Sunny afternoon, the dry leaves where falling down lightly as harmattan approached slowly, I saw a black figure standing under a Neem tree, I wanted to trace my department but couldn’t, as a fresher and looking not northern, I was lost, confused and thirsty.
I met you standing with contact lenses, tall bold, confident and ready with an hijab wrapped around your head, please where is the faculty of sciences? I asked enthusiastically, right over there? Your English immediately turned me on as opposed to the great number of people I have asked that same question.
Fluent, soft, articulated and well polished, In the far north here? I asked myself as I hurriedly joined an ATM line before heading to my faculty.
When I first met you, I thought your nose was funny, it was long and came out from somewhere unending, it was always moist so you had to carry a tissue everywhere, when I found out you were my departmental colleague, I was glad, I didn’t have family in the north neither do I know how to speak the Hausa language, meeting someone who is a northerner and spent almost all her life in lagos was an awesome relief, you will help with my unending curiosity about the town, the school and of course you were going to be my friend for a very long time.
I always called you professional colleague, Gradually I began to love you genuinely, it was not because you were a muslim or was it because you spoke fluently or the fact that I related to a lot of things you said, we were all fashion defaulters, it was baseless to say I loved you for your fashion sense.
I loved you genuinely as someone I wanted to grow with, study and do assignment with, I wanted us to be reckless and gossip, I wanted sleep overs and weekend parties with you, I wanted us to be friends and grow with time.
Im wearing a gown I forcefully collected from you, my mind flashing to the very day I collected it, nostalgic maybe, but I thought about how we slowly drifted apart from each other.
You were lying to me all the time, about how you weren’t having sex, one time you told me you were going to fix your gas but you were going to see a guy who collected your number a day before at the bank, you swore to me he smelled, but you saw him still.
You were with me for everything you could get freely, I wasn’t the coolest girl in class, you could choose to hang with girls your religion, but you choose me, I could swear that I felt special, you were Buhari and I was Goodluck, you were muslim and I Christian, but we co existed still, we had times when we laughed at each other genuinely and told ourselves of love and laughter, how we wanted our dreams to be, we walked under the night sky of a bigger world we were yet to see.
Little by little, as we drifted apart from each other, I began to see how foolish you really were, how you choose some certain things over me, it was hurting to watch you pick, I felt used, how I will come to help you do laundries or clean your apartment, made food for sleepovers, helped with contents for assignments or projects, I began to see that you never really retaliated any of my gestures.
You were the pretty one, the guys liked you more, you had the height and the body, it was hard for people not to like you. You detested coming to my hostel, always dirty you said, but I came to yours, whenever you needed me or not.
My breaking point was when you messed my project up and refused to let me stay with you when I had accommodation challenges, I slept in a room without a door the night Rosaline chased me out of her hostel because I broke her bucket it was because we were protesting about the no light, no water movement, that the bucket broke, you knew all this but choose to let me stay in a room without a door? Or even the time I came for a sleep over with rice and vegetables, you insisted you wouldn’t share your blankets, I was down with a terrible cold the next day.
I really wish we didn’t fall apart, I missed our small talk and laughs, all of the time, you choose your boyfriend over me, I was young and stupid Ummi, I was older than you with eight days, we almost had the same grade, we were like twins and people envied us, how come you didn’t think of me at the end baffles me.
I have moved on from you, the lies and conspiracies, thoughts you kept from me, pretenses and illusions, Moments I thought were pure, smiles I thought were real, suggestions I thought were true…
I realized you were with me for all the free things you could get.