An Ode to You is dedicated to all the friends and best friends who know how it is like to be separated by space and time. This is also to all the people in my life who make living worth it, my ALA community. For all the friends.
“Friendship has splendours that love knows not. It grows stronger when crossed, whereas obstacles kill love. Friendship resists time, which wearies and severs couples. It has heights unknown to love.” I saw this beautiful quote by Marima Ba as I was walking to the dining hall. That day I was tired and busy but when I saw this quote stuck up on the wall I stopped. I stopped and I thought of you.
I remember six years ago as I walked into high school I was wearing my brothers hand me down blue short and a very worn out white T-shirt. My grey socks were too short and I did not have the school hat. I was among the smallest boys walking into the gate. I remember thinking to myself that my day was going to be unbearable and I knew my year was going to be worse. A small boy like me with my pathetic uniform was not going to make friends soon. Then the unimaginable happened, I got lost while trying to find the boys toilet. I was too shy to ask anyone to show me where they were. So the whole morning I did not go to the toilet.
Then at break time while munching away at my brother’s terribly made cookies, you approached me and asked if I knew where the toilets were. I paused for a while then broke off into uncontrollable laughter. You looked at me with a shocked face which was slowly turning into a frown. Then I explained that I too did not know where the ablution blocks were but I had been too shy to ask anyone, you looked at me, smiled and then we both broke off into laughter. From that day on you have been my best friend.
And in that moment as I stood and read the quote, all the moments we shared ran into my mind like a series of flash cards being shown one after another. Although you are a country away it felt like you were standing next to me, reading it with me and smiling with me. I remembered the time you laughed at me when I got my first heart break. I remembered the time I held you as you cried after you lost your cousin. I remembered our very first leaver’s dinner, we were dressed to the nines and we danced our legs off. I remembered our happy dance. Over a period of six years we fought, we cried, we yelled at each other, we chased girls or at least we tried, we stayed up all night reading.
Mariama Ba was right, friendship is something that once found, you know it will last forever. It has the power to sustain time and space. You and I went through so much and although we no longer see each other every day I know my friend is still there for me. Growing up my father always used to say “I was born alone and I will die alone, I do not need friends.” I always used to disagree with him and I still do.
People were not made to go through life alone. We are just not designed that way. Life is a journey that needs not solitude. When we achieve we share it with our friends. When we fail we run back to our friends. When we feel lazy, our friends force us to do what needs to be done. A person is like a suspension bridge and the cars passing are the weights we will meet in life. If you don’t have a support system to hold you together when a thirty ton truck comes to cross, you will collapse.
To my best friend, my friends and my new best friends, thank you for being my support system. The people I ran in the rain with, the people I sang ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ with, the people that were and continue to be there for me.
Friends are nature’s gift to human kind. Let us not take it for granted or demine it. Appreciate the people who make you smile and sometimes cry but only out of love. My friend we have reached heights unknown and I know we shall continue to. I live to experience more crazy, sad and happy moments with you.