In January, for the third time in less than six months, I came down with what appeared to be malaria. A malady that only afflicted me every eight to ten years now appeared to be playing catch up.
That day, I was home alone when it arrived. First, a fiery pain slammed through my waist. I thought someone had suddenly separated my waist from my torso, without using any anaesthetic. It was followed by general muscle ache, escalating fever and shivering.
By the time Didi came home from work, I was in a worse state. I’d thrown up twice and was weak beyond description. Worried, she asked me to get up so we could go to the hospital.
“I can’t,” I whispered. “You’ll have to carry me.”
“Have you eaten?” she asked.
“No,” I murmured.
She brought Afang and garri and urged me to eat. I took some swallows and gave up.
Stunned, she asked, “Are you done?”
I nodded in the affirmative.
“Okay, eat your meat.”
Exhausted, I shook my head and said, “I can’t. I’ll eat it tomorrow.”
Without warning, Didi burst into tears. I’m not joking. This bestie/sister of mine put her hand on her head and cried like what I don’t know.
“Jesus ooooo,” she bawled. “Jesus! Meme has refused to eat meat. Meat o. It is bad. Jesus, please help me.”
Sobbing, she ran to the wardrobe, pulled out a dress and dashed back to the bed where I lay.
“Raise your body, let me dress you. We’re going to the hospital. Meme, please don’t die. Please don’t die.”
If I wasn’t so weak, I’d have laughed hard. It was freaking hilarious! That my love for Afang soup and meat was so well established, that turning it down meant that I was near death.
That moment brought this thought to mind: what are you known for?
Are you known as Samsia, the efficient businesswoman or the kind who abuses customers for asking questions? Are you Udeme who keeps his word or do your lies make Lucifer envious? Would a certain negative action attributed to you shock and make people rise to your defence or would they go, ‘Ah, that’s how s/he does’?
See, when you’re building a legacy and have made a firm decision to leave your footsteps on the sands of time, it’s important that you know the answer to this question. You can start by asking your friends and family.
Even Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?”
They answered him. Still, he asked, “What about you? Who do you say that I am?”
Because it’s usually easier for our friends to tell us what other people are saying, than what they really think about us. You need to know their views too. Now, what you do with their responses is up to you.
But know this: you can be 25, 30, 40 years and known for something, no matter how modest. Or you can be 50, 60, 70 years and known for nothing. Which one would you rather choose? The best time to start was yesterday. The next best time is now.
This doesn’t mean that you should live for and build your life around people’s opinions of you.
May we never be too ill to eat Afang soup. Amen.