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Locked Up In An Everlasting Bondage by Damilola Olorunsola

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It is an undisputable fact that everything rises and falls in relationships. An in-depth understanding of this maxim by each and everyone would give us a better world to live in. The people we are emotionally connected to are the ones we’ve opened up our hearts to. We wouldn’t hesitate to do anything for the ones that have our heart and of course, we know we have people to fall back to during our own trying times.

The ultimate desire of every human on earth is to know that they are loved, cared for, wanted and appreciated. Consciously or unconsciously, there is a refreshing feeling we all get from knowing that we are genuinely loved by others. I am generally not the expressive type, at least that is who I’ve always believed I am. I find it very difficult to relate with other people. I unapologetically severe any seemingly “out of boundary” relationship without a hearing. The hearing usually takes place in my head, I effortlessly play the role of both the prosecuting and the defending counsel and ultimately, the judge.

For years, I hid behind an impenetrable facade. My mother abandoned a “six month old me” at an orphanage for reasons I’ll never get to find out. The Orimolade Orphanage Home was my home for so many years. I couldn’t understand why my own mother would give me up. I do not even know what she looks like, till date. I began to feel a void in my life starting from my early teenage years. I wasn’t the only girl of my age who grew up at the orphanage, but I was the only girl who never got out of the pain of being abandoned.

My mates at the home did everything they could to bring me out of my misery, but I wouldn’t bulge. I can’t count the number of times they told me to count my blessings and make the best out of my life, but I always discarded their advice. I was bitter that my own mother didn’t love me enough to put up with me, irrespective of whatever mess she got into. I was so bitter that I shut out everyone from my life. I was a “case” at the home, but they still loved and cared for me.

In my final year in the university, I met someone. He was the best person I’d ever met. I met this beautiful soul at the university library. He had helped me picked out a book from of one of the library’s high shelves when he saw me struggling with the shelf. Raymond had a very beautiful heart, one I’m not sure I’ll ever come across again in this life. He had warmed his beautiful self into my heart within a thirty minute discussion. He was undeniably intelligent and funny. He was the first person to get past the wall I had built around myself for so many years.

Ray was everything that I wasn’t but desired. He tried all he could to make me relatable. I’ll never forget his ever favourite statement to me, “Dee, it costs you nothing to show people you love and care about them. You never know how much that means to them.” My every time reply had always been, “I hate no one. I don’t think anyone should think I do.”

Isn’t it surprising how blinded we can be to other people’s situation. The most charming and social persons around us also have demons they’re battling with. But we’re usually blind to this fact. This was my exact situation. Ray was always the one doing the reaching out, always showing the care and love, and heaven knows how much I loved this guy, but I hid behind my fears. Raymond loved me, I knew it, I felt and saw it. But what did I give him in return? I was bitter, angry at life, angry at myself, that my existence couldn’t compel my mum to take up the challenge to care for me. So, I shut out everyone. I didn’t want to love, neither did I want to be loved.

I didn’t want to get anymore heartache. I didn’t want to let anyone in, I
lived in the fear that they’ll all end up leaving me, just like my mum did. But I was wrong, oh! how wrong I was. Raymond was different. I can still vividly remember scenarios where I had shouted at him, where I had shown no care for the things that mattered to him. When in reality, my heart was rooting for him but my head was always getting in the way. I always believed the demon in my head which told me how no one truly cared. They’ll always end up leaving.

Apparently, Ray had his battles. Battles he had always wanted to share with me but which I never gave ears to. This minute I’m laughing heartily at his jokes and the next minute, I’m giving him attitude. Raymond gave his all. He eventually withdrew and as hurting as that was, I never made attempts to find out what prompted his action. My heart knew I lost a treasure but my head argued I made the best decision; mum left, every other person will, too.

Little did I know Raymond was fighting for his life. I was so blind that
I didn’t even notice he had lost a lot of weight during our last days
together. It took a letter delivery to my doorpost to tell me how selfish, inhumane and stupid I had been. While I thought I was protecting myself, I was actually crushing others in the process. Raymond had been battling with cancer for two years and the only person he had spent a bulk of his last days with, never cared to know anything about him. I left him to fight his battles all by himself even when he had shown me much love than I could ever imagine.

Raymond had written me a letter on his deathbed. Yes, Raymond died. My light died and I was stupid enough to let him go without letting him know how much I loved him. I read the letter screaming and sobbing, I realised my own folly but I did very late. There was nothing I could do anymore. I lost him. I had lost once and I did yet again, only that this time it was my fault.

Engraved on the letter were the most beautiful, yet painful words I had ever read; “I love you, Dee. I really do. I never stopped loving you. I only stopped reaching out because I couldn’t anymore. How hard I fought this beast, but I eventually lost my strength and zeal to fight. In my deathbed, I loved you and when I ultimately ascend to my place of rest, I’ll still love you. I hope you find peace, joy and most importantly, love.

Yours even in death, Ray.”

Loosing Raymond is my greatest regret in life. I hate that my mother
didn’t fight for me but I hated myself for not fighting for me, for not
fighting for love, for not fighting for Raymond. Things would have been better if only I had heeded to everyone’s advice of  releasing myself to heal. Maybe Ray would still have died, but I would have given my all and I won’t be in this everlasting bondage I locked myself in. And who knows whether my love would have strengthened Ray to fight longer and maybe he would have made it out alive.

I’m putting this out just so everyone can learn from this. Nothing should ever stop you from living and loving, irrespective of whatever pain you’ve experienced in the past. A stitch in time truly saves nine, deal with whatever ugly situation in your life as early as you can until it costs you a greater joy in life. You are whosoever you’ve accepted yourself to be. Take out time to work on any negativity residing in you, deal with the hurt. It won’t be easy, it’ll take time but it’ll worth it in the end.

 

About the Writer

Damilola Olorunsola, a 400 level student of Biochemistry at the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State, wrote in via damilola.o.olorunsola001@gmail.com

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