November 24, 2014 is a day I can never forget in my life.
My mum had travelled down from Ibadan to Bauchi to help nurse my twins immediately they were born and had requested to see our wedding photo album after lunch one day.
“Ah, beautiful girl, where is she now?” She had asked.
Bending down to see who she was asking about, it was Tessy, my chief bridesmaid. I hissed quietly.
“She should be fine” Was my reply as my baby sucked on.
“What do you mean she should be fine?” She asked, shock obviously evident in her voice. “That girl is a very good girl, hope you know” She said and I nodded.
“Why won’t you call her a good girl when she kneels down to greet you every now and then? Her real person came out after our wedding” I said, pain clogging my heart.
“What did she do to you? She is a witch abi? The one that snatched your husband? What evil could Tessy have done to you that you are slandering her in my presence?” My mum was becoming infuriated. I looked up at her, tears gathering in my eyes.
“I have never had any best friend asides Tessy. Tell me who I loved so much that I opened up my life to than her.” I paused, placed sleeping Tracia in her crib and picked up Trivia so she could eat also.
“Of course she loves you too” My mum said and I shook my head.
“And is that why she is envious of me?” I asked and my mum’s jaw dropped.
“Anita! Anita! Tessy is envious of you? Envious of what?”
“I married before her. Isn’t that something to be envious of? Since my honeymoon last year May, she hasn’t called me.”
“Did you call her?”
“Yes, I called her severally June last year, she didn’t pick. I sent her Facebook messages also. She read all but never replied! My birthday was in January, she never called to wish me well. So, what should I do again? My life has gone on without her.”
“So, summarily, you people haven’t spoken to each other this year?”
“No” I said, sighing as I placed Trivia in the crib also, adjusting my blouse afterwards.
“Is she aware that you have given birth?”
“Well, I said something like that briefly on Facebook but she can’t see it. I blocked her off on WhatsApp and Facebook. I can’t bear it, thinking she’s seeing all my posts and not saying anything” I said, sluggishly and my mum clapped her hands together, placed the album on the table and sat on a stool before me.
“And you are a Christian o. A child of God for that matter. Tessy isn’t just any random person that you should throw in the bin. You two have been together since the university days, you served in the same place, went for Masters in the same place too! C’mon!” She said again and I sighed.
“So, what should I have done? Keep calling her even if she wouldn’t pick the call?”
“How many times did you call her last year? Was it up to three times?” She asked and I shook my head.
“See my dear, I must let you know something. One, you are no more a small girl that should be holding tight to grudges like this. Two, never you allow pride in precious relationships! Sort it out, discuss it!” She said and paused. I sighed, looking away from her.
She wouldn’t just understand!
Must I always be the one to call?
“This lady scouted you in her room for two years. She was always your cheerleader. Talk of someone who always rooted for you, it was her! She didn’t envy you then when you were always the best in your department. She didn’t envy you when you were to go study abroad three good times! She didn’t envy you when you got about four government appointments at the same time, why should she start now?” She asked and tears laced my eyes as I remembered how sweet a friend Tessy had actually been.
Those days when I was broke, she would be the one to get me something out of the little she had!
She would pray for me every little opportunity she had. And her smile…oh my!
Tears rolled down my face. My biggest support system!
“That’s my third point to you! Never you focus on a single mistake of someone, forgetting the one hundred good things the person has done for you! The person is human, she is not perfect! If she doesn’t call, you call! Don’t bottle in your feelings, saying it doesn’t concern you when it really does! Be expressive! Be kind!”
Each word that travelled down from her mouth to my ears were like needles piercing my raw wound. I had never felt so wrong in my life!
“Yes, forgive in advance! Don’t always be quick to say goodbye to good people! Not someone like Tessy Anita! You are so so so wrong!”
My husband walked in just then, smiling wittily as he did.
“Mummy o, don’t let my wife scatter the whole house with tears o. I am sure the words have hit her badly. Thanks for saying in a firm way, what I had been telling her gently since all this while” He said calmly, sat beside me and smiled again.
“Be firm with her when you need to my son. This Tessy girl is very precious to her. Pride is disallowing her from checking on her, even blocking her on…chai…orisirisi…”
“Sweetheart, here is your phone. I know you know her phone number by heart. Call her. You will be justified if she doesn’t pick again” My husband said as he handed my phone over to me.
I sniffed wetly as I collected it gently, dialed the number and waited till she picked up.
I really didn’t know what to say to her.
But I had missed her though.
“Hello, who is on the line?” An elderly voice answered. She sounded like Tessy’s mum.
“It’s Anita ma. I want to speak with Tessy.”
“Ah…Anita! It is well o. Let me give the phone to her” She said and soon, her voice came on.
“Anita? Is it Anita Grace Adeniyi?” She asked, a large smile, obviously on her face.
“Tessy! I can’t believe you are happy without me! Should there have been a day when we shouldn’t talk? You didn’t call on my birthday. You didn’t call to ask me how marriage has been. You didn’t even ask if I was pregnant or something.” I mumbled on and on. She chuckled and smiled.
“I am sorry love. I am so sorry. Do you know how much I have missed you. I actually should have called but…” She was saying when I heard her mum’s voice again.
“Be brief. It’s time to go in now.” She said.
“Erm Anita, your call means so much to me. I am actually in the hospital now. Should we talk later?” She asked and my heart missed a beat.
Tessy in the hospital?
“What’s the matter with you Tessy? Hospital?”
“Yeah, I should have told you actually. I fell sick almost immediately after the wedding. I had a defect on my right eye. I am getting better by His Grace”
“Your eye? What happened?”
“Hmm…I don’t want to bore you with details my friend”
“Please bore me. I need the details o. Its been a while.” I said desperately.
“Okay. I actually can’t see anymore. I believe in miracles though”
My heart dropped.
“You can’t see what? I don’t get you.” My heart quaked really bad as I spoke.
“Within the space of six months, my health deteriorated, the cancer in my right eyes spread to the other eye. In short, we had to travel to India for surgery but it couldn’t be helped”
“What? Do you mean that you are like…blind?” I asked, the words so heavy in my mouth.
My husband and my mum expressed shock, covering the mouth and holding the chest respectively.
“Yeah. You didn’t see the fliers online? They went viral kinda. We solicited for funds from well meaning Nigerians” She said again and my heart dropped.
How could I have known?
I blocked you off social media!
Tears rolled down my face as I stood up, my knees, really weak.
“Why didn’t you tell me Tessy? Why?” I cried.
“I knew how you would take it my friend and you had just gotten married. I wouldn’t do that, you know?”
Oh my! So considerate!
She bore the pains alone while I rotted away with anger!
“Anita, it’s fine. I actually felt forsaken at some point especially when I wasn’t hearing from you but thank you for calling now. I hope to come out of surgery successfully now. Thanks for the love”
“Is it still the eye problem?”
“Hmmm…no, this is connected to some tissues in my brain. But I am sure the Lord will bring me out of it successfully” She said again and my heart quaked vehemently.
“Pray along, you hear? Thanks for calling o. It means a lot to me. Yeah…did you say you have a baby now?” She asked, so lively that I couldn’t control the way I burst out crying.
I couldn’t just believe all I was hearing.
I couldn’t even answer her!
I couldn’t tell her that her friend gave birth to a set of bouncing baby girls!
“Are you crying? Please be strong for me okay? Greetings to your handsome husband and baby. I don’t know if I will ever see your beautiful face anymore but your image, especially your smile is etched on my eyes” She laughed again
“You will see again! You must see again!” I cried hard, shaking my head.
“I am sorry dear. I am so sorry. I love you. And I am so sorry for not calling all this while. Am I forgiven?” She asked again and I suddenly felt like a bad person.
Why must it be Tessy?
Such a nice person with a heart of gold!
I couldn’t bring myself to answering any of her questions. I was totally shaken.
“Tessy, come out of surgery strongly, okay? Hold on you hear? I love you so greatly, understood? Forgive my stupidity and pride my love! Ah, oh my! I trust that a miracle can still happen.” I paused to swallow as I heard the door open from her side and knew it was time for her to be wheeled to the theatre.
I had to rush the remaining words in my head.
“I trust that you will see my babies and marry a very good man. You will fulfill destiny with your eyes seeing clearly. Come out of it strong okay?” I wept on as the call dropped.
Looking up to the ceiling, I couldn’t help but fall to the ground, slapping the cold floor inconsolably, sighing heavily as I did.
Many weeks passed by but I just couldn’t forgive myself!
My mum and my husband tried their best to make me live again but until I set my eyes on my pitiable, awesomely amazing genuine Christian friend, I just couldn’t be free to enjoy life!
I learnt three lessons from that experience:
*Give excuses for people and forgive them in advance!
*Whenever the thought of a person flashes your mind, don’t despise the voice that says you should check on such- you might be cheering such up or even saving his/her life!
*Don’t despise good relationships because of a trivial mistake.
And you know what?
The miracle did happen!
Tessy can see now, even though it’s still kind of blurry!
I am now a better Anita.
Thanks for enjoying my tale.
Written By: Lizzy Oyebola Oyekunle