2go (an instant messenger app) brought me amazing friends and friendships.
Friendships that migrated to Facebook. Facebook friendships that migrated to physical friendship. Virtual friend turned physical sister, like Comfort. Soul knit friends like Bulelwa. And you, Joshua Chisom, our friendship started there. I saw you last week Monday around Echefu street. Boy, you’re grown into a big man.
Also, awesome personalities like Lamosi You’re loved. Blessings like Blessing and her friend, Sonia. I met Sonia through Blessing.
Blessing and I were chat buddies. We’d chat all day, all night about random nonsense. Hormones would fly us nine clouds above common sense and fling us back to reality in flip seconds.
It was fun. She was fun.
I was more fun, because play on words, poetry, overtly nice, hilarious and by myself.
A girl couldn’t ‘hold’ herself. She spread the news to her friends.
The Gospel according to Saint Stefn. Sonia was first to send a request.
She green light.
She shine bright.
She blind me.
I fell in… In what?
Sonia let me in her life, social, familial, emotional, spiritual. I let her in mine, because reciprocity.
Poetry. She loved poetry.
Ours could be likened to a cup of coffee. Thick. Black. Creamy. One sip triggered a longing for more. Soon chats weren’t enough. Phone numbers were exchanged.
She asked me to call. I couldn’t. I don’t like talking. It drains me. If it’s not music, don’t tempt me. My vocal chords would cry for silence.
I remember our first call. She called.
I was strolling lazily to the tap to fetch water, clutching a white 20 litres gallon in my hand when my phone rang.
Caller ID, Sonia.
Have you seen a new bride grin at her wedding? Yes, that idiotic smile spread across my sweaty face.
Her voice, sweet heavens! I was floating in the fluidity of cherubic voice waves.
We talked about places we would go once she arrived Aba. She always put beautiful pictures on her 2go status.
She asked me out. A beautiful girl asked me out. Talk about a reverse Ned-Regina episode. I accepted.
Sonia and I were infatuated. It felt good. It was beautiful. We’d build castles of wishes on floating clouds, about things we’d do if we eventually meet.
But distance mocked us: Sonia was in Kaduna. I was in Aba.
Sonia, desirous to meet me, made plans that surprised me. She inquired and found out she had relatives in Aba.
The news met me smiling to work on a daily, negligent of the fact that I’d spend 9 hours in the same office with a colleague whose bad breathe could choke the host of heaven.
Sonia was my air freshener.
With thoughts of her coming to Aba, I could stand the stench of rotten egg mixed with sour ogiri soup.
August, 2010. She announced her arrival. A week later, we agreed to meet on a Saturday. She told me to stay in one particular place, a street away from hers (because she wouldn’t want her uncle to ‘catch us’. She’d meet me there, she assured. I agreed.
I arrived at the agreed venue (Umule Road), found a good spot and hid behind a parked truck. Few minutes later, my phone rang. I was peeping from behind the truck to see who was calling. I wanted to be first to spot her. I saw this indescribable girl. I picked the call.
“Hello Sonia, can you see a boy on suit beside a truck?”
She turned around, our eyes met.
Her smile. I was smitten. She approached me, smiles and all.
As always, that idiotic grin was all over my face. Methinks she loved it. Because she grinned too, like an idiot. Two sweet idiots.
She was all what her pictures said of her.
She was all what her chats said of her.
She was all what my thoughts formed of her.
She was all what she said she was.
I reached out for a handshake. She went for an embrace instead. Warm. Tight. Bear. Hug. I was engulfed in fluffy soft things. She had flesh in the right places. Let me spare you the graphic images.
Minutes later we hugged again and I took my leave. Dancing like funky roaster about to mount his chick. It was a brief meeting. That was our first meet… and the last
Because work, we couldn’t meet again before she returned to Kaduna. Then a worst thing happened. My phone blew. Bad charger. All contacts in it were saved in the phone memory. I lost them all. With it went Sonia.
Six years later, I received a friend request from a name that was too academic to be a name.
Her message dropped.
“Hey Stefn, it’s I Sonia. Blessing’s friend. From Kaduna. Your 2go love. We met in Aba. Remember?”
“Sonia! OMG! Scholastica? What a name! It’s been centuries”
“Yes, been a while. I found you again. Thanks to Blessing”
“Indeed, she’s a blessing as always”
“I missed you”
And the memories rushed right back: The calls. The chats. The hugs.
“You know it’s mutual, Sonia”
“I’m married now, with two kids…”
I paused. She paused. Both of us paused.