Dear Chioma, how the hell has it been 10 years??

I woke up this morning and I forgot it was December 10th. And when I came on Facebook and I realized, I kept pushing the thought away unconsciously because I didn’t want to face my guilt… But you can only push so much. Chioma, I miss you. And I’m sorry I forget to miss you everyday. I’m so mad at myself for my limited memory that gets fuzzier and fuzzier by the year. At first, when I didn’t cry this morning, I hated myself momentarily because I thought I had “healed”. And when my eyes finally unleashed the imminent floods tonight, I felt guilty that in some messed up way, I was happy I was crying because crying proved I hadn’t healed. But still, the thing is I don’t want to ever heal. I don’t want my eyes to ever not be wet. I don’t want to ever reach the point where I’m okay and you’re just a fond fuzzy memory. 

I’d never actually read the details of the crash itself before tonight, and reading them in the WSJ article from 2007 that everyone shared today just completely broke me down. I am so sorry you felt so much pain. I am so so sorry. My heart is breaking because I can’t even fathom how scared you were and how much pain – I can’t, I cannot. I’m so sorry, Chioma. I feel stupid for the irrelevant problems that get me worked up everyday, or the useless things that make me sad. I wish I could travel to every home and hug every family member that lost their kid, their wife, their husband, their niece, their nephew. I feel so useless that my tears can’t heal their wounds or numb their pain.

As I cried tonight, I could just imagine you laughing at me and making jokes about how ugly my face was haha. Do you remember the day I was crying because I was homesick and you scolded me? You deadass shouted at me “So why are you crying? What’s wrong with you!? Oya after crying, then what???” And I was so mad at the moment and we probably beefed after that, but thinking back now, thanks for keeping it real sis lmao. I think we finally made up when you fell sick and I felt so bad and I wanted to tell you sorry so bad but my head was too strong. Someway somehow, we sha ended up apologizing and I got my best friend back. Idk why I have this one still-frame memory of you during this period. You were wearing a cardigan sitting next to Obioma during Interscience. 

I remember the night of socials when we came back to gist and count all the boys we had danced with. I remember counting a number between 24 and 27 haha, and I remember we discussed you dancing with Chizy or Damilola – I don’t remember which one but my bet is on Chizy? I think you guys had some subtle thing beginning to manifest- I don’t remember and I hate myself for my fuzzy memory.

I remember the morning of the crash when we hustled and strrrrruggled to drag Teju’s heavy ass box (that only Yoruba people carry) in the airport, so that she didn’t miss her flight. And I remember later that day when my mom told me there was a crash. She said the flight was from Abuja to PH but I wasn’t even worried because I just KNEW it couldn’t be yours. I didn’t blink an eye because I was SO positive. To me, it was an “oh no, so sad” situation. I never thought for a microminimillisecond that that was your flight. And when my mom confirmed the fears I didn’t even have, I remember how I felt like my chest was tearing into two. I remember not being able to make a sound as my chest kept tearing and tearing and the two parts kept pulling farther and farther apart. I remember calling the number you’d given me over and over again and finally speaking to your mom. I remember her crying as my mom cried with her on the phone. I remember later calling her on Christmas & New Year’s, and her telling me she and my mom were sharing me now haha.

Chioma, idk if we would ever have drifted apart with time. But I don’t think so. I like to believe that we would have come as a unit to terrorize New York together. You were my best friend, and I know it’s not just by chance that we had the same name, we were put in the same hostel, and we could talk about nonsense for hours and make each other laugh till we were out of breath. I’m sorry again for forgetting to miss you everyday but you know it will always be me & you. “Chibabes” for LIFE. And with Obioma, “Omababes” forever 😂. Rest in peace, nwannem, and rest in peace, all our angels. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. 💜


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