Memories of your love draw me to a time when nothing else mattered in this world but the sparkle of undisguised joy in your eyes each time we met. I was the one who refused to believe in true untainted love until you graced my life path with your faithful kindness, patience, and generosity of spirit and my countenance was forever changed.
My love, I remember the day we met- that fateful day 7 years ago, when I lost my 60,000 Naira outside J.J’s Supermarket. I’d panicked and almost ran mad with fear that I would never find it again, when you a complete stranger, stopped to help me as others turned a blind eye. Together we searched every corner and even through piles of rubbish till you discovered the money bundle buried behind the big mango tree facing the market, a victorious smile forming proudly around your baby face .
It was in that very moment, that my faith in humanity was restored and I knew once again the meaning of selflessness and sacrifice for another without the expectation of anything in return. I offered you 20,000 Naira as a token of my appreciation but you refused, urging me to continue on with the day’s routines. It was then that I started to beg you profusely and quite desperately to accept a lunch date with me at the goat meat joint the following day and luckily you finally conceded to my nagging request.
At the restaurant, when our eyes met as we sat across from each other, I knew that you were the woman I would marry. Nnem Omalicha is what I called you from that day forward to remind you of how beautiful you are to me. The happiness I derived from your company and devotion to me was second to none and so I find it incomprehensible at this very moment in time that you and I will not grow old together as we wished.
That plane crash of June 3, 2012 which claimed the lives of over 150 passengers on board has taken you away from me in the physical realm forever. You were my soul mate and best friend. You had just gone on a two day business trip to Abuja and were on your way back to our home in Lagos when you called me as soon as news of mechanical problems was announced by the pilot. I remember you were panicking as I tried to calm you down before the doomed craft plummeted to its destiny. I also remember how you asked me to make sure that Chiamaka, our 5 year old daughter had eaten and to take very good care of her until you come back. I assured you she was fine and told you that I love you and could not wait to hold you in my arms before the rattling in the plane and ghostly screams from scared passengers disrupted the call that brought with it the final echoes of your voice.
I am ANGRY. Angry that a simple due diligence on the part of flight authorities could have prevented this shameful tragedy from happening. Why did they allow the plane to take flight knowing that it had been plagued by mechanical issues from previous flights? All I have are questions- questions I know that will never be answered. My heart is broken and I am torn in pieces. The grief I feel is indescribable and my soul feels like it has been crushed with the weight of a thousand arrows piercing through its core.
The sheets on our bed still feel warm from our fiery lovemaking just two nights ago before I dropped you at the Airport. When we were finished, we gazed at each other like high school lovers experiencing passion for the first time. We didn’t know it would be our last time, but what we did know is there was no other place we would have rather been at that very hour, that minute, and second in time than in each others’ arms as we shared our final kiss.
It is 2 pm on June 5, 2012. I have nothing left. All I have now is the memories of me and you. In the blur of my confused state of mind, all I can manage to think out loud is: “Thank you my love, for leaving me with a gift to console me in the lonely days ahead. Thank you for Chiamaka.”
Suddenly, I hear your gentle, kind voice whisper softly in my head. Whispers that say, “Be strong for me and you. Be strong for Chiamaka. Be strong for all those who go through tragedies and be the voice of the voiceless. You’re my hero. A true survivor.”
As I struggle to wipe away the tears streaming down my face, turning into a puddle on the bedroom floor, I stare blankly into your framed picture- the one where you are dressed in the red Buba with the matching head tie. Somehow, I muster the courage to say “I will be strong my love- Nnem Omalicha. Adieu.”