I really tried to be sensitive but it was downright impossible to keep my excitement to myself. I was going home, finally. Dad was keeping his promise to me even though he wasn’t here to witness it. I sneaked a look at Sharon who had kept to herself ever since we boarded the plane. I could feel her unhappiness as if it was a palpable thing; we are twins after all and we have the ability of sensing our emotions and thoughts. It was uncomfortable at times, especially when she is thinking of that stupid boy she calls a boyfriend. As much as I wanted to dampen my excitement in deference to Sharon’s despair, it just wasn’t happening. I had waited all of my life for this moment and there was no way I would let anyone spoil it, not even my precious twin sister. Maybe that makes me evil but I am beyond the point of caring.
I turned to Chioma who was seated in the middle because I had pleaded for the window seat. I wanted to record every glimpse of my home as we approached. Sharon didn’t care where she sat, even though we had struggled for the window seat in the past. It was obvious that she would rather be anywhere else in the world right now. Chioma smiled at me and squeezed my hand. She was the only one that really knew how happy I was, mum had been tearful at being away from her two daughters for two years even though she had promised to visit. And Sharon, well, she was sulky at not getting her way as always. I adored Chioma and I couldn’t understand Sharon’s obvious dislike. From the moment she had come into our lives, she had been my means of finding out every detail I could about Nigeria. Now, I could speak our native language, thanks to her patient tutoring, though my accent makes it sound funny and not as natural as hers.
‘Do we have much farther before we get home?’ I asked her in our dialect.
She had travelled this route many times; unlike dad who for some unknown reason, never visited home, Chioma visited home often. I had begged dad to let her take me along on one of her trips but he had refused. I am sure he was trying to please his precious daughter who had no desire at all to know her roots. Chioma and I made a compromise; she would make videos of my grandparents and landscapes for me, secretly of course. Due to countless hours spent watching each video repeatedly, I felt really familiar with Nigeria. Now, I could make my own videos first-hand.
‘Not much farther, three hours or so’, she replied in English.
Chioma thinks it is rude to speak our dialect in public where other people may feel offended. I stole another look at Sharon who seemed oblivious to our exchange anyway. I am sure she had no idea I could speak our dialect but then, there were many things Sharon didn’t know about me. Our similarity ended with our looks, I was the quiet one and she was the outgoing one though you couldn’t tell that by observing us now. I had kept up a steady stream of chit-chat with Chioma since we boarded the plane while Sharon hadn’t uttered a single word.
I had tried my best to soothe Sharon and tell her that it wouldn’t be as bad as she feared but she had ignored me and now, I was resolved to leave her alone. I didn’t owe her any single thing. I had been in her shadow for all my life and she had rubbed it in. She had been the one with the gorgeous looks and amazing figure, glamorous friends, popular boyfriends, and admirable personality that everyone flocked towards. I could have ignored all of that, being invisible when you had such a visible half wasn’t so bad but Sharon had been the one with Dad’s undivided attention. I don’t remember if it has always been like that and I know dad tried to hide it but it had been pretty obvious. Chioma had noticed after two weeks in our house and I had overheard her arguing with Dad about it. Dad had dismissed her, saying she won’t understand and that had been the beginning of my friendship with Chioma. I had someone who understood me after all these years, I had a friend.
…to be continued