I was born in Minna, Niger state in the Northern part of Nigeria.
I have since lived in a bungalow in Kaduna; a bungalow in Mokola Barracks, Ibadan; an apartment in Yaba, Lagos; an apartment in Bonny Camp, Victoria Island, Lagos; an apartment somewhere in Benin City; a 1 storey building in GRA, Benin City; a bungalow in Adigbe, Abeokuta; a bungalow in Minna, Niger state; a bungalow in Ojo cantonment, Ojo, Lagos; an apartment on Okotie-Eboh Street, Ikoyi, Lagos; an apartment in Garki 2, Abuja; an apartment in Garki, Area 8,Abuja; an apartment in Wuse, Zone 2, Abuja, among others.
All of these houses, including the others I have no memories of and the ones I do not remember at all hold pieces of me, these houses and everything that makes each one unique went into making me who I am.
Sometimes, I reminisce about these houses, the friends I made, the people I met, the paths I walked.
Sometimes, I think about those houses, I imagine who the people who live there now are, what they are doing… do they think about those who lived there before them? Is there a trace of the life I lived there still? Do they feel the ghosts of residents past floating along the hallways? Do they feel the joy and the pain, the happiness, do they hear the laughter?
I remember my first crush, I was in Primary 4, Army Command Children’s school, GRA, Benin city, he always came 1st in class, I always came 2nd, I truly believe I just let him have it. He was my friend. The first letter in his name was a ‘T’. I don’t remember his name though.
I remember playing hide-and-seek with my sister and discovering that I was somewhat claustrophobic the first time I tried to hide in the wardrobe.
I remember sneaking to throw my meds away (because urghh!) and my sister seeing me and immediately blackmailing me.
I remember forgetting to get my little brother to do his home-work and then quickly writing it in the morning with my left hand so the hand-writing looks sloppy.
I remember the first time…
I remember my little sister standing at the top of the stairs every morning and calling down to my aunt “Aunty, where you are?”.
I remember warning my little brother to stop doing something and then starting to count “1,2,3…” and he, struggling to catch his breath from laughing so hard responding, “Adeola, wait, wait, wich wich number?”.
I remember when my name was “Ayaya”.
I remember the second time…
I remember by mom coming home after being away for far too long.
I remember my mom falling ill.
I remember that day, I still see it, I just knew. I couldn’t cry.
I remember eventually crying and many more times since then.
I remember the third time…
I remember breakfasts with my dad.
I remember going to boarding school for the first time and not being able to do my laundry because I had never done it (don’t judge me)
I remember my dad making life as beautiful as possible for 4 small children whose mother wasn’t around.
I remember Jos, Ilorin, Kdorms, AIESEC… Tomiwa.
I remember NYSC in Makurdi, Benue state (Las B)… the house on Modern market road.
So many memories built me, those houses played a part, the people in and around those houses made it real and made it home. These memories are all beautiful in their own way and I wouldn’t be who I am today without them, whatever that might mean.
I am grateful.
I made friends and met amazing people along the way and although life makes it impossible for us to be in touch, I do hope all of those people know that they are a part of who I am.
On the odd day, I still find myself imagining where you might be now and what you’re doing.