I’ve never been able to keep a friend for long. People who meant something to me, always left me for one reason or another. My favorite teachers, my friends, favorite uncles and aunts, and many more. All my efforts to make and have a long-lasting relationship yeilded no fruit whatsoever. I wouldn’t say I was a loner, but even the word sounded comfortable to me. People called me a lot of things. They said I was depressed; some called me antisocial, and a few said I was a sadist. I never really gave ears to what people said about me, good or bad. That is because some people are bound to criticize me, no matter what I do; while some, albeit few, support me and wish me well. So, I made one rule for myself: I promised to do those things that would always make me happy, and lift my mood; so far as those things I chose to do are right and godly. It worked for me in all aspects of my life, except my social life. So, I concluded that my relationship life sulked. People kept coming and leaving… And with each departure, I was scarred.
We had moved into our new house two days ago; and we had barely settled in. As the only son my parents bore, my dad took me with him whenever we were on holidays. My younger sisters always stayed home with my mom.
Upon our return one fateful day, I noticed we had new neighbors living next flat. It was a family of seven. I noticed that the eldest son had taken a liking to me. I wanted to be optimistic, but deep down, I knew the end result. The guy invited me over for dinner one night and I went with my finger crossed.
His family welcomed me with open arms, and his dad seemed to approve of me. That night was fun; I remember I had talked my lips off. His mom had asked me a question about why I chose to study Medicine and Surgery…
“Was it your choice?” The boy’s mom pressed. “I know that most people who study this prestigious course do so as a result of pressure from their parents and even the society at large.”
“It was my choice, ma’am. It might sound strange or untrue, but, I’ve never had wavering feelings about it. Ever since I was younger, it has always been my first and last choice.” I laughed, the sound of my own voice reverberating in my ears.
“You are a promising, young boy,” the boy’s dad added, “and I would like for you and my son to be best friends.”
My face stiffened at the mention of the term friend. “What’s wrong?” The boy’s mom asked. “You don’t want to be friends with Bola?”
“Bola?” I said the name out. Isn’t that supposed to be a female’s name?
“Yes. That’s my name.” The boy looked up from his plate of food for the first time since I arrived. For some reason, he seemed quite uncomfortable.
“Oh!” I gulped down a generous amount of water. “Sure. I would like us to be friends. Wouldn’t you?”
“I would… indeed like that.” He avoided my eyes, and went back to picking his food.
We were eating yam porridge, garnished with enough stock fish. The meal was nice. Saying it was delicious would be an understatement, it was more than that.
I didn’t finish my food, as was the custom. After I had helped Bola clean up the dining table, I thanked his parents, and took my leave. I didn’t stay for dessert.
The days that followed weren’t the best, but they weren’t the worst, either. They were just…fair. It didn’t take long before things started to fall out between be Bola and me. He argued that I never visited him, that I do not value him as a friend. He laid one complaint after another. The funny thing was, none of them seemed serious or tangible enough to create a misunderstanding. I could see the red flag clearly. It was happening again, and I hadn’t the slightest idea what to do; so, I just left everything to fate. Few more weeks passed, and we weren’t even talking anymore. I didn’t feel bad, no … I didn’t. I just felt numb and awkward.
Something was seriously wrong with me. I’m hardly happy and I’m always on my own. The only source of my happiness was my course-Medicine and surgery. It gave me joy like no other. I had strong passion for it. The thought of being able to serve God, by caring for his creatures (humans to be precise) was overwhelming. However, I knew I was lacking in my social life, and I wondered if I was destined to be a loner. No! It can’t be. Or is it? Surely, there must be that one person in the world who will love and accept me for who I am, right?
Ekwebelum Chizurum Melody, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State, NIGERIA.