You asked me why I did it.
I know that I have given you a couple of answers, but I still am not satisfied with them. Ever since you asked me that question, I have been asking myself the same over and over again, until it finally struck me today. I know I have given you a couple of answers that make it seem I did it all for “You””, but that is not entirely true.
You see, I also did it because of “me”. Let me break this down like this. The first real reason (aside from the ones I told you; which are all valid too) why I did it is because I understand. And I am not saying this the same way I am sure every other person has said it, because the truth is they hardly really understand; but I do. I have been in that position, long enough to know how it feels when you just want to yell out loud to everyone telling you they understand, that they do not know shit. So, when I shared that knowledge of Koyczan with you, I did it because somewhere in me, I was secretly hoping and praying that Karma would have my back. I was hopeful that with that little act of mine, I would set in motion a chain reaction, that would ensure that if I were to collapse on a sidewalk tomorrow, I’d get more attention than a stranger’s twitpic with the hash tags #OMG #HeFainted. This is because I am scared. I am scared that we do not care enough. I am scared that the human race has gotten so tense, that everybody is only focused on crossing the finish line of a destination they have no knowledge of. Focused enough to ignore the little things that count. Focused enough not to have time for the stranger on the other lane pleading for water. I am scared that we are all living in Samaria with no Samaritans passing by. I am scared that we do not realise that even though humanity is a race, it need not be a competition.
Secondly, I did it because there are very few things that make my day and sadly, I do not know all of them. However, sitting here and reminiscing on some past acts of mine, I realise that the highlights of my life is not filled with great love stories or awesome travelogues. No. It is made up of two stories. Just two stories are really worth hearing from the log trip that has been my life. One was the story of Tolu, an attendant at SLOTS Ile-Ife branch. She might not remember me anymore, but I will never forget her. She is my greatest achievement. I met her in 2012 and I listened to her story. That was all she needed that day, and every time I think back to that moment, I feel a sense of pride no banker in the world can tally. I did not have money to offer her and lift her out of her misery. I did not have ready-made words to suit the occasion, but I had (and still have) my ears and I listened. That was all she needed, along with a voice assuring her that it would be alright. And at the end of the day when all was fine, she said to me, “Thank You”. She said it and meant it, so I refuse to forget it. The second highlight might not have been as glorious. The second event might not have been as important, but I’ll talk about it some other day. I’ll talk about how I was able to literarily make available my shoulder for a friend to cry on. I remember this events not because I am narcissistic, but rather because they are the few events that have made the over two decades of my existence worth the while. When I was a kid, a man saved my life and I was not able to see him to tell him thank you until January 2014. His selfless act however, reminds me constantly of how useless my life has been, so I try as much as possible to seize every opportunity to do something worth it.
I guess you already figured out the second reason. The “Thank You”. The knowledge that even if I should die tomorrow, there is someone somewhere, albeit a stranger who would remember me. Someone who would think of my act and banish some titles of Achebe’s books from their heart. Someone who for my act doesn’t necessarily have to feel no longer at ease, or bother themselves about the things that are falling apart. I wanted to immortalise myself in your thoughts. I am sorry that my reason is not as selfless as it seemed, but I need this to get by. I need the knowledge that every now and then, you’d remember me. Maybe not in the manner you remember to eat or use prescribed drugs. Maybe not the same way you remember to smile when talking to that special one. Maybe I’d be a thought in ten years or five years, but that is more than enough. That is all I need to be alive when I depart this circus of a life. All I need, is for you not to forget to remember me. Keep my act in your heart long enough that you step out there tomorrow and reciprocate it to another stranger.
You see, people are not getting better, and people are not okay. Still, I wish that we can renew hope in humanity by going around and doing random things for random strangers. If no “thank you” is offered, move on; but when it is, bask in it. God knows that the feeling I got while reading your “thank you”, is the best I’ve had all year (the year is young still, and hopefully “she” would say “Yes”. That is the only word that can give me a feeling that thumps this).
I shared Shane Koyczan (especially, To This Day) with you for more selfish reasons than selfless ones. And it took a flurry of “thank you” from someone I shared Ayo Ogunmakin’s music with, for me to realise how selfish I have been.
I am sorry.