She throws the most intense tantrums if anything interrupts our sessions and I have learned to ensure I give her my full attention. I cannot forget the meltdown she had when I took a sip of water during one of our sessions. She cried and yelled and accused me of being like her mother who never focused on her and how she trusted me. She stormed out and did not show up for her next four appointments. This had me calling every number in her next of kin file to make sure she was okay.

She waltzed into my office after 3 weeks, plopped herself down on the couch and essentially warned me to never be naughty again. High maintenance I know but I am in this line of work to help people navigate their feelings and if I must sit perfectly still during sessions with her and make progress each week, so be it.

Her appointment is in an hour and this gives me just enough time to….

Five minutes later, the door is flung open and there she is.

What in the world, I think? She declares dramatically that there is no traffic and alas.

A little problem. I did not get a chance to finish what I started. I thought I had time to be done and calm things down before her appointment. Plus, things were extra hot and spicy and going so well.

‘You are early. I need to get things ready, and I will be right back’

Tears rushed to her eyes. In a raised voice, she said ‘No. Not again. I will leave and you will never see me again. Do you want me to run away? Why? You are just like the rest of them. You do not care….’

I stopped her.

‘Hold on. We can start’

Maybe I can bear it. Maybe if I sit perfectly still….

I sit across from her. I am flushed. I can feel the heat. On my lips.

I grab my notebook, cross my legs and say, ‘What is on your mind today?’

She starts talking.

I admit. I cannot focus on what she is saying. I shift ever so slightly in my chair. The air conditioning is at full blast but I am beginning to sweat.

I shift again.

She narrows her eyes and says, ‘Is everything okay?’

I cough and say ‘Of course. Please continue’

I feel so uncomfortable. I push my hair back in frustration and touch my eyes. Big mistake.

I start to blink furiously. My eyes are watering. My nose is beginning to run. My lips feel like they are on fire. I do not think I will make it another minute. I need to get up.

‘You do not look good. What is wrong? Do you have something that is contagious? ‘

She looks really alarmed and gets up and begins to back away from me. In the direction of the door.

I say ‘Go. Go now’. The voice that comes out of me sounds like something from the exorcist movie.

I get up and run to the kitchenette. I fling the little fridge open and grab a bottle of water. I open the bottle and gulp it all down. It does not help. I see a packet of full cream milk and open it. I down most of it. Some respite.

I really should have waited till dinner time to dig into the extra spicy suya I bought from Glover Court.

Chicken ‘Suya’

You will need:

  • 1 kg chicken wings – separated.
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 cup peanuts
  • ½ teaspoon Cameroon pepper
  • 1 long green chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chicken seasoning powder
  • Salt to taste

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees or gas mark 4
  • Wash and dry chicken pieces. Place pieces in a baking dish and set aside.
  • In a mortar and pestle or blender or food processor, add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth.
  • Add more oil if needed if mixture is too chunky. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces and rub liberally.
  • Bake in the oven for the first 10 minutes. Turn the pieces over and cook until done.
  • Serve with raw onions, tomatoes and dry suya spice on the side.

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