When I heard were missing, I couldn’t believe it. As many other Nigerians, I said you were going to return home. I couldn’t believe anyone would want to snuff the life out of a girl so beautiful, so full of life. So, I blogged with nonchalance, I smiled, ate and laughed. How was I to know you lay still in another world where you now call home?
Like an old video tape,my thoughts were re-winded back to those days when we were young, living in the beautiful city of Jos, with no worries, no fear, just the sheer beauty, peace and calm of a city now ridden with the blood of the innocent.
We didn’t start out as friends. We weren’t enemies either. You were the rich girl, a LT Colonel’s daughter (back then), born with a silver spoon, the apple of your mother’s eye, the envy of all. I was just the daughter of a teacher/writer renowned for being a strict disciplinarian.
With skin so porcelain, eyes so beautiful, every other beauty was eclipsed by yours , and each time you walked by to your mother’s supermarket ,girls would say things like(she no even fine sef. Na because she yellow. Abi?)And everyone would just nod unconvincingly ,coz deep down; we knew that was a lie. You were truly beautiful.
I would go home and stare in the mirror severally, trying to unsuccessfully convince myself I was the prettiest girl in Faringada(our neighborhood).That deception was put to rest every time I saw you walk home from Command Secondary School, in your uniform so crisp and green, sometimes described as too short by the more conservative people in the neighborhood.(You were a born Fashionista).
So, fate brought us together through your brother Tony, my first..a love which was forbidden by both families. A love which was doomed from day 1(We both know why).
We became friends, you would come to my house every other day and I would take you to see my dad who always seemed to be in the farm. He would give us....
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a bowl of fresh corn to go home and boil. After a few months, I began to ask myself if you were coming home for me or the corn, because you seemed to always get the timing right(smiles).No, it wasn’t the corn. Your friendship was genuine.
You would reciprocate the gesture by frying irish potatoes for me in your large kitchen, and we would proceed to your room, filled with the latest designer items and makeup kits which your mum made sure you had in abundance and you would say” I can’t wait to be a super model”.
And while every girl in the neighborhood grew fatter with age, you grew slimmer, keeping your eyes on the goal.
You were very determined to be a supermodel, and that showed by the work you put into it. I recall those nights we would sit at home with your mum and she would talk about your wedding day and how we should keep ourselves chaste and avoid bad company. She didn’t condone immorality. You would always hug and peck her, you were her best friend and vice versa.
Seeing both of you made me miss not growing up with a mother.
I recall those days my dad would threaten Tony to let me be, but he couldn’t do the same to you as much as he wanted to. Because, you would enter the house and say “Any corn for me Mr Achanga? This would elicit a smile from him as he would begin to narrate his heroic farming exploits, such as how he chased a big snake and the snake turned around and began to chase him (which I had heard a million times) but had to pretend I was hearing for the first time. You would laugh with tear filled eyes. Those moments meant a lot to me and my late dad as he grew to love you like his own daughter.
So, I traveled to Cameroon for my University Studies and we lost touch. I was so happy to hear you had gained admission into the Nassarawa State University. Everyone was doing well. We were going to meet at the top.
Barely a month after my dad's passing, I was shocked to hear you visited our house in my absence.That was what a true friend would do. There was no corn, no groundnuts just an empty house filled with the faces of heartbroken children. Yet you sat there and consoled them in honor of my dad.
You proceeded to find me on Facebook, a medium which would later cause your untimely death. I was overjoyed .You told me how proud you were of my achievements and I was happy to hear you had done a few modeling jobs and had served the compulsory NYSC.
One thing had changed. We were now grown; life and distance had pulled us apart. We were just face book friends who would occasionally comment on each other’s pictures.
I recall saving this particular picture. There was just something deep about it. I looked deep in your eyes and it seemed distant. So I copied it on my phone.3 weeks ago, I deleted pictures of everyone on my blackberry (to create space).When I got to this particular picture, I enlarged it and stared at it. That was the only picture of a non family member I retained. Now I know why.
I shut my ears to the harsh judgments you’ve received in absentia. We’ve all taken bad decisions in our lives. We’ve all been lured by Facebook friends. The only difference is, you had to pay the price. But do you know how many lives your death has saved? Do you know how many more ladies would have fallen victim to those monsters?
Yes, you didn’t deserve to be an example. But, I know just as heaven rejoices when a soul is saved; you’ll smile knowing those boys have been caught. You’ll smile knowing you have saved many young girls like me who would have made the same mistake.
I have no words for your 3 brothers, father and adoring mother. No words can’t console them at this heart wrenching time. The Lord who took you away would console them.
While we wait for justice to be served,please greet my father in heaven. Though he’ll be sad to see you left so soon, I know he’ll keep you company with his funny heroic farming exploits. May the angels guide you on this journey we all must pass through and until we meet again, Adeiu my dear friend.