My dear friend lost her dad last week. She asks for our support and prayer. She always prayed for me, for as long I’ve known her, nearly a decade now. Prior to the email breaking the sad news, she told me she was getting married very soon, and there was loads for us to talk about.
I could’ve been the one marrying her probably, but it just couldn’t or wouldn’t work out between us. I first met Ruky during christmas of 2000, at my aunt’s house. She was quite amiable, very homely and we took an instant liking to each other. I was enthralled by her sheer intelligence, confidence and uprightness. Plus she’s very attractive. Surely there had to be a flaw, said the wicked human in me! Alas, she was inexperienced, very, in the matters of the heart. And I found this out too late for both of us to salvage US.
We started out as friends. We attended the same university, lived not so far apart that we couldn’t visit. I found that she added to me with her wit and morality and really did know an awful lot about diverse issues.
I’d always be found distracting her whenever I had a period off of lessons, or just found myself idle. And to those around her, it was a big deal because no one had ever really made that big an impression on her before.Even her really close friends deemed it fit to become my friends seeing as we got along quite well.
Eventually I got her to know that I really did like her. As a matter of fact I used her own terms. We got talking one afternoon(in the library) and she was telling all men off for leading women on when they know nothing is going to come out of it.
She said “A guy should know when he stops just liking a girl and begins to REALLY REALLY like the girl”- I agreed with her 100%. We were eventually thrown out of the library for incessant chatter but it was well worth it as I was convinced that I was falling in love with her.
Weeks later and there was madness all over the world, literally. The WTC had been hit on 9/11 which was a tuesday and by friday, religious riots had broken out in parts of Jos. There we were, stranded in the school and harangued by angry iliterate mobs that were our next door neighbours. Talk about situating a school of higher learning in a slum; anyway, the planners(thats my profession btw) will tell you that the slum developed around the school and not the other way round, but nonetheless, we were in grave danger.
The vagabonds actually attempted to torch parts of the school. Trust students, with HOT Aluta blood coursing through our veins, a ragtag militia was soon formed. Men eager to display bravado, most of it for show anyway, tore branches off trees at a rate that’d put pro lumbermen to shame. Most of the clubs were actually unwieldly, large, clumsy- Before you’d get a swing in, you’d most likely have been dispatched to the land beyond beyond by our machete bearing adversaries.
Fool that I was, I saw a couple of raucous classmates of mine in the ‘army’, so I decided to go along for the ride, arming myself with a baton. We made it outside the relative safety of the gate, gathered ourselves in some random formation and actually charged the hausa miscreants harassing us. They yielded, and ran off…….Only to re-amass and re-arm, because when they came back, shots were fired. I had no time to reassess just how much danger we were in because I had already become a casualty from that first volley.
I felt a sting on my right leg, the shin, and warm blood coursing into my beautiful reeboks. High on adrenaline, I just pointed at it and my comrades-in arms promplty lifted me up and headed back to the school to deposit. That summed up my participation in armed conflict to date. Someone cleaned it,treated it and bandaged it, and I was not to be bothered even if the devil himself was having a go at me.