Boye had promised to see me early this morning; he had wanted to discuss a business idea that he thought would catapult us to the next level. I had not even woken up to expect him, when the news broke that he had joined his ancestors in other planet than earth.
So, Boye could go just like that was all I could manage to utter. What could have happened? How could death be so cruel to take away a good man when evil men still walk majestically on the face of earth? All these questions were running riot inside me till I got to my car in readiness to hit the streets towards his house.
Boye’s house is just about three streets away from mine, so, it took no time for me to ‘pilot’ my way to his residence.
As I stepped out of my car, I looked at his house, an Italian styled achitechtural masterpiece that he laboured so hard to put in place.
Boye had told me how he lived a low life as a child with his poor father in the heart of Mushin, a slum part of the city of Lagos.
According to him, his family was not only poor, they were indeed wrecthed. He told me how he promised to fight a gallant battle to conquer any form of poverty in his life. And did he win the battle? Yes, he did. From his rooming apartment which he said his parent shared with his other 5 siblings, he was able to walk and work his way to comfort with his sprawling edifice. As I looked at the exquisite duplex that looks so much like paradise on earth, my heart sank deeper with a thought that made me realize that the owner will never walk into the building again.
Amidst the thought, I walked into his vast compound that is neatly decorated with sweet smelling flowers and colourful prints on the walls that added beauty to it.
What I saw, nearly knocked me off my feet. I was more than shocked to see people acting as if nothing happened.
As important as I thought my friend was to many people, especially his family members, I was more than surprised to see people merrying and gisting freely as if it was just another day.
In my state of shock, I wondered if they had been waiting for that sad episode to happen because the sight that welcomed me, was not anything close to mourning. If his friends and neighbours had felt they should celebrate his exit, his children also increased my grief. Though, they are quite young with the eldest at the age of fourteen, I had thought I would meet them crying their heart and soul out for missing a daddy that wouldn’t allow a tinge of negativity around his own blood. But, alas, I was wrong.
They were just playing about as if it was one of those ordinary days. The wife that was consoled by friends had dried her tears and was acting as if the episode was alien to her. What I saw this early morning made me decide it was a convergence for celebration rather than mourning.
In that my state of confusion, sadness and shock, I was offered food and drink.
Yes, I was hungry, haven woken up with an empty stomach but, both my soul and being rejected the offer.
If anything should be offered in Boye’s house that mourning morning, it shouldn’t have been food. I shook my head and wondered why the decision to have a mini party for a man who died barely 5 hours ago.
As all the thoughts were still engaging in serious combat with my soul, I snapped out of my grief for a minute and spoke briefly with some common friends we made together while he was alive that were there, I spoke with the wife and children and in no time, I announced my exit.
As I walked out of the door towards my car, tears trickled down my sad face. I thought about Boye, a jolly good fellow who would never allow sadness a space in his life. He was up last night and today he is referred to in the past.
My heart aches. I looked at life and what I and Boye had done together and I realise that saying that indeed Life is the definition of what mystery is all about.
More tears came in torrents as I opened the door of my Mazda Tribute añd made my way home. While driving, the question: what’s the essence of life became visible as if I was reading it on my dash board.
The question kept repeating itself as if it was set permanently on repeat mode .
It became obvious that the only reason why we are on earth is to show our faces this minute, and the next minute we are gone, I reasoned.
Through my teary eyes, a nasty thought climbed through my mind that made me go on sober reflection. What if I was the one who died today? What would have happened? Will the sun fail to shine? Will markets close down because of me? Will my woman and Maya my little princess follow me because of the love they both confess they have for me?
How would Naomi , my beautiful and intelligent Angel take the news? Will she just cry like Boye’s kids and the next moment, she’ll be laughing and gisting with her friends saying: Dad’s gone.
What about my friends and frienimies? Do I even have people I can confidently call true friends? That will always be in doubt because of what I’ve seen over the years. Will those who chant KO SERIOUS be happy that he’s finally gone? Or would they quickly do OJU AIYE by promising my family the help they couldn’t render when oxygen was still useful to me?
Will some others who have used me in the past as ladder and later dumped me have good things to say?
What about my siblings? Ha! my younger brother Mr Jamo of London will be devastated but withing a week or two, life will definitely move on. What about my eldest sister, I can picture her shouting: they’ve killed him for me o, my helper, alaanu mi, ha whoever did this…. But, will she jump into the grave with me? no!.
Some of my neighbours will be very happy that at last some secret will be buried with me, while some will be genuinely pained that a friend and neighbour is gone to be seen no more.
However, one song that will be constant on the lips of many will be that: he was a good man. I know this won’t be because I was indeed good but because most people are good only when that red liquid is not flowing in their body again.
How I wish I can have the privilege of the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe or the living legend, Professor Wole Soyinka, who both read their tributes while alive.
All, these thought did ‘Usain Bolt’ in my mind till I got out of my car and walked lazily to my living room. As I dropped on my fluffy chair, I summed it all to the fact that death will come some day and when it comes, drama will always play out.
Death is like the symbol of justice, permanently blind folded holding that big sword in readiness to wreck havoc to anyone at any time.
The next time, IKU comes knocking, it could be on my door or yours; no one is immune to its sword, no one is immortal.
So reflect about that last day and engage in whatever makes you happy.
*This is still Kunle Rasheed echoing his inner thought