Grief also has an expiration date to it.

Malik Kolade
4 min readApr 17, 2022

“Like every other thing that you can hold dear, grief also has an expiration date to itself.

I remember September 17, 2007 where our adventures began in that school. my recollection of all what happened in that school may not be entirely accurate, but I can still remember how we became friends. We were newbies, so were others, and we seemed like being lost in a strange world. I cannot remember what I wore on that first day, yet I can remember yours vividly. You were on a blue jean top and a matching blue jean trouser. You had a white Islamic cap on your head which accentuated you would be so religious.

We found our seats on the second row, it was random, we couldn’t have planned it. I was a staunch introvert, so were you, or maybe you pretended to be one. I couldn’t ask for your name and you didn’t ask mine either, and our day went on in mute until we got to the hostel and we got to share the same bunk. I knew you wanted the top bunk, but you weren’t tall enough to put your bed on it, I wasn’t tall enough either, but someone had helped me. We fought that day also. I can’t remember who won because it doesn’t matter any longer. But what I can remember vividly is we ended the day sitting at the edge of the stairs with my plantain chips. Yes, my plantain chips!

It’s four years now and it’s not surprising how this grief is waning out. I forgot grief, like our friendship and every other thing I can hold dear, also has an expiration date to it. These days, you now live in abstract. I seldom remember what you look like until I check the memories we had created. And when your name occasionally come-up in conversations, what better way to hide the grief than to put up a smile, a smile that is so covetous that everyone thinks you are just another random boy that wandered this surface of the earth. Is this what they mean when they say one’s grief is waning out?

I remember living in denial that I do not remember you and I remember even documenting how I do not remember you in “To a boy that has a name”. But as much as I live in this denial, I realize how farther I have go down the abyss of remembering you. And if you ask me, I’d say going down that abyss is always a soothing experience. I get to relive every memories we had created. The other time I was reading my high school slam book that you filled — what you said you would accomplish and what we would accomplish growing up — I could not help but ask myself, what’s the point…? Sigh!

I remember your final days and the stories you told. I remember walking in the rain to my hostel that night only to find you at my doorstep, the helm of your cloth dripping of water. I remember being gentle and offering you hot tea. As much as these memories are soul enlivening when I remember them, they are also haunting. But overtime, the tenderness and solace that come with remembering these memories make me feel daunting to living. Today, I want to believe these memories do not bring much intensity to how I grief you again, which is a relief. But also, these memories now make me approach everything with a belief of expiration date attached to it, even with things that I hold dear to myself like friendship, love. These memories have made me to always let nature choose by itself, from itself, what will last the test of time.

Today I remember you, dear friend. I remember your caring attitude and generous heart. I remember you as a boy walking across the corridor of the dorm. Meeting you for the first time in September of 2007, I remember how we lived the next 11 years of our lives together; from sharing bunk in hostel and seat in school, to sharing room in our first two years of tertiary education life. I remember your sacrifices and how you didn’t flinch making any of them. I remember everything and nothing about you. Even if my memories of you become foggy, the tidbits of them are more than enough of a recollection.

Today, I write you not because it is 4 years that you departed this world, I write you so everyone who might as well has forgotten about today can remember you. So, whoever that wants to say you a prayer or laugh at the memories you created together will remember to. Today, the grief may have waned out, but your memories are very much alive in us.

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