She had another black eye yesterday, I asked what was wrong, like always.
‘I’m fine’, she said. ‘I hit a door last night, there was no light.’
‘Torchlight nko? Or your phone sef?’
‘There wasn’t light since morning to charge any.’
‘Okay o! You know you can always tell me anything sha. I’m here for you. Always.’
She smiled. ‘I know Tolu, you’re my best friend.’
This was the third time she had a black eye. The first was a pole from God knows where. I can’t remember how she got the second but now, a door?
I got dressed for work and got in my car. As I drove out of my compound, a car drove in front of me. It was her husband and on the passenger seat was a lady but that was definitely not my Mariam. I made it a promise to visit her after I had closed from work. At exactly 4.37pm, I had driven out of my work place and headed for Mariam’s house in Ajah. I drove in just after the house help walked in.
‘It’s just his cousin who came to visit. I know about it’, she explained, after I told her about the strange woman in her husband’s car. The house help was cleaning the dining table as we were chatting but she kept looking at us and Mariam was uneasy.
‘Are you sure? You didn’t tell me anybody came over o.’
‘Yes Tolu, I must not tell you everything.’
It was a rainy day, everyone was in black. I couldn’t tell who was around, my eyes were blurry and swollen from tears. My best friend was six feet under the ground, she committed suicide. But I know she didn’t, she always thought there was light at the end of every tunnel. She couldn’t have killed herself.
Her mother walked up to me holding a black book.
‘Mariam wanted to have this. She said in case something happens. I guess this is something.’
Then she burst into tears and her husband came to comfort her.
I sat on my bed that evening. I had had two bottles of red wine. My best friend, the only one I had left in this life was gone. My only family. I opened the book and almost on every page were traces of dried up tears. I went to the bathroom to wash my face. I looked at my face in the mirror and knew it was going to be a long night.