Somehow I’m terrified. I think about my experiences and long for a repeat, long to return to those comfortable haunts, to that place that I called home for a short time. Home, for me, is always where the people are. those people whom I enjoy and who enjoy me. There’s always the fear that I’ m forgetting, quite rapidly, a time and place and set of people that I really cherish.
But what if I return, and they are not there? What if, upon endeavouring to remember every detail about a place, I go back and it is changed? What about that gnawing anxiety of remembering too much, too accurately, the snapshot that I experienced, and in doing so forget that people change, lives change, and that going back cannot be something to be repeated, on endless loop, with romantic naivety? This is a new fear that clenches at my heart, that somehow, I could go back to Karaga, to Nangong-ayili, and that instead of facing old friends and acquaintances, facing disappointment and bitterness that the world does not revolve around my presence.
And yet, I’ve told myself time and again that I couldn’t, or shouldn’t go back without a good reason, some meaningful employment, otherwise I could become just any other tourist, uninvested in what is really going on in a place because they have no stake in it. But as the clock ticks on and I’m planning all sorts of meaningful employment in schooling and life, I feel that I am treading farther away from the people I knew, and closer to what I fear. The terror of being left behind, forgotten, and not knowing how to move on and make new friends and experiences.
Gani wants to go to Accra. Arimiyaw will be done studying in two short years. Mampreges is so old. Emelia will finish secondary school. Talhatu might finish her divorce. Abanga may get a promotion to another district. Emma could marry. So many unknowns, and with little way to update my living memory of these people, how do I balance resilience of reminisces with the reality that I learn over and over again: people are not static, and these ones are no exception.