A friend in need
Tears are associated with an emotional atmosphere in two ways: first, when we become very emotional (in hurt or over-excitement), we cry; secondly, when people cry around us, it makes us emotional. For me, the second is the hardest. Watching people cry makes me very emotional. It is worse when crier is a man. So, imagine my plight when I was forced to sit and watch my best friend weep profusely without have the slightest idea of what was making him cry, or how to make him stop.
Since I didn’t know what to say, I sat there quietly watching him soak his pillow with tears. When I noticed that his wails were beginning to attract attention, I took the remote control and turned up the music again. It was there and then that it dawned on me that he had been using the music to drown the sound of his wails. His eyes were red not because he had been smoking, but because he had been crying.
Deep pity overtook my fears. I wished there was something—anything—I could do to make him stop. If only I knew why he was crying in the first place. I had to find a way to help him stop crying because I was afraid that if he continued a little longer, I myself would soon be moved to tears. So I stood up and drew closer.
“Tayo,” I called, patting him on the back, and my voice trembling as if I was going to burst into tears. Since I didn’t plan what I was going to say next, I called again in the most careful way that would help me keep my emotions under control, “Tayo.” And it worked! He stopped crying almost immediately as he sat up, laid his tear-soaked pillow aside, and stared at me with a very expectant look.
Since he stopped crying, I had regained my confidence. I turned down back the music playing, placed my right hand on his left shoulder, looked at him with a smile and gently said, “Let us pray.” He nodded in agreement as we joined hands and knelt down to pray together.
“Dear God, we thank You for Your love, tender mercies, forgiveness and gracious kindness. We are grateful because Your faithfulness endures forever—even when we are unfaithful. At this moment, we unite together in prayer of faith and ask that every burden on Tayo’s mind be lifted. We cast our burdens upon You because we have the assurance of the Scriptures that You care for us. Let the peace that passes all understanding fill Your son right now. This we ask and believe that we have received, for we have prayed in the name of Your Holy Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.”
We both chorused a second ‘Amen.’ As I opened my eyes, I saw that Tayo’s eyes were still closed, but then, he was smiling. A tear drop had settled in the dimple that formed from his smile. I can’t explain what happened that moment, but I am sure beyond any doubt that God was in that room. Something supernatural was happening and I didn’t want to interrupt it, so I stood up to leave.
As I approached the door, Tayo opened his eyes, stood up and approached me with a broader smile. He embraced me tightly and whispered, “Thank you, Femi.”
“The pleasure is mine,” I replied, feeling glad that my friend could smile again. “I’ll be in my room if you feel like talking about it,” I said as I took my leave.
“Okay, I’ll join you soon.” He replied, closing the door behind me as I walked back to my room.
As he promised, within fifteen minutes, Tayo showed up in my room with his Bible and journal. He pointed the journal at me, “Take, read; that is the whole story.”
I hesitated. He knew how much I valued people’s privacy and how uncomfortable I would feel reading through his journals. He seemed not to care. I sat at the reading table still reluctant, and holding the book as if I was expecting him to change his mind and collect it back.
“Read it, I insist.” Tayo said, as he sat on the bed. So, I placed it on the table and began to read. It was the story of a girl he met during his internship.
The first month Tayo got to the company where he had his internship, he met Tolani. They worked in the same unit for the first 2 months after which they were transferred to different units to work for another 2 months, before they finally worked together again for the last 2 months. She was a stunning combination of beauty and intelligence, which contributed to things that attracted her to Tayo.
Within the first two months, they became close—very close. They were under the same supervisor who usually paired them up when giving them responsibilities to attend to. They connected on all levels, especially on the intellectual level. They spent most of their lunch breaks discussing their favourite topic—quantum physics.
At a debate among interns on which aspect of physics rocked most, the quantum physics team, ably represented by Tayo and Tolani, floored the particle physics team victoriously. That further strengthened their bond. At their duty post, Tayo would usually offered to assist Tolani each time she had excess work, and she returned the favour as often as she could.
The whole ‘friendship package’ went on ‘innocently’ until the third month when they were transferred to different units. They couldn’t meet at work as often as they used to, so they began to pay each other visits at the other’s residence. Tayo was the first to stop by Tolani’s house. He told her how much he missed her, their conversation, laughter, debates, quizzes and everything that connected them. Tolani expressed how she feels about him too. Then they spent the rest of the evening catching up on old times before Tayo left for his house.
Within just two weeks into the third month, the visits had become a daily thing. If Tayo didn’t go over to Tolani’s, she would come over his. Tayo knew it was not ideal for him as a Christian to keep such an intimate relationship with the opposite gender but he was enjoying it too much than to try ending it.
His weakness in conviction at that moment was a result of the sporadic observance of his morning devotion in recent weeks. Tolani was a professing Christian too, but her emotions had gotten the best part of her. On most days, he would wake up very early and rush out to work. His evenings that catered for the spiritual meal he missed in the mornings had been taken over by careless visitations. He had become so emotionally attached to Tolani that the night I called him after receiving a revelation about him, he tried to break the relationship but could not.
Occasionally, Tolani assisted him with his house chores. Not that he couldn’t do them by himself, but she volunteered as a proof of her love for him. Things went from just being friends to lovers, and from bad to worse. One time, she sat in his embrace until things got intense before she decided to leave. She still had a moral inclination against premarital s£× and she was trying to avoid it.
They both promised each other that no matter how intense things got between them, they would never have s£× until they were married. They thought they could remain intimately involved and still restrain themselves which they did successfully—successfully, until the night they lost control.
That night, Tayo was in Tolani’s room till around 9.00 pm when the rain began pour. It rained heavily that he could not return to his house that night. After reminding themselves of the promise they made to each other about abstinence till marriage, Tolani agreed that Tayo should pass the night in her room. She spread a mat for him to sleep on, while she slept on the mattress.
The night was cold and dark, and in their search for warmth and companionship, ‘blood rushed into their heads’, blinded their minds and they ended up doing what they agreed not to. They regretted their action so deeply that they cried throughout the night. Tolani’s regret was that she lost her virginity outside wedlock. She had always thought of the night of her wedding as the night she would lose it, but unfortunately, it was gone.
That night was the last time either of them paid the other a visit. They were both remorseful for their action. They repented of their sins and broke-up the relationship that week. Tayo mourned for weeks. He had disappointed his God, his father, me—his friend, the leadership of the fellowship, and all the people who were looking up to him as an example. He was too ashamed to call me remembering that I had called him, shared the terrifying revelation I had about him with him, and we had prayed together. He felt I would be disappointed beyond measure.
After the break up, it appeared that things went back to normal. He and Tolani went back to just being friends. They greeted only from a distance and even in the fifth month when they were back in the same unit, they still kept their distance from each other. It seemed all was well until around middle of the fifth month when Tayo got the greatest shock of his life as a text message from Tolani: ‘I am pregnant!’
To Be Continued…