A Significant Life Experience
Living life is not just about having fun and achieving our goals. Life is all about the right things that we do, how we handle certain situations, the personal relationships that we keep, and how well me learn and grown from our mistakes. As we all know, life is full of expeditions, some are significant, and some are not. I learned all these when I met a wonderful soul years ago. Although, I do not remember every part of my childhood, I remember this experience so well, because it was significant and the great lessons that I learnt from it. It affected my life positively and changed my perspective of life in general. People say that you will meet someone at least once, that will either impact our life positively or negatively. It left to you to decide whether to choose the negative or positive impacts. They might change the way you think or change something that you do, it is all a part of our growth in life.
I was born in Nigeria, I lived in Lagos which is a large city with about seven million people living there. My family and I had to move from one city to another due to the nature of Father’s work. It was hard for me to keep close friends for long, because I always had to move on from the old friends and make ones. The moment I became relaxed with those friends, we moved, so, I never had any close friend.
When I was sixteen years old, we moved to one of the rural areas in Lagos, the living condition there was different from the life that I was used to. There was no water supply in the house, we had to wake up early to get clean water. Considering how I lived before, all these was new to me and difficult for me. Living in that area felt like a disaster to me. I hated it so much. The city was loud and congested, so many people living in one building and fights occurred frequently because of this.
In the house next to us, there lived a lady, we would call her Mrs. Royalty, because she was a true queen and a human who deserved a lot. She lived in a story building, but she was always alone in the house, she never had anyone to visit her. I always thought she was an extreme introvert, but her house was always bubbling with music, the surrounding was neat compared to the other houses next to us. She was always cooking or doing one thing or the other. I wondered why she had to live alone. So, I asked a neighbor who knew her. No one could give me a concrete reason. Some said she lived alone because her family left her due to some unknown reasons, and some said she was a witch. I did not believe any of those rumors, because she seemed so happy to have been deserted by her family. Later, I noticed she went out early in the morning on Tuesdays and Fridays and always went out with big bags, whose contents were unknown to me. It was odd, she always had something to take out of the house and never returned with those things. I began to follow her movements. I wanted to know more about her. So, I memorized her time movements, and knew her daily routine like the back of my hand.
As I began to watch her daily a lot of things began to make sense to me. I found out something that made me think about how blessed I was, and I took that for granted. While watching her, little did I know that she knew what I was doing. One fateful day, while following her on her early morning trips, she stopped in her tracks and said, “how long do you think you would keep this for.” I was scared at first, but I replied anyways, “till I find out who you really are”. She laughed and smiled, “you know, curiosity killed the cat. Well, come over for lunch tomorrow.” she said and walked away. She had known about me monitoring her.
I was excited about going to her house the next day, but I could not tell anyone about it. I went to her house after my parents left the house. When I got there, she had this look of excitement on her face, and I did not know why. She offered me food and drinks, I took them, and we began talking about different things. We talked about life and several other issues, I was not interested in that, I wanted to know her. So, I asked her to tell me about herself. She smiled and said, “that will be for next time.” She did not say anything, and I went home. Weeks went by, I would visit her during lunch every day and we would talk about other things. I figured that she did not want to talk about herself. So, I completely forgot about wanting to know about her life, we became friends instead. Her knowledge about life was so intriguing and it was beautiful to listen to her talk. Also, I found out that the huge bags that she took out during week days were for orphaned kids. She took clothes and food to them weekly.
One day, I got to her house as usual, but when I got there she was just sitting down and looking sad. I asked what happened, she just smiled, and said nothing. After much persuasion, she spoke up finally. She got married when she was 23 years old and after a year of being married, she was diagnosed with fourth stage ovarian cancer. She and her husband began to spend money, he lost his job, and had to borrow money to care for her. It was hard on her family and her husband’s family did not want her to stay married to their son, so she was sent packing. She did not want to be a burden to her family, so she came to live alone. She still loved her husband and was waiting for him to come see her at least once.
She has been staying alone for the past six months, with no husband nor family member to care for her. She was deserted, despite all these, she still cared for people. There were several instances when people came to her for help, she helped them gladly. She was always happy and ready to help people. After hearing her story, I decided to become much more than a friend to her. I told my parents about her story, they felt sorry for trying to make me stay away from her. They let me stay with her and help her around the house during weekends.
About a month later, she became weak with constant aches in her stomach area. There was nothing we could do; the cancer was in the deadly stage when it was discovered. Despite the pain she kept going to the orphanage. One day I asked why she did that despite being sick. She responded by saying that she loved putting smiles on people’s face, she found joy in doing that. I was amazed with what she said, because if I was in her shoes I would never be able to do what she was doing.
Mrs. Royalty became so sick, so I decided to go to orphanage for her one day, before I returned home that day, she had already died. I couldn’t believe it. It felt like a dream. We buried her a week after she died, on the day of the burial, her husband whom she had been waiting for came looking for. At this stage, I cried because she waited so much for him while holding in the pain. He never came till she died.
Mrs. Royalty was like a mother to me, my parents were always busy. So, she was always there for me. It felt like I had lost a mom. She impacted my life greatly. I learned from her that we can be heroes to people and a smile on their faces. She made people smile despite having pains. In end, it was all about living right and doing good. I pray her soul rests in perfect peace.