Opinion

#Opinion: ‘Dear Friend’ – By Ucheoma Onwutuebe

Happenings

Dear friend,

This is how I remember you: breakfast enthusiast, lover of all things sublime, sleep-talker, chief-goofer, late bloomer in a way that leaves me in awe. For when I saw how you evolved beyond our expectations, shocking the world in silence as you woke up one morning and began to handle your life like a pressing project filled with intricacies, my reverence for you deepened.

Ours is a friendship that is deep-seated and rewarding. Lends you money when in need. It calls you by 3am to talk about a worrisome dream and its many interpretations.

It prays for you to heal through heartbreak. Prays for you to be loved as fiercely as you have loved others. It is constant. You are never in doubt of its steadiness. It loves you even when you are not deserving.
I watch your tenacity, how unflinching it has grown for years. People like you are bound to make it. For the laws of diligence are no respecter of persons and geographical placements. People who work in the dead of the night when power is out, only aided with the little light from a small phone.
The world may not see the hours you put in, the labours of love, the nights that sleep is kept at bay, the many rejections, the failed trips, the denied Visas. But my eyes see and acknowledge, so does the universe and your reward shall come speedily.

But you are hurting now, not just because you have been wronged but because you have held on too long to your pain, letting the heat of your adversity inflame your broken heart. Clinging firmly to this misery, hanging onto it like an old article of clothing you are unwilling to let go. Look how much power you have willed to someone over you. Just take a look.
Friend, you must refuse to stay stuck in the place where there is nothing else to look forward to. We cannot let our lives grow stale like loaves of bread left on the baker’s shelf which no one in town wants to buy.

Stay true to your dreams, your happiness, your vision. Remember why you started. Walk away from those who cannot stand your realness. We are too old to tiptoe around life like children afraid to be caught stealing meat from the broth in the middle of the night. The ship of pretence has sailed and our feet are firmly planted on the soil of our own awakening.

Love ought to be rewarding. This constant cajoling, this constant bickering is a tad too boring. You are self-sufficient. Your happiness is not a string of beads on the waists of a dancer that you have to beg and beg for the beads to be jiggled a little to keep you from despairing. No one owes you that much joy, that much attentiveness. You are no more a suckling. Be happy in their arrival, in all the sunshine they brought with them into your life. But please remain sane in their leaving.

Dear Friend, look how you survived the lumps that appeared and threatened to disrupt your bodily equilibrium. Look at the battle scars they left. If you conquered that trauma, how small you not live through this?

Undrap yourself from this cloak of sympathy. The guests at your pity party have drunk themselves to debauchery. Drive them home like a fulani herdsman shepherds his flock. But leave them to wander off to other parties. Clean house. Cease to suffocate your smile. Cry if it makes you feel better. Sing in the shower. Give away the old clothes that remind you of broken days.

I look at you in all your smartness, in the accuracy of your existence, for this blessing of yourself that you have gifted the world and I say thank you for existing.

Therefore believe me when I say, that the days would be right again. Your joy is finding its way back home like a prodigal.

And in all these things, you matter.
In all these things you are enough.

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