“We will have a child together, a daughter as beautiful as you.” I had told her that evening and she had said that would be nice.
The first time I heard of her, she had sent me an e-mail to tell me how much of a fan of my writing she was. It was at a time when I was going through a messy baby mama drama and she drew the full story out of me. We became instant friends.
She told me about her boyfriend who wanted to marry her, and a car company that wanted her to pay to fix the brake on a Jeep supposedly covered by their warranty. I remember my reaction to the amounts she talked of as if they were peanuts, and what I liked best about her was, she did not bandy them about for effect; she just stated them in a matter-of-fact way.
For months we planned to meet up, but whenever I was in Abuja, something always came up, and when she was in Lagos, she stayed too far away. Time passed and then one evening in Abuja, we met for less than 10mins. She had skin like milk, a voice that made me want to be quiet and listen. She told me she had to leave in a hurry because she had some running around to do concerning her kid sister’s car. It did not matter that I only saw her for a few minutes, the trip was already worth it.
Then she took me off as a BB contact. She had sent me messages which I may or may not have seen, and she took me off for ignoring her. I tried to explain to her that it was not as she thought it was, but after a few tries, I realised it was best to let her go. I would see her on twitter, read her tweets, collect her pictures, but say nothing to her. A part of me missed her friendship.
When, in September of 2011 I was in Abuja for Bez’s album signing, she came on my mentions and accused me of sneaking into town. I jumped at the opportunity to mend the fences.
The next time we saw was in December of the same year, in Lagos. I was at a The Naked Convos event and had stepped out to see my friends off when I saw her standing outside. I walked up to her to say hi, what I really wanted to do was grab her and hug her and lift her off her feet. Instead, I followed her cue and said a cool hello. We didn’t even shake hands. I went back inside and was going to send her a message when her status message change: What was I expecting anyway?
I gave a wry smile before pushing the ‘delete contact’ button. She immediately sent me a DM asking if I just took her off BB and why.
We went for months without talking and I acted like I didn’t care. I didn’t even see her on twitter. Then one day, she popped up on twitter. I was so happy to see her back, I jumped on her mention. We DM’d and then reconnected on BB too.
She told me how she’d been a very angry person back in the day, and we laughed about how much we’d grown since. I saw her once in Lagos; she was flying back to Abuja and I went to the airport to meet her, be with her till she was ready to fly.
She ran a business in Abuja during the day, and managed a friend’s club at night. I worried about her sleeping habit, actually, the lack of one. She told me she would take it easy. She wanted to buy into a club, she wanted to expand her business to Lagos, she wanted to get a property in th U.K. She had plans, she had dreams. When she told me that pictures of my son had got her wanting a baby, I jokingly told her we would make one together, after all, my son was overdue for a baby sister. But after one of our periods of silence, she told me she wasn’t sure about me anymore. That she’d probably get her boyfriend to do the job. We laughed about this.
She told me about her friend who bashed her car, and the friend who wouldn’t pay for jewellery she bought from her mom. She told me of her misunderstanding with Alhaja, and I told her Alhaja loved her, and never to doubt that. We talked about Alhaja’s famous lamb stew. She showed me pictures of her siblings, and pictures of Alhaja. I had a whole folder for her photos; there is only one person who I have more pictures of than Nicole.
She would threaten to unfriend me if I said anything to mock Chelsea football club; according to her she only tolerated me despite my being a manure supporter.
When she took ill, she told me and I worried. Marian, her flatmate was looking after her. When it got worse, she moved back home where Alhaja and her husband watched over her and even threatened her, just to get her to eat.
“My mother is trying to force feed me yet again and her husband is here being cute threatening me like a 5year old. All they need do now is make cute engine train noises and get me to eat (˘̯˘ ) ( ˘˘̯)” she had tweeted once. Then she told me she was all better. December 12th came and I wished her a Happy birthday. We planned for me to come to Abuja someday soon. She said she owed me a round trip ticket for standing me up the last time I was in Abuja. When my phone was on its last life, she promised me a replacement for Faruk. And then we had our silence again. That silence that had marked our friendship. We would laugh about them and say we would remain friends no matter what because we both believed there was a reason God brought us into each other’s lives. We planned to find out what that reason was.
When I heard news of her death via twitter, I did not know what to say or do. I had stayed indoors all day today, switching off my phone because the battery was low and there was no power – my generator is bad. I am lying here in the dark writing this, and still I don’t know what to say or do. I don’t even know how to end this. I miss her, there’s no doubt in my mind about that, because, in a way, I have always loved Nicole Opeyemi Adedeji.