My earliest memories of you involve me playing with your hair in the bungalow on Ramat crescent. You were always a willing client for my creativity. You seemed amused and you indulged me nonetheless. I was lucky to have that kind of delicious indulgence by an adult. It made me feel like you believed I was someone of value. Plus, I was always tickled that you found me so amusing.

You patience transcended our hair styling sessions. I felt it as we spoke in mixed tongues – you in Ehugbo and me in English. I came to love our morning ritual of going through the paces of Ehugbo morning greetings.

I grew, we both grew. My Ehugbo improved, but your patience never wavered. Sometimes with a twinkle in your eye, and laughter on your lips, you would say: “Nodua jii” which means “Keep still”. To me, that was your favorite expression. Every time I hear it, I hear you. It’s actually one of my favorites too.

We didn’t see often as time and space made that difficult. But there was never a resentful note in your voice whenever we spoke or met, and for that I am always grateful.

Now you are resting forever. I will miss you. We will all miss you. But I guess they also need your special brand of kindness and patience in heaven.

Till we meet again Nwata-mma.



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