A Friend, A Woe

Precious Owuamalam

© Copyright 2020 by Precious Owuamalam

Photo of legs.

Sometimes, no matter how nice you try to be to some people, they would never get to appreciate the good you did for them.

It was a very hot Monday afternoon -- we were just at the very beginning of our second semester courses for our sophomore year in the university. Particularly, on that day, I was in very high spirits because, I was on my way to my very first Analytical Chemistry lecture for the semester, which was due in less than 5 minutes. I had just come back to school after the previous semester’s vacation, during which, I had spent a great deal of time reading loads and loads about the biographies of Isaiah M. Warner and some other great chemists cum mentors, who were featured in one of my most adorned chemistry text books till date – The Fundamentals of Analytical Chemistry by Douglas A. Skoog, Donald M. West, James F. Holler and Stanley R. Crouch. The inspiration gained from reading about those smart minds, coupled with the great information to detail inscribed on every page of that very text book -- which I almost devoured from start to finish, gave me the needed endearment to just start my chemistry classes, learn from our lecturers on everything I could about Analytical chemistry, and most importantly, ace the course with a very high-flying grade, which I later on did. I just couldn’t wait to start my classes and become a chemistry nerd!

On my way speeding down to the lecture theatre, a young, pretty lady walked up to me and asked if I was Precious. I responded by nodding my head. She happened to be my immediate junior in the department, as she was just two semesters into her first year in our university. She pleaded if I could help teach her Calculus, which was a compulsory second semester course for the first-year students in our university. Since I was in a hurry to meet up with my class, which, if I were to judge by the hands of time, had already begun at that minute; we scheduled to meet sometime afterwards, and so, she asked me for my number, which I politely gave to her and immediately after, rushed down for my class.

Two days later, I received a call from a number whose voice sounded familiar. Yes, it was Brenda! She called majorly to ask about when I was going to be free to meet with her during the week. We planned to meet on Sunday after church that same week. During our discourse over the phone, I found out that we had a lot in common. We both loved listening to Enya's songs, enjoyed writing as a pastime activity, and pertinently, we were both Catholics.

On the D-day, after mass, I raced back to my hostel, had breakfast, hurried a bath, and left for the Food Science and Technology building, which had a very serene environment for students like myself, who loved to 'worship' the pages of voluminous text books, typical of Prescott Microbiology, in very secluded environments. She joined me about an hour later. After some chit-chat and some very friendly discussions, she told me about her academic challenges and all what not. I promised that I was going to help her as much as time could permit me. And, yes, for the Calculus, since my major was Microbiology, I told her that I was going to refer her to one of my mentees in the Engineering faculty, who was very smart with differential equations. I did refer her to James (my mentee), and after a couple of meetings with him, she sat for her exams and aced the course!

Over-time, we became closer and closer. I realized she was very brilliant, but her family situation wasn't helping matters in her regard. They had very huge financial constraints! I wasn't in the best position to offer some help to her as to that, since I was from an average home, and had no income for myself. I only lived out of the pocket money that was sent to me by my parents, which, yes, was ok to take care of my school and personal needs but wouldn't be enough to take care of someone else's needs. I wasn't a lavish spender by the way. I managed to help her as much as I could in that regard, and as well, l helped tutor her in most of the courses she offered in the university (especially the one's she found difficult) -- and her academic performance skyrocketed over a very short period of time. The next semester, she emerged the second-best student in her class of over 300 students with a very high-grade point average of 4.96/5.00. I couldn't be any happier! I liked her more because she was my eldest sister's namesake. I fondly called her by my sister's pet name, but I was not ready to make any commitment relationship-wise because I didn't want any form of distraction in my academics, and so, I set some boundaries. She seemed more like a younger sister to me, thus, I did all I could to take care of her as an elder brother.

Though she had so many wonderful qualities, one thing that pushes her down against the wall was her very rude attitude. This made my friends despise her. I tried as much as I could, to put up with the attitude whilst mentoring her, but her rudeness didn't change over-time. As an addendum, often times, she would call me over the phone or even confront me in person and tell me that she didn't want to have anything to do with me again, which was very weird! I never asked her out, nor made any intimate moves towards her. I always made it clear to her right from the onset, that I didn't put up with helping her because I wanted to commit to a relationship with her. I just wanted to help her become better! This continued for a while, even after I graduated from school. Often times, she would block me for no-just cause over the phone and sparingly did she show signs of gratitude for the help I had rendered to her over-time. In so many a situation, saying thank you was a great difficulty for her. I ignored all of those, because, there was really no commitment, relationship-wise. I was just being selfless! Moreover, I saw and took her like my younger sister, since I hadn't one of my own.

Over-time till she graduated from school, I did my best to help her academically. Her grades were very impressive, but her rude attitude didn't change. More so, she still didn't stop being ungrateful and still didn't stop blocking me over the phone. At some point, I just had to let go and forget everything about her, as her terrible attitude got to the point where I couldn't bear it any longer. I'm glad that I did my best to help her improve in her grades, but my biggest regret in her regard, was that, I wasn't able to change her attitude for the better. I wish her the very best wherever she may be now.

Precious Owuamalam is an emerging writer and Molecular Biologist from Nigeria, currently studying for a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology in the UK. He was a 2018 Ambassador of Spanish Language for the César Egido Serrano Foundation and the Museum of Words, a 2018 YALI Fellow, and currently, a Darwin Trust of Edinburgh Ph.D. Fellow.  

Contact Precious

(Unless you type the author's name
in the subject line of the message
we won't know where to send it.)

Book Case

Home Page

The Preservation Foundation, Inc., A Nonprofit Book Publisher