Life has a beautiful way of throwing people in your way, and although they may not become part of your inner cycle, they would always be in your peripheral vision. They will be there, gently swaying in the background, just being there, awesome, steadfast, a rock.
Kessy was one of such people for me.
I met Kessy when I went to write my Post UTME at the University of Ibadan. I had intended staying with a friend who was in the Geology Department, the same department Kessy was in. The journey from Aba to Ibadan had taken an exhausting twelve hours, and when I reached the Peace Park at Challenge, I was beat. For some reason, my friend was unavailable and Kessy was the one who was on hand to receive me. I lost my way several times but the voice on the other end was very steady in his directions and didn’t seem irritated at the amount of time I called or the fact that I wasn’t his guest in the first place. When I finally met them, I was so knackered, but Kessy insisted that we go back out so he could buy me food.
I remember sitting across from him in the Zik cafeteria and listening to him regale me with stories about ‘ndi ofe mmanu’. One listening to him would know that his stories weren’t born out of ill will or the faintest hint of tribalism, that it was just one guy finding the differences in others exhilaratingly funny. As he narrated his various escapades with the Yoruba guys, it was not as funny as the fact that he could not even speak Igbo properly, yet he was confident in his identity as an Igbo guy. The Kessy I met that day was a strong confident young man, and for over two years, I had the opportunity of him unravelling before me, being awed by the sheer awesomeness that was his person.
Kessy had an infectious presence. Whether he was slaying on an Instagram picture or arguing with Michael over the double standards of the Catholic Church, Kessy had the ability to draw people in and get them to listen to him. He had an enormous followership. His quick wit and candour endeared him to everyone he came across. He had this ‘let’s do it’ spirit that was contagious and was always quick with a smile or an encouraging word. He had an amazing heart and could empathise with anyone. I remember when someone died out of the negligence of the school clinic at Ibadan, he was so mad and preached this gospel to anyone who’d listen. He was always quick to call out the stupidity of the general average Nigerian regarding homophobia.
Kessy was fleeky. He was smart. He was beautiful
Kessy was happy. He built this balloon, filled it with happiness and lived in it. He had an unending supply of joy that was not hinged on anything or anyone; he had the ability to effortlessly create happiness from the most mundane of things and lived in a constant cocoon of joy. He attached a tint of silliness to the world and would often laugh at the impossible. I remember his frustration at not getting admitted to study Dentistry and how he still tried to gain admission to other universities for some time without avail; yet he never let it get to him. Every time he got rejected, he just picked himself back up, dusted his behind and trudged on. He had this ability to sit still, and wait.
Kessy was human in the most human way possible. He had a heart that took all in, a very beautiful personality. He had empathy for his fellow man. He loved with all he had, without holding back, without demanding something in return. When we finally moved to UNN, I to study Law and he Pharmacy, he had travelled from Nsukka to Enugu to visit, and the smile on his face when he saw me was able to transform my dreary hostel environment. I was busy then, so we spoke for just a few minutes.
And that was the last time I saw Kessy.
Late last year, news filtered out that Kessy had disappeared. The stories were not quite clear as to how the incident occurred, so we waited for a few days and hoped. Then it turned to weeks and months, with no word from him. Now it seems like he just disappeared into thin air.
Every time I think of him now, I imagine unfinished foods and unuttered sentences, the wishes and dreams and hopes that may never be achieved. I think of unmade beds and that funny picture on Facebook where he is lounging on a beach chair with his hands above his head, hairy armpit exposed, and I’m like ‘What’s that’? I am reminded that the world is fleeting and that as cliché as that sounds, that actually at some point, what we would have would be dusts of yesterday’s memories and that those would be gone someday too.
I am reminded to invest in our corporate humanity. To live our truth and to live fully, with no apologies or regrets. I am made aware that my happiness is my responsibility and that while it may not be our fault, while we can’t help that the world hates us, if we do not love ourselves, then it is our fault. I am reminded that Kessy lived, that he defied what society deemed normal and created his own ‘cool’. I see him in his high Afro at a time when no one dared to go with that style, and I am reminded of some dude who dared.
I really do hope that this is not bad luck and that some day he would come home.
Even as we hope and pray, Kessy, this is for you.
Written by Jo