An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Steamships Short Story Award
IT was Dianne’s first day at university. After getting settled in her room, which she will be sharing with two other girls, she started rifling through her things and unpacking.
Her two roommates were not here yet so she got to choose the bottom bunk and her locker first. It feels good to go to university at last and experience and learn new things, meet new friends, people and just have a lot of fun.
‘Hi!’ Dianne was startled and spun around to the door she left ajar.
‘I’m Tracy’, her intruder poked her head in and extended her hand to Dianne. After a brief introduction, Tracy said she was just bored so walked around to meet all the new faces. At that moment, they hit it off. They became the best of friends and as the years ensued their bond became stronger.
They lived in the same dorm, took the same course, go to meals together, share everything even their deepest darkest secrets and do almost everything together. They knew everything there was to know about each other. They were the inseparables.
‘Guess what?’ Dianne said whilst blushing and paused for some time. They were walking back to their dorms after studying in the library when Dianne decided to break the news to her best friend.
‘Oh come on. Tell me’, chided Tracy. ‘I’m dying to hear it’.
‘I think I am in love with a stranger”, Dianne blurted out. There she’d said it,
‘Huh? Seriously? Is there something you’re not telling me?’ Tracy questioned her.
It was something she hasn’t been telling her best friend for some time now. Dianne was not really into boyfriends and falling in love until her final year. She got hooked up with a guy who’s also attending university in another city.
Their only contact was through phone and email. Their conversations got more interesting everyday that Dianne began to fall in love with Patrick though they haven’t actually met in person.
‘Am so happy for you’, Tracy said lovingly and hugged her best friend.
One Thursday evening, Tracy said excitedly that she will be going for a Church camp on the weekend in the next city where Patrick is.
She kindly asked her best friend if she can meet up with Patrick and let him be her tour guide since she’s new to the city.
Who wouldn’t say no? Dianne gladly agreed and quickly texted Patrick. The next day Tracy left. She exchanged their numbers so they can easily meet.
Dianne constantly texted her best friend to check on her. A part of her feared for her safety if anything went wrong while she was with Patrick because she’d never met and really known him.
Tracy: Hi girlfriend. I just safely arrived and met Patrick at the bus stop.
Dianne: Oh great! What’s he like?
Tracy: He’s hot and cute. A gentleman indeed.
Dianne: Please take good care of him for me too..hehehe.
Tracy: I sure will. Talk to you later. Bye!.xoxoxox.
Patrick: Hi Di..Just met your girlfriend at the bus stop. Walking her to the church camp since it’s nearby to the school.
Dianne: Thank You! Make sure she is safe.
Patrick: sure I will. Gotta go!
So Dianne was at total ease after hearing that they met and Tracy is safe. On Saturday, she called to check up on them and Tracy said she will be busy at the church camp all day and Patrick will catching up on his assignments and school work. They both promised to call her in the afternoon.
‘Patrick said to walk me around town after I’m done with my afternoon activities’, Tracy said excitedly when she called Dianne.
‘That’s great. Please take some pictures and bring it over. I’m dying to see how he looks like’, cooed Dianne.
In the afternoon, Dianne thought she’ll just call to see how they are doing with their afternoon walk but after trying desperately to call and text them, they both never replied or answered her calls. She started to get anxious and feared something bad might have happened. That night she only got a text from Patrick that they were hanging out with friends and didn’t hear and see her calls and texts.
‘Lame excuse’, Dianne murmured to herself and didn’t say much. She called her best friends phone but it went to voicemail. Well, Patrick said she’s fine and left her at the camp so all is good then.
All of Sunday, there was no word from Tracy. Her phone was still off. She decided to use Patrick to check on her best friend but he said he will be busy playing rugby all day but if he has time he will check on her. Dianne was a really concerned friend and it’s just normal for her to do this.
Now it was Monday and she still hasn’t heard from Tracy. Dianne was losing it already.
At about 9pm, she got a call from a new number. It was Tracy! She said she’s coming and will be in school soon. Dianne’s anxiety disappeared. She was dying to hear about her friend’s weekend and especially about Patrick.
Tracy didn’t say much except that he’s a sweet guy and Dianne’s lucky to have him. She never took the photos with Patrick which Dianne asked her to. A week after Tracy’s weekend trip, Dianne realized that Tracy was not the same person like before.
She rarely spoke, was constantly on the phone talking or texting, and when Dianne mentioned Patrick’s name, she’d quickly change the subject. She didn’t know what had happened, but realised something was wrong.
‘What!’ she screamed into the phone.’ She’s my best friend I have always been nice to her. What are you talking about?’ Dianne was confused and filled with rage. Patrick just said she has been mean to Tracy and jealous because she got a chance to meet and hang around with him whilst Dianne did not.
‘Jealous of what!’ she snapped. Get a grip, she told her herself. Something was terribly wrong and she had to find out. Someone had been telling terrible lies about her.
She went off to interrogate Tracy but her best friend retorted sharply that Patrick is just lying. It felt like a punch in the gut to hear her friend talk like that. Oh! Wasn’t that just great? Now she was more confused over who to believe.
Things started to get tenser and they gave each other the silent treatment. Dianne tried her best to make them forget about Patrick and everything but Tracy became meaner each day. . They have their fights like all friends do but this one was different.
Dianne finally got to meet Patrick and sure enough he was hot and cute. A gentleman indeed. Things began to be unconcealed now. Tracy desired him and was trying to destroy her best friend’s relationship. All this time they were secretly going out and Dianne never knew. She was taken for a fool.
No matter how much she really liked Patrick and he begged for forgiveness and second chance at their relationship. She still couldn’t do it because she trusted neither of them. Dianne decided that the next best thing to do is forget about Patrick and move on.
She couldn’t care less if she’s with him or not. What they both did was unimaginable and it’s very unbecoming of her best friend to do this to her.
It was getting towards the end of their final year at university and school work was a load with final exams coming up. Dianne has no time to think about this issue. After several failed attempts to patch things up, she gave up. She managed to stay out of Tracey’s way until the school year ended. Their friendship on the rocks and all because of a man.