You wake up to the sound of your alarm. You swipe your phone to switch it off. It is 5am and you do not have to be in school until 8am. You do not stand up from your bed and fold your blanket in a neat fold like you normally would or leave behind your still sleeping roommate to take your daily morning walk. Walking is therapeutic for you. It is your moment of quiet communion with yourself and nature. You enjoy how the breeze dances on your skin and how the day breaks slowly in tandem with the sunrise. A dull familiar ache begins at the center of your head and you lay on your back, doing nothing but revel in the pain. This pain that has become all too familiar you wonder if it is a reflection of your ailing heart.
You think of Moremi, your scrawny friend who never seems to have the patience for walking as you do. She was always in a haste. She was the one who knew you at your core and understood you. Moremi was there when you bawled your eyes out in front of the mirror in this very room, now littered with untouched food, starting to decay. She sat beside you with a patience you never dreamed her little body was capable of, holding your hand and giving you space to tell your woes in between sniffs, while you repeated over and over, “I am not enough”. You had failed your qualifying exams and the verdict was to repeat your penultimate year. You would not be moving on to the final year, with your course mates, with her.
The headache is beginning to intensify and another memory filters in. You are at the movies, sitting at the back with Moremi, talking rapidly and laughing so hard that tears stream down your face. The people sitting in front of you gave you weird looks like you were insane but you did not care. That was the way with Moremi. She would roll her eyes when strangers stop you both on the street and ask if you were dating. Your coursemates could not fathom your friendship and how both of you were still not dating. With her, you could breathe easily. You could see clearly the vibrant colors of life. You could feel the warm radiance of the sun and see the clear blue of the skies. You could see the blessing that was the rains. Until it was not.
It began with the new academic session and your countless messages left unread. She had moved on to the final year and had final year things to worry about. She wanted some space. Life was choking her. And like the good friend you were, you did not want to crowd her. You thought to yourself, this is just a phase, it will pass. But life had other plans for you both because this phase became a tunnel with no end. Days turned into weeks and you could no longer recognize your friend. You would walk past each other just saying hi, like strangers with no history. Weeks turned into months. Moremi now hung out with a new set of friends. This time, you were fully convinced.
At first, you did not let yourself think too much about how you would wave at her and call her name and she would give you that look of “are you crazy?”. There had to be a logical reason. Maybe she needs a new prescription for her glasses. Maybe she didn’t figure someone was waving. Maybe she missed your face in the sea of people even though no one calls her Omoremi except you. This precious thing you both shared, was beginning to disintegrate before your eyes and there was nothing you could do about it.
Your roommate is beginning to stir his too-long legs amidst the mountain of clothes on his bed. You cringe inwardly because you are not ready to entertain his ramblings this morning. The day has broken but there is a gloomy darkness that has pervaded the air. It is about to rain. There is no blessing to be gleaned from this weather.
You turn your body to face the wall and check your phone again. It is 8am and you are suddenly drained of energy in a way you can’t explain. You did not realize how much your heart would hurt from losing your friend. Didn’t they say heartbreak was the worst kind of pain? So why do you feel this gut-wrenching pain like a jilted lover? Why does it feel like an unknown force is squeezing your lungs so hard you can’t breathe? You have not been able to pull yourself up from bed or do anything meaningful for about a week. You do not want to face the empty seat that was once occupied by her in class. You do not want to face your new coursemates once juniors. You do not want to be the class pariah today. So, you shall lie in bed all day, again. Maybe the gods will be kind this time and offer you a dreamless sleep, a reprieve from your ailing heart, while the demons pound away at your head.