The last time I saw Ken was about 10 years ago. There was no contact with him since then.
No phone calls.
Not a single trace of him!
But a couple of weeks ago, I walked into my office to meet a short and direct note left for me. It simply read, “My dear friend, I’m back. Call me on 080……… Ken.”
I initially dismissed the message as one of those time wasters we all receive from time to time. It’s just like those calls from “unknown numbers” that we are all familiar with. You pick up such calls only to end up blaming yourself for doing so.
Ken! Which Ken could this be? I thought as I stared at the handwriting; trying to decipher it.
But no clue!
Well, I allowed the matter to rest and concentrated on other things.
Later at night on that day, as I was observing my usual daily ritual of reflecting on the day’s activities, that strange note jumped into my mind again. I thought very hard, trying to put a face to every Ken in the world that I know. But none of them fitted into that note.
I finally dozed off to enjoy the remaining part of the night.
I woke up at exactly 3.45AM and, surprisingly, the first thing that came to my mind again was Ken’s note.
Then, like a flash, like some magic, my friend’s image came up in my mind. Oh yes, I think psychologists are right to state that our brain does not sleep when our body does.
I was convinced beyond doubt that this very Ken could not be any other Ken. I couldn’t wait for day to break before putting a call across to him.
And that prevented me from going to sleep again.
It is not in my character to phone people early in the morning, but I knew Ken would not mind.
“Hello, good morning,” he picked up at the second ring.
No mistaken the voice. He’s the one!
“Keeeennnnnn!” I screamed on phone.
And he screamed back.
That was it.
Our telephone conversation lasted for exactly 57 minutes, and we agreed to meet last weekend.
I was amazed, exceedingly amazed, at Ken’s looks. Ten years after our last meeting, he remains the same youthful and energetic Ken I’ve always known. In fact, he looks much younger and fresher!
Ken and I knitted together for about three hours, recounting our good old days, and sharing our individual experiences of the past 10 years of separation.
Ken has done well for himself. He has worked in two continents over the past 10 years and moved to Singapore last year. That’s where he now lives with his wife and two children.
And how did he find me?
Strange, but not too surprising. He decided to visit Nigeria for the first time in 10 years so, while planning his trip; he thought about me, and found me through the internet. Nowhere to hide!
At a point, I couldn’t help but ask Ken for the secret of his youthfulness.
“What have you been eating, my friend?”
Ken laughed and gave me a simple answer.
“You see, that’s the question everyone has been asking me. But I’m going to disappoint you by saying that I don’t have any special food or drink. What I do that so many people fail to do is that I breathe.”
“You breathe? How do you mean? Don’t we all breathe?” I probed further.
“No, my friend,” he responded, “many people do not breathe. They simply respire to be alive. They don’t breathe.”
“Please tell me more,” I urged.
“Look, you’re not breathing if you allow the daily demands from every angle to weigh you down. You’re not breathing if you’re always chasing money about without having enough sleep at night. And you stop breathing if you can’t spend enough time with your wife and children or go on vacation to unwind.”
He paused for a moment to survey my face. I’m sure he knew that the message was sinking into me.
“To be in shape, stop worrying about tomorrow. To be in good health, forget about the past and enjoy today fully. To be at peace and remain calm, breathe. When you breathe, your mind will be settled, and your body will remain active and young forever. My friend, the body responds as directed by the mind.” He concluded.
As I dropped Ken at his hotel on that day, we hugged like little kids, patted each other, and Ken said, “Breathe, my friend, breathe! This life is pretty short. Enjoy it.”