The love story series
Letting go of Ego
Episode 1 – Good Days Gone Bad
Nedu and I were very good friends back at high school. So close one at first sight would think we were brothers. We did almost everything together – play, eat and study. And we shared things together too, from our extra meals to our big dreams of studying abroad. I always had this dream of studying at The Oxford University London. Nedu on the other hand would always talk about the Harvard University. Even though we knew our parents could not afford such an education for us, we always believed that somehow, a miracle was going to happen.
Nedu was just as intelligent as I was but I was always topping him in class. That quite made me felt I was more intelligent than him though deep within, I knew Nedu was very good. We were study mates and we always put each other through and shared everything we knew, but when results came out, I was always top. Could it just had been luck? This however did not bother Nedu and he had no problem with other students referring to me as the A-Boy of the class.
It was our final year at school and we were preparing for our final exams when we were notified of a United Nations scholarship program for special students. This scholarship was going to cover all expenses to study in the United States for the recipients. Nedu and I saw this as an opportunity to make our dreams come true so we applied.
Few months after our Senior School exams, results were released. As usual I came out top. I was the best student in the state and Nedu was third best. I had an opportunity of meeting with Nedu again when we were invited by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) for the National Distinction Merit Award. We were both happy to see each other again, and our parents too as they exchange pleasantries.
Few weeks after, the results of the scholarship were released. It was negative for me – I didn’t get the scholarship. I felt so bad. For a whole week I couldn’t do anything, not even eat. I was even beginning to lose weight. Just few weeks ago I was jubilating with my family and friends as they were celebrating my success. But here was I few weeks later feeling like a failure. But why? May be because Nedu got the scholarship. Yeah, Nedu got the scholarship. Probably if he hadn’t gotten it, I won’t have felt the way I was feeling.
Somehow I couldn’t just explain what I was feeling but you can call it jealousy. I just felt that if only one of us was going to get the scholarship, it should had been me and not Nedu. After all I was better than him academically – or so I thought. For the first time I began to feel inferior to Nedu. I couldn’t get the thought of him being better than me off my mind. I never thought that all the while at school, Nedu has been accepting defeat from me in good fate, even though we never felt we were competing. You know that part of us that always desires us to be better than every other person around us. Just for the first time since our friendship Nedu has assumed top position above me and I couldn’t bear it.
Nedu and I continued to keep in touch after we left school. There was hardly ever a week that passed by that we didn’t talk on phone. And even on social media, we were always interacting. However after the results of the scholarship exams were released, things changed. Yeah, I felt so bad for not getting the scholarship especially knowing that Nedu got it, and it took a while before I could recover. When it finally got a bit off my head, it dawned on me that I ought to call Nedu to say ‘Congratulations’, and I was going to do so. I even picked up my phone to dial his number, but somehow, a part of me won’t let me do so. I was having this feeling that Nedu might not want to relate much with me again. He was now a big boy having gotten a
scholarship I couldn’t get and would be leaving the country soon. I also started feeling that Nedu ought to have called me to inform me he got the scholarship. May be I was right, he was now feeling quite too big to do so. I didn’t call Nedu. Few weeks passed by, then months, and Nedu would be leaving the country pretty soon.
May be we should here Nedu’s part of the story too.
Well Mike and I were very good friends just as he said and we did shared lots of things together. He was nearly the only friend I had back then at high school, some people thought we were brothers. And of course we were study mates and always shared insights together as much as we could. But then he always topped me in class for a reason I couldn’t tell, though I never had any problem with that. I was just concerned about having excellent grades.
Mike and I kept close contact after high school and maintained our friendship – phone calls, social media. However things changed after I got the scholarship. When I received the call from school, I was so excited and expecting to hear that Mike also got the scholarship. But I was so shocked when I heard otherwise. It was really a mixed feeling for me, I felt both good and bad. And I just could not stop wondering why on earth Mike did not get the scholarship, though later I got to find out that the scholarship board didn’t pick more than one student from each state of the federation. I was going to call Mike that week as we always did. The problem was, I didn’t know what I was going to tell him. I was really bothered about how he was going to feel. It was really a dilemma for me. At a point I started feeling that maybe I shouldn’t have gotten the scholarship. I didn’t call Mike. I didn’t! But I started having this feeling that Mike ought to have called me to say ‘Congrats’. So why didn’t he call? Maybe he was feeling jealous. Or what do you think? Should I have called him?
Watch out for Episode 2 – The Days of Ego’