The house(s) that built me

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.

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30 thoughts on “The house(s) that built me

  1. Tomiwa Olajide says:

    And she does it again… You didn’t remember AIESEC tho. And KDorms. Abi they didn’t build you? Lol
    Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone provided by Airtel Nigeria.

  2. Deeeeeeeeeee…this is so friggin beautiful. It’s that sorta piece every blogger wish they wrote. I’m so reposting it sometime. Well done dear.

  3. Amaka says:

    I remember you. The first time we talked after WACS in Cote d’ivoire. I remember the many secrets we shared after that. I read the Facebook messages we shared and I smiled. Only you knew what I was going through. I remember and it makes me smile and makes other people jealous hehehehe.

  4. Babajide Tella says:

    Now I’m reminiscing… Silent tears in the corner of my room… How much I miss my friends, only Tella could explain. You probably remember our trip back from Benin (NTS) in 2009… The Driver, Damola, Tomiwa, the food stuff… now I’m laughing in Spanish mixed with Swahili (Jajajabuhahajaja)… Thanks for those moments when you gave me those feedback and for always been there for me. I owe so many things to you. Nice piece by the way. Missing you and telling some AIESEC peeps about you a.t.m. #BigHug

  5. Errrm… Quite moving… I remember we met on twitter, before I met you in reality when you attended as an observer during AIESEC Abeokuta election.

    Time flies, story changes, in the end, those houses will tell their own story(ies)…

    Btw, this is my first comment on any blog this year, just to show how much I connected with this post. Perhaps, I just might go back to writing.

    Thanks.

  6. Oh my goodness. This brought tears to my eyes. The beauty of this post can’t be described well enough. Write a novel please! I will read it ! Well done!

  7. #TheSleekWriter says:

    this piece just put the pieces of my heart afloat, I remember the first day i spoke to Deedee Matem, It was right outside oyindola hostel at oke-odo in tanke, Ilorin, Nigeria. The AIESEC members had just finished training for a football game against JCI on the field adjacent to the hostel. I was seated on a half fence in front of the hostel with my friends doing rap freestyles and before we knew everybody surrounded us, and there was this beautiful breathe taken girl listening and looking at me with so much interest,guess who? you guessed right, it was Adeola. she still holds the number one spot in my heart today. Love you Dee

  8. Tom says:

    I remember you. The first time we talked a night before going for WACS in Côte d’Ivoire at the MC’s house.. And you sat next to me in the bus which took us on transit to Ghana before heading to Côte d’Ivoire. I remembered strongly well when we had arguments an all. Funny part of it all is since 2009 till now we av always been in touch.. You are a great friend. Nice post..

  9. miss bee says:

    (Sigh) And I would remember this piece and every comment written by all those who took their time to give “The House(s)” that built her an aesthetic emotional value.

  10. Oluwakemi Adepoju says:

    I remember you from Unilorin back to Makurdi where we both served. We both lost someone so dear to us after we left Makurdi… Sure you did remembered her… May her soul continue to rest in peace…

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