10 years on

This day 10 years ago (don’t feel like 10 years at all), I left/graduated/passed out of Secondary School. It is freaking surreal. Like I can’t believe I have been out of Secondary School 10 years. I think about my “dreams” and what I planned to do within the 10 years. Yes, I had the 10 year plan post-Secondary School and another 10 years post University plan. Tracking my life since then, I am about 90% done with my post-Secondary School plan. Commendable yeah.

I believe my ex-classmates had a reunion on Saturday 5th. It woulda been great seeing people again all in one room. Asides the occasional running into ex-classmates at the supermarket, mall, at work, airports. Oh well….

Today however, I choose to not only remember the good, the bad, the ugly, the times I cried, the times I laughed, those who made my stay the best, those who peppered me (I forgive you). I choose to remember 2 people who my Secondary School story won’t be complete without.

A. We were classmates all of Primary School and Secondary School. Primary School and the first half of Secondary School because her surname came before mine (my first name is also a letter more than hers). So we were stuck in the same class. I stumbled on one of our Primary School Valedictory service picture and we were sitting next to each other (I guess we were “arranged” based on our last names). Second half of Secondary School, we had no reason to be classmates. The determining factor to be in my class was the choice of Technical Drawing in addition to Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Further Maths. Anybody not offering that subject (at all) was placed in another class. However, E.A had other ideas. We were 3 girls offering all 5 subjects. With over 30 guys. I guess E.A felt the need to add some more girls and gave us 6 more – 3 offering Agriculture and 3 offering Food and Nuts (as we called it).

A, my classmate till ovarian cancer took her away. A, the one who made me ever google the word “cancer”. A, the one battled cancer and won. She might have lost the battle physically BUT her experience opened the eyes of many.

We took ill about the same time (3rd term SS2 – exam period) and while I missed a few exams and returned to school, she never came back. Battled it, broke all myths – oh ovarian cancer affects older women. She was but 16. Oh ovarian cancer befell promiscuous women – she was a virgin. And the list goes on. She knew she was gonna die. Yet every single exam we had in SS3, she took. Her birthday was the 20th of June. She did say if she survived past her birthday, she was going to live. She died on the 4th, a few days after we wrote our last SSCE paper, almost a year after she was diagnosed. She knew she would die that day. A, forever in our hearts.

I choose to remember Y. We became quite close JSS2 and stayed on friends till the very end. He was loud. Really loud and could be annoying. I typically stay away from loud people. I can count how many loud friends I had and we are not close. Yet somehow, we managed to be friends. He would usually give me boarder boys’ gist and I kinda always knew who next was going to be on my case through him (even if he never said it explicitly, it kinda always slipped). It was Y who took it upon himself to save me “the shame of going to Grad Class Dinner dateless”. The moment it was obvious to all I wasn’t going with O, he was number 1 out of 12 who approached me. And the remaining 11? I knew they were coming to ask before they did. I however shenked (is that even the spelling?) him and went with someone else.

He ended up going dateless YET he remained friends. Secondary School over. Our only means of communication was Yahoo messenger. I was in Nigeria. He was in the UK and later US. 19 short months after, he was no more. We still chatted February 12 and promised to meet again on the 15th. Headed to the cybercafé on 15th, 2 hours after agreed time with no response, I was about logging out when a close friend who was also in US sent a message. Y was no more. He was last seen outside on the 12th. By 14th when his flat mates hadn’t seen him leave his apartment for 2 days, they broke in. Met his lifeless body. No one knows what happened (as a Muslim he was buried immediately). I had the unfortunate task of breaking the news to other friends.

He was the joker. The one who would make you laugh no matter what. I still imagine he would come out one day and say he was pranking us. Y, my loud friend, I choose to remember you today and always – 8 years on.

I choose to remember friends who have stayed friends for at least 10 years. Some, more than 10. T, Ik and If for more than 20 years. You guys rock. O (16 years), E, O, S (the only guy in the team) and W (10 years) aint no joke. They say 20 friends cannot be friends for 20 years. True, so maybe that is why my “clique” is smaller. We might not see or chat as often as we used to. But I remember you all every day.

On to the next 10 years…. God willing….

 

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