Fatima Priscilla Gana – A Year Later (In Remembrance)

We remember you, Fatima Priscilla Gana.

On this date, a year ago, we laid your body to rest.

We remember your guileless smile; your heart of gold.

We remember your child-like trust and belief in others.

We remember your ability to see no wrong in people.

I remember you…

… I remember crushing eggshells with you in the kitchen, for your mum’s Rose garden.  Your mum was an ardent gardener and saved the eggshells to be crushed and used to fertilize her rose garden.

I remember you teaching me a few Nupe words – ‘echi’ for yam – which I found funny at the time because ‘echi’ in Igbo means tomorrow!

I remember pushing each other in the swing in your garden and listening to your stories about the orchard on the other side of your house…going swimming with you at your Uncle’s house with a firm promise that you will teach me how to swim so I needn’t be worried.

So many memories…

…I try to write some more but I find that the pain of knowing that all the reunions I planned in my head, will remain just that…plans.

I envy those who spent more time with you; our former class-mates who met up with you in recent times; who shared space and time with you before you left us.

Even though I try and squelch it any time it comes, the hurt hasn’t lessened. I push the tears back, squash the crushing pain and pull together the cavernous gap in my heart.

They tell me ‘you’re in a better place’ and I try to believe and accept but it rings hollow. What better place? I ask in my head. Couldn’t you have stayed with us a little longer? I wanted to meet you again in this life. I wanted to see your smile, your gap-toothed smile, in the here and now not in some ‘better place.’

Then, I stop my sulking, my ranting, my raving because I can feel you looking at me and shaking your head; a half-smile playing around your lips. Just like you went to your dad and told him about me all those years ago, I can see you looking for a solution for me…looking for a way to ease my pain even though you’re not here with me because, Fatima Priscilla Gana, that’s who you are…always looking out for others.

I remember and I will not forget.

Till we meet again…Fatima Priscilla Gana, an angel….I salute you.

 

Fatima Priscilla Gana      [1971-2014]
Fatima Priscilla Gana [1971-2014]

Whitney Houston

It’s not right and it’s not okay

You said you wouldn’t close one more door

To make me hurt anymore.

You walked away from me

And now I have nothing…

‘Cuz I don’t have you.

I thought you would save all your loving for me

I thought you knew me so well…

Knew that I wanted you to dance with somebody…

…Me

Didn’t we almost have it all, Whitney…

…Didn’t we?

Why does it hurt so bad, Whitney?

I’m so emotional Whitney.

Even though I know that

It will take eternity to break us

And the chains of Amistad couldn’t hold us.

So where do broken hearts go?

When the open arms of their love is not waiting there?

I want to run to you, Whitney

But you’re not there.

So I have to believe

That there can be miracles

That the Greatest love of all

Will never let me stand alone

That I have to stop crying because

On earth we weren’t meant to stay

So goodbye Whitney

But only for a time

Because

You will be waiting, for me, for us…after judgement day

Fatima Priscilla Gana (1971 – 2014)

Fatima GanaFatima Priscilla Gana (1971 – 2014)

I remember that day so clearly. We were in Form 3, first term.

We were standing outside the classroom block under the shade of the teacher’s car park, adjacent to the admin block.

We were having a conversation; I don’t remember what about but I remember clearly telling her I was broke. It was on a Friday, if I remember clearly.

On Monday, without prompting, Fatima Gana came up to me and gave me N10!!! Almost a whole term’s pocket money…I’m talking about back in 1983!

To say I was shocked is putting it mildly; I almost threw the money back at her. Fatima Gana had gone home crying to her dad that her classmate who lived all the way in Enugu was broke! She couldn’t understand how I could cope without money in boarding school. To make matters worse, I didn’t even have a guardian! In boarding school, miles away from home, no money, no guardian! The poor girl was distressed and in that distress, she couldn’t let it rest.

Not only did her dad give her the money to give me, he invited me to spend the Sallah (Eid) holiday with them.

I went over to their house on Rimi Drive in Ungwar Rimi. Her parents didn’t know me from Eve, not to mention Adam. They asked the usual questions most Nigerian parents ask, ‘Where are you from?’ ‘What of your parents?’ and so on…but that was it. They welcomed me with open arms.

They were on their way to Niger State for the Sallah holiday but they let me stay in their house as I had no guardian to spend the one week holiday with. I could have stayed back in school but they were adamant I stay in their home.

I expected to stay the night; a day or two maximum but they didn’t even spend the night in their village. They got there alright but Grace, Fatima’s younger sister wouldn’t let them stay. She insisted that they go back home for me; it didn’t make sense to her that they left me at home with a maid or two while they travelled to their village.

And so they cut their holiday short…for me.

They drove all the way back to Kaduna that same day; night rather. They arrived at night.

They became my unofficial guardians from that day…from Form three till I left Kaduna in Form five.

That was the kind of people they were; that was the kind of person Fatima Gana was.

And now she’s gone.

I only saw her once; about three years after we left school, I went to Kaduna, heard she had trained as a nurse and was working at her uncle,  Dr Mama’s,  Lafiya Clinic. I went to see her there.

She hadn’t changed. Her gap-toothed smile…she welcomed me once again with open arms.

And now she’s gone.

Adieu Fatima Priscilla Gana!