It’s been over 24 Hours since I got the call from my mum but I still can’t stop saying to myself, “Why so busy?”
I went to bed asking myself the same question and woke up with no answers.
Why are we always pretending to be busy while life passes us by?
Nobs: Momsie, How are you?
Mum: Odinma. Did chisom tell you about Chioma?
Nobs: Which Chioma?
Mum: Chioma Onyeama
Nobs: Mba. What happened to her?
Mum: They said she passed on but we cannot confirm it yet but I thought to let you know.
Nobs: Oh My God. Wow.I hung up with a promise to call her back and then my mind took me back to our years together in Aba and in the university.
Chioma & I grew up in the city of Aba. We weren’t friends at first, not until we saw each other on the same line during registration at the University of Nigeria.
Before then, She was that girl whose mum owned the area fashion store and she used to sit outside the store with her sisters facing the main road.
We were standing in the line when I walked up to her to say “Hey, you are Chioma, right”? And I didn’t have to say much before we became instant friends and started wondering why we never said “Hi” to each other all those years in Aba.
We started hanging out after classes even though her lecture room was In “Abuja” and mine was in “Lagos”, going to the Oga Emma’s place to get food and gradually we became important aspects of each other’s everyday life.
Chioma was in Lady Ibam hall and men were not allowed to go into the Female Hostel until after 5pm, so she would cook for me and keep in her room until i stopped by.
We were close friends for the entire time we spent in the University and we never thought to take it any further. We kept it pure, fresh and completely platonic.
Our friendship continued even during the Holidays and other school breaks, including ASUU strikes.
Chioma was my sidekick, the unofficial third party on most first dates, you know, just in case my date didn’t turn up. She was very creative and made some of the clothes wore in school.
Chioma’s wife material could cover the national stadium and the remaining shared to all the women in Surulere. Lol.
After University, I moved to Gombe for NYSC and then to Lagos after that. Chioma moved to Abuja.
Gradually, distance came between us and we drifted apart. The phone calls went from daily to weekly, from weekly to monthly and from monthly to …whenever we remembered.
Most of the good news I heard about Chioma came from my mum, Chioma was being referred to as “that big designer in Abuja” and my mum would send fabric from Aba to Abuja.
I was very happy that she was doing well and I used to tease her that she shouldn’t get married without telling me as I was meant to be on her train as “man” of honour. We got carried away with this life we refer to as “the hustle” and then we lost touch. Chioma got married and didn’t tell me. Maybe she tried to reach me, maybe she was too busy dealing with people in her immediate environment or maybe it totally skipped her mind.
Chioma and I have not spoken in the last one year, even though she crosses my mind. I also never picked up my phone to call her or even send a whatsapp message. I kept it moving and stayed “Busy”.
It’s so painful that I cannot even remember the last thing we spoke about or where I was when we last spoke to each other. It’s so sad that I cannot say where her cloth store was in Abuja even though I had visited Abuja while she lived there. She was a designer but I never wrote about her on here or even featured her look book.
Truthfully, Most of my close friends are going to be reading about her here for the first time because I never really said much about her. Maybe there was nothing to say but maybe I should have mentioned the friendship we had, maybe even once.
I should have tried more, I should have kept in touch, I should have known she was pregnant and maybe remembered her in my prayers. I should have been a better friend.
Our people say ”Eburu Ozu Onye Ozo, Odika ebu nku” which is true but this one hurts so much. This one hits too close to home. I can’t stop myself from crying but I cry even more because I know i should have stayed in touch.
We should try and make an effort to keep in touch. Call the people that have been there for you. Let people know how much they mean to you.
The money that you contribute for your friend’s burial ceremony is something he/she will never know, why don’t we give flowers to people when they can still smell it?