I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on.
Life was meant to be lived!
I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on.
Life was meant to be lived!
September is just around the corner and Sugar is due to start preschool. What a wawu! I just kent believe it. Did I not just give birth to him yesterday? Time really and truly does fly! Wow! I’m so grateful and blessed I get to see him grow and do the funny things that he does. He’s always so happy. He gets it from his mama! Lol.
One of the reasons I think Sugar is such a happy bunny is because he’s surrounded with so much love, play and positivity. I know that my son knows without a doubt that he is loved and cherished because I show and tell him deliberately and consciously. And I ensure I do often. It’s easy because it’s just the 2 of us and I have so much love to give, so he gets it all. Lucky chap *rolling my eyes*. Jokes apart though, I believe the environment he is in everyday is so important. We modern day mothers read too much parenting books, I guess. Lol.
My people! Hmmmmm! I never knew choosing a preschool could be this difficult o. Jesus! I have been on this matter for the past one month and I am still on it. I now even have a big file and it is getting bigger and bigger. Oh my God! Is it not to learn ABC and 123? What is the big deal? I ask myself all the time. But, as with everything that concerns my precious boy, it entails so much thought, research and prayers.
Let me explain why it has been this difficult. Before I left Imoh, we had agreed on a known private school. I had visited a few schools around us and lazily chose that one because it was reputable and had been in business for a while and Imoh had attended for a while so I romanticized it. I had no idea what curriculum they used or other info.
Now, it’s a completely different scenario. We’ve moved far away, life has changed. For some reason, I’m more picky and FBI-ish with my choices. Maybe it’s because I’m a single mom now and I feel like I have to over-compensate and I have to make the right choices. It can never be said that so and so happened because the father was not there. Lie lie. That one, I cannot allow. So suddenly, I’m reading books on Montessori, EYFS, British and Nigerian Curriculas, etc. I’m almost an amateur expert, if there’s anything like that. Lol.
Now, I know what curriculum I prefer and what my non-negotiables are. I also have unique needs like drop off time and pick up time, school bus facilities and strangely, I like swimming and French lessons. He’s not even two but I like to know I have that option. I’m picky, I know. I know what adult: child ratio I’m comfortable with, educational background of the teacher and owner and what the expectation for each class is. The discipline approach of the school is another factor and the communication channel between parents and teachers and the distance between home, school and my office. I know what I prefer between school made meals and homemade meals. One amazing school even added feeding and diapering the kids from 7am to 7pm to their price. Talk about value!
When I ask my questions, some of the administrators are flabbergasted. Some, speechless even. Some call their directors and some just don’t bother. So I quickly write them off my list. Some are so good at answering the questions that I’m impressed. They ask ‘Madam, did you run a school before’? Lol. This is my precious son (the future UN Sec Gen) so ayam not joking o. You have to know what your school is about please. From Front desk to the teacher to the owner. Its very important abeg.
Another thing I noticed is that some websites are so va-va-voom and lovely but when you visit the school ehn, you will nearly faint. It is nowhere like the website. Ha! And me, I like dropping in unannounced so there is no time to arrange and bambozzle me with all the shakabula (I just learnt that word. It’s my new favourite slang). I like the dedicated preschools though (without primary or secondary school). They are more flexible with timing and some even provide housing for their staff for early morning drop offs. Their children always look chubbier (yes, it’s a big factor. My son is the chairman of the Association of chubby, pot-bellied babies and I like eet like that) and it’s not just book, book, book; there’s a lot of play as well so it appeals to me a lot more.
But with the prices these schools are charging, you can’t help but be picky. OMG! Lagos preschools did not come to play o! Some of them are twin mansions dedicated for preschools only! Ehn?! To learn ‘ABC’??? Ha! The fee though is enough to buy land in my village. Please, land sellers in my village, contact me so we can work out a payment plan. The prices have my looking at vacancies in Shell, Chevron and GE because the money no be here. It’s ridonculous!
I have still not chosen sha but I have my top three who tick most of the boxes and still fit into the budget. The sigh of relief I will sigh when this is over ehn! At least I go know say na till primary school before the wahala begins again. I can’t wait for September! My precious boy starts preschool. My pride knows no bounds!!!!!!!!! Ojigbijigbijigbi.
It was NE who summarized my thoughts in a few words. I didn’t even know that it was what I’d been thinking, but the minute he said it, it hit straight home. “In 2016, I don’t know what is going on, if it’s more publicity or more women speaking out but our men are cowardly and weak and they are seriously misbehaving”. I agreed. But it was while lying down and watching TV with Jaden Lee sitting on my head (he loves to sit on my head; he probably thinks it’s his personal stool. Lol) did it occur to me that this was a man stating the obvious. Not making excuses, not justifying what cannot be justified and standing with them in confused solidarity. Men like these are not many, I tell you. I should know, it’s the first topic of discussion with male folks these days.
When my marriage collapsed, that was when I realized that most women were suffering in silence. It was amazing how confident women became to share marital issues with me. It was strange. Now they can tell you the shocking truths about their marriage. Previously, when I complained, they’d tell me that all men were the same. I strongly disagreed; still do. Mind you, I did not say men were perfect but they were not all the same. There are good men and they are bad men. Wrong is wrong and right is right, simple! Then they would utter some vague words and unsolicited advice, majoring bordering on ‘bearing it’ and praying about it and telling you to work on yourself. I have little patience for that these days. I usually just shut it down firmly. I don’t have time for nonsense. No more. I took it for 2 years. But no more. Hug me instead if you have nothing useful to say.
The last time I took such utterances lightly was at Iponri Police station where I had gone to lay a complaint and ask for the arrest of Imoh. I remember the woman. Leaning lazily over the counter, she had this air of ‘I don’t care’ and threw condescending sideway looks at me while I complained to another officer behind the counter. I punctuated each complaint with tears. Imoh would have been shocked to see me cry. I never let him see me cry; I never gave him that satisfaction. I remained stoic through it all, defiant. I would break down and weep in the bathroom when he was done hitting me but never in front of him. It was not deliberate or a conscious action, I guess the essence of who I was refused to bow down to him or allow him break me. How he had hated that stoicism and dry eyes. Maybe I should have cried. Maybe that was my offence but I digress.
After a particularly lengthy pause in which I sobbed while my friend held my uncharacteristically quiet baby, she suddenly said, “My dear, better go back and beg your husband. Tell him to forgive you and forget. You are too young for divorce o. You don’t know what you are saying. Go back and beg my friend. All you young girls sef!” I looked at Omos and she looked at me. I asked “Am I also not too young to die?” “Na you know that one. Go and beg him. You will not die”. I was shocked. I was stunned. I was speechless. Me, a hyper, talkactive person just could not remember any sound. “Ehn? What? This is the reason men beat their wives! Is that what you’re telling me? You, a Police officer? How can you tell me that? For what?” I walked out of the station, shaking with anger and called the DPO.
Hmmmmm! Imoh had been right. He had said “if you like, go to the Police. I will deny everything. Is it not money? Is it not money that the Police want? Bring them. Go and call the police. All my friends beat their wives; it’s not a big deal. The wives know not to do stuff that will get them a beating. It is not a new thing. Stupid woman”. If the Police ask you to go beg an abusive man, then what help is there really? A police woman for that matter! Even as I write, I am still surprised. What was I expecting though? Compassion or sympathy? Did I expect them to swoop to the house and arrest him? Did I expect them to hug me and ask if I was okay? Should they have asked to see my bruises and injuries; old and new? What exactly did I expect them to do? In all honesty, I don’t know. I have never been beaten before now so I don’t know what I should have expected. I don’t know what I expected them to do but I sure did not expect them to ask me to go beg a man who had just beaten me till I passed out and continued hitting me as I laid on the floor, still and unmoving. A man who after I was revived by a friend brought a wire and wanted to flog me? The police asked me to go and beg him.
So yes! There’s a lot more publicity, thank God. There are a lot more women speaking out. A lot more people are involving themselves in issues like this, helping the woman and giving her a voice. In some cases, helping her find justice. For these, I am truly grateful. I am aware that a lot of women have died. I could have died actually. He told me he wanted to kill me; repeatedly and at different times! He’s squeezed my neck so hard I couldn’t breathe and had bruises round my neck. I thought I would when he shattered the glass window upstairs with my head and blood poured all over me and Jaden Lee whom I was carrying. He was just 4 months old then. He’d gotten angry that he’d been punching my head and that ‘it refused to break’. This my head! My head happily blocked and covered my precious infant son when it realised that some punches were falling on him too. Remembering Jaden’s screams and the blood all over him still brings tears to my eyes, even as I write this. Oh, my golden, precious boy, I am so sorry! But die, I did not. God knew the suffering that a motherless child passes through; I know because I am one. He loves Jaden Lee and I too much for that to happen.
I am aware that a lot of women are suffering same, not exactly sure who to contact or what to do. I didn’t either. You are not supposed to talk about these things. You are expected to stay silent; don’t let people know your business or what goes on in your home. You are expected to pray. A lot. A lot of women who chose to exit these bondages and have found life to be hard and unyielding. Some being asked, “na me say make your husband dey beat you?’ A lot, begging for sustenance for themselves and their children (in cases where the children were not taken away from them). Too many! Sadly, too many!
It happened to me! I married a monster and I thought he was a man.
I’m staring at King Aize’s picture of when he was 2 days old and I cannot believe how big he has grown. I can’t believe it. He looks so different. Now he’s hugging me, kissing me, babbling back at me, mimicking me, laughing with me and giving me flying kicks. He’s testing my patience, testing his limits, biting me, throwing things back at me and I’m learning to read his moods and daily learning what I can do to change how he feels when he feels moody or is throwing a tantrum. He just started that and it’s interesting to watch. Sometimes I let him have his way and other times I stand my ground. I’ve learned that he only bites me when he’s happy or wants my attention or wants me to play with him. He also bites me when he wants to make me laugh; I guess my reaction is hilarious to him. I love him. Too much!
I thought of re-starting this blog when I move into our new house. But its taking much more time than I expected and my head is bursting with ideas and stuff that I just cannot wait anymore. I am afraid that people will judge me but in my usual style, I cannot let people’s opinions stop me from doing what I want. I will do what’s best for me. I know the opinions that society holds concerning women living alone, divorcees, single moms and older single ladies but who society epp? Abeg!
Since I became a single mom, life has changed! It’s almost as if I am living a brand new life. The new me looks at the old Eseosa and marvels at her shenanigans and antics, her zest and her can do spirit. I still have vestiges of that, I think. When you have gone through a bad marriage like I have, lost yourself in order to please someone else and then have it all thrown down the cluttered, dirty drain, it can and does take its toll. Add that to being the parent of an active cruiser/toddler and you can see why the old Eseosa is to be feared and revered.
But I love my life. I love the fact that I know who I am. I know what I have. I have full confidence in my abilities as a woman and mother. Marriage will stretch your limits and I can safely say, it has helped me rediscover myself. I no longer see life through rose-tinted lenses. Black is black and white is white. Wrong is wrong and right is right. We all have the right to be happy. We all have the right to choose the kind of life we want. We all have the right to choose the kind of people we want in our lives. We should not live for someone else. We should make the decisions that govern our life. We choose our life’s path.
Adulting is freaking difficult o, moreso when you’re a woman. But since I simplified my life, I find that most things have become easy. I can genuinely say that I love my life. It’s almost as if I was born for this. Maybe that is one of the reasons Imoh is so mad. Oh well! In one of my articles, I remember writing that I was born to be a mother but I couldn’t say the same about being a wife. Single parenthood has come with its ups and downs but I have much preferred it to marriage. If Sister Queen hears that I said I was born to be a single mom, she will kill me. She is all about moving on and getting myself a good man. I am all about saving money to pay for Aize Lee’s fees come September. I know when push comes to shove, my support system will kick in but I have never had the talent of begging. In all my madness and skoin skoin behavior, I have never learned how to beg. Besides I can afford it. For that, God showed up. Thank you, Jesus. If not, it for red o.
The first step I think, to excelling at being a single mother is to have a source of income and live according to it. My precious son doesn’t know the difference, except that he enters buses a bit more (in my defence, I usually pay for 2 or 3 seats so he will be comfortable), he eats the same cereals, same foods and pureed fruits and generally the same standard of life he was born in. Not that he would notice o, he’s just one year old. All na serenren; to reassure myself that I have got this and God has got us. My dad died when I was 5. Am I not here, happy and healthy today? Na today? If my mum who was a trader could raise 7 successful children, what could possibly be my excuse? After all the better schools wey I go? God no go gree!
For some reason, it seems as if there are divorcees and single parents everywhere I go. I like to think God led them to me to show me that I am not alone and that it is not peculiar to me. A lot of them are doing very well and live super successful Iives and I go home motivated to do more and conquer more. Some are not doing so well and I go home, cracking my brain on what to do to improve the life and lot of women in Nigeria more. Imoh once said, his problem was that I was too strong and he was trying to tame me. These days, I am more likely to fight back if provoked, especially when it comes to women and children. I am more defensive. I am more ready.
I smile more. I laugh more. I am friendlier, much nicer. I notice more things, like the woman with a child on her back and a heavy load on her head while the husband walks by her side, pressing his ‘palasa’ phone. I am more eager to pay for a woman whose fare is incomplete in a commercial bus. I am generally a nicer person, I admit to women only o. Lol. But I expect that to change as time goes by.
Lift your hands and voice to celebrate and help the woman in your life some time! Please! She deserves it! Honestly.
Cheers to the new me!
I cannot remember the first time I came to Lagos but I can tell you for free that I was terrified! I had grown up watching those comedies about how Lagos was a hustling place and that if you didn’t shine your eyes, your own don finish. I had heard the word ‘JJC’ in one of those movies and I was determined not to be one; though I was one. Do you remember ‘Lagos Na Wa’ with Polypompom? Oh my gosh! *doubles over in laughter*
Its easy to be intimidated by the sprawling city. My first reaction was that everyone was in a hurry. To this day, I may be only one that walks leisurely around but I’ll have to admit that my steps have quickened and my paces longer. And I don’t like it. When people say, “you this Lagos geh”, I am always quick to respond “I’m not a Lagos girl, I’m a bini girl”. But then I wonder, ‘why can’t I stay more than one week in any other place without feeling this crazy need to be back in ‘my Lagos’. Yes, its my Lagos now.
Where else can you find conductors like the ones in my Lagos. I don’t drive in Lagos and when I was still a JJC (If you don’t know what this means, I have nothing to say to you), I loved to take cabs. Hmmmm. You know cabs are cheap in Benin and I thought it was the same in Lagos. When them tear me bill ehn, nobody advised me to start entering buses. And I have grown to love Lagos buses; there is absolutely nothing like them.
You will always know the CMS buses from the Obalende buses. CMS buses are a contraption of rickety motor parts held together by bolts and visible ropes and they always smell like fish, sweat and bad mouth odor. If you are not sitting near a window, you are finished. You always wonder if the mismatched parts will not come apart when the machine (for lack of a better word) is turned on. Obalende buses are tad cleaner and still look like they will get to their destination. Some even have music. Let’s not talk about the BRT buses, I avoid them as much as I can. I’ve only boarded it twice in the 2 years since I relocated to Lagos and it terrified me. They drive off the road in traffic, on the bushy parts meant for pedestrians. How can a large, wobbly vehicle decide to do some James bond moves that will have the vehicle tilting dangerously like its about to fall on other vehicles? No way o. I’m just 29 and not ready to die. Even if I’m ready, certainly not by a nonsense BRT bus. God forbid!
Lagos may very well be the only place that people get on buses without having money to pay for the journey. That one still baffles me. And the funniest part is that when all hell breaks loose, their voices are the loudest and most strident. ‘You dey mad? Naim make you dey shout? Na wetin? Kilode! Ode niyen’. Then of course, those diehard conductors will never let the errant passenger go until either he comes up with the money or a Good Samaritan passenger does (which is always the case). So it stands to reason that if you have an interview or a crucial meeting, take extra money with you because you just may be paying someone else’s bus fare. That is the hustling spirit.
Then there is the case that happened to me so many times that I had no choice but to wise up. So on my way to Lekki Phase 1 (which is where I work) from Ajah (which is where I live), the bus fare on a sunny, traffic-less day is N150. I had given the conductor N200 Naira. We had gotten to Ikate and my change was not forthcoming though I had intermittently asked for it since I paid. “Conductor , may I have my change please”? He didn’t respond which was his exact response to my previous request. Everybody else kept quiet. I was beginning to wonder what the problem was. I could see that he had change and had given everybody else their’s so why was he giving me the silent treatment? By the time we got to the next bus stop, I had lost my temper and I exploded “My friend, will you give me my change? You dey crase for head abi you deaf? Give me my change now now as I dey look you so”. It was as if everyone woke up from their slumber as some asked him to give me my change. At that point he did while murmuring, “abeg take your change. Na because of N50 you dey shout? You no talk am small small” “No, you deaf since. Na you dey help me work my money abi? Idiot!”. Ehn! Bini girl like me; you want take me shine? If I hear.
The love between Lagos and I was definitely not at first sight. We had our bad times; those days where we were engaged in a supreme battle of wills and wits. But those days are long past. We’ve settled into a relationship based on genuine respect, fondness, our hyper nature and the fact that we have absolute faith that we were meant to be. The city still exasperates me but I’ve come to terms with the fact that we are like Husband and wife. We push and pull at each other but at night, we go to bed together and during tough times, we stand by each other’s side. Now, that true love.
My friends say I don’t believe in destiny. It’s not like I don’t believe in it but the thing is, I have always believed that if you want something, you’d better go and get it as it will not jump into your lap. Who we are today is formed by our environment, our circumstances and the experiences that we go through and if you have lived my life or better still, gone through my experiences with me, you might understand why I can be cynical at times.
Don’t get it wrong. I believe in faith. You know, in 2008, I attended Bible School (I know, I know, it’s unbelievable. Even I don’t believe it myself sometimes, especially when certain lewd thoughts enter my head), Word of Faith Bible Institute. I graduated with a distinction but there was a course that so worried my pastor that he had to call me into his office for a chat. As you can guess, that course was ‘Faith’. It was the only course I had a C. The rest were A’s, except Faith. I even passed Prayer.
Me? If a prayer is more than 15 minutes, my dear, you can be sure I am most likely thinking of something else. And I don’t pray in crowds. I just can’t shut out what the other people are saying. You know how Pentecostals like to shout as if the messenger angel is hard of hearing. So by the time, prayers are over, your ears are ringing like you stood near a cathedral communion bell. Suffice to say, the best place for me to pray still remains, a quiet place where I am all alone.
So my pastor called me and asked to talk to me. Didn’t I believe in faith? Was my faith level low? What was my relationship with my Lord and Savior? Did I doubt things because they were not being manifested in the physical (which is a nice way of asking if I am a doubting Thomas)? Did I need extra lessons? How could he help me? Plenty questions. Some I had answers to and some I preferred to remain mute because I simply didn’t have answers and there was no reason why I didn’t have answers.
I do believe in faith. A lot. But Faith has been so bastardized that its hard to understand it anymore. Now, I’ve learned to be practical. If the skies are grey, most likely, its gonna rain. So take an umbrella or a raincoat (Do people still wear that sef)? If you missed your period and you have been sexually active, you are most likely pregnant, so congrats. Safe delivery. If you haven’t read all year and its 30 minutes to the exam, you are most likely going to fail, so start saving for the next year’s school fees. Yes, there is nothing that prayer cannot solve but please let’s exercise a bit of restraint and take responsibility for our actions. I don’t understand what faith has got to do with certain issues, honestly. It is just so ridiculous sometimes.
Back to the destiny thing, If what will be will be, then why struggle for success at all? Oya, let’s all get naked and go dancing in the rain and hope that at the end of the year, we would all be successful, famous and stinkingly rich. Let’s all fold our hands and not work but hope and fast and pray that manna will fall from heaven like it did in the old testament (meanwhile, God fit just vex and it go happen o. It go be like ‘feem’).
Be honest. ‘No food for lazy man’. We all see that at the back of lorries and trailers, especially the old, rickety ones that look like they are about to fall on the nearest vehicle (and sometimes, sadly, they actually do). Forget the old lorry, remember the message. Because that’s the koko these days. Even yahoo boys gats to hustle. Sometimes they don’t even bathe for weeks, or brush their teeth but camp out at hidden cyber cafes or in their homes ‘yahoo-ing’ away. Trust me, I would know. I’m a Bini girl, we practically invented yahoo-yahoo (but don’t quote me anywhere).
I believe in practical faith. Yeah, I think I can safely call it that. Faith that actually makes sense. Not the type that the big man upstairs listens to in stunned silence and then erupts into laughter at the level of silliness. Practical faith works. At least for me. It is a rocking combination of realism, practicality and faith. Make what you will out of it, but that is what works for me. That being said, one thing I’m beginning to believe more and more is that the lines just fall into the right places at the right time if you are taking the right steps. Confused? Bear with me for a while.
I am happy where I am right now. I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be. I might have taken my own sweet time getting here but I kinda feel this is a place I really should have been. Will I remain here? I honestly do not know. All I know is that it’s a journey. Last week, one of my ex-boyfriends proposed to me. As in, the serious stuff. And the truth is, If he hadn’t broken my heart (whatever was left of it anyway), looking at him now, I would never have been happy with him. Hindsight is so much more truthful. There are some journeys that teach us lessons and are meant to guide us. There are some that are just a waste of energy and time. Some experiences teach us, guide us, give us a map and help us re-assess our journey and some are just breathers – meant to distract us for a while. I believe people will end up where they are meant to be as long as they don’t stop moving in the right direction.
I don’t have all the answers. I may not even be making much sense (I knew I sucked at writing, but the wise ones said to never give up, right?). But one answer I do have is, with a bit of time and luck (I don’t believe in luck. The damn thing has never worked for me. Now, Grace loves me. That I believe in), everything will work out in the end. If its not okay, then its not the end. Now, that is Faith that works. How the heck did I ever get a C?
I’m so sorry, Ai.
They say, ‘To live in the hearts of those you love is not to die’. I have never really liked that saying. I still don’t. I don’t know why. I don’t want to lose anyone. I don’t want them to live in my heart. I want them to live in the physical world where I can touch them, love them, argue with them and hold them. But again they say, ‘If wishes were horses, beggars would ride’. I would not give up the memories of my loved ones for anything in the world.
I remember the first day I met Aisha Suleiman. She had breezed into Bundle of Joy Pre-School like she owned it. I say breezed because that was how she rolled. Her confidence was out of this world. For such a slim woman, it seemed like she could power the entire Southern part of Nigeria which is notorious for its epileptic/non-existent power supply. She wanted to enroll her son, Ayomide in my daycare facility. From the first moment I met her, I was fascinated by the strength and self assuredness that oozed from her. She spoke with the ‘britico’ accent of someone who had spent years abroad. I wanted her son in my facility but I wasn’t exactly sure of his seemingly ‘Stone-cold, Steve Austin’ mother. She looked like trouble.
The next time I saw Patricia, my gist partner, I told her about the ‘troublemaker londoner lady with her nonsense british or whatever accent she dey form’. How would I have known that she would become such a huge impact in my life? She did enroll her son and also basically enrolled me into her life. I remember how she used to come spend hours with me in the office, taking care of the kids, complaining about our family, bitching about life and browsing boohoo.com. She would browse and select what she wanted, pay her brother and ask him to send it to Nigeria for her. I remember when her customers would not pay her, she would complain to me and I would think of some ‘egbe-wager’ way to get the money back, most of it theoretical. Most of it I concocted so outlandishly just to make her smile and laugh. She had the greatest laugh in the world. She laughed without holding anything back, with her whole heart. Unlike me, I have mastered the art of laughing while thinking a dozen worrying and unpleasant thoughts. I loved her laugh. I loved her. I love her.
I remember her teasing that I might as well employ her as she basically came to the office everyday and spent hours there. All the kids knew her and loved her. The Parents got used to her as well and basically regarded her as a member of staff and were always shocked when She was introduced as a parent. Parents loved to come to the office to unwind and relax and gist with other parents. She started that.
I remember the day I visited her at the Hospital when she had a crisis. She had yelled on me for not coming to visit her earlier but quickly quieted down when I told her I was spending the entire day with her. That was the day I wrote ‘Taking back my Spiritual Leadership’. Aisha was a handful. She was like a steam roller, whatever that is. But her heart was so big! She was the perfect definition of ‘tough as nails on the outside, soft as a jelly on the inside’. My number one supporter and fan! My personal cheerleader!
Ayo was everything to her. Her pride and joy. Together, we made choices for him. What school he would attend, how she would raise money for his fees, and the best form of discipline for a first child. That was Aisha. She shared her life and could so easily include herself in your pain and trouble.
When I had to change cities, all she asked was, ‘what’s the plan’? She did not offer unsolicited advice, all she did was give me a shoulder to lean on, to support me and to remind me of what I wanted whenever I forgot. She was the one person who did not judge me or my choices.
Lagos! Now this thought has got me smiling ruefully. ‘Eseosa! Na so you be? Na Lagos make you change like this? If na abroad you come go nko? Person no ever see or hear from you again. My friend, you better change!’ I would yell right back and burst into laughter, promising that I would change and would keep in touch more. It happened once, twice, thrice,……..and it went on like this for 2 years.
2014. I knew she hadn’t called me in a while. It hit me one day at work. Aisha hadn’t called me in a while to yell at me for not keeping in touch. I made a mental note to call her before she called me. That was it. I made a mental note. A mental note.
2 days ago, I checked my bbm messages after a week. My boyfriend and I were fighting again for the gazillionth time and going through a phase that I had promised myself that I would not go through again. I had just moved into a new house and I was still trying to adjust and get ready for the life of traffic that it seemed was now my portion. I was broke. Water had stopped running and I was thinking of how to put a banana peel on the ground for my miserly new landlord and his bighead. My colleagues would not stop calling me that I made them come to work on a public holiday. Water poured on my laptop. I was tired of it all. As if these truly mattered! So I checked my bbm messages which I remember to do maybe once a week. As usual, there was a lot of broadcast messages which is what you get when you have about 500 contacts. I don’t even know what I am doing with 500 contacts. I started ending chats when I saw Hassan’s broadcast message from a while ago ‘We are now live at the wedding reception of Kate and Hussein…’ and a personal message that stated the website of the couple. Hassan was her younger brother and Hussein’s twin.
Curious and elated, I opened his dp. Aisha’s picture was his dp with the inscription, ‘RIP Sis’. Immediately I was irritated at people who would put people’s pic up with funny messages that they had forgotten to change form the last pic they put up. Immediately I pinged her to discuss the wedding. It bounced back. I called and her numbers were switched off. I started feeling a little afraid. I checked on Facebook but there was nothing. I heaved a sigh of relief but the little shadow of fear would not go away. I managed to ignore it for about 20 minutes but I couldn’t anymore and so pinged Hassan. It took a little while to respond but when he did, it wasn’t with good news. Aisha had died on April 1.
After the tears and sobs have dried off, all I feel is guilt. What is the meaning of a mental note? Why didn’t I just pick up the phone to call? Why? Would it have taken anything away from me? What was I so busy doing? She constantly checked up on me; made sure I was okay. Why couldn’t I have been a better friend? Why couldn’t I just call? I remember other friends who have blessed my life in so many ways that I do not keep in touch with. I am friendly enough to meet new people but keeping in touch seems like such a big deal to me and I don’t get it.
Chigozie and Joseph Efienokwu and their entire family have known me all my life and been there for me through it all. Heck, I literally planned Bundle of Joy with them. Adesuwa Dinyo, I have known since primary School and I would not be the dubious ‘fashion-conscious’ girl I am now, if not for her. Osayi Edosomwan loves me though I really don’t know why and constantly defends me and is one of the most loyal friends I have and I missed her wedding and the birth of her first child. What is wrong with me? No man has ever shown me the kind of love that IK Elaiho has showed me since I was in Js 1. Joy Akpomeza who taught me how to love giving. They are so many. Sandra Ikuli, Eyitemi, Deborah, Jessie, Imade Owie, Omosigho Ogbebor, Blessing, Eseosa, Timi Febabor, Patricia and the list goes on. I cannot remember the last day that I talked to any of these wonderful people. I am just too busy. And I was too busy to call Aisha.
I haven’t felt this much pain in a long while. I prayed I wouldn’t feel it for a long time. I thought I had seen it all but somehow I feel so small and so humble. I don’t want memories or want her in my heart. I just want her back.
Ai, I’m so sorry.