We all have a one time friend whom we shared one of the most wonderful experiences with, mine was Tinuola Adesanya. We became friends in our third year in high school due to our unyielding attitude towards academic excellence. Tinuola was the apple of everyones’ eye, the promising girl every parent wished for as a daughter and a friend anyone could wish to have in their circle. She was excited about her goal of becoming a renowned medical practitioner which placed her dream beyond that of an average Nigerian girl. Unlike me, she was very ambitious and confident of her abilities.
Queens hostel drove us closer as we were Hall mates which ushered in a bigger opportunity for our collaboration. But as time passed by, our friendship began to fall apart. A solo attitude from her and an I don’t care attitude from me became our default character. In the mix of these events, I vehemently told my friends I would never have anything to do with her. How wrong I was about Tinuola!
My recent reflection depicts my level of admiration for her while also showing my level of insensitivity to her feelings while we were friends. My insensitivity aroused based on my conclusion that she had become very proud due to her recent admission to University of Ibadan as a medical student which was a great feat judging from our background and the level of competitiveness of the course. In my humble way, I opted in for Biochemistry as a student so I was jealous.
Writing this piece is purely out of regrets. I got to know she had Leukemia only when her obituary came out. Alas, here I am wishing I had loved her with my heart and soul without insensitivity. I lost sight of her at our second year of university resumption. With the state of our friendship, I secretly enquired about her from the hostel portal to know if she had resumed into the school hostel. After weeks of resumption and school activity and no news about her where about, I decided to travel home to find out what really was going on. Meeting her mum at home was a huge shock to me because I know her mum works with a very busy telecommunication company somewhere in Lagos. She became very emotional immediately she saw me at their house and being a very emotional person, I was moved to tears too…After some time I had to pull myself together and ask about my friend.
Me:- Good day ma. I actually came to ask Tinuola. I haven’t seen her in school.
Mum:- you came dear!!! Yes you did… Tinuola actually told me you would come looking for her one day.
Me: what happened? You are scaring me ma.
Mum – a moment please…
After some minutes, her mum came with a note that actually was referred to me. It reads
To my one time friend
I know you loved me and you really did care about me as I saw how you looked at me back in school and wished we were best of friends. You know what? I really wished that too and I personally wished we could do all the crazy things we used to do when we were kids_ those great memories I would be taking to my grave now. I heard when you told your friends I am now very proud. How wrong of you to have assumed! I was dying Lola! Really was… I was diagnosed with stage two Leukemia immediately after we graduated from high school. I personally never wanted any of my friends to feel any pity for me which I sometimes wish things could turn out differently. I had a lot of wishes Lola you know but I guess none of it was meant to be. Currently writing this letter to you to let you know I really did love you and you were a one time sister we never had the privilege of knowing ourselves for a long time. Even when I was slowly fading away I still was thinking about you a lot and that’s why I am dedicating my 5.0 -100 level results to you obviously aware you would really love to be a medical doctor in the future. I want you to fly on my behalf and achieve everything I had always envisaged to become. Lola I’m on my knees please don’t doubt your abilities… Can you please follow your heart? I am smiling now because I know you will definitely make a fine doctor.
Your one-time friend,
Reading the content of the note came as a huge shock to me. Depressed was an understatement of how I felt meanwhile I had to admit she was the only friend that knew me beyond bounds. She was right; I had a special love for medicine. She truly had a pure heart and a gentle soul and seeing her mum was a bitter sorrow too. Reminiscing about all that had happened eight years ago I really have to visit my one time friend now. I now found solace in visiting her final resting place. Strongly believing we are now separated by the clouds. I need to tell her, her friend just became a certified medical doctor.
To people like me out there… Never assume your friend have changed due to some already prepared notion. Ask questions if you really do care. Your friend could be dying without telling you.
Writer: Gbadegesin Balikis Olohuntobi
Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Nigeria