Early last year, our new secretary(as she then was) told me and my sister, that her own sister said she went to the same primary school as we did and that she knows me,we were seat mates etc.
hard soft as I tried, I couldn’t remember her.
Two days ago, you know it, I met her. You see, this indefinite strike from school has had me un-serious all the while. In a bid to focus better on my academics, I decided to go to my parent’s office. I would read there, yes!
No. I did not read there. I did read but certainly not enough. I did read the following day, at home.
back to the story,this girl(herein after referred to as Mary) saw my sister and first said “Debby! No, this is her younger sister”
“elder sister” she was corrected. Already, I wringed my hands in cluelessness where I was.
“Debby!” my elder sister called. Okay, its time to step out. I did. No. I did not recall her face.
She exclaimed! “Oh you’ve changed. Ah, is this you?”
And I took the awkward gait. I could not remember her. I said so as normally as I could, all the while, feeling like a fish. I felt the need to be polite and especially sorry for not remembering her. It had never happened to me.I just don’t run into people from primary school, not even secondary school. To be honest, I had set my future ever before me. So when I did tell her that my mind had blocked off recognizing people from so long ago seeing as I don’t run into people frequently because I school in university of Ibadan(excuse! Excuse! Pants on fire), she replied by saying “oh but Ore goes to UI too”
“oh yes yes I see him”
That opened the phase of common factors. I still saw so so so and so recently . “We were both in primary 4 blue, mrs. Kehinde’s class.”she said. yes, yes that is correct but guys, I always thought primary 4 blue was my most vivid recollection of primary school life, oh the shame to be proved wrong. “We were seat mates” how cruel of me, not to remember my seat mate.
Of course it was alright and all. She conversed with her sister. I kept feeling like a fish.
Back at my seat, I wracked my memory and did so over and over. Over and over, till crumbs began to fall into place and pictures shift into light. I pictured a light skinned girl standing somewhere by the seat behind mine with a beret. I think she wore a cardigan often but I didn’t consider this fact, asking-worthy. I faintly remembered having had three seating partners, yes.
My friend Cynthia who was transferred to another class then this Mary then Foyinsola.
Guys, I was ecstatic.
My overly active senses still kept picking up on her discussion with her sister while I imagined myself going out again before she left,i imagined where I would stand so she doesn’t see my skirt doesn’t fit my blouse as she hadn’t seen it the first time, praise God. I pictured which sentence I would say before the other.
“I remember now! They moved Cynthia to primary 4 green then you sat beside me. You were very light. You still are light of course. Then eventually Foyinsola sat beside me. Wow. I remember”
When she was leaving, it didn’t exactly work out like that. I told her I remembered her though. She used to be quiet. We discussed about a few others in primary school before she left. The good part, she didn’t later see the skirt.
That day, my senses were really active. My strike life previously had been monotonous, seeing the same people daily. I had missed the small time shame and guilt you feel for not remembering someone even when they did a year earlier just having heard your name.
That day, as I walked with my sister, I told her the truth “I don’t think anyone that was in that my class primary 4 blue would forget me, i did lots of things” but in that moment, most of the seats I pictured in my head were filled with black moles, the faces, the names blocked out. Maybe forever. Maybe just for a while, then I would feel part-time time guilt and shame again. Then my senses will be alive in apology. Maybe try as I may I wont recall their faces.