The thing about this chap, just like the other friends I have lost in about ten years, is that they never took themselves too seriously. While all of us where running around in our orgy of vanity, they seemed to look at us like wise old bards observing the futility of the frenetic commotion we call life. Its almost like they knew something we didn’t. Also, they were extremely nice people. They had this generosity of spirit that was difficult to comprehend. A strange humility that made them extend unusual kindnesses to the most undeserving of us. These types, oddly, are the ones that go first. They are the good ones, in some cases, the very best.
A few weeks later I am having a lazy day in Fulham, London, doing my bookshop and cafe thing, when I got online and for some reason went to his page. Then I started seeing strange things. No, no, no, not little funny people, but postings on his wall saying “RIP”, “will miss you” and “nooooo...”, amongst other deep expressions of love and loss. There were pages and pages of eulogies to Niyi by people who knew him in the US and Nigeria where he had both lived. I was in shock. My hands literally began to tremble as I confirmed what I read. Niyi was dead. I wept.
I would like to make two key points from this blog entry. First is how transient life is and how we relate with people thinking we have a whole life time to understand each other, to appreciate one another, to apologise to each other, to make each other happy, to show each we care about one another or simply to show kindness to each other. That is all vanity. Who told us we have tomorrow? All we have is now, today. On Niyi’s Facebook status on 9th July he wrote “yesterday is history..tomorrow is a mystery..today is a gift thats why its called "present", enjoy today like there’s no tomorrow”. How true his words were and still are. Now I sit here and think of how much I need to say to so many people that I have not said, and that perhaps I should. Nothing tells me they will be there forever, nothing tells me I will be here forever. What about you? How much time do you think you have?
Adieu Niyi, thanks for the friendship, for that last drink and for the last lesson on the value of the 'present'. Your heart may have failed you on earth, but it never failed us. Check your Facebook and you'll know what I mean. You were so loved, because you loved life and you loved others: all in the 'present'. See you tomorrow, when ever that is...
Fleet Street, London, July 08