It was my final year in the Polytechnic. School had just resumed and I was able to secure accommodation in a one of the hostels. Hostel B was one, I got a single bed to my delight, did not particularly enjoy the bunk beds. Two other Ladies had already moved in, I would want to call them Opal and Felia, they gave me a very warm welcome when I moved in.
After some days we welcomed a fresher into the room, let me call her Glad, she was a young and very playful girl who just hopped about in the room and wanted to make friends with all of us. She was very easy to love, we all loved her. Sometime later Glad came complainingto me about Opal and Felia’s attitude towards her, they wouldn’t let her sit on their bed because most times when she did, she did not make the bed, and they would not let her touch anything that belonged to them too. I understood their anger, I have had my share of her forgetfulness or perhaps carelessness, but my reaction was different. I would tell her nicely but firmly to make my bed whenever she messed it up, tell her nicely but firmly to put any of my stuff she had used back to where she got it from. Sometimes, I just let it go and fixed my stuff. Next thing I knew these Ladies (Opal and Felia) turned cold towards me. They would make jest of me in a way as to let me know, especially when it is just me and them in the room. They would call me names like skinny bones and other horrible ones. I never said a word back to them. One reason was that it would cause them to mock my faith; another was that I was truly small and skinny and couldn’t afford to be beaten up by this “bigger” girls. I hope you didn’t laugh right there! Anyway, Glad hinted me that they were angry at me because they thought I was the reason she would no longer play with them. I was surprised because I had no clue as to why they would think that. I wished I could tell them that they were the ones who shooed her away in their anger. She was not afraid to sit or sleep on my bed, read from my collection of books, or use my Pressing Iron. In fact, over time I didn’t have to remind her to put things back in place. I believe my reaction to her playfulness over everything was a bit more welcoming. I’m not singing my praise at all; I’ve missed it many times, this was just one of those times I didn’t goof! Now, the whole point to this story is that I avoided any form of confrontation; I didn’t talk back to or pick up a quarrel with Opal and/or Felia. We graduated (they were both in their final years too) and we were posted to different states to serve our Nation.
I was posted to one of the States in the west and I got there early enough to secure a comfortable bed space.
A day or two later as I stood in front of the hostel door I saw Felia walking towards me with a smile on her face.
|Courtesy Of paybacktime.com|“What, she can’t be smiling at me!” I thought as my heart took a bit of a race. I almost looked back to see if she was smiling at someone else when she said a word of greeting to me. She told me how she came in late so she didn’t get a bed space and was looking for a place to pass the night before she would be moved to another camp. “You Felia, have you forgotten all you did to me in school, the humiliations, the threats, the mockeries, the insults?!” My mind was crying out but my mouth wouldn’t say. I offered my bed and slept with a new friend I had made(don’t ask me why I didn’t sleep with her!), my bucket, even my soap, and boy, did I feel like a weight was lifted off me! Felia was grateful, though she didn’t breathe a word about the past; she just gave me that look, the kind that said, “I am sorry” and “I appreciate you”. I was happy; I thanked God that I was able to follow Felia and Opal with peace even though they wanted war. And now I am grateful that I didn’t choose to pay back evil with evil. Though I don’t see her as an enemy, these words come to mind… If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee. And I often teach my children to… See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.