Sunny afternoon and the dry leaves were 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 her standing with contact lenses, tall bold, confident, and ready with a hijab wrapped around her head; please, where is the faculty of sciences? I asked enthusiastically, right over there? Your English immediately turned me on as opposed to the many people I have asked that same question, to which they replied with a subtle Hausa accent.
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, and 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 my professional colleague, and 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 most extraordinary girl in class, you could choose to hang with girls of your religion, but you chose me. I could swear that I felt special, you were a Buhari fan, and I, Goodluck, our religious differences didn’t deter us, we co-existed. 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 and how you chose certain things and people over me. It was hurting to watch you pick. I felt used. I will come to help you with your laundry or clean your apartment, make food for sleepovers, helped with content for assignments or projects. I began to see that you never retaliated against my good 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 and water issue that the bucket broke. You knew about all this but chose to let me stay in a room without a door if you don’t mind. Or even when I came for a sleepover 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 chose your boyfriend over me, and I watched with giggles of love and laughter. I was young and stupid, Ummi. Being older than you by eight days, we almost had the exact 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, the lies and illusions, Moments I thought were pure, smiles I thought were real, suggestions I thought were genuine…