Coming up with the title of this short, I had Prof. Wole Soyinka and Mr. Okey Ndibe in mind Re: The man died. Foreign gods Inc.
I have a gazillion Childhood Friends. I pray for them everyday, I love them and wish for nothing but the best for them, all the time.
Ifunanya and I went to Secondary School together where we hardly said ten words to ourselves for the entire period of three years we spent in the same confinements. We got into the same University and became inseparable. We were familiar in an unfamiliar place, so we became a team (makes you wonder about the beauty of biology doesn’t it?) helping each other through our individual life battles and culture shock. She is the only person in the world that has asked me to be her ‘birthday maid’, as in a maid of honour but for her birthday and not her wedding. She recently came down with malaria and she reacted to her treatment, the following conversation ensued:
Had drip yesterday.
Was reacting to a malaria drug
So they had to suppress it
Serious tremors tho, weakness and loss of appetite
I have try
I’m a survivor
Malaria na bastard Sha
The stuff sounds like something they use to fight Boko haram
Tayo is the one friend to whom I have reported all my major life events since we were teenagers, since the early Facebook and BBM days. When I passed my SSCE, when I got into university, when I failed a course in university, when I was in an accident, when I moved continents, when I had that existential crisis on virginity and what not, when I had to go to different embassies by myself I hatched an elaborate plan and ran it by him. That time I tweeted about how much I appreciate all my friends that look out for me, I was referring to Tayo because he had asked:
How e dey go
E get as e be [ long chat where I pour out my frustrations, which I was unaware were gathered at the brim of my mind, waiting to come out]
Thanks for asking.
*one strength emoji* I like your spirit though. Keep up the ‘fight’ and don’t be discouraged.
Thanks. Same to you.
*one kiss emoji*
Aww *four kiss emojis*
Chisom walked down the corridor of Manuwa Hall with her freshly braided head of hair that made her hang her neck at an angle to help reduce the pain, she looked a bit puffy, and ready to take on Monday morning simultaneously. Quiet as a church mouse, we didn’t notice her until she started taking off her slippers by the door, She exclaimed in her peculiar way when she finally entered the room “Ah! You guys are eating Plantain and you didn’t invite me!“. The first thing that struck me about her was her complexion. She was the fairest person I had ever seen, Omalicha. The second thing was that she wore socks indoors, like me. Ours was predestined. In the following weeks, we shared our stories, zoomed in on our similarities and there was no stopping us. By the time it was the Student Union Government election season, we had formed our own version of the cool kids subculture in school. Once, during the campaigns, an aspirant came to the hostel to talk to Chisom and when he left she said to me smiling “I feel like we’re the Kingmakers, we are important in this election, we decide who wins…“. Chisom taught me how to acknowledge my privilege in life and how to use it. To an extent, she taught me how to be human. When I won a beauty pageant it was Chisom behind the scenes, literally. Before I left Nigeria she invited me to her parents’ house in Abuja, twice. We sat down and talked about this and that and it was that week it got real for me: I was leaving my friends behind, I even said to myself “I’m not going to make new friends abroad“.
Kingsley and I met in 2014, he doesn’t know this but the very first time I met him, he was teaching a tutorial. I was listening to him teach and that was when I saw him through the eyes I imagine Simon Cowell uses to judge Got-Talent shows, and by the time we were done with the tutorial, I was Simon hitting the Golden Buzzer for him to move on to the “live shows”. That night, when I got back to my room I made a tweet about him. I said how he was full of promise and how he was a great teacher. Time did it’s thing and sooner than I had expected, we actually became sort of friends. I think he also came to see me with the “Simon Cowell googles” but I’m not sure, you can never be sure when it comes to that boy. Kingsley recently entered into a short story competition called #JollofRice by Okadabooks and he won the first round, (by getting the highest number of votes/reads from the general internet public). His story was unique, very very well written, funny, Nigerian and relevant to the time it was written. Today I woke up to a Whatsapp from Kingsley:
I lost * three crying emojis*
Don’t say that.
Lol. Don’t worry I am over the loss now.
I think I reacted to the message in the way he expected. To a large section of the people I have come to befriend, I am that friend who believes in your dreams fiercely, as if they were mine. The grounded one, you know, the one that scolds. The one that hands out tough love cookies without batting an eyelid, also the one you can rely on to reassure you. Kinda like my version of what Tayo is to me.
Bunie was my sister’s next door neighbour at her place off campus, He was also her classmate. I found him annoying in the way you find a tall, handsome, light-skinned boy that goes to your Teenagers Church annoying and the feeling was mutual. We got along despite each other, I was staying with my sister that semester and Bunie’s Chess board worked its magic to bring us together. It was our common ground. As usual there was no light/power that night in my sister’s room. We played two sets by candle light and he won both so I lost interest in the game. Sore loser that I am. We bickered and bantered, I started playing with the matchbox. I lit a matchstick and blew it out, put it in my mouth and instantly felt like smoking something, anything. My sister’s room was on the second floor, I got up from my position on the floor and opened the window, sat on the window stool with half my upper body leaning outside, there was neither burglary proof nor mosquito net standing guard so it was just human, window, and night breeze. There was a piece of paper on her table, I reached for and took it, rolled it, not minding what was written on it. Bunie was carried away with the business of arranging the board for another round, he looked up at me when he sensed burning paper and shouted in horror
“what are you doing?!”
His voice was laced with concern and panic? I laughed and coughed. Bunie warned me to stop playing with fire and in that moment, he too became my Childhood Friend, for life.
For: Kayode (Sir Kassanova) Adeniji.
Sun re o, ore mi atata