One of my favourite stories is the one in which man and woman were created as one being. With four arms, four legs and a head made up of two faces. Then Zeus pulled a Zeus and split us into separate parts. Condemning us to spend the rest of our lives looking for our other half. Our soulmate.
In this week’s interview, I talk to a woman who is a firm believer in soulmates. But unlike in every variation of the Greek story I’ve ever read, her soulmate is a woman, her best friend. I talk with her about the good, the bad and ugly of their friendship and what it felt like to lose her when she died last year.
It seems idealistic, I know. I’ve just always believed in the notion that there’s someone for you out there. But not always in a romantic way. In fact, we miss out on our soul mates because we are always looking for fairy tale types.
I believe human beings are like incomplete jigsaw puzzles. And we never realize it until we find someone who fits into our missing pieces and completes us.
And who was your soulmate?
Aduke is my soulmate. I don’t use was, even though she’s gone. I feel like it implies that she can be somehow replaced. That you can lose a soulmate and gain another. When you find your soulmate that’s it. Some people are lucky to find theirs and grow old and grey with them. Some are unlucky enough to never find them. And worst of all some of us find them and lose them before we’ve even lived half of our lives together. I’m not sure what is more tragic. Living your life never meeting that person who completes you or meeting them and losing them a quarter of the way through.
How did you meet?
We met in primary 1 through our mums. We attended the staff school in a university and there was a women’s society both our mums belonged to. They hit it off and started seeing each other frequently. Now that I think about it we didn’t exactly meet in school. I think her mum came to gossip with my mum one day and brought her along. After that, it was a back and forth between both our houses. We were both only children. Anytime my mum went to her house, she’d take me along, and if her mum came to mine she’d bring her along. This was like every weekend and almost every other day on holidays. Then in primary 2, they put us in the same class and we just became inseparable.
How would you describe her?
Gorgeous is always the first thing that comes to mind. By the time we were in secondary school (we went to secondary school and university together), she was turning heads on the streets. We would be walking home and grown-ass men in cars will slow down to ask this 15-year-old girl in uniform for her number. Apart from the fact that they were disgusting paedophiles. I understood it. No matter what age or gender you were, your first reaction when you saw her was ‘who be this’?
She was also very aware of how fine she was and very vain but not in an obnoxious way. I don’t know how to explain it. She was the type of person you would tell something like ‘do you know you are the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen’ and she’d reply with ‘yes I can see how that’s possible’ or something. She wasn’t very kind, this is weird to say I know. She wasn’t unkind but she didn’t have a bleeding heart. So things like beggars on the streets or a GoFundMe for someone with cancer wouldn’t move her.
But once she decided you were in her corner there was nothing she won’t do for you. People who knew us always talked about how I was the nicer, sweeter or warmer one and how she was colder. She just didn’t like to wear her heart on her sleeves. But she was the type of person to fly into Lagos from Abuja because one stupid boy has broken my heart.
What was your fondest memory with her?
There are so many. One of the most recent was early last year. We spent the night before my wedding alone together in my hotel room. Drinking wine and just gisting. It was one of the rare occasions she got very emotional. We talked about how much we meant to each other and how my getting married wasn’t going to change anything between us.
A couple of months before, we had had a fight. She never really liked my husband. He cheated once when we were dating and we broke up. He begged and begged, I forgave him and took him back, she didn’t. When he wanted to propose, he first went to her to talk about what kind of ring and proposal I’d like, she told him I’d like him not to propose and then came to meet me telling me all his plans.
I was livid, we had a huge fight and didn’t talk to each other for like 2 weeks. Then one day my fiance said we should go for brunch and she was there. She had reached out to him, apologised and asked him to talk to me on her behalf. I know how hard that was for her because even till my wedding day I could tell she didn’t like him. She did a very good job of hiding it though.
How did you lose her?
Car accident, 11:10 pm December 29th, 2019. She has family in Kaduna and Abuja so she shuttles between the two states pretty frequently. She was going from Kaduna to Abuja, for a party the next day. A trailer had crashed on the road and nobody put any warning sign out. The driver drove full speed ahead into the trailer. The car, the bodies — nothing was recognisable. Her, the driver and a cousin she was with died immediately. We didn’t find out until the next morning.
What was the last thing you said to her?
This is the exact conversation we had on Whatsapp. She said: “I don’t think I want to wear that yellow dress again, the cleavage is too much”. I said “It’s not jo, wear it like that”, she read this. Then I sent “if you don’t now wear it, what will you now wear?” she didn’t read this. I didn’t think too deeply about it when she didn’t reply. I probably slept off like two minutes after. It was her mum’s call that woke me up the next morning. The unread message I sent was at 11:10 pm, I’m sure that was the exact moment it happened.
What’s it like? To lose a soulmate?
It’s emptying. It doesn’t feel like you lose half of you, it feels like so much more. You know how if you drink Capri Sonne, when you are done you will squeeze the pali and use the straw to suck out the last few drops. I felt like that empty about to be squeezed pali. There are just enough drops of Capri Sonne for me to keep living, but it’s such an empty empty life. Is that a weird analogy? I don’t know. It just seems like the most accurate.
I’ve been in deep mourning, I might never come out of. My whole world is grey. My husband was understanding at first, then he wasn’t. One day he made a comment that if this is how I handle loss, will I now kill myself if he dies. I didn’t want to start a fight, but the truth is losing him could never be as painful as this.
No one could ever understand our relationship, we weren’t just best friends. That fight we had before my wedding, if she had given me an ultimatum and made me pick between our friendship and my husband I’d have picked the friendship. I love my husband, he’s a wonderful companion but he’s not my soul mate. She was and I’ll miss her every day until the day I die.