Science class
Science class

Owen was a chubby boy among his colleagues who didn’t joke with his books at all. As a science student who was aspiring to be a medical doctor, Owen burnt mid-night candle just to better his grades at the nation’s prime university (University of Tanzania).

His course mates always teased him with his abnormal weight which had a negative effect on Owen’s social life in school. He was mostly found in the classroom all by himself reading or solving past questions.

Adrian is the opposite of Owen, free-spirited, articulate, and worrisome and sometimes annoying as described by some friends of hers. She was very loud in and outside class. Wrapped in his brown jacket with head hanging and brow cringed Owen walked steadily but slowly to his class room (Science class B), the very day she set eyes on Owen she knew something was wrong.

Astonished at the sight she ran after him and held him by the tip of his jacket. He turned around and almost bumped into her, he took about two steps forward, looked back and gave a broad grin

Adrian…hello Owen can we speak for a moment?
Owen: talk about what? I am in a hurry for lectures, he rudely snapped.
Adrian: let’s make it another time ….
Owen sprang to his lecture hall without looking back again.

At that time Adrian’s friends were gathered around the playground watching everything going on.
Adrian’s intention was to go closer and dig out the secret behind Owen’s cold attitude towards other students.

Her friends teased her for been snapped at but she was not perturbed at all.

The next morning Owen was found at the same spot doing his usual; this time around Adrian stealthily entered the lecture hall, took Owen’s bag and left without him noticing her presence. When Owen found out that his bag was gone, he stepped out to ask around. Adrian who was standing at the doorway of the next class approached him to ask why he looked distraught, Owen opened up to Adrian about his school bag. Mid – way into their conversation Leah (one of Adrian’s friends on campus) showed up with the “missing” bag explaining how she came across it. Owen was happy to see the bag and thanked Leah for helping out. Adrian followed him to his class and sat by him whilst he read.

I don’t understand why you hardly mingle with your friends; since I came to school I have never spotted you with any close friend before, I will like to know why, Adrian quizzed. Owen pretended not to have heard the question Adrian posed. She snatched the book from his hand and repeated the question. This time around Owen stood up and angrily grasped the note book from Adrian; he sat down quietly without saying a word for close to five minutes.

Adrian left the class and ran to her hostel feeling guilty of infuriating the poor guy; she regretted ever approaching him in the first place. Leah and other friends of Adrian consoled her for some time until she drifted to sleep.

“It was very cloudy and windy with every sign indicating a possible heavy down pour; the roosters ran helter – skelter to find a secured place to pass the night, children jumped around in wait of the rain. “What on earth are you doing here this cloudy evening……..? A voice echoed behind Adrian, without turning around she clearly made out the identity of that voice, Owen. He looked rugged and untidy with the hair unkempt, bushy facial hair and red eyed.

He appeared to be someone in need of help.

Adrian held him by the hand and whispered something into the ears; Owen willingly followed her to a nearby train station to wait for the 7:00 a.m. bound train to the city. On that bench Adrian asked Owen why he is going through such painful ordeal. There and then he began to weep and poured out his heart to her amidst sobs.

“Born a single child of my parents I had everything to my disposal, enjoyed everything a young child had, growing up. Things took a nose dive when my daddy lost his accounting job and mummy mysteriously died in a ghastly motor accident. Life was very tough for us, I was sent to my auntie to live with her for the whole period. Out of frustration I became addicted to eating junk foods and smoking cigarettes just to stay happy; at age 19, I had developed a medical condition (kidney stones) which shattered both kidneys. I went for kidney transplant on two occasions; in effect I had to defer my course for two years. Upon my return all my course mates had graduated to the medical school. As we speak now am on a strict medication. Sometimes I feel like moving out to an unknown place where I can start life all over. I came to this town some six days ago for the same “expedition”. I really need help, I need someone to hear me out………………Adrian watched him quietly as he spoke. Honk of the long awaited train shook them from their sullen state”

Adrian’s phone buzzed, she stretched out on the bed to reach out for the phone, and it was his dad. After speaking briefly to him she realized that all the while she was dreaming.
She sprang up from the bed and headed to the bath, she hurried through her preparation for class just to catch up with Owen and brief him about her dream.

Owen on the other hand was up and ready for lectures with some colleagues from his hostel. At the entrance of his class stood Adrian well-dressed smiling from ear to ear as though she had seen his groom on their wedding day. The moment Owen set eyes on her he frowned and hanged his head; he was not ready for any quips at all.

He doubled the pace of his walking and tried bypassing her at the doorway; Adrian shouted his name at the top of her voice. They captured the attention of students around. It was such an embarrassing situation but Adrian left quietly for her lecture hall without saying a word again. They both felt bad the whole day…….”I shouldn’t have acted weirdly like that…what came over me?”, Owen thought to himself.

His course mates jabbed him for his attitude towards the “poor thing”, he promised to make amends.

Owen went to Adrian’s hostel that fateful evening to apologize to her, she narrated her dream to him and asked if there’s any truth in what he told her in the dream. Owen was shocked to the bone and dumbfounded. He couldn’t bring to terms everything Adrian had told him. Every part of that dream was true, from his mother’s death, father’s loss of job, kidney failure to his addictive habits. He confirmed it to her and cited it as the reason he isolated himself from his colleagues. His sense of self-worth and esteem was on the low, he didn’t like himself anymore and always had suicidal thoughts running through his mind.

Adrian felt so bad for him that she referred him to her counselor for some talking to and in depth psychological engagement. They remained friends till they graduated from school.

Moral lessons of the story:
 Never judge someone from afar without hearing them out.
 Man can never live like an island, everybody needs somebody.
 Problems are meant to toughen us and not break us down.

STORY BY: SHIRLEY KWAKYEWA KETEKU

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