“The End Where I Begin” is an amazing song by the Irish pop rock band “The Script”. A part of the lyrics says, “Sometimes your first scars won’t ever fade away.” And one of my first scars is what I want to share today.
Many years ago, my entire family and I lived in Zaria, Kaduna state, and I had a friend by name, Ahammed. Ahammed was a very rough and troublesome boy, but he was still my friend. One afternoon which looked good like many other sunny afternoons, he went out with three Almajeri boys who normally assisted his family with some house chores. They were to go to the market. I can’t quite remember the name of the market, but it happened that there is a river along a shortcut they took to the market. Ahammed and two of the boys decided to swim while Kabiru, the particular Almajeri who was sent to market, went all along to the market to complete his mission. Kabiru was to return to the river after buying what he was sent to buy, so they could all go back home together.
According to accounts, the little-looking river is physically deceptive. People say it has a link to the Niger river. I still don’t know if that is true. But when Kabiru returned, the three boys were nowhere to be found. In a frenzied search, he alarmed the people around, but no one could do anything. He ran home and told Ahammed’s father. Upon the escalated matter, divers went in search of the boys. One Almajeri was not found at all. The other was found without his two eyes. Ahammed was found whole, but it was no consolation. He was dead.
I was about seven years old when the incident happened. It was the first time I lost a friend who was within my age range. That day, it dawned on me that I was not too young to die.
I remember it was our father who brought the bad news home. On the night he broke the news, he bought long sticks of sugar cane for everyone in the house. We had started cutting down the length of the canes when he broke the news. I remember that I and my siblings were unable to crunch further into our sticks upon hearing the news. The sticks remained half eaten throughout the night and unfinished on the following day.
I was just seven and sometimes I wonder why the memory of his death won’t disappear like other experiences that have long been forgotten. But I guess it’s inevitable; sometimes your first scars won’t ever fade away.
Do you have any first scar you’ll like to share?
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