I had quite a few vulnerable moments during my university days. Days when I struggled to juggle the demands of school work and life outside of school. Days when I loathed hostel life and the idea of having a roommate because a girl just needs to be alone sometimes. There were many challenges, and of course, there were good times. But I can never forget that ONE time I was constipated.
I cannot remember what I ate (or failed to eat), but at first, it didn’t seem so serious. It was a little intestinal disorder that taking a couple of cups of water and one or two oranges couldn’t fix. Or so I thought.
After a few trips to the loo ended in frustration, it became apparent I was dealing with something bigger.
At this point, it was difficult to sit or stand for too long. I wasn’t in my final year and had been unable to secure accommodation within the hostel, so I was removed from the student populace in the one-room cul-de-sac part of school I stayed.
Worse still, it was a weekend, a Sunday, I believe and school was deserted.
I was restless with discomfort. I needed help. Oranges didn’t work. Because I couldn’t sit for too long, I began my awkward walk around the area all the while thinking of what to do next and cussing whatever fate was responsible for the dilemma I had found myself.
Then he saw me…this quiet neighbour of mine. Let’s call him “Ayo”. We weren’t particularly close, exchanged pleasantries whenever our paths crossed and went our merry ways. He was easygoing as far as I could tell, had no airs, and none of that swagger that is often synonymous with undergraduate guys.
All the same, the last thing I wanted was a guy whom I had no filial relationship with to see me in that state. I mean…how will I do small shakara after the whole thing?
But, one had to be blind to not be able to tell all was not well with me.
So, he asked if I was okay. And at this point, because I was clueless on what to do next, and in great discomfort, I told him I wasn’t.
“I am constipated,” I said.
His lips slacked into an “o” and he asked if I had taken anything to help the situation.
I told him all I had tried to do to no avail so he recommended we went in search of a nurse he knew around.
Actually, he ushered me back inside and opted to seek the nurse out to see if he could get me laxatives. In the meantime, I continued to make visits that involved plenty of grunting and heaving to the lavatory.
Still, my bowels wouldn’t budge.
So, I waited.
All the while attempting to trace where I could have gone wrong and all the things I would do right when God gave me a second chance at good health.
He came bearing the laxative and asked me to take it.
I did, and the wait for the drug to kick in started again.
At this time, my brows were drenched in sweat, and this angel of a man stood by me; interjecting with the occasional “sorry” each time I let out what sounded like a cross between a grunt and a moan.
While I made more trips to the toilet, he hung around, and each time I came out, his brows would be raised in the hope that my bowels had cooperated, and I would shake my head again.
Many days later, when my soul was back in my body, I would chuckle when I recalled the scene. It wasn’t much different from what I had seen in movies where an anxious expectant father would pace the corridor of the labour room, waiting to learn that his wife had been delivered of a baby.
My new-found friend, (more like a saviour at the time this happened) stayed with me until the laxative did its job.
I couldn’t believe it.
It was as though I had been bound and was now loosed.
The relief…the cessation of sweat…the calming effect of a working bowel is indescribable.
And the joy on Ayo’s face when I gave him the good news.
“Dude! I have been able to poo poo!!!”
Okay..not in those exact words and certainly not with excitement.
I was too tired to engage in any dramatics. But I was grateful.
I would later tell my girlfriends I would not have hesitated to accept a marriage proposal from Ayo if he had asked at the time I was in “labour”.
I must have thanked him to the point of embarrassment for many weeks after our shared experience because he kept telling me I had thanked him enough.
But I didn’t care.
I was super grateful not just because he had the patience and empathy to help me through my ordeal but because he did not gloat or give me that knowing “I-have-seen-you-in-what-might-as-well-be-your-most-vulnerable-state” look whenever we said hello after that.
Why am I telling you this story?
I’m not quite sure.
Maybe to keep things light and “give you gist”, or to remind you that there are still good people who help without expecting anything return around.
Either way, God bless Ayo, the husband material that was there for me when I needed someone.