I was at a philharmonic orchestra last night and suddenly, from nowhere, you crossed my mind. It wasn’t my first orchestra. I have been to too many of these things, too many but not enough. I find that this sort of music calms and inspires me so every chance I get to go to one, I go.
I have not thought of you in a while and never before at an orchestra. I still don’t know why I thought of you as the orchestra performed Beethoven yesterday. It isn’t like you were a fan of this kind of music, or maybe you were but never shared that part of you with me.
My mind wandered around your memory after that, aided by the beautiful music and I thought I saw myself back then through your eyes. D, the tomboy who preferred to wear shorts all the time in contrast to your girly skirts and dresses. D, the precocious wise-ass teenager who left everyone amazed at how smart she could be without even trying. D, the stubborn little sister who annoyed you by eating your cake batter every time she visited your room in Hostel 1. D, the confused teenager who was miles away from home and befuddled by all the freedom she suddenly had. D, who frustrated you constantly with her stubbornness and made you cry that one time.
There are many things I remember about you Deezah; your grace, your smile, the way you complained, your delicious cakes, your love for Olu, Licia, Jos and your family, your diligence, your laughter, your happiness…
When Olu heard that you died, she didn’t take it very well. She told me she cried for days on end. I took it much better. Maybe because I was not as close to you as Olu was. I used to be so jealous of your closeness, the three of you, always together and so in love with one another. With you, Licia and Olu, three was never a crowd, it was a trinity. I could barely find one sidekick to bear me but you three each had two best friends.
Do you remember those fun times we had in final year with Neo, Aisha and Zainab? I wonder about Zainab sometimes. Where is she? Did Baba ever forgive her for all those terrible grades in her very first year? She was so beautiful with her Fulani cheekbones and fair skin. What I remember most about her though was how easily laughter came to, and through her.
So much time has passed Hadidi. There is so much I know you wanted to do but could not. There is so much I wanted you to do, to be, but you couldn’t. You would have made such a great mom; I know this because in a way you were mom to me, maybe to all of us. I still remember looking to you for direction when Licia had her baby. We went to the hospital, remember. You were so calm. I was freaking out inside but you were so, so brave.
Even though it might not seem like it, we have not forgotten you Hadidi; we wouldn’t dare. Yes, life happens and we move on with living as is expected. We lose some of the memories. We forget how your lips turned up just before you burst out laughing. We begin to think of you in black and white, losing the colors that we once associated you with. We fail to honor your friendship by thinking of you every other second. We get older while you stay 25 forever. It is life. This is life.
But then one day, while minding my business, in a place you never got the chance to visit, surrounded by people you never met and music you never heard, I close my eyes and it is you that I see. It is only fitting that I think of you when surrounded by such beauty. It is only fitting, Deezah.
They tell us that beautiful ones are not yet born. Oh how wrong they are. The beautiful ones were born and they left so quietly no one except us noticed.
We will miss you forever Hadiza Liman. Feel free to tell my mum on me for all those time I ate your cake batter.
Song of the day: Gabriel Eziashi – Aka Jehovah