She was a sweet thing,most beautiful young lady i know.She loved life and she loved to scream haha!(Was really annoying at times)She had this very loud hearty laugh that echoed and a Somali twang that made everything she said sound so delicious.
A star in maths,biology and chemistry!She was the only other person more wiser in the room than me.
This is the story of my high school best friend Soledad and what became of us.
I remember the first day she walked in the classroom,Oh boy!Pride,arrogance and elegance written all over her face,i knew she will be trouble.
We never agreed on anything,damn!She thought she knew everything,well,i am the one who knew everything!We would turn the class into a debate hall,battle of the wits,hehe!The teacher knew better when she positioned our desks far corners.
As time went by,our rivalry become healthy competition,then a friendly one and by 3rd year,it was something else.We had developed magic.We became the inseparable B^2(brains and beauties)!
She used to tell me,"Pesh you are a keeper,you'll get married to a wonderful man and he will love you and treat you like a princess!He will buy you a house by the beach,and you will have so many babies and live happily ever after.As for me,i will be a doctor!A neurosurgeon!Medicine will become me and i will become it,medicine will be my life just like dad!" Just like her dad!That was her dream!To become like the man she adored and respected too much!The man who will tear his eldest daughter's heart into million pieces and make her question all that she believed in.
We cleared high school in November,Wednesday the 23rd eight year ago.Our first plan was a road trip to Mombasa,Zanzibar and Seychelles where we would lounge,beach,dine and party to declare our freedom from the strict rules of boarding school.
Friday the 25th would be the day!I waited and waited and waited.She was to come pick me up, her dad was to take us to the bus stop as he did every time we had an adventure.And finally came the hooting!"Road trip!!!"I screamed hurrying with the bags towards the Navara,only he met me half way there.One look at his face and i knew,i knew nothing will ever be the same again.
"Hunny is getting married." He said, "Saturday it is and thereafter she will move with her husband to London."
I still feel same sharp pain i did then when he said,"You and all your friends are forbidden to contact her again.She is someone's wife now,not your mate."
And so she became!A wife to a stranger!Married off to a man he met first time on the wedding day.
Well,with the help of smart phones and social media,we do talk from time to time,and ah,though she a proud mum of three handsome boys,her life is no less that of a handmaid.
Her husband is the kind that spends more nights in different saloon than at home with his wife!Filthy son of man he is!Once he hit her so bad she spend a week in the ICU.
I had lunch with her daddy the other day and ah,old man so beaten down by the choice he made.He sold her daughter for power,influence and a hike in the social class but instead, he lost the wealth that really counts.
"She loathes me," He confessed,"She won't come home,she doesn't talk to anyone in the family.Her mum broke down since the day she left,keeps to herself don't say much."
"Why did you do it?" I asked him.
"At the time it seemed like the best thing to do for her."
"laakiin waxaad ogaa riyooyin iyada (But you knew her dreams)marriage was the least of them!She wanted to be a doctor,she wanted to be you!"
A tear tickled down his wrinkling cheek,he gave a deep sigh and said,"We had an agreement with Hassan(her husband)Once she settled in London,he was to let her go back to school.But the man has no honour,she is more of a slave am afraid!She cannot get separated,our culture and religion and more so the marriage contract we signed forbids such."
Feeling his despair and grief,i realized i carried as much guilt as he did.She was my best friend,she was 17,well,so was i,but there must have been something i could have done.
"You don't have to take all the blame,we all failed her," I tried to comfort the man who was once as much a father to me as he was to his daughter."I should have fought you that Friday night,i should have fought for her."
But we didn't.He didn't,i didn't,nor did mama dear.
The singing of the birds early morning announcing the dawn of another day and the drowning of the sun into the sea when night fall may find us in different paths,but we,her family and i,we are all apples in the same basket.Heartbroken,united by regret,shame,tears,loss and betrayal due to the choices we made,the actions we did and did not take.
We live,we laugh and we love,but from the day she became his wife,the tune of our lives changed to soledad.
"If only i could turn back the hands of time..." Her father said as he walked me to the door.I broke down and as he held me in a tight embrace i realized,"This is our fate."
Every breath we take,every single day,we will live with this pain and guilt.
Ours will be a lifetime of deep regret.
Oh Soledad!If only we knew back then what we know now...