When I saw that tweet by Editi Effiong, Dọ̀tun came to my mind immediately because Dọ̀tun and I are connected professionally. We sorted the issue of putting in the work long ago and agreed that it will not be said of us that we did not put in the work. We put in work when we should and leave the rest to whatever happens. Of course, we do other things that should be done beyond work but in a country that is as unstable as water, one can only do little. I am thankful that work has taken Dọ̀tun and I to dangerous places and to luxurious places. I said on his birthday 2 years ago that he ‘made it tough and made it easy.’ Such is the effect of Dọ̀tun. He would work so hard and attract big work and when he does, who am I to say no? I am thankful for the many people we have worked with, for the joy and the sorrow, the lessons and the growth, and I cannot wait for the next big thing coming soon.
Starting this post with the work side of Dọ̀tun and I because as important as it seems, it is the most negligible. We have made money and lost money together, between us, we have done significant, impactful work but the volume and import of the work pales when compared to the invaluable things that we share.
Also, I am thankful that my friendship with Dọ̀tun has become more than friendship. What we are now is beyond friends. We are literally family or something even more. Our mutual family members are now so intertwined that we have become inseparable. I am a son in his family and he is a son in mine too. As we grow, we have left the family members as what they are while we are on our way to becoming more. I am really thankful for this and I can only look into the future. I am writing this also as a reminder of how we live now, a memento of how we started, a testament of my commitment to the friendship and I look forward to life when we start to build our own family units.
iii: Invaluable things
The pandemic came with many troubles and I remember fondly that Dọ̀tun and I were at the airport just a day before all airports were closed. We spent lockdown together and looking at it now, it might be our last longest moment together. Adulthood has crept up on us so much that we might not have that kind of long time together again, we have not discussed this and the realization feels weird. The times looked like ages ago but I remember them fondly. After the lockdown, I started to miss the times when we were concerned about who eats the tail of fish. Since then, cooking for me has not been the same because I do it alone. Dọ̀tun is not likely to enter the kitchen to cook but once I do, I am sure that he is following me, cleaning after me, chopping onions, cutting fish, and doing other sundry things connected to the preparation of the food. I also remember the times when Dọ̀tun, Tayo and I would fool around the house and laugh at ourselves. Even when we had more than enough food at home, I would hide my food in the microwave oven and ask him not to steal my food. We would fight jokingly over who ate the biggest portion of bread when we can afford t buy the bread 100 times over. Dọ̀tun has given me many invaluable gifts like memories that I cherish and love that is unpretentious and unbridled. I had to do a project in 2019 and when I told him the enormity of it, he said ‘I will have to help you with it.’ That sentence was all I needed to push ahead and complete the project. Even though he did not eventually help because both of us did not bother, that sentence was reassuring and I am crediting him for the first time. Undoubtedly, the most invaluable gift that Dọ̀tun has given me is E; who remains the gold standard. He brought her into the team and it feels like she is more fitting than even us. She did not ‘come to join’ us, she feels ‘made for the team’ and I am eternally grateful for that, I wouldn't have had it any other way.
iv: Don’t play catch up
One other notable thing about my friendship with Dọ̀tun is how we complement and support one another. Even though our backgrounds are slightly similar, we understood early that our paths do not necessarily have to mirror one another. When one person has a plan, he is sure of the other person’s support. We complement one another and we don’t compete. We also do not play ‘catch up’ and I am really thankful for that. It took other friendships for me to appreciate that. And yes, we fight. We disagree on many things but we do it from a place of honesty and then we just sort it and move on. Sometimes, we don’t sweat it, we just move on as if we did not argue. There is always work to do or things to discuss so we really cannot afford to bicker or let issues linger. We talk a lot too, a whole lot. Communication is probably the biggest thing in our friendship.
v: Hunger and Responsibility
I learned hunger from Dọ̀tun. He is a perpetually hungry person. I don’t mean food hungry, I mean hunger as in the desire to do better, to be better, and to do better. He is never satisfied. Never. He always wants more. This attitude has been really helpful in our journey and also, he is a very self-critical person. He is always reflecting on his actions and planning for the future. It is from him that I also learnt how to study patterns. Dọ̀tun is obsessed with patterns and how we live life every year. He is a very responsible and proactive person. Nothing escapes him. he pays attention to the smallest details. He inspires me a lot. Despite all these, we play too. We play a lot and we have fun. The ambivalence of shuttling seriousness and fun is one thing I admire about Dọ̀tun.
vi: I will do it again
If I have to do this friendship thing in another life, I would choose Dọ̀tun again. I will make a few changes, starting with how we meet. I did not meet Dọ̀tun until I was an undergraduate. I would have preferred to meet him earlier in my life. I also would prefer that we are trust fund babies in another life. I imagine what we would do as trust fund babies. We would move mountains and secure a legacy by 25. The things we did in our late 20s, we would have done by 22. I would also prefer that we do not attend the toxic University that Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife is. I would prefer that we travel abroad and get better undergraduate education.