I’ve always turned to writing whenever I feel grief, or whenever I’m trapped by some intense emotions I need to free myself of. I’ve turned to my laptop several times this year, especially since almost every month so far there’s been one horrible story or the other. My most difficult year to date, definitely the most difficult.
Even the writing isn’t working now though. One post on a good day and I’d be fine. How do I start to write about someone I’ve known literally all my life? Someone whose house was mine, who defended me every chance she got, told me stories, loved me like her own, has been there for me from the get-go?
How do I explain my helplessness at my inability to cope with the news of her passing? How do I say I don’t know what to do, and everything screams her name? The clothes I have on now, she convinced me to spend my money on. I remember that afternoon; there was this lady who used to bring clothes from America for sale and we’d go there whenever we had change. I was picking shorts and tiny dresses (as usual), and aunty goes, “you no know say you don reach to be pesin wife? My friend pick beta cloth jor”. Lol. Then she saw this tunic and goes, “This one is pretty; you can even wear it when you’re pregnant”. And that’s how I bought it. How do I ‘feel better’?
I remember when I said I was going to get a PhD, aunty said, “hian! Masters no do you? You already talk too much, with a PhD you go carry english confuse the man be that”. And then she met Booski, and said, “this one that is doing a PhD as well, mean say una pikin na from belle im go carry computer”. How do I feel better?
When I was getting a first degree and she was retailing clothes from Dubai at the time, I’d take some to school every now and then to sell for her. Both capital, profit, and the clothes I couldn’t sell would end up as mine, because whenever I called to tell her how much I had sold, she’d say, “ok, use it to buy credit”. And she gave me my first phone too, from the ones she was selling. So many firsts with aunty, so many firsts.
In February for her birthday we went to an Italian restaurant. Hilarious. My aunty Pat is hilarious. We had a fun evening, and that weekend we had a party. For my birthday in May, I was with her in hospital, and she kept on saying she had cheated me, that her birthday was more fun than mine. This was despite the intense pain she was in. She literally chased Booski and I out of the hospital that night to go have a meal together. How do I forget that kind of person?
How do I tell her to please come back, that I miss her? How do I tell her that she has many more birthdays to celebrate, and leaving now was more than premature?
Certainly not by writing, because this isn’t working.