I woke up a little later than I had planned. One look at the clock sent my heart racing. I dashed into the bathroom, took a quick shower, gulped down my paltry breakfast and headed for class. On arriving at the bus stop, I realized I had just enough money to cover my bus fare to the University. I was a little concerned about how I was going to pay my return fare. Time was ticking, so I made a hasty decision to get to class first. The moment I handed the bus conductor the bus fare, which was my very last twenty Naira, it felt as though a part of me had been slashed away. Even though it was a chilly morning, I felt a streak of hot sweat march eagerly across my forehead. I consoled myself that there had to be a way out. My roommate and best friend had left for class much earlier. I hoped that somehow he would have spare twenty Naira to bail me out of my immediate predicament. The trek from my University to our apartment was daunting. The mere thought of covering it on foot made me cringe. He had to be in a position to help I consoled myself yet again. My immediate wellbeing hung on his shoulders and he did not even know about it.
I arrived just in time for my lecture. As the lecturer yapped away, I kept running all kinds of permutations in my head. I thought of everyone I could possibly raise twenty Naira from. I could not think beyond my return fare. That was a massive luxury I could afford, so I hung onto hope that some form of succor would come visit me before the end of the day. I had resigned to staying home the entire weekend even though that showed no promise towards ending my financial dilemma. As soon as the lecturer stopped beating his gums, signaling the end of the lecture, I rushed to my best friend and explained my situation. He too was a struggling student of meager means, but his heart was larger than the towering peak of Everest. With a smile on his face, he dipped his hand into his pocket and handed me a twenty Naira bill. Indeed, God had answered my prayer. I was not going to walk home!!!
“Thanks Danny. I am very grateful. Thanks a lot,” I thanked him effusively. “It is okay. You do the same for me all the time, so it is okay,” he replied with a smile. He always seemed to smile even when he was angry. That was a feat I never quite matched. I was thoroughly pleased. Finally, I was able to gather my thoughts and listen more attentively during subsequent lectures. Lunch was not on my menu that afternoon. Armed with my return fare, I was finally able to work on my assignments. I guarded the twenty Naira note with rapt attention. Each time I heard the rustling of paper blown around by breeze, I quickly grabbed my pocket and checked thoroughly to make sure that my bank had not been invaded by some feeble hurricane. I took the twenty Naira and stowed it meticulously in the innermost sanctuary of my wallet – my vault. To make absolutely certain that my wallet was not in any danger of some rare, mysterious attack (even though the possibility was as far-fetched as a camel walking through the eye of a needle), I took my wallet and stowed it into a more fortified vault, a big compartment in my backpack, which I hung over my chest instead of my back. All of a sudden, an uncanny feeling tugged at my mind warning me that my back on which I had hung my backpack for years was no longer safe. I wanted my vault in front where I could monitor all activities in and around my bag.
I went to another classmate’s apartment nearby after our last lecture of the day to borrow a note. It happened that she was making a quick meal, so I hung around to help myself to much needed refueling. No sooner had I devoured the yam porridge than I hit the road. I waved down a bus, wriggled my way to the back of the rickety old Hiace, and sank into a seat, which was more metal than foam. I opened the window so I could get a good blast of fresh air on my face. The discomfort of the heavily metallic bus seat did little to bother me. After all, I could have been out there in the sun, trudging home at the mercy of the elements.
More than halfway through the journey home, I sighted a familiar figure in the street. He rubbed sweat off his face. His shoes had been coated by a dense mass of dust. Even the edges of his trousers had been enlisted by the state environmental sanitation department to help clean the streets as they scooped spurts of dust with every heavy and laborious step he took. I could not believe my eyes. How could this be? I looked hard enough as the bus slowed down to make certain that my eyes were not playing games on me. Indeed, I had seen well enough. There was my best friend soldering home on foot. He had given me his very last twenty Naira, only to walk home while I rode the bus back. I nearly lost a heartbeat. I had known he was a very kind person, but kindness took a whole new meaning to me that very moment. Could I have done the same thing at that point in my life? I would be bragging to answer that question in the affirmative. His act was a breath of fresh air to my idea of friendship. I felt guilty to have robbed him of his last penny. Suddenly, I could feel a sharp pinch in my backside as the jagged edges of the seat seemed to register their view on the matter that was running wild in my mind. I quickly stuck my neck out of the window and yelled his name. He looked up, smiled as always and waved. The look on his face indicated that he was at peace with his decision to give his fare away for me to ride home. I wanted to stop the bus and drag him on. He needed a break. How did he cover all that distance on foot? I have to admit that I fought back a wave of tears that threatened to burst onto the corridors of my eyes. There, I knew I had a friend for life. Danny’s act continues to inspire the way I treat friends and non-friends alike. Years after graduation, he remains a true friend, and we continue to walk miles and more miles for each other and for our respective our families.
Photo Credit: jujufilms.tv
Your comments bring out the beauty in our stories. Have your say in the comment box below. To share our story, click on the Facebook share button or on the twitter button.
Follow us twitter @lagosconvo
Copyright 2014 Lagos Convo.
Otherwise stated, all stories on www.lagosconvo.com are Intellectual Property of HMG STUDIOS LTD. No permission has been granted for the reproduction of our materials in part or whole on any platform, electronic or otherwise.
For permission and other related inquiries, send mail to [email protected]