Do you remember that time we went to the cinema? We had gone to see a movie we had been looking forward to all year. We had to queue up for tickets because there were so many people there. For some weird reason, I remember your shoes quite clearly. They were the red sneakers I got you from Yaba.
It had been a long day. Made even longer by the long queue that stood between us, the movie and some popcorn. We made a decision then; I would go stand on the line for popcorn and drinks, and you would keep our place on the ticket line. I must have stepped out of line for only a few seconds when I heard your stern voice. Some man had just stepped in front of you in the typical arrogant way most Nigerian men had.
Poor guy. He probably took a long look at the queue and saw a 5 foot tall lady as the weakest link. He couldn’t have been farther from the truth. I laughed so much that day as I watched you give him a piece of your mind, shaking your finger in his face as you asked him if no one taught him any better. I laughed but I was afraid for you. He was six foot plus after all.
You were always so spontaneous, so full of energy, so self righteous. Few people approved of a woman who said what was on her mind but I, I loved every piece of that mind.
Every one in my family likes my new girlfriend. My friends too. She lets me hang out with the boys as much as i want and never complains. She isn’t as needy as you were. With her I sometimes feel like an accessory. Something you have only because it looks good and not cause its necessary. With you, there was never anytime for much else. You were my every minute of my every day.
Her name is Chigozie. She is always so impeccably dressed and beside her I feel so under-dressed. It still makes me smile to think of how you and I went to a wedding in matching dungarees just for fun, how you loved your Adire and made bikini bras out of the material.
Everyone tells me she will make a perfect wife. They say our life together will be picture perfect. My favorite picture of you is in my t-shirt wearing no bra, no makeup, and showing the camera your middle finger. I took that picture. She doesn’t take pictures expect she has make up on, and looks like a queen.
People talk about the kids we will have. They will have her fair skin and huge eyes. No one ever talks about them looking like me. I have tried to picture these children in my mind’s eye and I never manage it. With you, I only had to close my eyes and the future painted itself out on the canvas that was you.
I saw you at the Mobil bus stop yesterday. You were helping a bunch of kids cross the road. I wanted to call out to you but she was in the car. I stopped the car to let you cross. Yes, that was me! She only commented on how ugly the kids’ uniforms were.
You didn’t look a day older than two years ago when I last saw you. In fact if not for the fact that you weren’t wearing a uniform, I would have thought you were heading to school with the kids.
I am by the bus stop again today but I am alone this time.I am hoping to catch you before you cross the road. I am hoping the kids show up as well. I don’t have a plan but I brought my camera. You will probably cuss at me when you first notice me here. You will possibly show me the middle finger. In fact I am counting on it. Nothing will make my day as good as seeing your tiny middle finger shot up in the air at me.
I will come back here everyday. I will cross the road with you. I will tell you how much I have missed you whether you listen or not. I will tell you how sorry I am for all those times you asked me to cross roads with you and I refused. Now that I have found your journey, I won’t stop making the trip with you. Who knows, maybe someday you will finally reach out and hold my hand, maybe someday you will let me hold your hand and we will cross the roads together.
Till then Okaima, I will be at the bus stop. Waiting.
P.S This was inspired by John Mayer’s song, Comfortable…i borrowed a bit from Michael Buble’s Everything and The Script’s Man Who can’t be Moved provided the ending. Song of the day? Take your pick.
And the beautiful girl is my friend T…