I am reminded of this as I go through my old journal. The journal in which I wrote in many, many years ago. As I scanned through it, I realized that even after all these years, I still can’t bear to read it. The words in that book were thoughts I had so buried so deep I had to tear myself apart just to revisit them and turn them into words.
Let’s just say that I am happy I have evolved from that to the quirky-witty writer who finds humour in everything that you (my readers) seem to love. As always, I am humbled by your acceptance of my work, and your love of me. May such love and acceptance find you all too. And may you not have to pass through such darkness before finding your light.
So, for the first time, I share something from this old book with you. Never published, now finally edited but originally written on the 22nd of May 2007. I wrote about him briefly in my article “Crushed”.
I was a child, but I remember loving you.
As much as an innocent could love another
You were my first
And even though it has been nineteen years since the water took you away from me,
I am still here.
Things have changed, I have changed but the world never really changed.
I am still the same, still learning, still evolving, still making mistakes.
I was so young, but I was so drawn to you.
And I thought about you every moment, every day for five years after you passed away.
About how you never knew what I felt for you, because I was too proud and afraid to show it.
Now that you are gone
I wonder if you knew any of this.
You were the class captain, and I was the assistant but I refused to look at you.
Just so you couldn’t see it every time my heart melted when you looked at me.
Did you see it?
We talked, although I tried as much as possible to stay out of your way.
Every time you sought me out, I would ignore you
I am still good at that anyway
I remember the day I yelled at you
I am sorry, it wasn’t your fault.
My best friend at the time didn’t like you
She knew I cared deeply for you, and it was all so confusing to me – her dislike of you.
And I was torn.
I remember the look in your eyes that day I yelled at you
Simply because you touched my arm gently when you said, “Excuse me” when I was with her
You just stared at me in shock and disbelief
You seemed so hurt, you just walked away.
And I immediately felt ashamed of my behaviour
But even then I did nothing… I did not apologize.
And my friend seemed pleased.
I know that you know, now.
That I really did care for you.
Because after you died, you came to me.
You had a soft, sad smile and you watched over me even while I slept.
The best part of you was alive in me
Because the love of an innocent, even unspoken is still a powerful thing.
But you had only just started seeing a girl before the waters snatched you away from this world
It was okay. I was too proud, too insecure, and too shy to admit to you I felt anything for you.
So I pretended that I felt nothing and walked away
Don’t be sad, please…
It gives me pleasure to know that someone shared her love with you.
For no one should spend their last days on earth unloved.
We barely spoke when you were here, we weren’t even friends
But when you died… Fate intervened in a peculiar way.
She sought me out and cried in my arms.
She said she knew that I could “see” you… that I was the only other who could understand.
And so I had to bury my grief, be strong to comfort another,
Both of us who had loved you in different ways.
Did you know that I knew the exact moment you died?
Early evening, December, 1996… I lay on my Mother’s bed in my Mother’s room
Cracking jokes and laughing hard with my family –
From nowhere, clear as a bell I heard a voice ask me
“Isio, what would you do if ***** died?”
It gripped me so suddenly, that I paused for a moment dazed
Convincing myself I had imagined it, I shrugged it off
Little did I know, that that was the moment you were drowning
That that was the moment the ocean took you away.
If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve prayed for your soul.
I would ask God, and the Heavens to spare your life.
I remember the last day I saw you.
You came and joined us – my friend, your friend and I as we played LUDO
I was still too shy to look at you and so we played as best we could
But when the game was over and you had to leave
You stopped, turned around, LOOKED AT ME, and waved.
Your smile was like the sun. I waved back.
That was the last time I saw you. Do you still see me?
After all these years, do you?
All that time, all those years – gone.
And all my pride, my insecurities – for nothing.
I hope that you have become a star.
A beautiful sun bringing light to a galaxy.
The ocean that took you away cannot be blamed
She took you away, perhaps before the world could corrupt your precious little soul.
And so I go to the ocean and I look out into the waters that snatched you from this world.
She fascinates me, and I love her still.
But I know never to underestimate the force of her tide.
And for you, precious little Soul
I am sorry we didn’t do something when we had the time.
It is amazing
That your life and death were my first lessons into the illusion of time that time gives.
And the beginning of my journey to self-awareness.
Your be-ing taught me that life IS short, unpredictable and can be over in a heart-beat.
I learnt to live so that my death would bring no pleasure to the world.
I learnt that if you love someone, you look them in the eye and tell them without shame, fear or anxiety.
Tell them – not to “possess” them, or to “demand” that they validate your love, but to let them know that just by “being”, they have made your heart sing.
I have learnt that sometimes, all you need is for that heart of yours to sing.
Nineteen years, you’ve been gone,
But keep shining and know that you are never forgotten.
Because THIS is your legacy.
And I thank you for that.
Rest in Peace, my friend.