I couldn’t listen anymore; I couldn’t stand the gloom in her voice. I’d spent more than thirty minutes on the phone hearing her repeat again and again the details of her serious car crash.
I think she was still in shock of it all. But for my own selfish reasons, I needed her out of this vexing shock.
Interrupting her without apologising, I asked why the sadness in her voice. Why she was not rejoicing that she was not dead but alive, that she had not left her four young children motherless.
My questions surprised her.
She had not really thought about jubilation.
Jubilation, knowing she is not another body in a “cooler” somewhere in Nigeria. She was too shocked to enjoy her “Platinum Sticker”. A sticker presented to people who escape “Death Traps” on Nigeria roads.
In her silence and at that moment, I realised I would be lost without her. For, she is my mate, my pal and my blood sister.
My older sister, L and I are now very close. We grew up bickering, fighting and arguing. My poor parents!
She was the perfect little girl in everyone’s eyes, I was the naughty one.
She was slim; I was an overstuffed pastry covered sausage roll.
Her room was always tidy, mine a bombsite.
She had a nicely shaped nose. Mine, wide and flares irritatingly when I open my mouth to speak.
She got the cool boys. I, the cast-offs.
I begrudged her. She begrudged me too.
That was a long time ago. Now, we are “twins”. We get each other, we respect one another and we have each other’s back.
In addition, my sis, L, now understands my “Western ways”. She doesn’t agree with them all but she understands them anyway.
It was L who encouraged me to get married to J, my then fiancé, now husband. She gave me her support and blessing when noises drowned the joy of my engagement and wedding plans. J, if you are reading this, my family still requires my dowry .This must still be paid!
I can go on and on about my “picture-perfect” relationship with my sis but I won’t do that to you. It is unexciting.
What is exciting is I am lucky and blessed that she was not taken from away me. She is still here on this earth with me.
After our usual telephone gossips, laughter and encouragements, it was time to ring off.
Awkwardly, I told her I was glad she is alive and well enough to answer “present” to “Ms. Earth” when she calls out names from her register every sunrise.
I am grateful that she is still around to listen to me whinge and whine about the insignificant things I lament about.
Most importantly, I told her I love her. A feeling we were never encouraged to express in my culture.
A feeling that must be uttered when the person is still able to answer “present” to “Ms Earth’s” daily register call.