I remember vividly the very beginning. How it all began. I remember it all like it just happened yesterday. Memories etched in beautiful innocence. And every single time, it gives me a feeling of déjà vu.
An 18yr old naïve fresher on campus – that was me back then. I arrived early to commence registration and get a place in the hostel before it gets all taken. Yes, it was hell of a tough day. As I struggled with my baggage through the door, into the room I was assigned to, my eyes beheld you for the first time. You were standing by the window, clad in black denim jeans and a grey V-neck top. Your slim figure and average height was a nice match. I remember that first smile you flashed at me. It affected me instantly. When you smiled it, it was with all frankness, like one could see your soul through that priceless smile. I still don’t forget how you came over and introduced yourself as Funsho.
Funsho, I still don’t know how we got so close and did almost everything together. We studied, ate, bathed, walked and even argued together. You weren’t like the other roommates. It felt like we’d known each other for a long time before we met, like we spent our pre-lives together, in space. I liked the fact that you were five years older. I felt protected, secured.
I felt connected to you, Funsho. I really did. But I remember hiding it from you, the fact that I liked boys. Maybe you noticed, but you never said a word about it. You never mentioned that I was soft-spoken like other people were too quick to notice. To you alone, I wasn’t effete. My insecurities disappeared whenever I was with you. I was free to be myself and not put up an act.
I began feeling things for you. The way you smiled and talked. The aura of elegance that radiated around you when you walked. The ease with which you did press-ups and sit-ups every morning. The Mohawk you loved to wear. Your naked body each time you were dressing for lectures. I loved to watch you sleep late in the evening after classes, and longed to simply lay my head on your chest and listen to your heartbeat.
I remember it all like yesterday, how you’d come looking for me at my department so we could go home together. You were that caring. The chatter and laughter as we walked back to the hostel together. I remember how alone I felt during the first school break. I missed you greatly and couldn’t deny it. Yet, I couldn’t muster the courage to tell you how you made me feel. I was silent, but it was the silence of a thousand words and a million emotions painted through the brush sticks that was my body language. And I hoped it was a painting bright enough for you to see.
We still maintained our rooms in the second year. I couldn’t be happier. You even bought me a pair of jeans that semester and I remember wearing them almost every day. You made me feel so relevant and complete. I often dreamt about us. How we would cuddle and kiss and make out in my dreams. I usually woke up from these dreams, my briefs wet and slimy. I was suffering within. But I was happy that it was for you I suffered. I wanted to tell you on several occasions, but my courage was far buried beneath the catacombs of my desires.
This went on for weeks, till I could take it no longer. I didn’t care what would happen. I loved you dearly, and I wanted to say it. Hopefully you’d feel the same way too. It was a risk I was willing to take, knowing that things could go wrong.
I remember it, the glow and spark in your eyes as you listened to what I had to say. And when I said it, the “I love you, Funsho” felt like a large rock had been rolled off my chest. I felt bolder, and I continued telling you how I felt.
I will never forget your reaction – your quiet demeanour and calm repose. You sat on the reading table as I spoke and you listened attentively. And when I finished speaking, you smiled that smile again, like when I first saw you in the room. You walked over to me, cupped my face in your palms, kissed me passionately, and said, “I love you too.”
It was like a dream being fulfilled before my eyes.
Tears rolled down my face, washing away the pain I’d cried with every trickle. It felt like a Walt Disney romance in 3D. You told me you’d begun to feel something strong for me over time. I felt so complete. I remember the hugging, and the kissing, the undressing, the smooching, the moans, the fellatios, the teasing and stroking, the ripping off of innocence, the lovemaking, the passion, the climax – it was the happiest I’d felt in my loveless life. I was with the man I loved. A feeling of utmost pleasure and satisfaction stayed with me.
I remember we played in bed beneath the sheets after that blissful lovemaking. The radiance of splendid brilliance which only true love can give glowed on our faces. We explored our bodies, and looked in each other’s eyes. We swore love and faithfulness. And we never wanted the moment to end. You were mine, and I was yours. You had me, and I had you.
Then we got hungry, and decided to go out of campus, to an eatery, to celebrate our love. We dressed and soon, we were on a bike headed into town.
And then suddenly, it happened.
When I woke up, I felt pain all over. I was in a hospital. I’d been stitched in many places that I feared to count. Thankfully, there was no fracture. My head was achy. Friends around said a car had hit us from behind, and that I had passed out a whole day. Memories rushed in, like the Mt Everest avalanche.
“Where’s Funsho… We were together?” I remember screaming out in sudden panic.
And then, I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t cry. I lay back and stared into nothingness. And the smile, your infectious smile filled my vision. I think I felt a pinch of insanity. I couldn’t believe what was said. It couldn’t be true. How dare they joke with such? But there was sadness in their faces. Sorrow and melancholy hung in the air, like a veil on a bride’s face. It was true.
“He hit his head on the pavement and died on the spot.”
But why did you die and I didn’t? Didn’t we swear love together? How was I supposed to cope? All the promises we swore were just…gone? I could not believe it. Memories of us haunted my sanity.
I refused to go back to the room. I just couldn’t. The room where we had just loved each other… No way! I holed up with a friend. I was inconsolable. I hated myself. I was responsible for your death. My love had caused your death. Maybe if I had kept quiet, we wouldn’t have had any need to leave the campus. I was miserable. Was my love a curse? Why did it have to be me? I never found answers, and slowly, my heart began to wither away.
I remember you funeral, the end of your mortal life. I still have mental pictures of it, that brown polished wood that enclosed your remains. I wondered how you looked in it, if you still had that smile. I saw the tears in everybody’s eyes, and wondered if they felt as miserable as I was. But I was too broken to cry out tears. The pain that pierced my soul was just too much to express in tears. I thought of this illusion called Life, and what it has brought me. I thought of you in your grey V-neck and dark denim jeans, and I remembered that smile that first day. I remembered every other day, and I remembered the last day. And as you were lowered into the muddy earth, I lowered that thing called a heart, and buried it along with that thing called love back into the catacombs.
Funsho, two years have passed since then. Standing here in this cemetery, looking over your tomb still gives me creepy feelings. I’ve not defeated the guilt; I’ve lived with it every single day. I still blame myself. My injuries have healed. But the scars, I’ll forever carry them. They will serve as a reminder of our love. The love that ended before it could begin. I’ll forever carry you in my heart. I hope I find a way to forgive myself and move on. I hope you forgive my love too. Love shall remain an emotion that I once knew.
I still remain yours. Femi.
WRITER’S NOTE: This is dedicated to everyone who’s lost that special somebody. To those who are still haunted by the past. To those who still don’t know how to move on. To those who don’t want to believe in love again. To those who are still feeding their future happiness to the regrets of yesterday.
Pull yourself together. There’s light ahead, at the next bend.
Written by Masked Man