Dear Diary

Hu Chen-79d33df6

Dear Diary,

They say you do not appreciate what you have until you lose it. Life as I knew it was ending and the fact that there is nothing I can do about it scares me. I have never given much thought to my memories, I can even say I take them for granted – suppressing them when they hurt too much and focusing on creating new ones without acknowledging how the past ones have shaped me.

The signs had been staring me in the face for a while now but in my typical way, I pretended not to notice. From struggling to remember if I locked the door ten minutes before to forgetting what I said at different moments or what happened at a certain time in the past. I have even asked after dead people from their family members, stirring up their grief.

One pattern I noticed is how most of the things I have forgotten are the happy things, which is most of my childhood. I can’t afford to lose them all. I can’t afford to only remember pain and harsh words and things that make me cry. I just can’t. Hopefully, you will be a better container for my memories as my innate one has failed.

Where to start from? Actually, that’s a no brainer. I can see myself walking to school with with a viju milk bottle containing water and a sachet of peak milk. The good old days when peak milk was twenty naira. My mother had just increased my pocket money from twenty to thirty naira in addition to my full plate of food, so I could afford to buy it. I would mix the milk with water in the cover of the viju milk bottle and drink, making sure to avoid spilling it. Sadly, it didn’t make me any fatter – the reason I bought it.

Now, I remember a lot of my classmates in Primary 5 – Hammed, Deborah and Fatimah being the most prominent. Hammed was my seatmate in primary 5 and though, I probably won’t be able to recognize most of my classmates then, I can still recall his face, smile and the way he walks – he sways with his potbelly. He comes to school with a large bottle of Eva water, filled with well water of course and eve – a flavoured drink powder. He would mix the powder in the bottle and everyone would bring a cup. I met him in my last year in secondary school and he still had that same smile.

Deborah, Fatimah and I took turns to bring garri and sugar to school. Once we it’s break time, we make cold eba with sugar and wrap small portions in nylons for anyone who wants.

There was Racheal who narrated folktales to us and sang the accompanying song with a sonorous voice, Bola who taught me a song my mother warned me never to sing again because it was for uneducated housewives, and Aliu who we called eegun ẹja (literally fish bone) because he was very slim. Aliu would threaten to beat us and we would run. Sakinah’s mother made crunchy puffpuff and fish rolls hard enough to break one’s teeth. Bukky’s mum made goody goody with groundnut and sugar.

Who knew writing could trigger so much memories? I remember some things I haven’t thought about in a long time. I would have loved to write them down but I have to go to work in thirty minutes – one of the few things going right in my life. But hopefully, I will continue this when I get back.

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