TRIBUTE TO MY FIDUS ACHATES

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Sometimes I feel guilty for living freely, while my confidant lays in the grave. To live a free and happy life was to have my backbone by my side at all times. I wanted him to share my joy when victory visits and to uplift me when tragedy strikes, but he became my tragedy and no one could uplift me the way he would have. To be honest everything the world is offering now is incomplete without my bestfriend in it, in him i have found hope, determination and inspiration. My world came to a halt when death took my most treasured and trusted friend Junaid. Thus creating a void in my heart, a scar that will most likely not heal and behind my smiling face is a broken soul.

Our story is slightly different from how most friendship start, the moment I resumed school after a long holiday I was briefed about everything that was happening already in junior year two. The emergence of a new class mate who doesn’t really like speaking to girls, I was so eager to meet this person and I told my friends that I was going to piss him off, so I could get a reaction. yours truly did kept to her word, as soon I stepped into the class I saw the unfamiliar face, I went straight to where he was sitting and climbed his desk, expecting a reaction from him, because of my bold exhibition. Though I was ready and prepared for a fight, however it took only a smile from him to make my action look stupid and from then September 2005 on wards a new friendship was birthed and since then till he breathed his last we were the best of friends.

At first everyone around us could not understand the kind of friendship we shared, some even said we were in a relationship, till date most of the people around me still think it was more than a friendship, it looked confusing even to me but eventually we realized that we were each other’s protector and strength, sometimes I feel we became each other’s weakness. Our bond is inexplainable, I have not seen one person do justice to the definition of my companionship with Junaid because not even I can give an accurate meaning to our friendship. But whatever it was, I am still holding unto that, it keeps me sane and it keeps me going. Junaid was my go to guy, it was vice versa for us, when I needed someone to vent on I would call him and complain for hours and he would never act tired, he would listen to all I had in mind, at the end of every venting conversation he always made sure I end it with a smile, he would say funny things just to make me happy, he was always of the opinion that everyone that gives me headache should not be part of my life, as I am made for happy people not people that will drown me in any unhealthy path, relationship inclusive, he was protective of me. It may sound funny but I would tell him about all the people in my life, he was my investigator and I was his, if he feels anyone is leading me astray then we would try the best way possible to avoid those kind of people, I feel i did more of the investigation on him, I made sure he told me about the friends he was hanging around with, at a point I felt it became too much so I let him be. There are days I had disagreements with my IMG_8553.JPGboyfriend then who was not cool with my friendship with Junaid. I told him to his face if there is a choice to make, I will rather stand with a friend whom I can lean on than pick a boyfriend who has no value for friendship, and sincerely I wasn’t joking with my utterance. That was how much I valued Junaid. He was family, he was my brother not by birth but that was what the friendship transpired his value to, he was blood and no one comes between family.

IMG_8553You know something about life it is said that “Man proposes and God disposes” we make plans but only God can determine how things will turn out to be, but his life was short lived, Junaid had plans for the future, he was planning on starting a family, he was always talking about getting married, and getting a big farm, he would make jokes about how farmers are getting very rich in Nigeria. To be honest I have never seen a selfless person like Junaid not because he is my friend, the people around him will testify to his kindness and his simplicity. He is the type of person that will sacrifice his last penny for you, just so you can become comfortable, there are times I caution him on his generosity, I would always say I hope the people you are sacrificing for will sacrifice for you when you need them, he just laughs it off and ignore me, now I believe the adage that the good ones don’t last long, they come into our lives and the moment we get too attached they are gone forever.

On the 17th of February 2016 my world crumbled, my phone kept ringing while I was in the restroom, I finally picked up and it was a friend of mine who wanted to confirm if I was doing okay, after hearing how I answered, she ended the call because she didn’t want to be the bearer of bad news, after her call I could tell that something was wrong somewhere, there was something odd about how she spoke to me, then the phone rang again, this time around it was my cousin, immediately I picked up I heard her wailing uncontrollably, I knew there and then that something really bad has happened close to home. I was anxious to hear the name she was going to call, she eventually managed to say his name, at the utterance of his name everything around me became blank, I was confused and shocked for some minutes, I will never forget how I felt at that moment, the tears came down rolling, I was in denial, I kept dialing his number but it won’t ring, I dialed and dialed but to no avail. Then it started sinking in that maybe my cousin was saying the truth, my heart was full, I was gasping for breath, i was weeping from the depth of my heart, the calls kept coming in as I couldn’t speak to anyone, everyone that was calling at that time felt a sense of pity for me, because everyone that knows me, knows what Junaid means to me. I kept saying I can’t live in a world without him because in the world we dreamed of, he was the one holding it together, I have never felt a pain so crucial the way I did till I realized that my best friend of 12 years had perished after a brief illness, I was suppose to be by his side when his pain wouldn’t go away, I was suppose to hold his hands and give him hope, when hope was lost, I was to share his pain because the burden was too much on him, but even when death came knocking at his door he didn’t want me to worry too much about him, I was not informed and it was unlike him because a week before his death I was on call with him for hours not knowing he was speaking to me for the last time, I got caught up in my own world that I didn’t try hard to check on my companion, who was battling with so much pain, I should have shared in his pain but I know he wouldn’t want that, I wanted to tell him everything was going to work out the way we planned it, I wanted my children to play with his children, atimes we would laugh about how our spouses will become jealous, he kept saying no one will come between us but God, and indeed God came through when it was time for my hero to go, who are my to question my lord’s decision.

Someone said to me, Ummi is high time you move on and stop mourning about Junaid, it will be unfair to that. This was someone who touched lives and uplifted other’s when they needed a form of hope, this was someone who fought my battle when I couldn’t fight one, he is family and we don’t forget those who stood by us when no one did, those who pushed us to become better when things went bad, they maybe gone but never forgotten. Junaid in Arabic means warrior, no wonder you guided my every move, you fought every battle that came your way, you were fighter and a fighter till the very end. Not a day passes by that I don’t remember you, I promise to pray for you everyday of my life. It is the only form of communication I have with you. I hope and pray that you are enjoying the magnificent gardens of paradise surrounded by magical springs, remember in paradise they have the most beautiful creation anyone could ever set his eyes on, may God grant you all the good wishes you had made in the world, may your smile never fade away, may your light keep shinning, may your family there be more beautiful than the one you wished for, may the angels always welcome you with open arms, may you always be happy, I have made peace with myself but my world is shattered without you. I hope you know that you were a strong pillar in my life. What is Ummi’s world without junaid in it, a boring world. You added colors to my world, You were a faithful friend, a trustworthy friend and my companion, that’s why I call you my FIDUS ACHATES.
ADIEU!!!

ODE TO MY LOVE…..HE IS NOT DEAD BUT HE IS IN THE ARM OF ANOTHER.

I keep asking myself? how do you move on after you have invested about five years of your existence into someone you thought of a forever with and in no time that five years ended without a forever. Sometimes I surprise myself as to how energetic and strong I am, forgetting all the promises that was made in those years we were together, it was a teenage dream and through all odds we made it happen, forgetting the age, the maturity level, just two teens reunited after a long time and so our story begins.
It was a rainy day, as I set out for my jamb exams, all I had in mind was to get to the exam hall and ace my paper, that was the only way I could make it to the university of my dreams. Luckily enough my first paper went well, it was the almighty English and I knew right away I did myself proud. Before the next paper we had an hour break, as I was sipping my drink, I looked straight away and I saw a face from the past, in my mind I knew it was someone I was conversant with, the same person looked at me and yelled my name, oh I said, look at you looking all grown, as I was staring hysterically. to be honest his glow was on another level, he was now tall with a cute chocolate face, unlike the scruffy little boy I use to know from junior class. we exchanged greetings and he introduced himself, he said iqbal was the name as I was finding it hard to remember. the next question that popped up was about my eye glass and it’s sudden extinction from my eyes, he had always known me with one and he was asking about the disappearance, I smiled and said my eyes are better and clearer now. There is something intriguing about growth, it seems as though people grow up to be cuter, as he was talking I was looking at how much he has changed and how fit he has become, it was a good time and we ended up exchanging numbers with the promise to stay in touch.
After the successful completion of the exam, I went back to school and had a chat with some friends, we spoke about Iqbal, it was at the verge of our conversation that I received a message from him, and these messages will go on to last for five years, that will be from final year of high school to my fourth year of university. I was in a boarding school at that time, where phones are tagged as contraband, but as a senior I had a way of sneaking it with me, we started chatting almost every minute, it started as a friendship of two classmates trying to rekindle after a long time, then it developed into long phone conversations and unending messages. we were opening up to one another on a personal level, some days I caution myself as not to get too attach. we were all teenagers of about 17 and 18 years respectively but the calls and text won’t stop, and a friendship was formed. Every time we spoke, we end up arguing about my stance on not dating someone who is almost the same age as I am, but he always said I was going to change my mind soon, he was right about that, after 3 months of going back and forth I finally conceded, I conceded because he won my heart and I couldn’t look back, I changed my mind about the age thing, he gave me reasons to.
He was my first true love, it was a healthy and happy relationship at first. these were teenagers who have just graduated from high school and were all over the moon for one another, it was a happy one, we lived in different states but I made sure I was there for his birthdays, eventually we were just about 1 hour apart, we both attended university in the same state, he was in the capital while I was in the neighboring town, and so the problems started, I felt he was suddenly withdrawing, it was normal of me to criticize his actions, because he was not giving me the attention I deserve, I was insecure but with time I had to let him be and not be an overprotective girlfriend.
I felt I needed all the attention, so I made a bad decision, I started talking to someone who gave me all the attention I needed, I found solace with this person but it didn’t last for long, it was brought to an end because iqbal eventually found out, he stole his digits from my phone. he called to confront him and things went bad, I felt guilty because it looked like I was cheating, he made everything look like it was my entire fault, whereas he was having the time of his life with other girls, the only issue here was I had no proof and he does, I apologized for days and told him my reason for such circumstance was a result of his unruly behavior. But it created an avenue to justify everything he did wrong, he will always use that one mistake to pave way for his actions and cover up his own mistakes, it continued that way for five years but that was not the only reason things went sour.
IMG_8426IMG_8425A lot of times iqbal was of the opinion that he was superior to me and the career path I was aiming for was not what he wanted, he supported me but he insisted that with all my educational background I would end up staying at home to be a full time housewife, that was his idea of a faithful and loving wife, I told him I was educated for a reason and for that same reason I am also super ambitious, I knew the problem right away was not about my career path but it was as a result of an egoistic man, who felt that a woman was going to overpower him and he had a feeling he won’t be able to control me or so he thought, eventually love was lost, all the things we fought and wished for, the plans we had for the future, it came down crashing right in front of our eyes, after about five years of a bitter-sweet relationship.
It was easy for iqbal to move on, as I was still holding unto the past, the love of my life was already in the arm of another, I was shocked as to how fast he moved on and I realized that for a long time I was the one holding him back, he had already made his decision a long time ago, and that decision was to be with another.