UNTIL THAT DAY COMES

Until That Day ComesI have never been one to believe in the “frou frou” kind of love, but I have been one to want. Some may argue that to want is to want love and so people like myself live in self-denial. I probably do live in self-denial most of the day and by the time night rolls around, I am sound asleep, paying long visits to dream land and still in self-denial. That was until today. Although, I am close to 30 and would probably never admit to that age in public, I woke up an entirely different person today, as if reborn. But before I tell you about today, you need to know about yesterday because I wouldn’t be sitting here tapping away on my keyboard today if yesterday didn’t happen.

It was one of those evenings where friends get together to de-stress come midweek. Of course with a few drinks and hor d’oeuvres, voices tend to become louder and egos expand. My intelligentsia friends and I were set apart from the rest of the group at Jazzville. There was a unanimous vote on what to start the evening’s conversation with. Prime-time television had been interrupted at 9pm the day before for an impromptu speech from the East Wing of the White House. The President had something to tell the nation but the nation wanted to watch their favorite shows. At least, the nation at my table. Syria, Russia, chemical weapons, war, peace, George Bush, Afghanistan, Congress… Those words flew back and forth within our intimate group as if they were possible answers to that never ending puzzle.

There were a couple with strong opinions on what the USA stands for on the world’s scene and there was that one person who turned every strong assertion into a comedy detour. This was the kind of company I enjoyed keeping, serious-minded yet lighthearted. As I looked around that evening past the devoured plates and half-filled glasses, a smile of contentment began to spread from the valley of my lips towards the corners of my mouth. I gazed with unabashed admiration into the eyes of my true friends. As if coming out of a trance brought upon by that euphoric moment, I blurted out the words, “I could never live without all of you.”

I received that “where did that come from look” from all of them, which was followed by more laughter. I was the youngest in the group and once again my lack of maturity had unmasked itself publicly. It was typical of me to respond with the widening of my eyeballs and the upward heave of my shoulders as a sign of I can’t help my age. However, things were different that evening. As their laughter ebbed away, it dawned on me that 30 years from now, all of my friends may be dead from old age or worse still, from an unforeseen cause of event before old age even sets in. That had never occurred to me before and as I turned off my bedside lamp that night, I knew I was going to kill all of my friends in my sleep.

Thus, I woke up this morning without any friends or anticipation for our Wednesday evening conversations at Jazzville. I told myself that if I didn’t have dear friends now, I would not want for them when they were all gone and with that began my personal renaissance. I was gradually embracing my new “friendless self”. Eddie Redmayne’s rendering of “Empty Chairs and Empty Tables” from Les Miserables, the movie set the tempo to complement my current state of mind.

There’s a grief that can’t be spoken.

There’s a pain goes on and on.

Empty chairs at empty tables

Now my friends are dead and gone.

Here they talked of revolution.

Here it was they lit the flame.

Here they sang about tomorrow

And tomorrow never came.

From the table in the corner

They could see a world reborn

And they rose with voices ringing

And I can hear them now!

The very words that they had sung

Became their last communion

On this lonely barricade at dawn.

Oh my friends, my friends forgive me

That I live and you are gone.

There’s a grief that can’t be spoken.

There’s a pain goes on and on.

Phantom faces at the windows.

Phantom shadows on the floor.

Empty chairs at empty tables

Where my friends will meet no more.

Oh my friends, my friends, don’t ask me

What your sacrifice was for

Empty chairs at empty tables

Where my friends will sing no more.

 As I allow myself to sink deeper into a state of despair, my phone’s ringer goes off. It is a message from Antoine, one of my “newly dead” friends. Have you checked out your Instagram feed? He asks. #tbt is on and there are enough posts to keep you laughing all day.  I pull out of my funk immediately to check out what this is all about. I guess my friends are all back to life now and until that day comes, I will remain the one who wants.

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