I lost my best friend when I was 7. I didn’t really understand what I was expected to feel. For Valerie (Nene, as she likes to be called @ritzyliciousme) the experience is as fresh as yesterday…
I can’t remember how my 2011 started. For someone that has memories of when I was 3, I find that very disturbing. I rarely forget stuff. At least not stuff like that. I always remember. What happened during the new year. What I wore on Christmas. What I ate on Easter.
But not this year. I just can’t remember. I know for sure that I didn’t write my new year resolutions, there were supposed to be 11 of them. Or did I? I think it’s because I didn’t define my year that it turned out the way it did.
It’s not like my year was terrible. It wasn’t. It was one bus stop away from downright awful. But in this year, I faced the greatest highs and the greatest lows.
The lowest of lows happened on May 24th. It was easily the saddest day in the lives of my friends and I.
It started out as a normal tuesday. I even remember what I wore that day. I remember how he looked. I remember his shirt. Blue. His shirt was blue. I remember us being on the same team in Public Finance class and talking about arranging points for a debate the next day. That was the last time we spoke. I remember the way we had all made fun of him the Friday before. Making jokes about how he wore sandals and socks. How he wore a green and yellow short sleeve shirt and red tie. I remember his jacket (leather, or rubber I don’t know) I remember how I, ‘S’ and ‘T’ thought he reminded us of the Grim reaper when he wore that jacket. I remember.
I remember because I can’t forget. Not even if I wanted to. I remember the noise. I just thought it was the builders or something. I remember the screaming. My heart stopped as soon as I heard it. Their guttural moans. Their distressed cries. They said something had happened to my friend and course mate Daniel. Lightning struck him on his way to cafe, they said. I didn’t understand. It had just drizzled. The sun was still shining. The construction sound couldn’t have been thunder. They said his laptop was on his back and it had gotten burnt. He had fallen to the floor. He was unconscious. He smelt burnt. His body had gone white.
I remember thinking they had all gone mad. I saw their tears. I remember thinking they were exaggerating. I remember how I called my parents. I remember how I felt when I knew. When I just knew that his life was over. I remember how we prayed for him the next morning. Praying for him not to go on that journey, even though in our heart of hearts we knew he had already reached his destination. Maybe they didn’t know. But I did. I just couldn’t accept it. I was clinging blindly to faith and hoping to God that I was wrong.
I remember the way we all broke down when we heard for sure. I remember how the tears flowed freely. There was no one to console. Nobody to help anybody be strong. Amidst my tears, I couldn’t miss it. The look on her face. His girlfriend. My friend. The sorrow in her eyes. The anguish. The way the tears rushed out like a broken dam. I turned away. I couldn’t bear to look. Beside me, his best friend. She looked so lost. She just kept shaking her head in disbelief while she spread all the pictures they had taken together on her bed. I turned away again. How could I console them when I needed consolation myself?
I remember the mourning. The endless tears. The gloom that hung over the whole school. The service that was held.
I remember how I cried and cried when I heard the songs.
Ijoba orun. This world is not my own.
I remember when I had to sign the register.
“Class won’t be the same without you” I had said and then I had broken down.
I remember all the good things everyone had said. It wasn’t because he was dead and you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead. It was because it was all true.
I remember how the V.C told us not to cry while failing at keeping her tears in.
To her she had lost a wonderful student. Maybe even a son.
To us we had lost a friend. A comforter. A brother. A father and a lover.
The candle light thing. I remember how I refused to wrap my candle in paper and how I let the candle wax burn my hand. I remember how I sang and sang and hoped I was in a really bad dream.
I remember how I dreamt about him for weeks after he passed. I remember the dead look in his girlfriend’s eyes. His best friend’s endless BB status updates about how much she missed him.
Although this was an incredibly low point, a high point came from it. I guess the bad times and the good times are interwoven somehow. Like the warp and weft of fabric woven together moment by moment that covers us all.
Even though I remember all this sorrow, I remember also…
How we grieved together, as a family. As a unit.
How we offered hugs as though the more hugs we offered the more we eased the pain.
How we prayed together. How we helped each other heal. How we told each other not to cry anymore with our tear streaked faces.
How amidst the sorrow, somehow we found joy.
How we found a bond that was irreplaceable.
How we came together. How now every moment we share is treated as sacred and is stored away in the special trunk in my special place.
How somehow with each other we learnt to accept, and we found peace.
How somehow we found beauty from pain.
And now, even though there is nobody to call me when we have tutorials like he used to, and do all the stuff he used to do; even though we unarguably miss him, we know we’ll make it through. Somehow. Eventually.
The best part of this year for me was finding the best of friendships. I met (and really got to know) a lot of wonderful people this year.
I found friendships that I’d never want to lose.
These friends made me know that I wasn’t alone. They were my strength in the times I thought I couldn’t be strong anymore.
Those friends made it seem like this year wasn’t so bad after all.
Those friends made my highs.
Those friends offered the words that saved me.
If you are one of those friends and you are reading this, just know I love you. Thank you.
I hope 2012 is a better year for all of us (that is if the world doesn’t end by then.)
Chioma will be with us tomorrow. Do drop by. 🙁