I did not know about the missing KQ flight until my b/f called me. And when he told me that it had gone missing over Cameroon, my mind backtracked. A couple of weeks before he left, we went out to listen to rock at Zeep one Wednesday.
It was one of those days when you bump into people you have not seen in ages, and you get amazed by how much time has passed and how people have not changed. That day alone, I had bumped into 3 of my high school classmates. To culminate my evening, I met one girl that I had not seen since we finished our exams, close to 7 years ago. Now, she is the kind of people one never forgets. She was tall for her age when we enrolled in Form one. She was put in our class on that first day. And on that very first day as high school students, she made us laugh so much, our class made history as being the only class to have gotten a punishment on their FIRST DAY at school!! But our class was different. Nicely different. It was class Form 1 K, and went head to be the most notorious, the rowdies, the brightest and the fun- est class – Class of 2000. The same girl, made me learn the whole of Peter André's 'Mysterious Girl' because we had to present something during Junior Talent show.
That girl I did not see until after 7 years. Almost a month ago.
She walked up to my table, tapped me on the shoulder, and when I looked up, I was excited. It was nice to see her again. Was nice to catch up. We talked about our lives since school, and she had, a few months earlier, gotten a job at Kenya Airways as a flight attendant. She had been on Domestic flights but moved to Francophone-Africa. She had, she said, seen me twice at the airport at the domestic flight departure lounge, but had been too occupied to say hi to me. We exchanged numbers and said goodbye. And that was as much a goodbye I would ever get to say to her.
When I heard about the KQ flight, I remembered her. But then I thought; what are the odds? She could not possibly have been among them. But when the names were released, it was a blow. Lydia Nyakweba was one of the flight attendants. And one more person, Shantabell Wakhu. Shanta was two years ahead of me in high school. Was in a group of seniors we called the 'Terror Squad'. She had the most beautiful legs despite her being one of the terrorizers of the form ones. Looking back, that was high school. People who knew her from theatre say she was a sweet girl. Me, I remember being scared of being in the same room with her.
I got a text on Saturday morning from a former classmate. Class of 2000 was meeting in town then proceeding to Lydia's home. I do not usually leave the house on Saturdays but this day, I had to. I met almost all my former classmates. It was a great feeling, despite the circumstances. I could not help, however but marvel at how tragedy brings people together. How all past grudges are put aside to deal with that one issue.
But at the same time, the other side of the glass being half empty, I could still see the pretentiousness. The being there because you want to see, you want to be seen, you want to analyze how the rest have turned out. the feeling that they are still better than the rest of us who went through the same system for four years, same classes, same teachers, same tortures and same homework. I could see that group of people that still think they are way better or maybe cut out for more than being in the same room with everyone else. It broke my heart with the same intensity it disgusted me.
But it was a day to remember Lydia, and I put all those aside and looked back at the four years we spent together. And I wondered, did she ever, a one point during those four years, think that she would not live to see her 25th birthday? If she knew that that would be the case, what would she have done differently? Did she accomplish the major things she wanted to have done by the time she clocked 23?
It might seem a bit selfish, but I sat there looking at he picture on a table at their house, I asked myself - If I'll never live to see 25, what do I want to do differently? How will I live so that if my end is then, I will leave the people in my life saying that- she lived a life well lived? That my friends will look back and not talk about the promising future I had, but about what kind a full life I lived?
To Lydia: You were the flower that He loved most in his garden. That is why he picked you.