Thursday, March 29, 2018

This Thing Called LIFE. Vanity. Upon. Vanity


Cynthia Amaize

Cynthia Ovuede.

Federal Government Girls College. 1989. We liked FGGC Benin because at least we could make our hair even in JSS1, unlike our UDSS counterparts.

I guess we bonded because we were day students. We rode the bus together.  For years. Until as expected in Nigeria, the bus deteriorated and it stopped working. Then we took the 'tukay-tukay' bus to Ring Road, and then I took one to Giwa Amu. You took one to Ihama.

Sometimes we sang in the school bus.

The only parties I went to was in your house. Your parents were always fine for me to spend hours in your house.

We were the only ones who didn't make it to University after the first attempt at JAMB. But you didn't allow us to wallow in self pity. You got a lesson teacher, and dragged my reluctant ass to attend.

We wrote JAMB again, and we both got into University of Benin.  I remember, it was your dad that took us to the VC's office, so I could check if 'my name' came out in Industrial Chemistry! and to my surprise, I found that I was admitted into Chemical Engineering.

Your dad called me to congratulate me. He was so happy for me!

I remember your sister's first child. I came to your house and rubbed talcum powder on everyone's neck.

I remember us talking about our firsts. First loves. First kiss. First Boyfriends.

I remember how I spent the Christmas holiday in 2006, and you dragged my overweight ass to the gym, as you prepared for the wedding.  I could not attend the wedding sadly, as it was too close to my brother's demise and funeral, but you called me all the time to console me.

Then you moved to Lagos, and I remember you being pregnant with your first child, and all the morning sickness that came with it.  I was so excited when you had your baby.

You never did the 'I am married now', so single friends stay off. You never did the 'I am married now and so happy, when are you getting married' trap thingy that most married women fall into.

I remember how excited you were when I told you I was getting married. To your in-law for that matter. What were the odds that we will both get married to Delta men?

You showed up full force for my wedding, with Omua and her kids.

My entire family was so happy to see you. My dad calls you Small doctor. Ehen, small Cynthia of yesterday is now a doctor, he would say playfully.  Patricia, my elder sister will call you fellow colleague.

The last time we saw was in Benin in 2016 for my Mom's funeral. You came to visit, you stayed with my Dad and my sister even though I was not there.

You came for the thanksgiving service and stayed home with me. We talked about everything under the sun. You brought your three beautiful kids. It was great to see my Dad smile again.

And then I am scolling through facebook on a Monday, And I see Rest in Peace?

What is life then. After all this struggle, it just ends?

Do not tell me 'it is well'.
Do not tell me God knows Best
Do not tell me God has a plan.

God is God. Agreed.
His ways are not ours. Agreed.

I am still struggling to come to terms with my Moms passing, and after some reflection, I realised that  God is truly not as concerned about the first Death, for we must all die. He is more concerned if you lived right, so you can attain eternal life and not experience the second death, post his 2nd coming.

So, Life. Death. in this first phase of the world is what it is - a phase.

That does not make it easy to swallow. How does one explain this to those left behind who grieve for the loss.
The parents.
The siblings
The husband
The children.

Life. Meaningless.  Sigh.

So many things I wished I said to you. But thank you so much for being my friend.
You were a true friend. Tried. Tested. Resolute in what truly holds the fabric of living. 

Rest in peace bosom. 

The. Proposal

Marry me. I am lost without you.

She had known him forever. Hard to actually pinpoint the first time their paths crossed. It felt like he was a permanent fixture in her life.  

Was it high school? Or maybe even before then. 

She does remember him being a friend in College. He would come over a couple of times in the month. They would go see a movie, go bowling, help each other out with school stuff if needed.
She always joked he was a secretary in his former life. He could type up her term papers so fast. She could help with the right phrases and illustration.

Weird but now that she thinks about how she got to this moment, it hit her. She really didn't have any serious relationship then and now. Sure there was the occasional boyfriend but she got tired of them easily. Never moved in with anyone. Never lasted for more than a few months. 

He teased her about it. Called her ''Her-Solo". A ode to her obsession with all things Star Wars.

They graduated and got jobs. She working in a marketing firm, him in an engineering firm. He went offshore for months at a time. So he was not really around much. But he kept in touch. Always came to see her when he was on furlough. 

She would prepare his fav- noodles and fried eggs. He would praise her cooking to the high heavens and she would smile. 

In some ways- she felt he was her brother. Not older.  Not younger. Just some comfortable in between.

Weird how his relationships didn't last as  well. He almost got married once. But if didn't work out. He didn't seem to broken about it. So she didn't ask too many questions.

Life was truly simple.

They found a bowling alley and enjoyed it so much. As expected he was terrible at it. She was a natural. They hung out after work few times a month. Shared a meal. Few drinks.

She wanted to do something different for his birthday. She bought tickets to see a basketball game. Didn't matter who was playing. She got few mutual friends to join them. And off they went.
It was half time. And someone had gone to get the customary over priced hot dogs and drinks. 

He was a bit pensive. She could sense it so she tried to make him laugh. Pulling funny faces. Peek a boo under the benches.
She went under the benches and his head hit hers slightly. Ouch.

I am so sorry. I suck at this!

What? Suck at What?

He just looked at her. She couldn't place the look. He gave her a piece of paper. It had words and illustrations on it. Like what she would have drawn. It was simple.

I love you. For as long as I can remember.
You complete me. You fulfil me.
You inspire me. You motivate me.
You encourage me. You reassure me.
I cannot imagine my life without you.
Marry me.

She was stunned. Her eyes filled with tears. He was still. Holding his breath for her answer.

I cannot convert.  

I am not asking you too.

I don't want to relocate. 

Neither do I

Our families.......

Will have to accept it

The ceremony...

Can be non Faith.

Our kids.......

Let's have 5!

Very funny! I meant......

I know what you meant. Isn't it premature to discuss now?

Is it? 

Ok. Yours.


Yes. You are more devout anyway.




I am thinking. 

Of What?

What are the odds? An Arab Christian and an African Muslim.

We will be happy together. I promise you.


Yes What?

Yes. You dummy.

He reached for her. and held her tight. She said the words, she knew he needed to hear them. 

I love you. Always have. Always will.

I love you. Never stopped. Never will.

This Thing Called LIFE. Vanity. Upon. Vanity

Cynthia. Cynthia Amaize Cynthia Ovuede. Federal Government Girls College. 1989. We liked FGGC Benin because at least we could make ou...