It was a blistering Friday afternoon. Adorned in my traditional National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Khaki getup, I wished that my zonal inspector would sign my clearance letter so I could hurry to Protea Hotel, Ikeja.
Just as the frustration was building up in a bead of sweat on my forehead, she finally signed and I scurried feverishly to my car to begin the race for Protea. You see, it was Goldie’s press conference, her very first interaction with the media post Big Brother House, and I wasn’t going to miss it for the world.
I got into the hall, armed with questions and prepared to give her a piece of my mind. That girl was something else in the house. I mean, why was she such an emotional wreck? The Goldie on screen exuded overwhelming confidence and strong aura, so who was this girl that was the exact opposite? To say the least, I was disappointed in her overall attitude on the show, and I know I speak for majority of Nigerians.
Then, she walked in, so dainty, frail-looking. She was spotting a huge dark pair of shades. “She must have been crying,” I thought to myself. “Or why else would she have been wearing such huge dark shades in a dark room if not to hide her emotions from the prying eyes of journalists. Her hair was swept in a side bun and even then, she looked unhappy. And that was when I saw Susan Harvey, not Goldie. I saw an insecure, shy Susan who just wanted the approval of the world.
I dumped all the questions I had prepared. All I could feel was worry for what these vultures, sorry, these journalists, were going to do to an already-exhausted girl. I was worried for her because right there was a break-or-make moment and I was unsure of her prowess for wriggling out of such tight situations.
Thirty minutes on, the show was over and Susan had apologized to Nigerians for disappointing them. She had rightly explained that while we had the option of hundreds of cameras, she had only her two eyes and could only see the good guy that Prezzo portrayed himself to be. At that moment, I understood her pain and knew at once that if we would all be honest, there has been that one guy or lady we were unbelievably foolish over, be it for a very short period.
The press conference ended and there was a buffet; Susan, meanwhile, was quickly whisked away for a photo session with the press. I knew I wanted to speak with her; I just needed to assure her that not everyone was mad at her, and that Prezzo was no good for her. I needed to tell her that I still admired her videos because, in my opinion, they revolutionised the making of videos in the country.
I wanted her to know I was still her fan even if I didn’t support her excessive show of emotions; that I thought she had a beautiful soul and was a good example of an African woman. She did, after all, have ample opportunity to have sexual relations with Prezzo but declined. She always cooked and never discussed anyone. It didn’t matter who was bringing the gossip to her, she would never encourage it. For that, I admire her.
My chance came at the serving table when we bumped into each other while trying to stack our plates with the exotic cuisine on display. Susan had dished white rice and stew with a morsel of EBA on the side. I must admit I considered that a pretty weird combination but as we had come to know, nothing about the diva was the norm. My friend and I, we walked up to her and I told her how much I was upset with her at first but how I understood her predicament. My friend, on the other hand, expressed her disappointment and irritation, like most Nigerians, with her unsteady emotional state. She smiled when we told her to stay away from Prezzo because we liked her and knew Prezzo was bad company for her. She nodded while we spoke, listening to us with rapt attention. Just as we were about to leave, she Pulled me over and gave me a long hug.
Our encounter could not have exceeded 10 minutes, but in that time, I felt like I knew Susan, like we had been buds, like I could talk to her, like we were friends. There was no air of arrogance or superiority about her; and even when we made some rather harsh utterances to her, she stayed, never taking her eyes off us and listened intently.
She left soon after but my friend and I hung around a bit until we ran into Kenny Saint Best (KSB), one of her Voltrons. Talking to her gave us a broader perspective of Goldie. Apparently, all her crying bolts were unsurprising; she was indeed a very emotional lady. Kenny talked about her so fondly, and promised us she would personally shield Goldie from Prezzo. Goldie, she said, is kind, generous, down-to-earth and very respectful. She didn’t need to tell us that, though; we saw those qualities during out brief chat with her.
I still do not support Tru Friendship (her attempt at a reality show) and I may never come around, but I miss Goldie as a person. I wish I had hugged her tighter that day or I had been nicer. I wish I had taken a picture with her; I wish I had made her feel just a little bit better about herself. I mourn Goldie not because I knew her personally but because she really was a sweetheart and it just hurts to lose someone that young and vibrant.
Adieu Goldie; fly on eagles’ wings, soar beneath the sun, and let your hair loosen against the wind. You are free now; no more pain, just love, joy and peace. Till we meet again…