Toba Falode would have been 24 years old this month if he hadn’t been murdered mysteriously in Dubai last year. Tolu, his only sister writes to share the feel since his demise. Read below…
It’s been over a year and I can scarcely remember Toba’s voice. Sometimes if I stand still enough and think, I can hear his whisper before it fades away into the mist of time.
In that process I have become acquainted with the pain. It has stopped tugging at my heart and clogging my eyes with tears. Instead, it has become a still awareness in my spirit. It lingers there whenever I search for my brother’s face.
In those moments I search my memories for his smile, in those seconds I feel a glimpse of his eyes focused on my spirit. But then pain answers.
It answers with a stern voice of certainty: he’s not here. It pouts its lips in confidence and gives me a cold smile filled with the sting of death.
But now, I anticipate its presence and so I watch it as well. Stubbornly staring at it as I try and probe, scrutinizing its shadows, searching for my brother’s face. I refuse to let the trickle of his presence leave my spirit finally as I move forward.
I fight it even as I know it is a battle I have lost. Still I want to remember so I stubbornly sit in front of it demanding for my memories.
I look for the feeling I miss the most. When I would anger Toba with my voice, or even my shouts of irritation at his stubbornness. I look for those moments we fought like true blood siblings. I look for the times we laughed so hard we nearly felt pain from the force of happiness that lifted our spirits.
I look for his snigger of amusement as he tried to scare me into screaming. I look for that feeling of love that flooded my soul whenever I looked into his eyes.
And I feel it fade away into the distance. I tug at it determined not to let it leave. I fight the pain that has replaced his presence.
I search for Toba everyday. How? I think it happens when I try to remember the feeling of a sibling. I feel the absence of his presence burden my soul.
It haunts me in different ways.
When I look for his voice that would always answer my thoughts with confident reassurance, I seek his face.
When I remember his beautiful smile, I try and remember the sound of his laughter.
And other times, when I face challenges that somehow have become heavier in his absence, I long for his thoughts and words of wisdom.
And so I converse with the pain trying to coax it into giving me back my memories.
I ask the sorrow for his smile. I question the silence for his voice. I watch the pain for a glimpse of his presence.
And I find I have begun to forget and that is the sharpest truth of all; that time has stretched past my memories and replaced them with a fog filled with emptiness.
That his time on Earth is done and my steps have moved forward; hence I cannot find my way back.
Back to our childhood memories of laughter, anger, pain and joy. I cannot find my way back to those moments I watched him so intensely as he told me about his dreams. I cannot find my way back to his laughter-that beautiful melody of hope that always sang in my spirit-yes, I miss that the most.
No, I cannot find my way back to that sibling feeling-you know right? That feeling you get from annoying your brother/sister just because of the unique joy it births in your spirit. That feeling of just being. The feeling of a sibling bond.
Pain reminds me I have begun to forget.
Stubbornly I refuse to listen to the truth in that fact. Stubbornly I still sit and try and feel his voice in my spirit.
And though he is gone, I feel a whiff of reassurance that he is present.
He is present because I am his sister. He is present because he is my brother. He is present because we are family.
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