The beginning of my first year in university was characterized by a slight struggle to find where and how to fit in. Back in secondary school, I was the boy who was catapulted to ‘super stardom’ when I made history as the first male student to share a class seat with a female student in the classroom. My secondary school was a small community, and my celebrity was cemented by that singular decision.
But here I was, in the university, a small person in the vastness of the entire student body, and I was struggling to adjust to how suddenly minimal I’d become.
My journey to this readjustment however started – like most things in life – with a beautiful woman. I saw her that first day in the lecture room, and I was smitten. She at once became, for me, the Most Beautiful Girl In The World. I gave up the seat I’d been saving for a friend to her just to get things started between us.
But this story isn’t about her. Oh no. It’s about her friend.
Ms. MBGITW (Most Beautiful Girl In The World) and I had quickly become friends, and that late afternoon, I was walking her to her hostel after lectures, like I always did, the besotted fool that I was. We were chatting as we walked, recounting gist about bad lecturers, I-Too-Sabi front-seat coursemates, and the noisy, olodo back-benchers.
And then, someone called her name.
She turned. I turned. And we were facing some other girl hurrying toward us. There were three things I noticed about her, one after the other. First was her energy, which was apparent even from a distance. She exuded it, a certain silent hum, like the crackle of electricity – that something that told you this was a woman with an unapologetic zest for life.
She was light-skinned, very light-skinned, even lighter than I am, and when she came to a stop before us, I noticed the second thing. Her eyes. The irises had curious honey tones that I’d not seen on anyone else’s eyes before that day.
“Won’t you introduce me to your friend?” she said to her friend, Ms. MBGITW.
“Oh of course,” Ms. MBGITW said, before gesturing. “Uche, this is my friend, Soso. Soso, this is Uche.”
Soso turned to me and said “Hi” in a husky voice. The voice – that was the third thing I noticed about her. Her voice. It had this deep, breathy timbre that was unusual for a female.
Then I realized the two of them were staring at me. Why were they staring at me? Oh shit! That’s right! Soso had said ‘Hi.’ I was supposed to reply, wasn’t I? To whip out a scintillating response, say something witty that would cause them to throw back their heads in laughter. Ok. Here we go.
I opened my mouth. And –
“Uh…er – um…yea, uh…”
Nice going, Walter. That was really scintillating. Absolutely witty.
I could not believe myself. Mortification washed over me as I observed Soso struggling not to laugh out at me, as though she knew the effect she was having on me. I mean, seriously! Ms. MBGITW was right next to me, and she had all the rights to every manner of speechlessness from me.
Yet here I was, forgetting how to say hello to her friend.
“My friends call me Sosoliso,” Soso said, when I still couldn’t connect my brain to my vocal chords.
And from that moment, we became friends.
I was chatting with Ms. MBGITW sometime last year, and I mentioned that I’d reconnected with Sosoliso on BBM. I called her ‘Sosoliso’, and Ms. MBGITW told me not to, that it wasn’t an appropriate nickname anymore. She didn’t say why, and I supposed she was perhaps referring to the failed airline of the same name.
And for a moment, I heeded Ms. MBGITW’s chastisement and repented. Just for a moment. And then I decided not. I’ll still call her Sosoliso, if anything, to buttress the fact that she is an antithesis of a failed corporation.
And she is. Soso has gone on from our university days to become a very successful woman, doing many things amazing with flours, colours and the oven. The day I saw her patisserie creations on Instagram, I told myself: If ever I do get married, this is the woman I want making my wedding cake.
A date a few days ago was her birthday, and all these steps I’ve taken down memory lane is a commemoration of her day, a dedication to the years I’ve known this woman. And what better day to pick than the day I first met her.
Happy Birthday, Sosoliso.
Celebrate your birthday once this year. Celebrate being Happy every day every year.
PS: Below are pictures of those cake designs I mentioned earlier. I had no idea people could be this artistic with cake. Check them out, and if you’re looking to patronize her, look her up at The Empress Galleria, Number 12, Ebony Road, E-Plaza, Oroazi, Port Harcourt.