I saw a ghost yesterday – a little seven-year-old girl. She wore a red jersey with matching ribbons adorning her hair. I was surrounded by people with their different noises and scents, all of them bumping into me like they could not see, yet there she was, poised in the middle of the road like she was waiting to be seen.
She had dark skin that seemed to glow from within, almost translucent. Even with the throngs of people bustling about, I could see from where I stood, transfixed, a familiar glint in her eyes.
I knew who she was.
I died on the 2nd of October, 2009. It happened in my father’s living room. I had just returned from school with my brother. He was two years my senior, but we were often mistaken for twins because of the striking resemblance. We were the only ones home, but our parents had given us a key so we could let ourselves in. As the headmistress at our school, our mother typically returned a few hours later.
I went into the cramped bedroom I shared with my brother to take off my sweat-soaked jersey. The sun was particularly intense that day, and it didn’t help that we always walked home. I had developed a habit of scrutinizing myself in the mirror hanging on the wall, always conscious of my body.
On some days, I would eat until my little stomach bulged out, and I felt uncomfortable because my ribs were always poking through my skin.
In this half-naked state, my brother burst into the room without warning.
“Don’t you know how to knock?” I screamed, wishing for the ground to open up and swallow me whole.
“I don’t need to knock because this is also my room,” he retorted.
“I need some privacy.”
“It’s not like you have anything to hide.”
My eyes followed him as he bolted out of the room with his loud laugh.
If I wasn’t so irritated with my brother’s antics, I would have noticed my killer observing me from the slightly open curtain. I would have seen his beady eyes leering at my innocence. I would not have died.
I knew who he was. He lived in the apartment above ours, and until that day, I believed him to be a friend.
My brother had left our home to play football with the neighbors. I was alone, and it was a luxury. The events that followed immediately shattered that idea. Being alone was anything but a luxury after that.
He knocked on the door as if he understood what boundaries meant. I didn’t know I was letting my killer in. I didn’t know I was about to die. All I did was open the door.
As I stared at my past self, I recalled the sharp pain when my killer shoved my face into the rough wall in my father’s living room. The animal-like grunts that escaped from his lips as he squeezed life from me.
He left immediately after, and I struggled to put on my slippers, tears blurring my vision. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t breathe. I had died.
My ghost had come to visit for reasons I am yet to understand. I recall a hint of a smile on her face. I want to understand why, but I am unable to. I might not know much of anything these days, but I am certain I want to see her again.
Popoola Ololade Aderemi is a Nigerian Writer who is passionate about storytelling and its many treasures, she has some works in pencilmarks and scribbles magazine.