My best friend passed away in February of 2015, and I haven’t been the same woman. Nneka always made me reflect on nuances of things and was integral to my development as a not- basic hoe. She had such a love for music that resonated with me. She could go from Metro Station to Little Dragon to Slow Magic in the span of 12 minutes. She took me to concerts that I would have never considered. She cried for me one time because I was throwing up so much from overdrinking. She introduced me to so much love. We had one of those relationships where we would sit on the phone for hours, sometimes in silence, scrolling through Tumblr and laughing out loud while describing memes. She would pull up to pick me up and blast punk music because she knew I hated it. We thrifted bi-weekly and she made food but didn’t want to go through the effort to make rice so she’d order just rice for takeout.
That girl was love. Her presence was equal to the sun being out and beating on your back after the coldest of winters. She kept me warm and nourished me with purple lipsticks and crop tops and conversations plagued with the intricacies of taking the perfect nude as well as the colorist bullshit we endured as Nigerian and Tamil.
She passed and the world kept spinning, but I couldn’t digest how. I couldn’t sleep for weeks. I needed my sister to lie next to me every night while I tried to sleep, I ate at all hours of the day and gained a significant amount of weight. Every portal of my life had her remains. Nneka hadn’t experienced love or a healthy relationship. She hadn’t experienced being entangled with another person to the point where only their heartbeat can put you to sleep. She hadn’t pursued her dreams of attending graduate school at the University of Chicago, and we’d live together and explore the boroughs with the aromas of fried falafel and develop acne because of our over consumption of cheese deep dish pizza (though Nneka had the best skin). We had drunk conversations about capitalism eroding our self-esteems while adjacently discussing the best high end makeup products.
Nneka was commemorated at the Black Graduation at the University of Texas and the person leading the commemoration read some things she wrote back in high school. She wrote how she never wanted to pass. Nneka lives in so many people and she will always remain in me. I want to take everything she taught me and use it. Her wisdom while being so young always reminds me of how lucky I was to have such a person who still leads so much of my decision making, my music, my heart, and my love.