I am surprised that I can even think about this again, talk less of talk about it. But I have moved on, and until I speak it out, I might not be able to convince myself that I have. Although it has been a very long time, it is something I’d never forget in my life.

I grew up with a very good friend, Feyi. We practically did everything together. We ate together, slept together – not that kind of sleeping now. We were sisters each one of us never really had.

Above all, we were Christians.

We attended the same primary school, the same secondary school. I had always been brighter, smarter, but it never came between us. Nobody came between us too because we lived in a very remote area, you know, where it was just two houses that was on one very long street, hers and mine. Our secondary school was also very scanty, I’d come first, she’d come second, but we were just four in the class, and one was hardly ever absent. So we were friends of each other. We had each other’s back.

Then we gained admission into the same university. Right now, when I look back at that decision, I still don’t know if it was a good decision, or the worst decision, but I have made peace with myself that whatever it was, it all worked for good.

We became roommates, but the experience was very new to us. Mixing with a lot of people gave us jitters. At first we retreated, but after a few weeks, like every other freshman, we became accustomed to the environment, started having friends, and that was where our problems started.

We weren’t in the same faculty. Although we both put in for medicine, I got the course, but she was given biology, and really, stupid me, I thought she was cool with it. Well, maybe she was at first, but things got pretty wrong along the line.

We were very good Christians, our parents had taught us well. However, while I was quite conservative, she was free-spirited, which I really admired about her. As a result of her vivaciousness, we started having friends, or she started having friends.

She loved the stories of those who lived in the heart of the city, so she began to spend more and more time with them and as the time she spent with them grew, the time she spent at home with me grew lesser. Still, I thought it was okay, until I started hearing stuffs.

About two months into resumption, I noticed how people Feyi and I called ‘friends’ drastically stayed away from me like a plague, but I thought it was because I wasn’t much fun, like they were.

I came back from class one evening, I didn’t meet Feyi in the house as usual. I decided to cook. That is how it was back then for most people who were just roommates, so it wasn’t a strange thing between us who had the same roots.

That evening, I had already set everything, put the rice on fire, and then I realized there was no salt. I checked further and saw that we had even run out of maggi and palm oil, and I had no money on me, nothing for luxury. Forget luxury, we struggled to even provide necessities for ourselves back then. Our parents weren’t anywhere near average citizens so we never bothered to trouble them since we knew how things were at home.

I wasn’t even so hungry, but I was all agitated that Feyi might be hungry when she comes back because we were always careful about what we ate, so we hardly ever ate out.

I went to our next door neighbour and I endured the ‘what do you want this time?’ look. It was not after I roamed about six room that I got all the ingredients I needed.

Feyi came in about an hour after and shocked the living daylight out of me when I told her that her food was in the kitchen.

“Can you do me a favour?”

I couldn’t fathom what was wrong, but I knew from her voice that whatever it was would be terrible.

“I don’t want you to cook for me ever again. I want us to do our things separately from now on.”

Honestly, I first wanted to think that it was a really bad joke, except that Feyi never joked like that. I asked what was wrong and I got snubbed.

Days rolled by me trying to get behind what was wrong with her and why she changed drastically. Yes, that’s what happened. She became a stranger. She’d go out of the house and come back at will, she’d do so many irritating things. We both were still good Christians. We just weren’t good friends anymore. Ironic, isn’t it?

It went on till we finished our second year, and by that time, we had become complete strangers. By the time our rent was due for the second year, she said she was tired of being roommates with ‘a witch.’ Now that was funny because I really had no clue whatsoever what was going on. I tried to talk to her but it didn’t bring forth fruits.

I’ll cut the very long story short.

While I excelled in medicine, she was struggling, and unlike the Feyi I knew, she was pretty much okay with it. God knows how many times I tried talking to her.

Then one day, two girls from my fellowship approached me.

“Please can you take us to the Baba that did the work for you? We need to do the same thing you did for someone.”

“Baba?” I was astounded. Oh God! How innocent I was! I thought they talked about assignments delegation. “What are you saying? I do my assignments myself. I don’t give to others and pay them. Not only is it far from right, it is a waste of money I don’t even have.”

“Can you do it for us then?”

I told them plainly that day that I was sorry to hurt their feelings. I could not do what was against my conscience.

“Oh…, you didn’t know you had conscience when you did it for Feyi, abi?”

“Feyi? Which Feyi?”

“Your ex-roommate, of course.”

I laughed. I knew they were misinformed. “Feyi isn’t in my department. Come on!” It wasn’t until I saw the looks on their faces that I got confused, “Or what are you talking about?”

“I understand you are trying to play dumb with us, but can you cut the crap? Feyi told us everything. You did a really good job. In fact, she is now on probation. That’s what I want for this girl. If you don’t do this for us, we’ll expose you. Don’t do transfer, just take it away.”

I was given a picture, and I was threatened. It was scary and amusing. It was amusingly scary. There and then, I knew I had to meet with my old friend, the only friend I had once upon a time.

A decision I came to regret for the next eight years of my life.

Immediately after my encounter with those two girls, I headed for Feyi’s faculty. More than me wanting to ask her what the girls meant, I was worried that she was on probation. I knew her grades weren’t good, but I didn’t know it had almost touch crude oil.

I saw the ever socializing Feyi with several other course mates outside her faculty. They had apparently just finished a very good test. I could tell by their gleeful looks and happy mumblings.

“Feyi, hi.” I smiled when I got close to her. It had been many months since we last spoke. She was enclosed amidst five other girls.

“What do you want?” She frowned like she had seen a pariah.

“Errm, I want us to talk, please?”

“Ehn, talk,” she shrugged.

“In private.”

“I don’t think we have anything to discuss behind camera.”

I hated myself when her friends began to laugh mockingly. “Alright. Dara and Simi approached me several minutes ago saying you told them that I did something for you. I had no idea, so I decided I should come and ask you.”

She laughed together with her friends. As much as I’d like to recall everything she and her friends said word for word, I really can’t. I guess I spent years trying to forget it that I actually really forgot it.

She accused me of stealing her destiny with my supposed witchery, of transferring her shining glory to my own glory to make me one of the best students in school at the expense of her own academics. She accused me of all her woes during and after our relationship right in front of hundreds of students. I became the ‘Witch of the School’ from that day.

I couldn’t take it anymore at some point because my face was known everywhere. People blamed every woe that happened in school on me and whenever they got the chance, they beat me up and threw things at me. It was pretty funny. It got to a point that lots of people stopped coming to the fellowship I attended.

Maybe it was a good idea, maybe it wasn’t, I quitted school. I think I was about 21 years old when I quitted. My family had to move to another state too, because we were already branded.

It took me nine years to get over this shame and get back on my feet.

Few years ago, I met Feyi again. I think 12 years ago or so. I was driving through Berger when my son and I decided to stop by an eatery to get snacks. When we were coming out, I saw a woman approach me with a baby. She looked terribly old. She tied a wrapper round her waist. I saw where she was coming from. It looked like she hawked on the road.

She called me by my first name. I was surprised because that was my first time in Lagos after almost two decades.

She called me again and exclaimed. “It is me, Feyi, your childhood friend.”

I cringed. I told my young son I’d meet him in the car. I looked at her again and could hardly believe she was the beautiful Feyi I once knew.

“Feyi Pelemo?”

“Yes!”

“What are you doing here?”

“This is where I work. I hawk to feed my children.”

“Oh..,” I don’t think any English word can describe how I felt that day, seeing her – like that. Whatever happened, she was my friend once.

“I am sorry for all what happened back then, Tolulope.”

I didn’t want to be reminded. Not that moment. “I need to get going. It was good seeing you.” I said and made to leave when she dropped her baby on the floor and tugged unto me asking me not to leave.

After much pleading, I agreed to meet with her the next day. I think that was the meeting that gave me the change I needed in my life.

She told me how her friends influenced her to think that I made her dull, and how I was dimming her light so that mine could shine better. She told me that it didn’t take much for them to convince her that I was a witch because I had shared all the spiritual troubles and sleepless nights I had during my childhood with her. I told her everything that was going on in my family and how my dad hailed from a house they served the god of iron.

She told me that she didn’t mean for things to get that far. And she meant it. She didn’t realize that words were life and death. She hadn’t intended to kill me with her words, but she did.

I asked her how she got to the state she was that moment and I was in awe when I heard her friends turned on her when she got sent out of school because of her grades. She told me how much she looked for me.

I saw the regret in her eyes, and that moment, I realized how tough God’s job is. It was hard to forgive her even though I had moved on, but I found myself hugging her.

“So what happened to you?”

She asked me.

“About three years after my family moved to Ondo, I got an opportunity to write a scholarship exam in business. I came out tops and was sponsored to a business school in Canada. The rest is a really long story.”

Looking at everything, I saw how much it taught me and I decided to share it. Many friends out there are never cautious of the things they say about their friends to other people. It’s the human nature and how it just wants to keep talking about other people.

Not only that, we should also note that it isn’t everything that is shareable. We should be slow to speak and swift to listen.

Once more, God will always prove Himself the mighty, all sufficient God that He is by coming to your rescue at your lowest estate like He did me.

No wicked deed will ever go unpunished too, however, God is ready, ever ready to open His arms, what am I saying? His arms are ever wide open to receive those who repent.

Feyi repented of every one of her sins, and today, she handles some of my warehouses here in Lagos and she’s doing very well for herself and her family.

I hope this touches the life of many.

 

BY OKUNSANYA ABIOLA

 

Learnt from this? Be slow to wrath, full of mercy and quick to forgive. Also, don’t share everything. Not following our social media pages yet? Why not? Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @GospelArenaGL and on Facebook: facebook.com/GospelArenaGL