That day came like any other day, there was nothing that would suggest that it was different, the sun was shining as usual, students were going about their business as usual, and everything was alright. But not for long. That day was one day that none of us would ever forget. It was like a nightmare that came to reality, a nightmare so terrible that it refuses to end. We tried to wake up from it everyday but it seems to be going on. Indeed if I could wake up and find out that the last three years had been one long, malaria-induced nightmare I would be grateful.
It all started sometime around the first of April 2006, at the beginning of the 2nd semester of our final year in the university. I had just gotten to Port-Harcourt from Lagos. I got to the estate i was living in at the time, Kellyville was the name. There were a few changes but nothing out of the ordinary, besides the place always seems weird after a few weeks away, it would take a few days for me to settle down and readjust to the environment. I got to my room and it was already open. My friend and new roommate Hassan was there, he hadn’t gone for the holidays because they were soon going on industrial training (IT). Hassan was the first person i met on my first day of coming to the university. That was sometime in February 2002. We met during registration after we both found out that we didn’t have some of the required documents that were needed for the process. I was just sitting somewhere when i saw him coming in my direction with the unmistakeable swagger of a Lagosian. Right there and then we got talking and became friends.
After the registration process which took 3 to 4 weeks. We finally got our hostel accommodation and we found out that we were living not too far away from each other on the same block. Hassan later moved from that block because of some problems with some of his roommates and stayed with Stanley till the end of our first year. At the end of the year we all moved out of the hostel, Stanley and i moved to Kellyville and Hassan moved to ALUU, Somewhere far away. As a result of that we didn’t see each other as much as we used to. During our final year, Hassan decided to come and stay with us because he only had 4 months to stay before his IT and didn’t want to pay a full years rent.
Hassan was in the room listening to beautiful Nubian (he loved that guy’s music and got me addicted to it as well). As I got into the room a strange feeling came over me. Something was wrong somewhere but I didn’t know what it was. It was like a spiritual presence. I know it sounds unrealistic but trust me; I’m one of the most unsuperstitious people you will ever meet. But I felt something when I entered that room. I was so uncomfortable that he went to stay with a friend Daniel for the rest of the day. Later that night I came back to the room to sleep. Then I had a crazy nightmare. So scary that i refused to sleep in the room for the next two nights. Daniel was confused as to why I was leaving my room to sleep in his place. Finally on the third day I summoned courage to go back to my room.
I woke up the next morning with Hassan next to me, relieved that i didn’t have any nightmare. Hassan and i got ready for school and left. I didn’t have any lectures that day so i came back quite early, Hassan had certificate verification that day, after all the stress he got back around 2pm sreaming about how hot it was and how he needed a bath. Unfortunately the water wasn’t running.We decided to go to mikky’s place and chill for a bit. Mikky’s water wasn’t running either so after a while we went to uche’s place in delta park, uniport. Hassan had his bath while i played video games with uche. We were so engrossed in the game that we didn’t pay too much attention when he finished and left the room.
About 15 minutes later, uche got a call from nnamdi, asking if we had seen Daniel, he said that he heard that a friend of ours had been involved in a fatal accident and had been taken to the mortuary, we were worried so we called Daniel’s phone and he picked up and told us he was already on his way to uche’s room. We were relieved!!! And continued with our pro evolution. Soon, after Daniel had come, we saw nnamdi as we were leaving uche’s place. He was very relieved to see Daniel and told us that someone had called him to say that a friend of ours who was dark and tall had been in an accident, he asked who and the guy wasn’t sure of his name. A few minutes later, mikky called us with the same story, he said that he was told it was Hassan. Hassan??? The guy just left here like 20 minutes ago. We didn’t even pay any attention any more. As far as we were concerned it was impossible.
So we went on like nothing happened, we went back to my estate and people were looking at us funny. We went to Linda’s room and from there, mikky, Joseph, chijioke and uche went to check out the scene of the accident, that was where they found one of Hassan’s nike slippers. They were told that they guy and a bike man had been swept off the road by a teenage driver, while paying the guy and that he died on the spot and was taken straight to the mortuary, just like that. After about 20 minutes waiting for them to get back, i decided to go and see for myself, i met them on their way back with the Nike slipper in chijioke’s hand. No one had to spell it out to me. I now understood.
It was a rude shock. No one knew what to say, how to react, what to do. We were all quiet. Stunned!!! We decided we had to go to the mortuary, find out why he was rushed straight there and not to a hospital and see if by some error or some stroke of luck it would be someone else and not him. We drove with funmi to matona mortuary around 8pm that evening to see the body. After about an hour of waiting we finally got in the room where he was kept, even from a distance, the slim, tall frame and red shirt had given his identity away. I looked closer, hoping to see a sign of breathing or anything that would indicate that he was still alive. But nothing. We looked at each other, still not knowing what to say. Totally stunned!!!
We later called Stanley, who was still in Lagos at that time, and asked him to deliver the news to his family since they knew him well. That was one task i didn’t envy. The next day, Hassan’s elder brother, a spitting image of him, came to uniport to get the body and his things. The worst moment of it all was picking up all his belongings, things that were very peculiar to Hassan, things that only him could use. Clothes that he had made by himself, his bob Marley and beautiful nubia cd’s. He was a very unique person, never went along with the crowd.
Now, after 3 years, I still don’t understand it. Why? He was not a saint but there are millions of people out there, much much worse than him that live till they are old and grey and have kids and grandkids. I have seen a few deaths in my life but i still wonder about it. Its power to shock and surprise, like some sort of evil lottery. I guess only God is wise enough to understand why these things happen, we should never question him. But the bottom line is even though Hassan has been gone he will always be alive in our hearts.