Sometimes, the greatest love stories are the ones will read about and we will never get to experience them.
So the past week I managed to discipline myself and finish a novel in time. I read Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie (my personal enemy of late). In reading this book, I fell in love. I fell in love with Ifemelu (the protagonist). She is the kind of girl I would meet in the streets and have five minute conversation with then fall in love with her. But no, Chimamanda decided to ruin my perfect love story.
Ifemelu is a lively go getter born in Nigeria, studied and lived in America and then came back home. Nigeria. Where the heart and the traffic is. I grew up with Ifemelu. In the five days I met her in the novel, I got to know her. I was dragged to church with her when she really didn’t want to, I went to school with her, and I become part of her clique and her studies. I became a part of her conversations and teenage escapades. I was there when she first met Obinze (her first and only love) and when they fell in love . When Ifemelu became a troublesome teenager- lying to her parents about going to church but really wasn’t, I was there! I was there when she first had sex (Whoa, that’s a big things! I saw it all- I was there). I was with her when she and Obinze became inseparable in Nsukka (where they both studied for university. Who said high school lovers will never be lovers in Uni?). I was there when she saw Aunty Uju run off to America after she was chased out of her house she was a mistress. I understood her family drama. I was there when her father lost her job because he refused to call his boss “mummy” (How dare you force an old man like that to call you mummy? Don’t you have children of your own?) And her mother changing churches like underwear. I SAW IT ALL!
I was there for Ifemelu. I was in love with Ifemelu. I fell in love with her still when she was in America, poor, broke and depressed. Even when her nephew tried to kill himself, I WAS THERE. When she started her blog, I was in the comfort of my bed waiting for her next post in the next chapter. I was there when she couldn’t pay rent, I was there when she went to sleep with that coach for money. I know Ifemelu more than I know my own siblings.
Chimamanda, why did you have to end it like this?
When Ifemelu and Obinze stopped talking, I was heartbroken more than I was when I went through a heartbreak- I thought this time, I will see a long distance triumph but you no, you wanted it to end! You wanted to keep me out of the story.
When Ifemelu went out with rich guys and professors, I knew they were not good enough for her. I knew she still belonged with Obinze. Chimamanda you broke my heart. You broke my heart when you finally decided to shut me out of Ifemelu’s life when she returned to Nigeria. You broke my heart when you know I was there when Ifemelu was faking her resumes and IDs to get jobs. I was with her for almost two decades. You broke my heart when you allowed her to sleep with the guy you knew Obinze despised with passion. Why Chimamanda, why? So you made Ifemelu to get mad at Obinze and again you reunited them. When you finally paced Obinze at Ifemelu’s doorstep, you alienated me. You cut me off from the most beautiful love story that the world of literature has ever beheld. You didn’t tell me what happened after Obinze got into the house. Throughout the book, I prayed that Ifemelu should return back to Nigeria and be with Obinze. I knew Obinze wanted her so bad and so did she. How dare you? How dare you make me just a stranger in Ifemelu’s life?