In the early months 2009 I called Ulli, informing him of my plan to visit him again in the summer of 2010. But he insisted that I come immediately, with my son Arinze rather than wait for another year. I am glad I took his premonition seriously. The long evenings we spent in the splendorous gardens of Migila House, watching 3-year old Arinze chase the wild lorikeets that came daily to feed I will cherish forever. It didn't matter that his memory, so sharp and immense during my previous visits, had started to falter; and as our car pulled away to the airport after three weeks, it didn't matter that both of us knew we would never see again, in this life. What mattered then, as now, is the years of warm friendship, of countless, long conversations, of learning about a time when modern Nigerian and African art and literature were in their youth. Every moment counted, even as the countdown began about three weeks ago.
My heart is burdened, but only because his life-long desire to return home to Nigeria, will now have to wait...so long, dear Ulli.