By Michael Odejimi
MICHAEL: You left. Suddenly. No goodbyes. Why?
IFY: I said my goodbyes a few times. You just weren’t listening. These days, it seems the world only listens to what it wants to hear. Infact, my works and, most importantly, my poems spoke loudest. It’s funny no one heard.
MICHAEL: So I guess you are resting now.
IFY: Sure. From the struggle, pain and sorrow you all call life. But it is funny, really, how you all cling to it; afraid to let it go as if by worrying, you could add a second to your years on earth.
MICHAEL: You can’t blame us.
IFY: And that’s the irony of it all, Michael. You all labour day and night with all your might like the plan was for you to spend eternity on earth. When I arrived here, I discovered that indeed life is one short dream. A long short race.
MICHAEL: You are implying that the place you are now is better?
IFY: If I could use a better word than better. Rest couldn’t have been sweeter!
MICHAEL: But you left us Olufela. That in itself is very painful.
IFY: Let me calm your fears. Not one hair on his head will come in harm’s way. He is safe and he will be fine. I made sure of that before I left. Our heavenly Father will take care of him so don’t be distressed. You just watch. Time will convince you. But… I do miss him very much.
MICHAEL: A lot of us will miss you; especially the lives you touched during your brief but eventful stay with us.
IFY: Okay, Michael. Let me ask you something. Which would you have wished for me? A long but unfulfilled and wretched life or a short eventful one?
MICHAEL: Erm….well…you see, the thing is…
IFY: No, Michael. Just answer my question. Which is better?
MICHAEL: Nothing can be compared to living an eventful life through which one touches other lives in very positive ways.
IFY: That’s it, Mike. So, mourning my exit should be at the minimal. I’m extremely happy here and doing fine. Rest is sweet after true labour. God was right after all. He always knows best. And regarding touching people’s lives, I was only running an errand – which is the essence of life. If I didn’t run those errands, others would have. Consequently, I would have been worse for it and I would have started to regret it now that my eyes are wide open. One question you should always ask yourself is: what kind of influence will you be? A positive or negative one? The world needs healing but there are only a few “doctors.”
MICHAEL: What should I tell your friends, colleagues, students, your fellow artistes and Fela?
IFY: Tell my friends, colleagues and my fellow colleagues that the dreams are not dead. They live on. Tell my students that knowledge can only be sought at the brook where dues have been paid and patience is genuine. Tell Fela to grow up to be a man who I will be proud of. A man who “selfless” would effortlessly define. I live on.
Michael Odejinmi writes from Ibadan and can be reached at email@example.com