A BLESSING IN DISGUISE
I nearly dropped my cell phone! The message greatly shocked me, shortly; I was shivering like a reed amidst a flowing body of water. “Simon has died, died of AIDS, at that tender age! But he had just completed his degree in medicine only two years ago, what a misfortune to his parents, all the money invested in his education gone, gone forever!”
I, James, did my secondary education at Mola high school, and Simon, Power, Joe and Trust were some of my school mates and friends. The quartet boys were also best friends to each and they all came from different villages. They were all from better families with high standards of living. They had greater probabilities and wider opportunities of getting money; hence, they wore nice clothes and uniforms. They could buy any food or anything they deemed necessary. Of all the boys, both in the community and at school, they were ranked “the best.” They were also smart minded, intelligent and good in every school work, that is, in academics, sports, arts and culture segments.
The quartet was very good at proposing both girls and ladies. Girls and ladies sometimes scrambled and fought for these boys, because, on top of sexual intercourse, they could in turn get money, sweets, chips, soft drinks and all funny foods they could think of.
My relatives and my acquaintances always warned me to desist from befriending these promiscuous boys for they believed that as birds of the same feather fly together, I will also join their immorality, but fortunately, to me, it was different, because, not even a single girl would bother herself to love me though I sometimes tried to propose. I did not make it due to my standards of living which were lower than those of the quartet, for some girls laughed and mocked me saying; “what so special with you that we may love? You are too far to be called boy!”
In addition, some of the community members, friends, teachers, relatives and parents of the quartet tried their level best in counseling these boys to forsake their immoral behaviuor which was blindly leading them into AIDS victims, but not even one had time to take heed. Nevertheless, the quartet passed their examinations with flying colours, each with twelve (12) A’s at Ordinary level and twenty points (4) A’s at Advanced level. Celebrations parties were held in the quartet’s respective homes, parents and friends, commemorating their children’s unforgettable and outstanding performance and excellence.
More so, resources were immediately accumulated, the quartet continued for tertiary education, and you could see the whole community gleaning in their anticipating of brightest and most talented future of the boys in their respective fields if study. Simon enrolled in Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture and Economics, Power in Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering, Joe in Bachelor of commerce Degree in Accounting, and Trust in Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering. This was a marvelous achievement that received due respect and appreciation by the entire communal society, that is, by both young and adult people. It motivated and fuelled most parents into categorizing the right to education of their children into first priority class.
As soon as one year elapsed, things started falling apart, the entire community was surprised at the instant death of Trust. He was HIV positive living in the “full-blown phase.” The community then realized the acts of the quartet in the days of their high school and sighed as they said; “No escape for the quartet! Yes the quartet swam in the same fatal pond!” Not more than six months from Trust’s death, Joe died of the same incident and after a year of the quartet’s university studies, Power followed suit. The death of these three boys took the minds of the community back to the words of the Ministry of Health: Abstain from sex until married, be faithful and stick to one partner!
I, James, was busy one day designing the mechanisms of the new machine to be released at my company; “New World Mechanical Engineering Private Limited,” when I received a call from my uncle notifying me that Simon has breathed his last after succumbing to HIV positive status for the past fourteen years. It became hard for me to believe. Simon’s death extremely shocked me and I spontaneously started shivering with an acute and uncontrollable bewilderment. “How come this befalls? Simon has passed away! Just two years after completing his degree! A null investment to his family and the community! The quartet has unexpectedly, quickly and completely been bloated out of the face of the world, it is no more!” I was sharply hurt indeed!
It took me fifteen years from Simon’s death to enumerate a couple of my blessings. I was a closest friend to the quartet, yet my conduct and behaviuor remained unspoiled. Lacking courtship skills, mockery from girls, low and poor standards of living were surely an unshakable security to my HIV status. I was neither hurt, bored, annoyed nor feel disadvantaged in all these circumstances. Today I am physically, spiritually and mentally healthy, have my nice family, good job; hence socially happy and have lived fifteen years more than the quartet! Truly not admiring and copying the quartet’s demeanor has been to me a blessing in disguise indeed…..