I was so stoked to be reconnecting with Jola. After ten years of separation, e-running into her was the least I expected would ever happen. It had felt like forever; not knowing where she was, what she was doing or if she was alive altogether.
Jola and I had been best friends for 7 years before her family abruptly relocated out of the country before our thirteenth birthday. Back then, phones were a rarity. Neither were there social platforms to keep in touch. It had been a teary goodbye at the airport; almost like an Indian movie only with Nigerian actors.
Jola is some sort of a big deal now; turns out she is a DIY guru and a natural hair vlogger with a large following. Endorsements seem to be rushing her. And damn…that girl is fyyyyn as *inserts censured word*
My phone chimed and I jumped in nervous excitement. She wanted to know if I was available to take a video call; our first face to face conversation in what seemed like forever. I took one last look at myself in the hand mirror next to me; my face was all beat. I couldn’t afford to look like someone who was suffering.
I hit the green button and her smile filled up the screen. Damn, she’s more beautiful off the gram. Was she bathing in dragon blood or something almost magical ?
“Hey Jola.” I tried not to sound too excited. Our conversation drawled and then picked momentum. I couldn’t believe Jola that used to roll tire with me on the streets back then was the one now speaking with an accent so articulate you would think she invented it. Oshey americanah.
We began to catch up on old times, talking about our childhood memories, old friends, our growth and life generally. This conversation must have gone on for over 30 minutes when she paused and asked.
“Is that your little sister? You look so much alike now she’s all grown.”
I followed her gaze which led to the photo frame of me and Simi by my bedside.
“Yes, it is.” I paused, masking the emotions in my voice. “The picture was taken a while ago”, I added.
Her brows furrowed. “What picture? I’m talking about the cutie that just sat next to you.” She waved.
I gave a nervous laugh. “You haven’t changed.”
Jola has always been a prankster. In my books, she remains the undisputed champion.
“I’m not falling for that. No one is here with me.”
“Wait…” she chuckled. “…but someone is right next to you. Come on. Stop trying to be funny.”
“Simi is not here.” The room was suddenly chilly and beads of sweat assembled on my forehead. Jola was waving again and smiling.
“What are you doing?” Don’t panic, I told myself.
“Saying hi of course. Simi says you’ve not been nice to her. Still haven’t changed with this big sisterism of yours?”
A large knot formed in my throat.
“You are talking to Simi?”
She nodded in affirmative.
“Right here? Right now?”
“Of course. Seems you guys are about to hit the pool .” She tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear and looked few inches to my left. “Nice two piece.”
I was neither in a two piece nor was I planning to go swimming.
“Yellow does look good on you. Your sister is just a big bully.” She said to no one in particular.
Two piece. Yellow.
That day flashed before my eyes.
“You remind me of a minion when you wear anything yellow.” Was the last thing I had said to her.
“Simi.” I whispered weakly. “Jola, what is Simi putting on?”
She raised her eyebrow in a are-you-kidding-me kinda way.
“A yellow floral two piece.”
“Is something wrong?”
Everything . Everything is wrong, I wanted to say.
For three years ago, Simi drowned in a yellow floral two piece bathing suit.
Thank you for reading my story. Do forgive my lazy writing. Lol. I feel like a new born trying to find her feet.
PS: I feel there should be more to this story but I’m stuck. Wanna help? Any suggestions? Feedback is duly welcome.
PS*: Love this image of TY Bello. She looks shrouded by mystery.