A Friend Called Richard
by Fiza Pathan
Today was a big day for my author friend Lucie Novák as her very first book ‘A Woman with No Strings Attached’ was released today. I was one of the first people to get the book on Kindle and I know that I’m going to enjoy reading the words penned by my friend. However, when I was scanning through the digitalized pages on my tablet I heard a voice in my head saying,
“Wait and watch Fiza my dost (friend) you will reach the stars and have friends all over the world. Will you then forget me?”
Today I own a tutorial and I am an international bestselling author. I’ve got authors, poets and blogger friends from all around the globe with whom I communicate and share my experiences of writing. However, in the midst of this vast crowd sometimes…I really miss that one friend who meant a lot to me many years ago…who now I am sad to say hates the very mention of my name.
“Wait and watch Fiza, my dost (friend), you will reach the stars and have friends all over the world. Will you then forget me?”
“No Richard──I’ll never forget you.”
His name was Richard Chris Cabral and I loved him like a brother. Yet where he is now and what he is doing…I have no clue about.
My friendship with Richard began on the 3rd of July 2007 when I was in my first year of degree college. My class was shuffled and I landed in a new extra populous class full of Psychology and English snobbish students with only one person whom I knew. That person’s name was Tanya, who wanted to major in psychology and who has remained a close family friend till this day. She was the one who made me relax and introduced me to her friends in the over populous class. It was she who introduced me to a tall lanky youth with a lot of pimples on his wheatish complexioned face. He shook my hand and when I looked into his eyes…I saw security in it. I felt that I had looked into these eyes before and then I remembered when…it was when I was a baby when I used to look into the jet black eyes of my estranged father…Richard’s eyes were just like my father’s eyes…I liked him at first sight.
Richard and I both were naughty and sort of goofy. We gossiped a lot and I used to ‘girl watch’ with him just for the fun of it. We were always making the most disgusting jokes in the group and irritated everyone with our boorishness. However, incorrigible as we were, we were just over grown babies who knew too much, especially too much sex. I think Richard and I used to be the storehouse of lewd jokes in our group…he got along well with me and I got along well with him. I even once told him that maybe we were reincarnated friends because we were just so close. Richard brushed that off as another joke but to me, our friendship felt like it was made out of faith, dust and a lot of pixie dust.
Richard and I used to talk a lot on the phone and I once even wrote a proposal letter for Richard to gift to his crush. Sadly, the ‘crush’ was ‘crushed’ and Richard thought that he should end his life that very moment…I found him the next day waiting for me at our college desk with a chess set ready for both of us to play.
Richard was handsome and so had a lot of girlfriends and crushes. I was a geek and just felt wonderful whenever I was with Richard…because we were now the best of friends.
Then came my second year of degree college…Richard did very well in his exams thanks to my coaching (come to think of it, Richard was the first student I ever tutored) and I topped in Hindi and History. I was very studious and read a lot during this period of time. However, being with Richard and having fun at college was my top priority. We were in separate classes this time, but we met every short break and at after college hours to chat, have a samosa together or to watch him play cricket in our secret lane near the college where Richard, his gang and I used to hang out most of the time. Those days were very special ones for me and making Richard smile was my biggest desire every day of the college week.
Richard started going to the gym and working out at this point of time and boy was he looking smashing after that!!! I never missed a chance to tease him about his muscles and as he blushed I would just place my hand around his shoulder and feel like a million dollars.
Richard may have been comic, witty, handsome, helpful, full of life, temperamental, moody, smart etc., but he hated to study and he especially hated to do project assignments. I loved to learn and do my assignments. So one day, in 2009, I decided to do all of Richard’s project assignments for him but I had just one condition. That condition was that Richard would take the trouble of reading over the work I had written and copying it down on paper BY HIMSELF.
Thus, I went about first doing my own assignments and then Richard’s and let all the elements be my witness…it is true that I made his assignments better than mine…always, because he was my buddy…a part of me which I did not under any circumstance want to let go of. God however is a master chess master and likes to play tricks with his pawns…it so happened one day I caught Richard making one of our group friends to copy down his project for him…THE ONE WHICH I HAD PAINSTAKINGLY WRITTEN FOR HIM UNDER THE CLAUSE THAT HE WOULD THEN WRITE IT HIMSELF!
I don’t know what came over me that day but I did something rotten that soured our friendship forever. I took the project back and Richard was left without a project to submit.
Pride? Yes it was my pride that soured the relationship but I never thought he would break away from me completely…from that day onward, Richard stopped speaking to me.
I spent my last year of Degree College as a loner. I hid my face in my books and just kept away from everyone. I cried a lot that year. The naughtiness and fun-loving spirit in me disappeared. I started taking tuitions to earn some cash after college and used to immerse myself in my work (this was the foundation stone of my tutorial which exists today). During this time, Richard…my Richard ignored me like as if I were the plague; he would not even let our paths cross when we walked on the road towards our college. My silence continued and his also…we passed our degree college, he with a second class…me with a first class and moved on in life.
“Hey Fiza, you know what I told my mother about you?”
“What did you tell your mother about me Richard? That I’m a skunk?”
“No way…I told her that if she had seen Mother Mary’s statue…well, to me you look and act just like her.”
Our silence grew too long and the light of our friendship burnt out its last flame the day I sent Richard a friend request on Facebook after I had become an international author and he did not accept my request.
I miss Richard…I miss his laughter and his awkward smile…I miss the sound of his voice and his rib tickling jokes…I miss his caring nature and his childlike nature…I miss the smell of his after shave lotion and the fun times we used to have…I miss his comradeship and his silliness…I miss the touch of his brotherly hand and the way I used to lean on his back while we bitched about our professors…I miss his frank nature and his Goa stories…but most of all I miss Richard Chris Cabral because no one can take his place…the place of a loving brother.
I don’t eat samosas anymore and only crack jokes when I am with my students…clean jokes…I think?! If ever Richard does read this article which will be visible to thousands of readers, will he change his mind and become my friend again?
Lucie Novák my author friend would definitely want me to show this article to Richard but my wounds can heal later, I’ve got to read her book and it is a good one. Also tomorrow is a hectic day for me at the tutorial and I’ve got 10th grade essays to correct. Wounds don’t heal fast and real friendship is tested but not broken…I’m ready to be Richard’s friend again…because I miss him──for he is a gem worth a few tears of love.
Copyright © 2014 Fiza Pathan
Image courtesy: http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/184591
Image for representative purpose only