Yesterday, I stared glassy eyed at the barista as he made my hot chocolate. My throat was itchy and i knew I was going to cry if he said anything to me, however casual. He smiled at me and said something which my brain failed to acknowledge. Then he repeated it. Then he repeated it again. I couldn’t hear him, I couldn’t see him, my tears brimmed and clouded my vision and my sunglasses didn’t help either. Then his forehead creased and he asked, “Are you ok?”, clearly concerned. I smiled back at him and half nodded, half shook my head. Then the tears came.
I’m not always this emotional at the very sight of hot chocolate. You see, recently, I lost someone with whom I built thousands of childhood memories. She was very spirited. Very. I remember her little arms flaying and wrapping around me and shoving me through her front door, enthusiastic about what she had planned for the day—whatever it was 8 year-olds have planned for the day. Lol.
Her cheeks dimpled eagerly and always preceded her smile. It was almost like those adorable cheek pits were the warning that announced her wide toothy smile. Her face just plain lit up. It was contagious, that smile.
Whenever I saw her dad’s white car from my window, i’d run down the stairs bounding over three-at-a-time, out the door, up the drive way, out the gate and into her wide arms and then we’d dance around, like the silly kids we were. It was a wonderful period of my life and all I remember is a lot of sunshine and squeals. We were 8 year-old's and if you had the opportunity of a pleasant friend at 8, you'd know what I mean.
I’m pretty sure most Saturdays of my 8th and 9th year were spent with her. Now trying to remember what we spent our Saturdays doing; we played FLAMES!!!!! Who remembers that? You'd write your name above and the name of a boy beneath and cross out the letters you had in common, whatever was left was used to know your romantic situation. Lol! She taught me to always add the middle name, it made the experiment more weighty. Lol! Then, we played Name-Place-Animal-Thing. Yes, we were intellectual 8 year-old's. It was about paper, pens and text for us, albeit unscholarly. Then we'd play Life or Monopoly or Elewenjewe*! Then eat! She was a great foodie. It takes a certain kind of person to genuinely appreciate every bite of her meal; every flavor, individual and blended. Then we'd read a couple of Sweet valleys or Enid Blyton's.
I would laugh at her scrawny writing and the precision with which she'd etch each curve and stick, like each word was a work of art that would earn an approving nod from Monet. She would laugh at the fact that I called a television— Telly. She was funny and vibrant, she had a good heart and you could see it from a mile. I haven't seen her in a while but I remember her heart and that's good enough for my memories.
Then one day, just a couple of days back, she left. She just left. I'm not going to whine about how she didn't say bye or how this is goodbye or isn’t. I am honored to have shared my pure, formative years with you,Tosin. In heaven, we'd chill by the Fanta Chapman river and play Life again or cards. #teamelewenjewe. Lol.
I love you, Tosin.
Thank you for painting "8" irrevocably marvelous.
13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18New International Version (NIV)
*Elewenjewe: let's just call it that endless card game