I was working hard at being me- unruffled in any storm of things that do not concern me, when Marian called my name.
“Adaeze!” She floated into the scattered room that had me in the middle of it.
“Ada is there anything I can help you with? The truck is almost ready to move and you haven’t packed anything.”
“I’m good” I tell her, a smile dancing at the corners of my eyes at the concern in her voice
“I don’t want them to say you’re the one who’s delaying the movement, you’re my friend and I don’t want them saying things about you.”
I thanked her, told her I would ask for her help if I needed it and turned back to the shelves that I had to strip and the cartons waiting to be filled with medication and sundries that are the fulcrum of the facility. My heart’s rhythm had changed from Afrobeats to frenzied Metallica, friendship always does that to me- the malevolent weight of it displacing hard-won peace with tension most foul.
I am not ideal friend material or ideal anything else for that matter, living in the worlds my head constantly conjures is not conducive for the give and take, the displays of affection and care that are the oxygen of friendship. I am always dropping batons, misplacing times and folding thoughts into the ‘to be forgotten basket’ and while I am that person who will remember your birthday twenty years after you mentioned it in a casual conversion, I am also that person who will forget a promise to call or give feedback on a matter, I, however, will not forget to be there when you need me.
I cannot explain why our friendship is not a sinking burden but the hurricane which I sit at its eye and dance as I float above the devastation below, or why it is you Odogwu that brings laughter and wisdom and a deluge of love even when I want to murder you. My heart bubbles with words, my fingers jump over keys to get sentences on the laptop screen- sentences I have had to delete because they ring hollow in this field of gratitude rolling out of my head and heart.
It’s amazing, isn’t it? how we couldn’t have known what we were igniting on this day ten years ago when instead of minding your business and finding your way back to Hall 4, you scooted over to the marble pavement where I sat with hunched shoulders and began a mini interrogation, pretending not to see the tears that hadn’t quite dried on my cheeks. How could we have known at that midnight that we, that you and I, would walk through the flames of Hades for each other and because of each other or that nirvana is always spitting distance from wherever we are. How could I have known that we would become everything and still be floating vapour and streaks of magic?
I wonder now, why you held on even when all you were clutching had to be your whispered wishes that I would meet you a tenth of the way. Or how you know all the things I am capable of and still preserve my space in your pantheon of angels and gods. Most of all, I do not understand why you loved me still, even when it was pointless
Odogwu my friend, I wonder where the next ten years will take us. I like to think that we have seen everything there is, that this ‘jazz’ will only end when the last of us is buried. But I am still- despite your sermons and machinations- the melancholic pessimist whose motto is Murphy’s law. Maybe the oceans will soak through our bond, maybe ‘life’ will happen to us, maybe it will only be in our stories to our children that this friendship will be brought out for air and promptly returned to the safe of past triumphs and heartbreaks.
Hurry up and give me godchildren though, before all your hair mutates to grey.
It doesn’t matter anyway, these ten years are more than enough for this lifetime. When we come back to this world, I’d find you again and we’ll start from the top. There’s no way I can go through life without knowing you (in whatever form you appear then) who carries and will carry my matter like Gala and La Casera in traffic.Thank you, OD, for spraying my life with magic, for the long walks and the days on the phone and the hours on WhatsApp, for listening to me even when I make no sense, and most of all, the wisdom and attention to detail that you bring to everything I am involved with.
I could just send this to you in an email but I’m putting it here so that I can always come here, read this and remind me of all the things I feel at this moment – this heady mix of love and gratitude and joy will not fade to black, just because of time’s corroding influence.
I love you Odogwu, it’s just sad that love no dey grow money wey dey account.