Aisha

On Thursday,  I went to see an uncle at the faculty of social sciences. He wasn’t in his office and I didn’t want to wait there, so I decided to go upstairs to the faculty library. At the top of the stairs was where I met this little girl, no older than four or five years. 

Carry me she said“, I noted her failure to use please and shook my head, just like Babe, commanding people up and down. But she was just a child and she would be forgiven. 

Where’s your mum“? I asked her, and she pointed her forefinger upwards, meaning upstairs. I could hear the sound of a broom brushing the ground, her mother was probably the cleaning lady I guessed. 

So where do you want me to carry you to“? 

Anywhere“, she replied. 

We’ve become friends already. She had sparkly eyes that if you stared into them, you would want to drop everything and just laugh. She had the face of a child who would grow up and break a lot of hearts – pretty, sensual, confident. 

I decided to take her to the kiosk downstairs to get biscuit. Children love biscuit, I mean there’s a saying (I’m actually making this up) ‘as money is to Nigerian politicians so is biscuit to Nigerian toddlers‘. So I squatted and let her climb on my back and together we went to the kiosk downstairs. 

I carefully let her down when we got there, and told her to pick her favorite biscuit and chocolate. Then I took for myself too and paid, N180. From there, we went and sat on one of the benches at the garden, where we recited the English alphabets together. That was where she told me her name. A for Aisha she said. 

Aisha, that’s your name“? I asked her and she nodded. “Awwn, it’s a pretty name for a pretty girl“. 

We talked a bit before I remembered the reason I was in FSS, to see my uncle, and I had to take her back to where I found her, plus her mother might have started searching for her.

We said our goodbyes. Again, I noted her failure to say thank you for the treats. Babe would have said thank you, and even given me a big hug. 

I really don’t know why I’m writing about Aisha, I guess her innocence touched me. So did her ignorance. Ignorance is indeed bliss. And the way she reminded me of Babe and something kept tugging at my heart, for her and for Babe. 

I just feel sad that she won’t be an innocent child forever. Somewhere along the line she would lose the spark in her eyes and she wouldn’t trust people as much as she had trusted me on Thursday. I don’t wish for it to be so, but no one ever prays for the bad days, do they? We were all innocent children once, until life and growing up changed all of that for us. 

P. S. Dear Babe, I miss your wahala. I miss you forcing me to work out, I miss you eating all the food, I miss you screaming at me for using your perfumes as an air freshener. I miss you telling me am suffering from a  hundred different types of cancer, I miss us arguing about the best way to cook stew. I miss everything about us, about you. I wonder if you miss them too… 

I also wonder, if life and time would change us like it changes innocent little kids. Ten, twenty, fifty years from now, would we still be friends, would you still like to put up private dance shows for me? Would you still think I have the hottest body since the discovery of Beyonce? What effects will life over a period of time have on us? I don’t know, you don’t know either, in fact nobody knows tomorrow. 

But if tomorrow comes, I pray we only get better and our bond stronger. I pray we keep growing as we have grown these past couple of years – growing together, side by side and ultimately, into each other. 

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