A Friend in Need …….. (A Story By John Ogunjimi)
Tayo’s father was the parish pastor of the church our family attended. We started attending that parish when my Dad was transferred to the South. I was to resume into senior class in high school that year, same as Tayo; the only difference was that he went into the sciences while I chose art.
Soon, we bonded. We met in church every week, sang together in the choir, attended prayer meetings, went out for evangelism, and eventually became members of the executive in the school fellowship.
Tayo was exceptionally brilliant. He was a voracious reader and, I must confess, his love for books has rubbed off on me in no little way. I wasn’t very serious with my studies before we met, but something drastic happened when we became friends.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I was a dullard. What I mean is that I just didn’t care much for success like he did. Throughout my first three years in high school, I was among the ten best students in my class while Tayo, as I would later learn, always topped his class. But after I met Tayo, I started craving for more.
Beyond academics, Tayo lived an infectious spiritual life too. Each time we sat to share the word of God together, I couldn’t help but wonder how much time he must have devoted to studying the Bible before he received such great revelations. Everything about him was challenging.
Days turned to weeks, weeks into months, and months into years. We finished high school with good grades. Of all the nine subjects Tayo offered in the final exams, he had eight distinctions. I had five. We took entrance exams into the same university and got admitted to study the course of our choice; I, to study psychology, and Tayo to study physics.
Immediately the admission list was released, we both went to school to sort out our registration and accommodation issues. We decided to live off campus, and although we didn’t share the same room, we still lived in the same hostel. We did a lot together till sophomore year to the extent that most people thought we were siblings. As freshmen, we joined a Christian fellowship on campus. Shortly after that, we joined the choir. Tayo developed a growing passion for God and his work in exemplary dimensions.
Everything looked great until we reached final year. It all started immediately the second semester of third year ended and Tayo travelled home. Actually, he had not been in school for some months. He had been an intern at an engineering company in a neighbouring town for the last six months. When his internship was over, he came to campus for a few days before he travelled home.
I first started suspecting that something was wrong in the third month of his internship. I remember having a bad dream about him one night, I called him up that same night, shared with him and we prayed together. Shortly after that night, I noticed that he stopped calling me. For weeks, I excused his action by making myself believe that he must have been busy with work. I prayed for him more often.
A month passed and he still would not initiate a call or return the ones he missed. Then two more months slipped by, until his internship was over. He came to campus but didn’t even inform me of his presence, or stop by to say ‘hello’. I became more worried when he left the campus for home and still did not tell me. I wasn’t trying to monitor him, it’s just that things were not like this before. Something was obviously going on with him that he didn’t want to share.
When he returned to school for the new session, he started avoiding me. He would leave his hostel room very early and return in the dead of the night. He didn’t want to associate himself with any of the brethren, and he stopped attending fellowship meetings altogether. More than once I went to his room, knocked till my knuckles hurt, but he wouldn’t answer. He would turn the music so loud that it drowned all sounds from within or outside his room. He wasn’t answering his phone either; wouldn’t return my calls or reply my texts.
My worry grew into great concern. We were already a month and half into the semester, yet Tayo had not attended a single service. My mind couldn’t fathom what could have gone wrong, though I knew it must have something to do with his internship, the dream I shared with him and probably something I didn’t know. ‘I need to inform his parents about this,’ I said to myself, picking up my phone.
To be continued…