By Caleb Ekpenyong
I went to sleep feeling on top of the world and woke up dazed the next day. I felt the pain emptiness had created. This was new to me. It was all shades of wrong. I wasn’t supposed to feel this way. So I asked myself the one question that won’t stop ringing in my head – what have you done to yourself?
My king-size bed gave me no comfort as I lay in it. In fact, I literally fell ill.
18 hours before
’’Happy birthday love’’. This was the last thing I said to her as I ended the call. It was her day and I was so excited but she didn’t really sound excited though. She said she just wanted to stay indoors. I was okay with that as I don’t like parties much as I like hanging out with myself most times though that rarely happened ever since I met Funmi.
I stopped over at her place by 8 pm with a copy Danielle Steel’s Amazing Grace. She screamed when she saw it and hugged me pretty tight I had to beg her to let go. I was grinning from ear to ear at her reaction to my gift. She had ordered for the book from some online store but misplaced it on the day it was delivered to her so this was me being her knight in shining armour.
We both loved to read. It was one of the things that brought us together – reading and sharing ideas. It challenged and bound us together in a way some of our friends never seemed to understand.
I went to the kitchen to see what I could prepare for dinner; it is one of those things I enjoy doing – cooking for her. She told me to forget it as she had eaten enough food to last her a life time as her friends had spent the whole afternoon spoiling her with food. All we had was cake and ice-cream as we started catching up on the days’ activities. We were all cozied up. Holding hands as we gisted and laughed at each other’s joke.
“Babe, you know I love you right?” I said to her. She nodded her head in affirmation. “I think it’s wise for us end things here and now.” I said.
She held her breath. Looked at me and gave me a sorrowful smile. “You need to think about what you just said before you act on it.” She said very slowly yet firmly as though she was talking to a child. She stood up, kissed my forehead and walked into her room and shut her door. I heard her crying when I stepped out of the house.
Now that’s not the reaction you would expect right? Yes! I know because I didn’t see that one coming.
I left feeling sad and happy. Sad that I just lost my bestie and happy that I was free again.
My friends had told me severally that I was a player and a very good one at that but what they didn’t really know was that I was sorely afraid to fall in love. I tend to love too deep when I go swimming in the ocean of love thus leaving me vulnerable to heartbreaks. So to protect myself, I usually initiate the breakup with any love interest of mine before I’ll let love in to crack me open.
My phone rang. My head was aching. Reluctantly I stretched out my hand and picked up the phone from my bed side drawer, the caller I.d was Funmi.
What she told me stunned me. #ItChangedMyLife
“I love you and I will always love you. I know your fears and I’m sorry you are yet to learn to love completely, to give up yourself to the bliss and pain that comes with love. I regret that my love did not rub off on you as I would have loved it to. Know this one thing; that in life people will hurt you and it will break your heart but it will only make you stronger. Learn to love. Love like there’s no tomorrow for life is too short to hold back love. Pull down your walls like I did mine for you. Love is always a breath of fresh air; it keeps you alive and saves you from your fears. If your heart is broken a million times then make up your mind to love another million times because love never gives up on you until you give up on yourself. Thank you for loving me once. I love you! Bye.”
She didn’t allow me say a word apart from “Hello”, so she basically calmly poured those words into my ear and hung up. I tried calling her back but she had switched off her phone.
What human being acts like this? Or is she even human at all? These were the questions that swamped my mind. I rushed to her place that morning only to see an ambulance driving out of the compound and her cousin sat on the stairs crying. I saw sad gloomy faces all around and I knew that something terrible had happened.
I was told that my Funmi had some crisis and passed away within five minutes of the paramedics from the ambulance getting to her. She had sickle cell and was always prone to such random attacks.
I am no longer who I used to be before I met Funmi. Funmi proved to me that life is too short not to be open to love. So today, I love not minding if I’ll hurt at some point because I know relationships have their ups and downs. I am open to second chances.
Today I know how easy it is to fall in love and how so very difficult it is to fall out of love all because Funmi gave me wings and the courage to fly.
A large percentage of my writings are centred on love and it’s all because of Funmi. She changed my life.