THE FRIEND SHIP

It‘s strange how what we call deep Love ends so quickly, and what we call just Friendship lasts and lasts and lasts.

It‘s funny how love affairs come and go, but Friendships remain and grow.

It‘s interesting how the things that touch the body can become uninteresting tomorrow, but the things that focus only on the spirit will always understand you and always be there.

Many people are more loyal to their friends than to their partners. Ever wondered why?

Many people are more open to their friends than to their partners. It causes some people pain, and yet some will defend it with their lives.

Many people feel misunderstood by their partners, but are deeply understood by their friends – and often wonder why they cannot find both in one.

Friendship is a treasure, a gift, a blessing, a wonderful wonderful bond. Treasure your friends, for you will have only few. And if you have a partner, may he or she be one of them.

When all else is dead and dark, and all hope is gone, true Friendship will show you the way back Home to Paradise.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

ONE FRIEND

If a true friend is gold, are they poor that have no friends? Or rich by default, for peace of mind is also the lot of the lonely who is spared the irony of the laughter and companionship of false friends?

How often have we met with a friend and parted from a stranger a short while later? In these days of sad revolutions and mixed allegations, of spying and cyber double lives, of migration without integration, of hospitality without sincerity, of religious justice without religious love, of racial regrouping, gender re-evaluation, and social hardening, and of eternal unchanging vices; if you have one friend, just one friend, one true friend, then you have something more precious than silver and gold.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

HEY, I’M HUMAN

They say I make enemies on all sides. Sycophancy and hypocrisy seem to be the price of friendship and group play in a civilized, polished world gone corporate. Living analog authenticity has been replaced by plastic digital superficial smoothness. Personality is dead; long live the System.

But I refuse to be the servant of a System that serves only itself and not the human in me. Being myself is not suicide; surrendering to the System is the real suicide. Being myself is birth, is life.

Don’t kill yourself. Resist. Be it education, be it politics, be it diplomacy, be it the corporate world, be it religion, be it organised Sport – they all demand one thing: the compromise and capitulation of the true human being. The human Spirit. Thwart their plan. Resist!

In every aspect of life, deep in the fabric of our group existence, we have to change the System. And it starts when the individual human being comes back to life. Until you know yourself, you won’t know your real friends. They may be many more than you think, but you don’t know and they don’t know – because you are all afraid to be the first to drop the mask and say:

“Hey, I’m human. Are you?”

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

FOREVEREVERMORE

ONCE UPON a time in south-southern Nigeria, high up on the misty Obudu plateaux of those dreamy Sankwala mountain-ranges of which we only hear and read, but hardly ever see, there lived a voiceless girl called Iwi.

Iwi loved the air of the mountain-peak, she loved the clouds which sometimes came visiting, she loved the heavened birds that loved these same heights which she also loved; she loved the stars that shone brightly in the evenings, mornings and through the nights.

Iwi, being a little maiden, did not live alone. She lived with her mother, whom she called “Sister”, and who called her “Iwi, my friend”, for theirs was a deep and true friendship. Iwi’s father had also once lived with them and they had been a happy triangle. In those days her voice had still been with her, and her childlike songs and happy chatter had delighted her parent’s heart. Until one day her father died mysteriously, leaving Iwi and her mother to be each all the other had. The day her father died was the day Iwi lost her voice. As though he had taken it with her, try as she might, no sound ever again escaped her lips.

Iwi and her mother could have gone to live in any of the cities in the valleys where life would have been easier for them, but they loved these mountain-highs and preferred to live in hardship but preserve peace of soul. So up in the mountains they stayed, where they sensed their heart to be, and happiness kept them company every day. Together they reared the goats, tended the fowl, cultivated the farms and the gardens of those rare fruits that grew on those high climates, and rarely, but rarely, did they go down all the way to the valley, mainly to the Sankwala market, indeed just when they had to go.

As mysteriously as Iwi’s father had left the earth, her mother died one day, leaving Iwi now all alone upon their mountain home. If her father’s departure had taken her voice away, her mother’s did not bring it back, voiceless she remained.

After burying her mother, Iwi made the decision to continue to live up there where mountain-air, mountain-clouds and mountain-sighs gave back to her the love she gave. But lonely was she now, alone in the world, if we forget the the goats, the fowl and the flowers, and of course the fairies she saw not, although they saw her, and the friendy stars in the skies – all of which we may however not forget. Yet none of them proved able to restore to her her once beautiful voice.

She grew into a woman and grew used to being a single woman on the heights, managing and flowing, but once in a while longing for another human.

One day, like a miracle, who did she see walking there upon her mountains? A hermit, but younger than most hermits are, more handsome than hermits ought to be. If she was full surprised, then surely she was not half as surprised as he was… to find this beautiful woman living, alone, high up there where he’d come seeking solitude, hoping to discover himself in silence. So, shyly he avoided her for the next couple of months, and shyly she pretended too that he was not up there.

But then one morning, like a man must do, he waited for her outside her mountain hut. And when she emerged, he, in the Obanliku dialect of these parts, introduced himself to her and offered her a small basket of wild ụdara which he had gathered early that morning as the sun’s rays were still struggling to break through the mountain mist.

It is hard to say how long she stood there, silent, surprised, staring at him; but however long it was must have been of no consequence, for just as long did he too remain standing there, refusing to budge, waiting for her to reply. The moment was broken when, to her utmost shock, she heard her voice thanking him and then telling him her name. They both smiled as she accepted the basket of wild berries from him and then he turned around and walked away. And she had a voice again, awakened by love.

And so did they gradually they began to stop, to talk, one word here, two words there. And finally, over a year after he first arrived these heights, they began to live together. That he was a stranger to these parts was clear to her, for she heard it in his accent, although he bravely struggled to speak her thongue. It did not matter to her, it only made her love him all the more.

Love and understanding and joy are three things which when they arrive at the same time, in the same place, around the same people, create that thing which words cannot describe. And so it was between Iwi and the young hermit whose name, as he had told her that fateful morning, was Sike. Their love was eternal, immortal, intense – and it never ceased to startle them.

Through Iwi, Sike came to see and understand the Obudu mountains and their lush green forests with new eyes; its moods became a dictionary of new language upon his heart; mist or rain, animals or fauna, plauteaux or gorges, forests and waterfalls, his senses became born again to a world that was part of his native country but which he had never known, for it was so different from the world he came from that he knew he would never be able to describe it to the people of his world, villagers and city-people alike. And the more he discovered nature, the more he loved this beautiful female spirit who was the source of his rebirth. Everything that was special about this place was reflected in her nature – everything that was special about her personality was reflected in this cradle of nature. How could the one be separated from the other? The source of his joy became the emblem of his sorrow.

For just when Iwi came to believe that Sike would stay up here with her, forevermore, he told the truth about himself: he was a servant of his people who had come here to seek quietude and clarity, but had vowed to return to his people when he was done, to continue with his service. He spoke about communal clashes and border disputes, about social projects and missions of hope and other things he was not sure she understood. Without emotion Iwi listened to him and then, with trembling heart, waited for him to ask her if she would come with him, not knowing what her answer would be.

But the request never came. She did not ask him if there was someone else waiting for him in his old life, nor did he mention it.

Now Sike stood outside Iwi’s hut, looked at the sky, and tear on tear fell from his eyes. He’d come up here to find understandings rare, only to end up with much more than he had expected. After strengthening his heart with a silent prayer which Iwi did not see, but strongly felt, he turned to her and said:

“Iwi… I love you… eternally… but I love also the people I have pledged to serve, and I love the service I have vowed to fulfill all the days of life… they need me… and so I must return there where I came from.”

They held each other tightly one last time under the blue skies, tropical avians winging their way over, and he promised to love her… and she promised to love him… foreverevermore…

They parted on that same evening – Iwi remained with his heart upon her Obudu mounain-tops, Sike took her heart with him to his calling.

She never did find out to which constituency he belonged, he never came to know what became of her in the future; but every morning and every evening, both their heartborn, love-borne thoughts meet in the firmaments of Heaven, and their thoughts promise love foreverevermore.

– CHE CHIDI CHUKWUMERIJE.

Read other inspirational stories in:
THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING MORE.

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BONDING

You know those walks we took
Down untarred streets and red
And brown was sand and book by book
We discussed all we’d read

You know those suns that set
As quietly we’d gaze
With hearts that knew to not forget
The orange tempered rays

You know those thoughts we thought
And knew not their origin
Yet marvelled side by side at what
Hearts bonded could be given

Nations will rise and fall
Sages will come and go
But Friendship will outlast them all
Through you, this I now know.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

SEX IS NOT THE ONLY FORM OF INTIMATE CONVERSATION

Sex is not the only form of conversation, connection, exchange and sharing, in the course of Intimacy between people. There are other options that may fulfil the need for temporary or permanent oneness more effectively than sexual intercourse, depending on the chemistry between, the story around and the needs of and nature within the people involved.

1. THE NATURE OF CONVERSATIONS
The nature of verbal conversations between people can sometimes be a more powerful form of intimacy than sex, giving room for an inner release of pressures that not even sex can achieve. This often happens between people who feel comfortable enough with each other, or find the courage, to share information about their vulnerabilities with one another, and have found a language in which to do so. Some friendships bear this Quality intrinsically within.

2. SHARED SILENCE
There are some people whose most intimate exchange happens in deeply felt moments of shared Silence. This silence is like a continuum in which their thoughts and intuitive perceptions merge and shape one another. The people involved always emerge from such moments with enriched souls. These are people who of one another often say: we like to be silent together. Silence is their bond.

3. HONEST QUARRELS
A good quarrel – extreme, hard, honest, totally baring – is sometimes the best form of conversation and the most intimate way to exchange the most revealing information between two people or a set of people. I became acquainted with some of my closest friends after a quarrel. I met my wife through a quarrel. It was the quarrel that paved the way for the love. Quarrels are often missed opportunities when the people involved, while quarrelling, are – for lack of trust – not honest with themselves and with the other person. And yet sometimes the fundamental or temporary chemistry between two people is such that only an honest and brave painful quarrel will fulfil the function of the intimate conversation they need in order to take their understanding of one another to the next level.

4. HOMELINESS AND HOME
There are some people with whom we share the most open exchanges and most intimate conversations because the context of our chemistry and the base of our bond is a certain sense of home or homeliness, the type in which the real us feels ‘at home’ when together with these people. Some share this connection from birth, some acquire this in the course of a relationship or a friendship that makes them feel at home with each other. And this sense of home does not require of them to do or say anything extra or particular, or require another form of intimacy. The sense of being at home while together is in itself already their intimate conversation.

5. DISTANCE
There is a curious intimacy in distance that sometimes comes into play between certain people. It is delicate and fine, but also very intense, very strong and very revelatory. Invasion without invasiveness. Penetration without intrusion. An all-encompassing knowing, full of the most sensitive respect. The power of distance as a mediator and form of intimacy is often underrated. And yet there are some people with whom we can only enjoy a feeling and a sense of an intimate conversation when we find and keep the right distance between ourselves. Sometimes such people know us more intimately than the ones closest to us and may sometimes enjoy our rarest trust. It is also not by chance that people sometimes reveal themselves to and connect with less restriction and more satisfaction with Strangers than with those they know – exactly because of the fact that they are, and will remain,… strangers.

6. SEX AS A DEPTH OF COMMUNICATION
Voluntary sex is different things to different people – a power-game, a playful act; or for some it’s deeper, a level of release. There are people however who, apart from or in addition to this, experience sex as a form of conversation. An intimate way of sharing self-knowledge and exchanging sensitive wordless information about what we are in the primitive depths of our fundamental personalities. Just as sex can be used to tell lies, project a falsehood and hide secrets, it can also be used – by people whose bond trigger that chemistry – to communicate. People who experience sex solely in this way have a satisfying sense of communication, or frustrating non-communication, in connection with every moment of sexual intimacy.

7. A SHARED GOAL
There may be truth to the saying that there is nothing that binds people together as primordially and intuitively as a deeply-felt and shared Goal. The stronger and deeper the love and loyalty they have for the cause, the more this condition possesses the ability to break all barriers between them and link inner parts of their hidden selves with one another on levels which are never activated in their dealings with other people. That is to say: when people love the same thing and work passionately towards the same purpose, it wavelengths them into a place where only they can go together. The entire context of their relationship with each other becomes determined by that for which they share their truest love and most quiet loyalty, to which they have pledged the very essence their life, and it becomes the underlining hearth of their bond, their quiet intimate conversation.

The individual natures of each person and the chemistry between people, as well as the nature of intimacy possible, mutually desired or needed between them, is what determines the form of interchange between them which permits the realisation of this intimacy.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

THERE’LL BE HELP ALONG THE WAY (VIDEO)

I did not blog at all in 2014/2015 about the illness and death of my father. It was, still is, too deep. But I wrote a song with his words of advice – “There’ll Be Help Along The Way” – which captures everything he gave, and means, to me.

One of the most imprtant things his death did to me was to remind me that life is short. Do the most important things first. So I started making and recording Music again. And I ended up with my first Album in many years, called FIRST NATURE.

YouTube: Che – There’ll Be Help Along The Way

(V.1):
I remember
When the news hit me back in September
Daddy’s going home
Father father
Tell us will this be our last December?
Speak a word of hope

(CHORUS 1):
There’ll be storm and there’ll be rain
There’ll be tears and there’ll be pain
Keep on striving night and day
There’ll be help along the way
Those who have no fear to fail
Are the ones who never fail
Though they fall they’ll rise again
There’ll be help along the way
… way way way along the way

(V.2):
Have a vision
Live you life with purpose and a mission
Never never give up
Stick together
Be your brothers’ and your sister’s keeper
And keep your faith in God

(CHORUS 2):
When old friends have gone away – (way)
And new friends don’t feel the same – (same)
Yet stay on your lonely lane – (lane)
There’ll be help along the way –
Heaven helps who help themselves – (selves)
Don’t keep doubtig your success – (cess)
Just be faithful to your fate
There’ll be help along the way
… way way way along the way

(SAX SOLO)

(CHORUS 3):
Sometimes at the very start
The road you have to go looks hard
Just set off and just be brave
There’ll be help along the way
It’s no shame to be afraid
But don’t let it make you brake
’Cause in unexpected ways
Oh, there’ll be help along the way…

(FINAL AD-LIBS):
Oooh.. along the way
Children Children (there’ll be help along the way)
There’ll be help along the way…. (there’ll be help along the way)
Help along the way
There’ll be help along, there’ll be help along the Way…

_ _ _ _

(Words/Music: Che Chidi Chukwumerije)

THE SPLIT

I’m quiet tonight
Never mind that it’s morning
I’m still dreaming

I remember a friend
We had high hopes for his future
Yet he chose the Easy

Now I’m all alone
On the road we once chose together
Watching it grow longer

This pain I keep inside
Greater than death, worse than loss
Treachery’s dungeons.

If I doubted reincarnation
This life has taught me a bitter lesson
For I must come again

The work is unfinished
The cards will be reshuffled
I will come again.

Then I hear, so soft
The sounds of morning dawning
The past is over now.

Those words, those strange words
That baffle the minds of politics
Of culture and science

You can call me Fool
You can call me mad, and yet
You too will come again.

– che chidi chukwumerije.

DADDY DEAR

Ashes to ashes…

Dust to dust…

Spirit to spirit…

Have mercy, o Holy Ghost!

CDKC

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

Another anniversary of the day I beheld for the last time the noble countenance of my father. Then we closed the coffin and confered his cloak into the warm arms of Mother Earth. And set the spirt free for the Flight back Home. Always in my fondest Memories, Daddy dear… 22.5….

(Pic: my first day in Boarding School, Sep 1995 – King’s College. Lagos)