We met at a fashion show.

A friend of mine was among the designers whose clothes were getting shown at the show.

He was a model on the show. Tall. Lanky. Dark-complexioned. And handsome.

There was a calmness and peaceful exuberance he radiated.

We bonded during the show and quickly became fast friends. And by the next day, we were already friends on Facebook.

There was no day we didn’t have something to talk about. He was genial, full of perspective and very engaging. I quickly lost the sexual interest I initially had for him and replaced it with admiration.

He was also incredibly talented. A poet, an artist and a potter. It seemed as though there was nothing he couldn’t do. He would often take pictures of some piece of art he’d made or painted and upload on Facebook, posts that garnered him a lot of praise from his followers. I was always there, ready to cheer him with my likes and comments, often also going to Messenger to commend him on his artistry.

Then came the day when I noticed that he wasn’t posting on Facebook as often as he usually did. He was very active on Facebook, sometimes making about five posts a day. Mostly stuff to do with his art, his modeling works and photos of the outfits of designers he modelled for.

I asked him why he wasn’t posting like he used to, and he told me he had lost interest in modelling. This came as a shock to me, because I knew how much he enjoyed the photoshoots and the runways. I asked why and at first, he stayed noncommittal. I kept probing until days later, he told me a chilling story about how he was raped in a car by a guy who’d been parading as a modelling agent. How the guy and his two friends took turns raping him, and how he couldn’t do or say anything because no one would believe that he hadn’t put himself in that situation. That he hadn’t wanted it.

I begged him to tell me the name of the rapists – the guy and his friends – because I knew someone that could set them right. He told me to let it go, that he had dealt with it in his mind and that what happened had instilled in him the determination to work harder and be successful. However, he was done with modelling and was now exploring other options like completing his education and finishing his novel.

I asked him not to fail to contact me, in case he needed anything.

Months flew by and, I guess, life happened. We stopped communicating like we used to. My Instagram followers were growing exponentially and I began dedicating my time to building up my account there, so much so that I spent months not logging into Facebook. It got to a point, when my phone needed more space, that I had to delete the app entirely.

Later I would purchase a better phone and I decided to log into Facebook again and see all I’d missed all the while I was inactive.

The first three posts I saw stunned me. They were pictures of him with a boldly captioned RIP.

I rushed to the inbox of one of our mutual friends who posted the picture and I asked him what happened and if this was a joke. He told me that it wasn’t a joke. That he died the previous week. He’d apparently been sick, that people close to him said he’d been battling the ailment for some time. I remembered asking him back when we were still actively chatting why he was so slim, and he’d made a wisecrack about why he’d rather be slim-fit than to look like a Johnny Bravo like me. We’d laughed at the joke.

Still reeling, I went to his timeline for more confirmation, and on his latest post, he had already acquired about 400+ comments from people expressing their shock at his abrupt demise. I returned to my Messenger to relive our conversations, and there amongst my unread messages were three messages from him just three weeks ago.

Hello… Longest time… You just forget me.

Three words I hadn’t had the opportunity to respond. Three words I would never now be able to respond.

I remembered his voice, high-pitched and melodious, almost like a girl’s.

I remembered the way he laughed when I randomly video-called him on Messenger.

I remembered every time he shared his dreams and aspirations with me. The people he intended to work with and how he was working on sponsoring his own runway show.

And as I reread these messages over and over, tears streamed down my cheeks.

Written by Higwe

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  1. Sim
    May 12, 07:08 Reply

    I’m conflicted, dunno the emotion to express. You wrote this article to be hated? Bro u kinda fail- u don’t act this way (forget) to a friend who especially divulged a secret to you. I know ur hurting too, no need to rub salt on it. But I believe you have learnt something, we all learn everyday.

    • Sim
      May 12, 09:19 Reply

      Sorry for ur loss, Pele.
      Plant a tree, give to charity, visit orphanage or other community social service. That’s what I would do to remember/ honor him.

  2. No
    May 12, 08:37 Reply

    Rest in peace young man.
    And healing to those you loved and mourn you.

  3. J
    May 12, 09:54 Reply

    Wow that was so unfortunate, may his soul rest in peace. You shouldn’t live with any guilt, he died from an illness not suicide. You couldn’t have stopped it. I guess he didn’t want you to know his rapists and I’m glad you didn’t pushed him to tell you, you respected his decision of not disclosing their names.

    Rapists, I doubt if they have time to wear condoms before the act. Rape cases should be reported, no one should keep silent to rape.

    • Higwe
      May 12, 11:34 Reply

      Thank you so much !
      I needed this .

  4. J
    May 12, 09:58 Reply

    How do some people think? They took turns forcefully raping a person? Haba haba, someone’s child?

  5. Fred
    May 12, 11:42 Reply

    Life is but a dream that some people are completely lost in.
    Then again, how do we sail across the sea of life?

    • Higwe
      May 13, 07:29 Reply

      We keep paddling….I guess ?

  6. Kvng
    May 12, 20:57 Reply

    May his soul rest in peace. He probably got HIV from those rapists cos those motherfuckers might not have sense to use condoms. Raping girls is worse as it is, its now raping of guys nd the worse case scenario is these guys won’t be able to tell anyone cos pple might not believe them. U did ur best as a frnd higwe, it’s not ur fault, besides there is nothing u could have done.
    If only u had gotten the names and teach those bastards the lessons of their pathetic lives

    • Audrey
      May 12, 22:18 Reply

      Hiv wouldn’t have killed him in such short period of time dearie.
      RIP to the dead…i really don’t know what to type cos I know how it feels losing someone you closely connected with and the feeling that comes from the fact that you keep thinking that there was something you could have done differently to save them.Ehugs dears

      • Higwe
        May 13, 07:27 Reply

        Yeah , I doubt HIV would have metamorphosed to AIDS that quickly .

        • mike
          May 14, 14:17 Reply

          It doesn’t need too have metamorphosed into Aids to have killed him, it depends entirely on his immune system and how it defends itself, Aids itself is not the killer, it is the other illnesses the body loses its ability to fight off, that do the killing. Remember in cases of Aid&hiv it this the white blood cell count, that is monitored.

          Wish yhu knew the names of those rapist duo.

          • Higwe
            May 14, 19:27 Reply

            I honestly didn’t know this ….I used to think one has to have (unchecked) HIV for like 7 to 10 years before it manifests to AIDS – which is the real killer .?☹️

            I wish I had the names of the scoundrels too ..
            The thought that they could still be at large ,doing this to other naive young boys- drives me to apoplexy.

  7. Malik
    May 13, 05:22 Reply

    A very sad and scary story but do not beat yourself up over it, Higwe. Many times, I feel living is harder than dying. To live, you must deal with those who have died, navigating grief and pain, learning to find hope and strength to move the fuck on.

    I feel cold writing this, but it wasn’t wrong of you to have deleted Facebook and there’s only so much of social media that we can handle at once. I guess going forward, you can be more deliberate about checking on friends but even when doing that, know death is a thief that steals even the most guarded.

    Sending you and all who knew him peace, and strength, and love.

    • Bhawscity
      May 15, 07:16 Reply

      “But in the end, one needs more courage to live than to kill himself”- Albert Camus. I seriously don’t know why there is an energy called live. Seems way to shallow to me.

  8. Peace
    May 13, 10:02 Reply

    There’s this feeling I get whenever I hear of death. I can’t explain it. All I know is that time somehow slows down and I feel this particular ache in my heart. If it’s the death of a loved one, I pretty much loose concentration and I become cold. It’s so sad when we lose young people, people that would have blossomed to be shinning stars in life. Sigh…

    But then Permit to say something. I think when it comes to issues like cases of rape, we should be very aggressive dealing with it. Because apart from the psychological effect, there are loads of health implications too. So please if you know a victim of rape, please ejo, I think we should follow up. Get the persons contact (phone number), ask if the person has gone for tests, I’m sure we have an in-house shrink that can handle the psychological aspect. Like let’s follow up, let’s be aggressive, don’t think you’re invading, because such a person needs help more than you think.

    Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let your perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in perfect peace. Amen.
    Dear lord, please also grant his family and friends the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.

  9. Astar
    May 13, 22:36 Reply

    The dead knows no pain neither suffers hurt from the memory of whatever they might have experienced in this evanescent existence.

    He’s now resting from his many troubles.
    My sincere condolences.

  10. Temi
    May 14, 02:35 Reply

    We learn everyday … So sad ? to hear about the demise of your friend. One thing I’ve tried doing to stay connected with those I truly care about and who cared about me is to always text them every new month not necessarily the conventional prayer, prayer sometimes it could be motivational words. please let’s endeavor to always keep in touch with our friends and associates. May God help us all and may we live long ??

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