For my friend Ajiri
Death and sadness are topics I shy away from in reality, but I love them when writing because they are so real, so deep and they evoke a lot of passion, and effortlessly too. They are also topics that seem to unite everyone; enemies become friends when there is a loss, “normal” humans feel bad for you when you are sad, it just fosters a weird bond, and they can be life transforming.....weird isn’t it? Death can be life transforming.
I lost my best friend when I was 11, she was ill and had been hospitalised , but it was okay because as kids being sick meant you get a lot of attention and special treats, but when you get really sick attention become the least of your worries. My best friend’s name was Ajirioghene, we all called her Ajiri. She was a bit of a spoilt brat as i recall, she was the last of three kids and her parents doted on her a lot. Her mum was my head mistress in primary school, and most of our classmates hated her as much as they loved me, we were both totally different In personality, but physically we could pass for sisters. We had beautiful plans as kids, she was in some expensive private boarding school and i was in an all girls secondary school, but we had plans for our holidays and such childish , but beautiful plans they were. She had lovely story books, but then i had outgrown the kiddie stories and was reading proper novels, she loved dolls, but I was lost in my world of books....she used to have monumental fights with my younger brothers who always found ways to piss her off. She would get angry for silly reasons, storm out of my house and vow never to stop by ever again (she lived in the next street) then in less than an hour on her way to some errand she would stop by to ask me to see her off, my mum always found this amusing.
Her elder brother stopped by my house on a Friday and asked for my folks permission to take me to see Ajiri at the hospital, that he was quite sure it would lift her spirits to see me, and we did see her...she was pale and quite weak, but I had never lost anyone close before, for me death was something alien, something that only happened to old people or young people in movies and books, definitely not something meant for my BFF, but it did......her last words to me was “God will bless you Dianah” and it felt spooky hearing her say it solemnly. This was my best friend! We could laugh and fight, but we never said things like “God will bless you” we were eleven year olds!
She died the next day, I can still recall how I heard it from some kids on my way home from those extra mural Saturday classes, they were whispering stuff like “she doesn’t know about her friend’s death yet” it didn’t make any sense to me, so I made sure I knew the kids, so I could tell Ajiri what they said when she got home eventually.....then i got home and i could tell my mum had been crying and then my dad told me, I did not say a word, just ran to Ajiri’s house, her wailing mum and the crowd at her house confirmed the whole story, i had lost my best friend. I never cry immediately I hear about someone’s death, my brain never processes the message fast enough, or maybe I choose not to let it sink in, so when everyone started trying to tell me how sorry they were, I just stared at them....went back home and let the grief take over.
It’s been years after and i still cry when I think of all she never had to do, she never wrote those exams we planned together, she never had a boyfriend, never had a first kiss, never did so many things, things I sometimes wish I could do for both of us. Her mum still sees me and with each new step I take in life, she sees stuff Ajiri never got to do and she says things like, “maybe Ajiri would have done so as well”, there’s always been a level of discomfort between her mum and i, cos i see it in her eyes each time she sees me she thinks of my BFF.
I wrote this for her, two yrs after she died on her thirteenth birthday;
TO YOUR MEMORY
but i refuse to admit
You are no more
But i refuse to believe
I see your smiling face
I visualise your springy walk
In my heart you’ll always live
Though they say u are gone
I see us in the garden
I remember our little gossips
To me there’ll always be “US”
Though you are no more around
You are dead
I finally realise
But there’s still a place for you
Ajirioghene, your memory will stay for always.
I guess it’s about time I let go. Rest In Peace deary and it is really nice to have you enjoy my blog as a guest, and even nicer to have people know about you years after, you have attention even in death like you always wanted when alive.