I am force-drinking myself. That’s not a word. But if you can force-feed, why can’t you force-drink? I guess there is no single word for giving a drink to someone. There should be.
Regardless, I’m forcing myself to drink far beyond my body’s normal capacity for containing liquid. It’s all about hydration. The earth is cracking. The air is drying up. The breeze eats at my throat. The harmattan, the dust from the Sahara’s dry season, floats about in the upper atmosphere so that the sky on all its edges looks hazy, looks smoggy, but in a place with fewer than ten cars in a thirty mile radius. The sun is constant and burning. I spend my days fleeing the sun. In the morning, I sit in the shadow on the west side of my tukul. By eleven, I’m under the porch. At four, I have to relocate to the shadow on the east side of the neighboring tukul.
And the whole time, I’m forcing myself to drink liquids. Two glasses of water with breakfast, two bottles of water by lunch, another bottle of water and a juice box at lunch, two more glasses in the afternoon, a mango Vita soda before dinner, more water with dinner. It’s the first time in my life I’ve met the eight glasses/two liters a day recommendation. I’ve figured out why, too. It’s because drinking two liters of water a day requires drinking until you feel full and sick with water. Over and over again, all day long.
Even with all this liquid, I find myself ravenously thirsty. Again, I know that word doesn’t go with liquid, but it should. In this context, it should. It means finishing two bottles of water and feeling too full of liquid to go on, but still being so thirsty I am practically clawing at the fridge for more water. It means drinking more water than I’ve ever drunk before in my life and never having to go to the latrine. It means lying in bed at night dreaming of water, even though I have a bottle right next to me and I’m drinking from it. I have never, never ever, been so thirsty, even once, and now it’s a constant ache. I literally, physically, cannot drink enough to keep from dehydration.