Love Life: I Still Can’t Believe He’s Gone

November 19, 2020

Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.


Audio: I Still Can’t Believe He’s Gone

Derin, 21, and Oke, 21, had been together for a little over a year before Oke’s tragic death cut their love story short. For today’s Love Life, Derin talks about how they went from best friends to lovers, and all the plans they had for their future together.

derin and oke love

What was your first memory of meeting Oke?

I met him in school in February 2018. I went to study for exams with a friend, and I saw him on her bed, pressing his laptop. My first thought was, “Who is this fine boy?” The moment we spoke, it was clear that he wasn’t like the other guys in my school. 

I initiated our first conversation because he was really shy. I remember he was watching Grown-ish, and I gave him my laptop to send it to me. We didn’t immediately exchange numbers, but we followed each other on Twitter.

What happened next?

We talked on Twitter for a bit, then we moved to WhatsApp and basically became best friends. 

Ah. Best friends?

LMAO. Yeah. We were best friends for a while. I liked him as a friend, but I didn’t see him as a potential lover. He always talked about how stressful it was that he was so obviously into me, and I was there forming best friends. 

The thing is, we would talk every single day. I found him really cool and smart, but in my head, I just couldn’t picture myself dating a guy my age; I’ve always had a thing for older guys. Oke was so deep in my friend zone, I would even tell him about other guys I liked. 

LMAO. Ouch. Did he ever tell you how he felt?

Yeah, he did. He actually asked me out around February last year, but I turned him down. He made it clear that even though I didn’t feel the same way, he was still happy being friends and getting to spend time with me.

I promised him that if my feelings ever changed, I would let him know.

When did you realise your feelings had changed?

A few months later. In June 2019, he moved into the same building as me so we could be closer in our final year. I was in Room 9 and he was in Room 20, so we were basically roommates. We did everything together and got even closer.

By July, I realised I had fallen in love with him. I remember writing it in my Notes app.

derin and oke love
Derin’s note about falling for Oke.

Did you tell him as you promised?

LMAO. I dropped a few hints. He figured it out, and we started dating on August 15.

What was the transition from best friends to partners like?

I know it’s supposed to be easy, but it really wasn’t. Even though we knew so much about each other, it still felt like we didn’t know enough. I definitely found the transition a lot harder than Oke did. 

I not only had to unlearn my age bias, but I also had to let my guard down in a whole new way, and that was difficult for me. I eventually got the hang of it, but the first three months were tough. We argued too often.

What did you guys argue about?

It was always about the most trivial things, and I hated it so much. He was still my best friend, so I couldn’t stand when we weren’t talking. To be fair, the fights were mostly my fault because he was such a gentle person.

Honestly, he was perfect. 

What’s the longest you went without talking?

Our longest fight lasted about a week and a half. I was going through a lot at the time, and I sent him a text about needing to speak to him. He told me to leave a message because he couldn’t talk at the moment. I didn’t because I was mentally exhausted. 

Later that night, he hit me up so we could talk, but I told him I wasn’t in the best mental state to have the conversation anymore. He got angry, then I got angry and it became this big fight. For over a week, we didn’t talk — only texted to check up on each other. 

We eventually apologised, and that’s when he sent me that email I shared on Twitter. Emails were how we typically resolved our major issues, and we also used them to randomly send each other mushy messages.

derin and oke love
derin and oke love
One of Oke’s many “mushy” emails to Derin.

That’s so sweet. Had you dated anyone before him?

Yeah. Two other people, but my relationship with Oke was very different. It was calming and full of love. We did everything together, and he always looked out for me. He taught me how to love wholly and without fear. That was his style.

Was that what you loved the most about him?

It was one of the many things, but what I loved the most was his perspective. Oke always thought outside the box. If you ask me, I think he lived a full life on earth before coming back a second time. How else could someone so young have been so brilliant?

How did your relationship with him change you?

It made me a better…everything. A better listener, communicator and lover. Since his death, I’ve been thinking about just how much he changed me. He was a very empathetic person, and that rubbed off on me. He taught me how to look out for others. 

Did you guys ever talk about the future?

All the time. We had plans of settling down in about two or three years. We talked about everything, from what our rings would look like, to how our wedding would be. For both of us, we were each other’s final bus stop.

Would you call him your soulmate then?

I don’t really believe in the idea of soulmates, but Oke and I complemented each other in the best ways. We were very different, but we were always in sync. On most days, it definitely felt like we were made for each other. 

Derin and Oke

Are you fine with talking about the day he passed?

Yeah, I am.

Can you walk me through that day?

Oke and I were always busy during the day, but we would make out time to talk on the phone at around 11:00 p.m. every night. We did the same thing the night before he died. After talking and working together, I went to bed at around 2:00 a.m.

The next morning, he texted me about how hard it was to calm his hypertensive mother because of the shootings going on in his area. I continued to check up on him, then he told me they’d set his mum’s cars on fire. 

The last message he read from me said, “We’ll get through the day.”

How did you find out what had happened?

I went on Twitter, and I saw someone tweet that they had gunned down their cousin at Mafoluku. I sent him the tweet on WhatsApp, but it didn’t deliver. That’s how my heart started beating fast.

I sent him another message asking him to keep me in the loop, but that didn’t deliver either. So, I decided to call him. No one answered. At that point, I just assumed that he and his family were trying to get to safety. 

I waited for about five minutes and called again, and this time, his brother answered. He said that someone had been stabbed, and I should find a way to get an ambulance. So, I immediately tweeted it out. I still had no idea it was Oke. 

What did you think was happening?

I assumed he couldn’t answer the phone because he was being his normal empathetic self and helping the person who had been stabbed. After trying and failing to reach him again, I started getting tense, so I searched “Mafoluku Oshodi” on Twitter.

I saw a couple of tweets that said the area was now calm, but I kept scrolling and that’s when I saw Oke’s picture on the TL. He was lying on the floor, lifeless, with blood coming out from his neck. I screamed. 

All my neighbours ran to my house. My sisters and I were already on the floor, wailing. I eventually calmed myself down with the hope that they were able to get him to the hospital before he died. 

How did you get an update?

I was able to finally reach his brother. One of my neighbours collected my phone and started communicating on my behalf. His brother eventually told my neighbour that Oke didn’t make it. When my neighbour broke the news to me, I went numb. 

I felt like my whole world had come crashing down.

I’m so sorry. How were the following days for you?

For the rest of the week, I could barely eat or sleep. It was the toughest week of my life. Even my sisters were down. He came around a lot, so he was like a brother to them. They loved him so much.

I’m really sorry, Derin. How are you holding up now?

It’s tough. I randomly find myself wondering why it had to be Oke. I can’t believe I haven’t spoken to him in weeks. Almost every day, I read through our chats, listen to his voice notes and go through our pictures. 

I still can’t believe he’s gone.

What’s something you’ll always remember about your relationship?

I’ll always remember how intentional we were about making it work. We put in so much effort into our relationship and were always open about what we liked and what we didn’t.

I’ll also remember how he would just randomly tell me, “OMG! You’re so cute.”

If you knew what you know now, would you have done anything differently?

If I knew my relationship would be cut short, I would have made sure we didn’t postpone so many things. We moved a lot of our plans to 2021 because we thought we had so much time. 

Still, I’m grateful for all we could do together while he was here. 


Check back every Thursday by 9 AM for new Love Life stories here. The stories will also be a part of the Sex Life newsletter, so sign up here.

If you want to share your own Love Life story, fill this form.

NerdEfiko

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

October 14, 2020

Today is the seventh day of the nationwide #EndSARS protests as Nigerians march peacefully against police brutality. So much has happened in these past seven days. You can check out all the stories and updates in our carefully curated EndSARS stack. Unsurprisingly though, a major driving force for the success of these protests has been […]

October 9, 2020

The EndSars protest has been going on around the country throughout this week. While the protests have been largely peaceful, law enforcement agencies seem not to be on the same page with Nigerian citizens. From allegation of intimidation to even tear-gassing protesters, it’s been a weird week. To better understand the why of the protest, […]

October 14, 2020

For the past seven days Nigeria has had it’s biggest national scale protest since 1993.  The #EndSARS protest is a peaceful but powerful movement against police brutality in Nigeria, both generally, and specifically by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigerian Police. In these marches, music is an important tool to keep the people going. This […]

June 17, 2021

Femi*, 26, and Yemisi*, 25, have been dating for two years. Today on Love Life, they talk about helping each other grow and be better people and how the lockdown helped them transition into a long distance relationship. What’s your earliest memory of each other?  Yemisi: In November 2018, I asked people on my Twitter […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

Rich Nigerian Auntie
June 23, 2021

A rich Nigerian auntie doesn’t refer to those aunties from your father’s side that do nothing but comment on your weight and ask you when you’d be getting married. The rich Nigerian auntie is an aesthetic bigger than one person — and here’s how to be sure you are one… 1. You have the dress […]

June 23, 2021

They say, “money is not everything” but have you seen credit alerts? Particularly these 5 Types listed below? 1. Alert from someone who said “send your account number” ages ago This is how wide you’ll smile. May such people not sleep until they’ve credited you oh. 2. Salary alerts Especially when your salary has finished […]

June 23, 2021

Music they say gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything. Music is healing, it is an explosive expression of humanity, something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music and that is why we are particularly excited about this […]

June 23, 2021

The morning after having sex should be the most romantic, regardless of the relationship you have with the woman you just had sex with. You have to be grateful for her act of service. How you greet her the morning after is the easiest way to show your gratitude. Here’s a list of ways to […]

Recommended Quizzes

What are you like in a relationship?
February 7, 2020

Your taste in music can say a lot about you, and this time, it’s going to reveal what you are like in a relationship. So, pick a few of your favourite Nigerian love songs, and we’ll let you know if you’re typically a distant, passionate or unbothered partner. Here you go:

April 9, 2020

At some point in life, we all learnt that someone can be very intelligent and still lack common sense. That’s the difference between being book smart and being street smart. If you’re not sure where on the spectrum you fall, well, that’s what this quiz is here to tell you. Take it:

November 20, 2019

Last month, we thoughtfully made a quiz telling you guys exactly when you’ll marry, but some of you claimed that your spouse was nowhere to be found. Well, now we’ve created one that’ll tell you exactly who you’ll be dragging down that aisle. Take and start planning that wedding: 11 Quizzes For Nigerians Who Are […]

December 5, 2019

We already tried to guess how much you have in your account and your current net worth, and we think we did a pretty great job (keep any complaints to yourself). Now, we’re going to try and guess your monthly salary based on your relationship with money. Oya, take the quiz: 11 Timed Quizzes For […]

November 19, 2019

Regardless of what society has tried to tell us, enjoying sex is not something to be ashamed of. So, in a bid to celebrate our generation’s sexual agency, we’ve created a quiz that will accurately (again, keep your complaints to yourself) infer how many people you’ve spelt with. Try it out: 11 Quizzes For The […]

More from Love Life

June 17, 2021

Femi*, 26, and Yemisi*, 25, have been dating for two years. Today on Love Life, they talk about helping each other grow and be better people and how the lockdown helped them transition into a long distance relationship. What’s your earliest memory of each other?  Yemisi: In November 2018, I asked people on my Twitter […]

long distance relationship
June 3, 2021

Ore, 28, and Lekan, 30, got engaged last year after dating for about a year. Today on Love Life, they talk about meeting in church as teenagers, reconnecting as adults and how they got God’s confirmation that they are meant to be.   What is your earliest memory of each other? Ore: In 2006, my family […]

May 27, 2021

Akintunde, 35, and ‘Depeju, 26, knew they would marry each other after speaking on the phone for the first time. For today’s Love Life, they talk about fighting for the first few months of their relationship, how they got past that and what it feels like to become parents.

May 20, 2021

Paul*, 23, and Keside*, 32, have been dating for four years. In today’s episode of Love Life, they talk about meeting online, transitioning to a long-distance relationship and eventually deciding to open up their relationship.  What’s your earliest memory of each other? Paul: We met on Grindr in 2017. I remember I was on a […]

Love life: closure
May 6, 2021

Abeni*, 22, and Ifunanya*, 26, met on Twitter and dated for six months. Today on Love Life, they talk about their relationship and why it ended abruptly even though it was the best one they had both been in.  What is your earliest memory of each other? Ifunanya: One day, I was scrolling on Twitter […]

Love life:
April 29, 2021

Chika, 30, and Esther, 28, started off as platonic friends. Nine years into their friendship, Esther realised she had fallen in love, but Chika hadn’t. Today on Love Life, they discuss moving from friends to best friends, and now a married couple who are “joined at the hip”. What’s your earliest memory of each other? […]

April 22, 2021

Jennifer, 28 and Emem, 26, have been dating for eight months. In today’s episode of Love Life, they talk about navigating a lesbian relationship in Nigeria and learning to work together as business partners.  What’s your earliest memory of each other? Jennifer: I was walking back from the gate after seeing my friend off. I […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X