She Was A Gift_A True Story
There are a few people whose lives make such tremendous impact on us that they become a part of our story. I speak of tremendously good impact.
One of such people was Auntie Ngozi. We weren’t related, not even from the same state. And she was quite older than I was.
She came to my family with an invisible high wall around her. I don’t know why, but we easily became friends, and her walls became non-existent. Then she told me about her walls.
Her story was like a movie, something unreal.
Some parts almost cliché, but very true: the aunt who walked out of her house naked and drunk, heaping verbal abuses on her, or the men who tried to sleep with her because she was vulnerable.
I’d like to tell first of how I remember her. She was fun, funny, joyful, and legitimately cool. She was cool. She spoke so well, almost polished, even though she hadn’t gone beyond primary school. Her aunt had hidden her school certificate and refused to let her continue her education.
We enjoyed watching wrestling shows together. We believed the stories by barely talented actors, and enjoyed the controlled violence. We knew all the names and had our favourite wrestlers.
When I came back from boarding school during the holidays, she would give me my favourite dishes plus extra snails and way too many portions of meat.
Then she told me about her walls and how they were up when she first came to work for my family. She thought to herself, just another family, more suffering to come, brace yourself. But it was nothing of the sort. She was like family. We became fast friends, and it was the easiest thing in the world.
“Nwokem gbafuo,” she often said playfully, and I loved how she said it. It was a phrase I tried to use because it just sounded cool. Maybe I should take it up again. It sounds better than “my friend, get out”. It was said only in good fun.
She told me about her sufferings. I was glad they were over because she was with us. Not that we were the end. Her poor mother was barely having some relief. Finally, her daughter had good news to share.
I made a mental note to myself to tell her story one day. Maybe I told her I would – I don’t remember.
When I got to the university, she had moved on. She had started a small chops business and was doing well for herself. Of course, I benefited from that business, as she always brought some back for me whenever I was around. She even told me she had met someone, and he was interested in getting married to her. I was really happy. Finally, some respite, a wonderful new chapter to her life.
We used to talk over the phone every now and then. I was still in the university and far away from home.
I remember thinking to myself, “I should call auntie Ngozi.”
I got a phone call the next day. Dead. Cancer. Sickness. Something.
She had been looking thinner but I thought it was just a little bit of stress. I don’t know if she really knew. I don’t really know.
It felt like cruelty. She had only just begun her new life. There were no more masters, no bosses, no oppressors. All she told me was the good news. And I hadn’t even got a chance to hear all the parts of her story.
I would have loved to share the other parts of my life with her. I would have loved to share hers with her. I would have loved to watch her story do a complete 180. I would have loved to hear every detail and even write a book – or shoot a movie.
Sometimes I hurt when I think of her. She has inspired some of my characters but only vaguely. Maybe she trusted me to tell her story even when I would never know all the parts. And maybe I would.
My only comfort is that I would see her again with Christ. We didn’t talk that much about faith, but it was in the bigger picture of her story. She didn’t seem to question God, but rather she seemed to simply believe. She could have been anything she wanted to be; I would have liked to tell her that. I’m glad I can tell you that. And I’m glad I can share many beautiful stories here.