(Part 1)

Before I write to you, I have to introduce you to the world I am about to share this letter with. I chose to call you Ashley, because I knew you would read it and know exactly that it is meant for you, and also know who it is from…

Once upon a time, I had a friend called Ashley.

Ashley wasn’t just my friend, she wasn’t just a sister of mine; Ashley was me! By that I mean that if you see Ashley for the very first time and you happen to know me, you’ll ask her if we’re related. As a matter of fact, that is how we started talking. I believe I heard that we were so much alike that I looked for her and we started talking. At the time, we were just acquaintances, but we had each other on Facebook.

From the very first moment we started talking, it felt like we’d known each other for a century. It was so easy; it was like talking to myself. I had never experienced such a connection. At least not the very first time I talk to someone. I am the kind of person you’ve got to hate first before you realize there is absolutely nothing wrong with me 8| 😉 As a matter of fact, my very best friend in the whole entire world didn’t like me at first. She thought I was the loudest unfriendly person ever. Most of my closest friends thought so too at first (N’ubu sindatahura neza ingene ndabigira, kuko je nagira ndi igisympathique ca hatari, kumbe? Masikini ya Mungu hahahahaha!)

It was nothing like that with Ashley because she was that kind of person too. You wouldn’t fall in love at first sight with Ashley, but I did. Not just because we were really similar character-wise, but even the few things that were quite different about us I truly loved and admired. Her flaws were hilarious to me, nothing unbearable; I just loved her with everything I had in me. I loved her to the point I made sure she also became friends with most of the people close to my heart, and she did too. Ashley and I are very sceptical people by nature, but in a matter of maybe two months, we knew everything about each other, and we would talk every day. We talked for 3 years before we actually got to see each other face-to-face.

When the time came for us both to go home, you can imagine how excited we were. I was personally so excited to the point I could barely breathe. I had been away for years. I was excited to see my family and my crew again, but Ashley was the highlight of my trip. Her, on the other hand, was a bit scared. She had heard how “nshuha cane” (yes because when it isn’t being unfriendly, it is being too friendly), and she thought she probably wouldn’t like me in person.

I would tell you about Ashley for a full year nonstop, 24 hours of each day, with just a few breaks to drink water. That is how much I loved and shamefully still love her. You will understand later why I say it is a shame I still love her. It is such a weakness! Don’t get me wrong, I do not want to hate her; I just want to get to a point where I think of her and feel numb. Yes, numb. I decided to write to her so my heart can feel at peace and give her the closure she does not even deserve to have (my heart aches when I say something like this). I shake when I think someday I will see her again, I get anxiety attacks just trying to figure out if I would say hi to her, or if I would pretend I’ve never known her. I panic when I think I would tend to run to her and hug her for at least 5 minutes like we used to do.

We went through so much; we went through everything together; even the things that happened before we became friends. We shared everything; we went through the pains, the joys, the excitements, the fears, together and all over again. Her pain was mine and so was her joy. I called her heartbeat (Here is another hint for you Ash)…

To be continued.

“Chronicles of a Burundian Lover” articles are published anonymously on purpose, because, you know, Abarundi… 😉

Image source: dearhomeland.com