“Bimpe, Bimpe… Shade is dead… she is dead” … that was Elorha screaming from the door. “I heard she committed suicide; she jumped off the bridge”. I was shivering, scared, shocked “I killed her; Lord I killed her”.
Shade was a colleague. We worked together in a financial institution as customer service representatives. I remembered her first day at work. When Shade walked into the office, I was literally shocked. How in the world was it possible for her to get employed in this organization let alone the customer service department? She wore a long skirt, an over-sized suit, a “cheap shoe, “cheap hair” … She was all “local” …
For goodness sake, how could this be? The customer service unit was made up of a seven-man team, all “posh and tush” … Classy, not cheap. I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that this lady called Shade will be one of us. No she can’t be.
Soon enough, it was lunch time, Shade has inquired from me where she could get her lunch; my response; “considering your looks, I doubt you can afford where I get my meals from, please ask the cleaners”. That was the beginning of my endless taunt on Shade.
I kindled the fire of hatred against shade in the Unit. Nkechi, who was one of us, refused to be part of it. She had said to me “Bimpe, let the girl be.” But I immediately shut her down. I was a force to be reckoned with. I was BIMPE, the ever CLASSY, perfect in all my ways.
This continued overtime. I would mock and tease her. Every Wednesdays, when we held our meetings, our head of department teased her more. Shade will come to work first, wear a smile, tried to connect with us. But I was the boss after the “BOSS”. I will not tolerate anyone who will be friends with this “razz” girl. For seven months I “tortured” her with my words.
Just a day before this sad incident, Nkechi had come to tell me Shade’s story. Shade had lost her parents when she was 15, just in her S.S 3 to a ghastly motor accident from Ibadan to Lagos. Her parent traveled this road everyday just to make ends meet. Life became more difficult for her and siblings; an elder brother and an elder sister. Shortly after, her brother has joined a crime syndicate as a result of the hardship. Her elder sister began selling food items just to fend for the family.
Soon enough, things took a new dimension when Shade was awarded a scholarship to the University by the state government for her excellent performance in her O ’level results. There was finally light at the end of the tunnel. Shade’s sister sent her monthly allowances and ensured she didn’t lack much. Few weeks to her graduation from the University, Shade’s sister was knocked down by a “hit and run”. She died at the spot. Her brother’s where about still unknown. She became depressed, emotionally and psychologically. Went to Serve and finally here in the career world hoping to meet people who will keep her hopes up. But instead, she met resentment, hatred and evil stares.
After Nkechi had narrated Shade’s story to me, I decided to be nice to her. I don’t know why have been acting this way towards a fellow human, a fellow woman. It didn’t make any sense. It was just yesterday but today she was gone. It was too late.
The drive from work to home was sorrowful. I couldn’t stop crying knowing fully well that I just killed her with my pettiness, my stares, my words. How can I live with myself knowing I just pushed someone to take her own life? How can I live with myself, when I became an enemy of a fellow human just because she doesn’t meet my “standards” … I was lost in thoughts; speeding at 140km… “Gboaaaaaaaaaaaaa” .. I had rammed into another car. There, lying in my pool of blood, within a split second, in a flash, I saw my life, my deeds… the perfect, classy and elegant Bimpe…
I just realized, it wasn’t just to Shade.. I have looked down on several people… Oh…. I had a heap load of clothes I no longer wear but have never offered one to those ladies who didn’t have much. Right there, in between life and death, I had prayed “Lord, if You give me another chance, I will make things right” …. Then it was black…. It’s still dark… “Lord, please save me”