We hooked up again after what must have been a decade incommunicado thanks to Facebook. From his profile picture I could tell that he still looked the same. Victor had always been tall, light skinned, dark lipped and broad shouldered. He seemed the same vocal, outgoing and friendly Igbo boy. We called him ‘small shat’. That was because his shirt was unusually small for his frame. He got a new one in SS 3 if I recall correctly. He must have been tired of all that teasing. I cannot recall Victor’s class but I do recall that he used to be a science student. He must have been in either the ‘Gold’,’Orange’ or ‘Brown’ classes.
I skate back in time to be temporarily immersed in the feel of 1995, 96,97. The light and dark green uniforms, the military cantonment, the assembly ground, the soldiers, Lt Commander Uwadia, the Administrative Officer, the strokes of cane, the grass cutting, frog jumping and hearing the commandant roar “SS 3!.” The feeling that once again we are in trouble. Victor says “hi” as he brushes past me on the corridor. He prances just as all the other boys did during that period. They called it ‘bouncing’. I see the boys playing a game where they are trying to jump high enough to reach the roof of our eight classroom building. Tayo Dongo and Victor Onyejekwe are the tallest of the group. We go for our long holidays and return to find all the boys a full head taller than they had been before the holidays.
Returning to the present, I wonder what Victor’s last thoughts were. I didn’t know him well but I am usually touched by any death. Probably because I have had a near death experience myself and all I could think of was what I hadn’t done with my life prior to that time. I wonder what Victor’s hopes and dreams were. He wished me happy birthday in 2010. He will never wish me happy birthday again. I hope that he is in a better place, smiling down with no regrets about how he lived his life. I would like to think that he is at rest and truly happy.
I am ashamed to say that I do not have more about Victor that I can share. What I do have is a wish to immortalize him. This I have done, praise God.
Adieu Victor. Sleep sweetly.