I’m struggling with a moral or ethical question. Yesterday I denied my friend in public and I don’t know how I could have done better. I never thought I’d be in the shoes of the biblical Peter who denied his Christ in his worst hour but here I am.
Yesterday Bolu burst into the exam hall one hour late, wearing his pyjamas bottom and a singlet. I could see him looking around wildly for me as he called out my name to vouch for his sanity as the invigilators and security tried to drag him away.
I told Bolu. I told Bolu to take it easy last night when he woke me up at 1 a.m. to ask me a projectile calculation question. I was so deep in sleep I even thought it was just 11 p.m. Only after the call ended did I see it was so late. And we were to be at the exam venue for accreditation by 7 a.m! I didn’t have credit to call him back so I went back to bed and fell asleep almost immediately.
When I’d sat down in my hall earlier that morning, I hadn’t even thought of Bolu until we were told to take our phones and bags to the front. I remembered he was the last person on my phone just 7 hours ago and it occurred to me to give him a call to check if he’d settled in his hall. I also realized I didn’t have any call credit or time to recharge online. I said a prayer for him and sat down on my assigned seat.
The test must have gone on for about an hour when suddenly there Bolu was at the door! Eyes bulging and rolling like an epileptic, veins twice the size of those on a footballer’s leg popping from his neck, his shrill intelligent voice shattering the peace of the exam environment like a crazed banshee. He was pleading and threatening alternately, fighting desperately to enter my hall. I could have spoken up for him but I found myself tongue-tied as he delivered a solid head butt to the main invigilator.
After the head butt was delivered, things went downhill quickly. The standby medical ambulance was called (apparently they were always on hand for mental breakdowns of students in exam hall situations). They were about to take Bolu away from the exam hall and away from his dreams. He pretended to calm down, explaining gently that he wasn’t mad, unable to keep his breathing or darting eyes under control.
Nobody listened to him. Other students in the hall were actually taking the opportunity of the distracted invigilators to exchange answer sheets and cross reference solutions. I couldn’t speak up for Bolu, I might have been punished for his violent head butt, or worse still, carted off to the psychiatric hospital along with him. After he was dragged away I struggled to focus on my remaining questions and finish the test.
Now I’m on my bed. I’m to leave town this morning back to our diploma school. Bolu and I were supposed to travel together to go complete our clearance but he’s locked away in the hospital. I don’t know how to bring myself to face him. What would I say to him? That I wrote the exam and it went well? That I saw him at my door and refused to stand up for his sanity? The alternative is to go complete my clearance quickly and start at my new school without ever seeing Bolu again. He would hate me yes but from outside the school, because he wasn’t able to get in. But how can I live with this on my conscience? What if he encounters one of my unborn children in the future and decides to initiate a generational vendetta?
I need your advice people. *sigh*
Friends come and friends go,
but a true friend sticks by you like family.
(Prov. 18 vs. 24, The Message)