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My Blind Friend On The Fifth Floor by …Jude Idada

My Blind Friend On The Fifth Floor by …Jude Idada

I once had a neighbour who was blind.

He was also epileptic.

And his seizures used to scare the bejesus out of me, yet I was strangely drawn to him in a way that is inexplicable.

He lived in Bar Beach Towers in Victoria Island with his relatives.

He was the one who taught me what it meant to truly see.

I was eight.

He must have been in his early thirties.

I was precocious.

He was preternatural.

He had told me that he lost his sight and developed epilepsy as a result of a motor accident he suffered on his way for his NYSC service in the North.

I would go up to the fifth floor of Block C where he lived and spend time with him.

It used to amaze me then, how he knew the colour of the clothes I wore without my telling him.

And how he was so accurate about my moods and even the acuity of my statements.

He would say…

“I see you like wearing red.”

Or.

“Why are you so sad?”

Or.

“Stop lying you know you are not looking at any horse in the compound.”

So one day I asked him how he could do it without seeing.

And he said…

“But I can see.”

And it made me even more confused.

He sensed my confusion and laughed loudly in his booming voice before he beckoned me to come sit by him.

Once I was seated, he began tapping his walking cane on the floor in a rhythmic pattern as he spoke.

“Your eyes are not the only things that see on your body. Your soul also sees in its own special way. It sees energy.”

“Energy?”

“Yes. Energy. Everything that exists has an energy field. It radiates out of it. And the eyes of the soul sees it by feeling it. Your red shirt has a different energy field from your blue shorts. When you enter the room, the energy field of the room changes in a different way from when my aunt enters the room because you both have different energy fields.”

“How does an energy field look like?”

“I can’t describe it in words. It is just a feeling. Like how you know the sun is shining through the window, even though your eyes are closed.”

I would roll his words through my young mind to make sense of it and he would continue.

“Even your moods and your intent, I see them like waves in the ocean. They roll out of you and wash over me.”

The more he spoke, the more he aroused my curiosity.

I laughed at him in my mind.

He said with a puzzled tinge in his voice.

“You are testing me.”

“How?”

“You are laughing at me to see if I would notice.”

I was balled over.

At the time, it felt like he was Superman.

“I want to be blind too.”

I said with the eagerness and excitement of a neophyte.

He went silent for a moment before he spoke with a voice that was barely above a whisper.

“But you are already blind, Jude.”

“No I am not.”

“You have eyes, but you see only what it sees. That is blindness.”

It stalled me in my tracks for a moment.

“How do I see what you see?”

“By learning to see through the eyes in your mind.”

“Eyes in my mind?”

“Yes, it is there. You have to trust it more and trust your eyes less and it will reveal itself.”

“How do I do that?”

“Close your eyes for an hour each day and go about doing what you normally do. Do not change anything. After a while, you will see even better than you see with your eyes open.”

It was an exhilarating challenge.

I did it.

First at home.

Then at school.

Then during catechism classes.

And my friends called me a “Bambi Allah.”

Over time, I closed my eyes during my entire visits with him.

Time passed as it should.

One day the eyes in my mind opened.

It happened slowly.

I began to see.

The energy patterns.

Unique.

Individual.

So much so that even before my mother became mad at me, I could see her energy field change.

At school, I could see a lie.

At church, I could see the disinterest of the Priest in the mass.

I could even see unspoken words in the minds of people.

I was not scared.

But others were scared when I told them.

So I kept it a secret.

A secret I shared with my blind friend on the fifth floor.

He was my refuge.

The one place I came alive.

Then he began teaching me how to read braille.

And how to type it.

And I loved him fiercely.

But one day the end began.

When my father announced that he was going to retire from the government and we were to move to our own home in Ikeja.

We both mourned.

Even though I promised I would always come visit.

I was young and I couldn’t keep my promise.

Time took its toll.

I went to Kaduna to school.

Life was as life is.

And my blind friend faded away.

So also did the eye of my mind close.

A gift that shouldn’t have been lost.

It all became a far flung memory, as a curious young boy became a mundane young man.

These days those eyes startle me when they open and give me a glimpse of a world that should have been.

An ability I should have had.

I long for and treasure those moments.

And now I find myself practising an hour of blindness each day.

It is harder now since I am older and my mind is harder to clear and my spirit tougher to focus.

But still, I try.

Today I wonder what became of my blind friend.

So I am sending it out there to the universe.

Where are you, Uncle?

You who had a nephew my age called Dapo Falodun, whose parents you lived with on the fifth floor of Bar Beach Towers in Victoria Island.

That kid you taught how to see misses you and would love to spend “seeing” time with you like he did before.

I pray you still see me.

Even as I so clearly see you.

In my mind’s eye.

 

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Posted by:- on October 12, 2018.

Categories: Literature

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