Y is leaving home today for a long study stint far away in a northern state.
After my shower this morning I went to the front hall and it was still bustling with activity. Chala just got back for a short break and he was shooting away at the games console accompanied by Y’s laughter. When I saw Y’s things; a huge assembly of luggage and boxes filled with away-from-home-student paraphernalia; it finally dawned on me that I’ve been thinking of her as a permanent fixture in our household. Her quarrels over tv channels with S, her obsession with Slam Dunk and Richard Ashcroft, her singing in the kitchen, her charging her iP*d on my computer.
I remember a night years ago when she was just a little baby. Abah and Mama were performing a religious pilgrimage and it was their first night away. We were left in the care of Nenek, God bless her soul. It was a terrible night for Y. She started crying at bedtime well into the night. Poor old Nenek was at her wit’s end. As dawn approached, I took her into my arms and brought her outside into the cool air of daybreak. I spoke to her and she rested her cheeks on my shouders and finally fell asleep.
The period between her finishing school and starting college has been long and comfortable enough to lull me into a false sense of her being around always. Now she’s leaving. In between long spells of absences she will periodically come home for breaks. I will miss her during these spates of Y-lessness.