It was a typical day inside the University lobby as the students busied themselves, going from one direction to another. Various forms of animated conversations filled the place, some scurried away to talk to their Professors while others were just content to sit on the porch outside the lobby and observe the passersby. But this scene were oblivious to the impatient girl standing in front of the lobby.
She crossed and uncrossed her arms while straining her neck to look outside the building. A deep frown etched on her forehead as she rhythmically tap her right foot on the pavement, waiting expectantly for her guest interviewee. She, then, glanced at her watch and grimaced, it’s already quarter to nine, she sighed miserably and craned her neck once more, hoping that person will emerge.
I knew it! There goes my thesis….Dear Lord, please let her come. I really need it. She pleadingly prayed in silence.
“Huh?” She turned her head and nodded dryly. “Keith.”
“Hi, Danah! What’s up?” Keith asked, so glad to see her. ” Are you waiting for someone? Or are you waiting for me?” Keith asked with a teasing smirk on his face.
Danah rolled her eyes upward and opened her mouth to put Keith on his place when he suddenly grabbed her shoulders and turned her around at the same time inspecting her up and down with his eyes.
“What do you think you’re doing?!” She cried indignantly as she righted herself, a little bit dizzy and wretched his hands off her shoulders.
“Oh, I was just looking for your smile,” Tongue in cheek as Keith tried not to laugh. “Maybe, it’s hidden somewhere. Is it inside your pocket? Tell me, Danah! Don’t keep me in suspense,” Keith persisted with feigned innocence as he continue teasing her, his twinkling eyes giving him away.
“Keith, will you please get lost, okay? Just get lost!” She gritted her teeth in annoyance, glaring at him.
“Tsk, tsk…..” He shook his head. “Pity, the lady really woke up on the wrong side of the bed.” And raised his hands in surrender as Dannah squirmed in frustration.
“Okay, okay, you win. I’ll go now,” He leaned forward and whispered to her. “But if you ever miss me and I’m sure you will, don’t hesitate to call me, okay?” He winked at her and walk away smugly while whistling and gave a high-five to one of their classmate.
Dannah just closed her fist to fight the urge to throw something at his retreating back and stormed out of the building.
Drat that man! I totally hate him! What a conceited, insufferable…..She took a deep breath to control her negative emotion. Forget him, Dannah, just forget him! He’s not worth your time and you still got a lot of problems to think about. She pushed the image of Keith out of her mind and sat on the bench outside the building. She instead diverted her attention to her thesis requirement and pondered on it.
I still need to interview five more people for the completion of my thesis and it should be completed this coming Feb 15, two weeks from now and of course, there’s still the written exams that I have to face and not to mention, the practical exams that i still need to go through. She groaned and covered her face with her hands in dismayed. Oh gosh! I don’t think I can make it. What if I didn’t graduate this coming March? What will my parents say? They’re counting on me.
She got up slowly with drooping shoulders, climbing the stairs towards the entrance of the building with a heavy heart and a long face.
“Danah! Wait!” Keith catches up with her as she continue to walk, ignoring his call. He grabbed her wrist to stop her and smiled, showing his dimples on both cheeks. “See this?” He spread his thesis in front of her. “I’ve already finished my requirements. Isn’t that great!” He informed her excitedly.
Danah put her hands on her hips and looked at Keith disgustedly. “Well, I don’t care! To tell you frankly, I don’t give a damn! And please, don’t be too smug about it because that’s the only thing you’ve accomplished so far!” She turned her back and resume walking in angry strides. She faltered and stopped on her tracks when a hand grabbed her wrist with a deathly grip, twisting it upward until she face him
“Don’t you know what’s wrong with you?!” Keith snapped at her, his face a beet red with indignation, gone were the humor that gave out a cry of alarm from Danah. “You thought you know everything, that no one can surpass you. I know you’re intelligent but you just can’t accept the fact that someone beat you this time. And to tell you frankly, Miss high and mighty, I could see through you. Behind that facade of being miss-know-it-all, you’re scared. Your afraid to fail. Why don’t you admit for once in your life that you also need somebody to help you. That you also have a need to lean on a friend. No one lives in this world alone, not even you!” Keith growled and glared at her but slowly released Danah’s wrist when he saw the tears forming at the corner of her eyes.
His angry demeanor suddenly vanished, replaced by concern on her behalf and regrets. ” I’m sorry, Danah, I didn’t mean to do it. I….”
“No, Keith, you don’t have to apologize. I deserve it for insulting you and besides, you’re right, I’m losing control of myself like it’s not me anymore.” Danah said, panicked in her eyes. “I’ve never felt this way before, so insecure, doubting God and I’m afraid my fears were eating me alive. I don’t know how to cope up with it. My confidence seems to be just an imagination and my fears is the reality. I hated myself for being so weak.”
“No, don’t ever think that you’re weak, Danah. It’s a natural human emotion, needing someone. We all go through it, human as we are, that sense of belongingness, of connecting in order for us to realize that we are not alone in this world. Look at me Danah…..” She raised her eyes to Keith’s face as he put his hands on her shoulders. ” I’m here, your friend. You might find me always goofing around, no cares in this world but I do care. I want to help you. I want to be part of your world. Let’s do this together….with God’s help, we will graduate, okay?” He smiled reassuringly, took off her right hand from her shoulder and opened up his palm toward her. Danah took it, savoring the warmth and strength that his hand offered. She smiled back, trusting him.
Danah scanned the crowd, catching Keith’s eyes. He then winked and mouth the word ” Congratulations.” She winked back, smiled her thanks and started to climb the stairs on the stage as her name were being called to receive her diploma.
From a friend in need of support, no one need hide in shame.