Chapter 5 – BEST FRIENDS FOREVER
I was justified in wanting to leave home in search of some excitement because my first year of secondary school had indeed proved to be very exciting. The experience of hostel life was very interesting. I traded my sheltered life for one of strict schedules from the rising bell at 6:00am to the lights-out bell at 10:00pm. I found myself constantly hiding from seniors who wanted to make me do chores I never had to do in my father’s house. I had to wake up very early to fetch cold water to take a bath in a room crowded with girls all in a rush. I had to bath with cold water even on a cold harmattan morning.
There were no maids here to wash my dirty clothes, no drivers to take me to school, no chefs to dictate exactly what I wanted to eat and how I wanted it prepared. It was just the usual meal schedule which involved a lot of carbohydrates, and a small piece of chicken with the Sunday rice. I had learned how to sweep and mop, and how to dress my own bed. These may all seem irrelevant, but this is coming from a girl who had never had a reason to pick up a broom stick in the past. But above all, that year I had made a friend closer than any other I ever had in my life.
I’m trying to think of specific things we did or talked about, but I really can’t remember. All I remember is just having a feeling of fulfillment and joy every time I was with Obioma. My day started out waiting for him at the school square and ended speaking to him on my contraband cell phone. He was a very wonderful person. He bought me gifts for no apparent reason and one day when I asked why he said, “You have given me a chance when everyone else has given up on me, you are the only one I have to buy gifts for.” Once I came to school and found a jewelry box with beautiful pendant and matching earrings sitting on my desk. A note was tucked under the box which read, “Just because it’s Wednesday.”
That action alone touched me to the core of my being and I made a silent promise that day that I would be the best friend he ever had; we were going to be BFFs – Best Friends Forever. We were both only thirteen years old, and ours was a very innocent friendship, but it was very strong. At this point, everyone knew we were very tight friends. Sometimes Obi would get in a fight trying to defend me and I had my fair share of quarrels even with my best girlfriend Ezinne to defend him too.
Holidays became a dreaded period because that would mean that we would have to go weeks without seeing each other. We always kept in touch though through phone calls and emails. Days became weeks and then months, and then years and as time passed, our friendship waxed stronger. We quarreled a lot but we always made up at the end of each day. Even our families became friends because of our friendship. In retrospect I think this was the period when our bond was tightly formed. Of course I did not see it at the time, but now I’m older and wiser.
Girlfriends came and went but Obi and I remained inseparable. We had such a close connection to the point that he could say exactly what I was thinking and I could automatically tell when something was wrong with him. I can remember on one occasion he had fainted in school because he did not eat all day but studied all night. I was so upset that I couldn’t concentrate and did badly on a test I just took. No one with me noticed that anything was wrong with me but later that day when I went to the school health center to visit him he looked at me in the midst of the people laughing around him and called me to his side.
“What is wrong?” he asked with such care and concern.
I feigned a smile trying my best not to upset him further and I replied, “Oh nothing is wrong, I’m fine.”
Obi saw through my pretense, he held my head to his chest and whispered in my ear, “It’s all right, I am fine. Tell me what’s wrong please.”
At this point I could not hold back my tears, I just cried like a little baby on his chest. He was the one on the sick bed, but he was the one comforting me. He saw the hurt that no one else did, and did the best he could to make me feel better. That moment is one of my fondest memories with Obi.
I can’t say exactly when I started having feeling for Obioma but at some point when we were in SS2 I started to wonder if he would ever see me as anything more than his best friend. I wondered if he could ever be attracted to me especially since my figure was not quite as attractive as it used to be. Over the years I had put on more weight while he looked more muscular and attractive. I wondered if the other girls would notice how handsome and suave he had become, and of course they did. I tried to be happy that finally people could see what a beautiful person he was inside and out, but the truth is I started to get jealous of all that attention. I felt they were taking my Obi away from me.
I didn’t let Obi know about my feelings, and it hurt even more when he started dating some other girl in our class named Adaugo Nwankwo. I can never forget that name. The beginning of her relationship with my Obi marked another turn in our relationship that neither of us saw coming.
(To be continued)
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Property of Pretty of Pot Of Africa.