My Strokes… Her Stripes

“Greater love has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

We were both 10 years old, Chioma and me, and we were best friends… inseparable too! We were in JSS 1, Trinity College, Kaduna. I tell this story everywhere and every time. It’s time I wrote it too.

It was a Home Economics home work; we were to make images out of cardboard papers, we were given a due date, and warned of fiery strokes if we didn’t oblige.

That dreadful day came- dreadful for me because I hadn’t submitted mine I was scared. However, I hardened my butt for some whooping! Mrs Home Econs. was calling out names of those who hadn’t submitted, I waited for my name to be called, but it was never called! A miracle you think? No, true friendship or shall I say; “true love” showed its lovely face!

Then Chioma’s name was called. Wait a minute ma’am! That girl has her home work right there on the table!

What was going on? Chioma, why are you out here? Isn’t that your home work on the teacher’s table? I asked her. Don’t worry Pauline, it’s yours now. I couldn’t understand it. I went over to the teacher’s table and there it was… Chioma had put my name on her homework!
I watched as my Chioma’s backside was getting scourged by Ms. Home Econs. I watched as her countenance was distorted by each stroke of the cane. She came back to her seat, pretending not to hurt. I held her hand tightly and the tears poured. We both cried.

Why did she do this for me? Why did she take my place? I wouldn’t say I was the best friend anyone could ever have but I was Chioma’s best friend. Her love and show of it, was/is akin to the love Jesus showed us. He said a true friend will lay down his life for another, and that was what Chioma did for me, and to think we were only children!

God, through Chioma, taught me the first and last of life’s greatest lessons, to love like Jesus loves. To this day, I can’t explain in the finest words why Chioma did what she did for me, but one thing is certain, I would never forget it. All the days of my life, I will be grateful to God for a true and loving friend as she. We’ve been friends for a decade and seven years now and we’re still on our way! I love you Chioma, I love you eternally!

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