“…and this too will pass” were the words I muttered when I heard of your passing into glory. It was all too sudden, a shock that usurped the moment, I was thrown off balance. I shouted on the phone when my mother told me and the echo passed between us like a consoling pat. I couldn’t put my composure together, although I couldn’t bring myself to shed a tear. You were wonderful just the way you were – free and happy.
The thoughts of us at the turn of the millennium whooshed through me like an electric charge. How we used to play at the Arabic school. Your favourite Quranic chapters were chapters one hundred and fourteen and one hundred and thirteen: Suratul Nas and Suratul Falaq respectively. The way you recited them…I can still hear the echo of your voice. Your face glowed and I can tell those were the happiest moments of your short life. As I write this, I don’t know how it would ever get to you or what it is it would mean to you, but even in your demise, I still like you. Your childish innocence and your laughter is all I remember now. I remember when we moved into the neighbourhood and all the closet people to us were girls; you and your sisters. We were all young with bright hopes and expectations. We would talk for hours about what was obtainable in our various schools, and even went as far as talking about which universities we would like to go.
Do you remember those mornings we used to stay back at the well ‘gisting’ and listening to fables Monday told us and how we usually ended up late for school? Do you still remember the myth about getting late on Mondays, and how it could end up spoiling the entire week for the next four days? I remember you were so afraid of cane. You would run, scream, beg, shout, whine, wince and make a loud show of the few strokes. Although, is not as if I was one hell of a ‘chester’ back then. See the way I’m going about this entire thing like you were still here to laugh at our beautiful innocent past.
Oh Adija! Why did you go? See me asking questions like you would ever answer but never to answer them again, at least no more on this plain. I never thought you would end up in the college of education, neither did I know, I would almost get swallowed up in the belly of the east of the Niger. We were friends, good friends, even inspite of our many differences. You were honest and almost transparent to a fault. You could tell no lie without been caught and I still remember you and your mother always had something to slug out at the turn of every week. Even as I write this, memories flood my mind… Adijat you were a rare type. You never amounted to much in the sight of many, but to me, I would term you a course to be studied. You yearned for deep friendship and mutual understanding, which was beyond what ‘them, three legged’ fellows, could ever fathom talkless of ever giving it. You were deep and had a presence anywhere you went.
Your smiles…I still remember how generous you were with them, ready to give it to the person next to you. Even in death, I hope you would still have an abundance of that to give to your daughter in her dreams. The cold brute hands of death have been laid upon you and now your course on this plain has come to an abrupt end. In all of this, I commiserate with your daughter and mother, for bearing the throbbing pain: the brunt, especially your little daughter who is even yet to know you. Why has this happened to one of the few friends I’ve in life…cuz that’s what you were to me. What we had transverse gender, class, exposure or whatsoever cuz I’m not even none of that anyway. So sad I’ve to say my farewell to you on the page of my facebook wall, yet I won’t stop telling the world how true you were to you and those around you. How much of yourself you gave freely without expecting anything in return. How willingly you would go out of your way to give a helping hand to the elderly in the neighbourhood. Yet your sun has chosen to set at noon… till we meet again, until then, goodbye.
Adija has you were fondly called, Is it goodbye? The way you carried yourself, your aura, the music your body played are still playing in my head, still very lost between the right tenses for you, cuz I’ve been darting between present and past. You were strong, yes I still remember that, a formidable force to be reckoned with, by all and sundry, a puzzle to be solved, a magic to unravel…Adijat-ul-kuburat. Forever silent, forever passive, stolen away to lie cold in the bosom of the earth, smiling down clandestinely at us in your celestial white, is it over?
I remember how you used to ask me of Taraba, I remember the look on your face whenever you see me with my bag, ready to go back to that dead end- Taraba. Your face would suddenly go drab, but yet, you would still tease me: ‘Omo ijoba!’ That high pitched voice forever silenced now, the echo of your laughter has refused to go away. It has continued playing steadily in my mind since I heard the ugly news. It has occupied my mind…the glow on your face… the colour of your skin…that canine tooth that seemed oddly placed in your mouth…oh! What a great loss this is. To many I may have been blabbing, but there is this ‘IT’ about the way you smiled. Now your colour would have turned ashen-grey, you would have shrivelled, and stiffened up due to rigor-mortis, you would have met Allah, you would have been judged, and you would be where you ought to be. All of those vanities, who would have thought you wouldn’t wait to enjoy them. All those things I presume you dreamt of as a little girl, the paradise you built…which we all mortals build in our mind’s eye to dwell away from the troubles of this world, but yet you have chosen to cast yours down and opted for a greater glory. How’s your crown? How many virgin men have you met? How is Al-janah Adijat-ul-kuburat?
Even though this would pass away like any other before it, and the sun would shine again and even though your mother could re-name you daughter Ropo and soon the world could stop to talk about you, but yet in all this I strongly say, a shining light has passed and let others that think they would live forever, take heed lest they pass away before the dawn of day. This world, this very world we all come and never want to leave would one day leave us and all-you and I would be like my friend Adijat someday, hugging our common denominator