When I first heard of the virus, I was still in school. My friends and I were just seeing things about it on the internet and praying that it doesn’t get to Nigeria. Sadly, it did. When it got to Nigeria, we saw our departments and hostels put out buckets of water and soap or hand sanitizers. They made it compulsory to wash your hands before going into the hostel or the lecture halls. They were making sure we kept ourselves safe the best way they could and then suddenly, we were notified to go home because the situation with the virus was getting out of control.
This new development had some of my friends going home without saying goodbye because it was so sudden. It also had me leaving for home without without saying goodbye to my other friends. Everything happened so fast and there was little or no time for proper goodbyes.
A month or two into the lockdown, things were still very much okay. I was still talking with them over the phone and social media as usual and it felt like we were just on a school holiday.
Eight (8) months later, things between my friends and I have become a bit rusty. It now feels like they’re becoming strangers. Even though we still have the internet and everyone seems to be loving it, I still prefer the real deal, that is, talking in person.
Right now, I see them post things and it seems like they’re no longer on my level. It’s like they’re no longer the people I used to know. Most times it’s a struggle to engage them in chats on social media because they no longer reply texts or return calls. Everyone seems so busy and different. Even whilst texting, I get a whole different vibe from their replies.
This has got me wondering a lot. Am I overthinking things? Am I just jobless and feel this way because my friends are getting busy and moving on with their lives and I’m not? Or has the distance and passage of time made us all different people?
It also has me thinking, what does this mean for us when we return to school? Will the friendships die a natural death or is it possible to revive it?
Whatever the case may be, this COVID-19 pandemic lockdown episode put a great strain on my relationship with my friends. Even though I have met new people and started getting to know them, I still feel hurt when I think of my other friendships that might just be on the verge of dying.
These are people I have spent a lot of time with over the years, people I am used to being around and it just feels sad that we might have become something very close to strangers. Well, I am hopeful that there is still a friendship somewhere in there for us to salvage and I’m looking forward to that whenever school resumes.