Omo | ohpeter.com

Omo

I have always loved you Omo.

 

First as a friend to make splashes in those rain puddles as we toddled home from school in kindergarten. I didn’t know any other kind of love. We would play for hours and you would forget to go home until your parents came for you. Your mom would call me your husband and we would just laugh because we did not even understand the innuendo.

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Omo, I loved you first as a friend, and then as a sister who I did chores with in grade school. I would spend Saturdays weeding your mother’s garden not just as a courtesy to your mother, my mother’s friend, but because that was now the best time to chat without all the other kids mocking us for being too close. Your mom would thank my mom for sending me over and my mom would say “iye Omo, Tega is your son too. He’s only doing what a son should do for his mother”.

EAST LONDON - FEBRUARY 15: Children playing cricket with a stick and a coke can outside the gates of Buffalo Park on February 15, 2003 in East London, South Africa. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Omo, I loved you first as a friend, and then a sister, and then as a fellow wayfarer. We would spend those long weekends when our fathers travelled together for  conferences and took us along. We would explore those rolling plains in Enugu and the dry savannah on foot and read from Wole Soyinka’s “The interpreters” and argue about how to pronounce “Sagoe”. You would tell me about your dreams, about how you wanted to be free, how you wanted to achieve everything a man could achieve in our time. You would tell me how you wanted to be an astronaut. I would listen quietly as I processed those words, visually painting you in a spacesuit but saying nothing.

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Omo, I loved you first as a friend, and then a sister, and then as a wayfarer, and then as a confidante. You would tell me about which boys were slipping you disgusting notes in High school. You would tell me about those boys you actually thought were cute but lacked brains. You would ask me if I’d had my first kiss and I would tell you I had and even though you knew I was lying, you would play along. You would tell me when you didn’t join morning devotions at my house because you found them too long; and when it was actually because of cramps.

 

Omo, I loved you first as a friend, and then a sister, and then  a wayfarer, and then a confidante, and then a penitent. You would tell me the stupid things you had done. You swore to me that you would never allow any man kill your dreams because you were the liberated African woman, but the first man that showed up with a sugar-coated tongue and impressive clothes swept you away. But he was too controlling and he kept cheating and he broke your heart and suddenly the brilliant Omo was a year behind in school. You promised it wouldn’t happen again.

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Omo, I loved you first as a friend, and then a sister, and then a wayfarer, and then a confidante, and then a penitent, and then a wanderer. You would tell me about how it was such a struggle to keep up with school work. But you would also tell me about the one million things you were trying – never quite settling for any because you were so full of creative energy. And so it was dance one semester, sculpture the second, modelling the third and Software designing the third. But your med school exams wouldn’t write themselves and soon you had to drop out. I would have told you that you were walking down the wrong path. But I understood that you always did what you wanted, and a prude like me telling a free spirit like you what to do would just make you hate me. You sounded so excited about whatever you were doing. I did not want to be the evil friend that stopped you from achieving whatever you wanted.

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Omo, I loved you first as a friend, and then a sister, and then a wayfarer, and then a confidante, and then a penitent, and then a wanderer, and then a borrower. More than half of whatever I made went to fund your latest fascination.  you started your fashion design business and i referred a lot of clients, soon I was paying the bills and having to do some damage control every now and then because everyone said you were unreliable and threatened to take their business away.

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Omo, I loved you first as a friend, and then a sister, and then a wayfarer, and then a confidante, and then a penitent, and then a wanderer, and then a borrower, and then an addict. You would swear to me that the first time you tried heroin was the last time; then the last time was the final time; and then you grew bags under your eyes. Your skin withered from that beautiful glow that made kings shudder to some leathery shell that housed your soul. Promise after promise, you slipped deeper and deeper until you told me the bad news: that you shared a needle with some awesome guy you met at this party. It wasn’t just the drugs making you sick – Prince Charming had blessed you with the gift of AIDS.

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Omo, I loved you first as a friend, and then a sister, and then a wayfarer, and then a confidante, and then a penitent, and then a wanderer, and then a borrower, and then an addict, and then a memory. Because that is all I have left. Memories of all that was beautiful about you. Memories of you always doing the talking and me always wishing you’d calm down for a moment and let me talk. I guess now that you lie still in this polished coffin, I can finally say what I tried to show you all these years…

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Omo, I loved you only as a lover would.

 

 

 

 

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All images obtained from google image search

 

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Comments

  1. Okay I’ve never commented. I just read and pass but this? This? It’s hard to ignore. Love it completely!! Beautiful one Pete. Why did it take you so long 😉

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