A special friend is better than a multitude of acquaintances

Gerald Mariga

Gerald Mariga

3 mins read

High school years are the most exciting times in many people's lives. It is a time for self-discovery, a period in which many of us start paying attention to members of the opposite sex. I consider myself lucky for having attended a mixed boarding high school. It's in high school that I meet Jane, a special friend to me for many years.

One Sunday evening, I was walking towards the end of the soccer pitch. Nothing much was happening, so I decided to go and enjoy the sunset. As I walked past the goal area, I noticed a short girl clinging on one of the goalposts. Subconsciously, I found myself walking towards her. When I reached her, I realized that her breathing was heavy, and her eyes were teary. She was holding onto the goal post as if her life depended on it. I stood by her side for five minutes without uttering a word. After the silence came introductions, Jane was her name.

I saw Jane the following day in the dining hall; this time, she was smiling. She seemed happy talking to me even though I was one year senior to her. The more I spoke to her, the better I understood her pain. Jane was a victim of ridicule by her classmates. Her excessive weight and short height subjected her to body shaming. Jane was from a well-up family. I kept reminding her how lucky she was to be rich. I found pride in defending her against bullies. As I progressed through high school, I became fond of Jane, and our bond grew stronger.

By sheer luck, Jane and I found ourselves in the same college. Since I was in my second year, I did all the orientation. Like in high school, Jane would run to me every time she felt threatened. I became a big brother to her, and she became the source of my inspiration. Her luxurious lifestyle made me envious; I vowed to be rich someday.

The day I got myself a decent job, we celebrated together. On my wedding day, I wanted her to be there and witness my success. After losing my job, I developed fear. I was afraid that I might end up a failure. For years, I had longed for Jane's lifestyles; that dream was now fading away. Many friends disserted me, but I knew where to find Jane. But could I approach her? I was always the strong one in the relationship. I defended her against adversaries and made her feel special. I was the almighty big-brother hardened by life. How do I go seeking help from a 'weaker' friend?

Jane has never shouted at me before. When she raised her voice on me that day, it made me shiver. As she spoke, I felt weak. I saw the sincerity in her eyes. I could feel love through her words. Shame and guilt started eating me up; my heart could not take it anymore. As tears rolled down my chicks, her embrace made me realize how much she valued our friendship.

My wife was surprised by the events of that day. She has since acknowledged Jane as a special family friend. Soon, we will be business partners. Jane's body-type could not win her the Miss- High school title, but her heart can easily earn her the Miss-Universe crown. She is one reason why I will always treasure my high school days.