“What happened?” I could hear myself asking this question over and over again. As I slowly regained consciousness, I found myself in hospital. The past flashed through my mind. I realized with horror what must have happened.
Ismail and I are the best of friends who have lived in the same neighbourhood for umpteen years. In school, we have always joined the same sport – cross-country. The two of us never failed to jog every morning in the park. We especially liked jogging along the path by the big river.
One fine morning, we went jogging by the river as usual. We were jogging slowly as we talked about the coming inter-school cross-country competition. I said, “Peter is bound to be one of the two to be chosen to represent our school. I wonder which one of us will be the other lucky person”.
Ismail suddenly stopped jogging and looked uncomfortable. His voice faltered as he spoke, “Karim, I don’t want to keep it from you any longer. Mr. Lim has already told me that Peter and I were chosen.”
My face dropped. All my wild dreams of being the inter-school cross-country champion were shattered. If only I had practised more often, if only … if only Ismail were not such a good runner.
I was so overwhelmed with disappointment that when Ismail came over to comfort me, I pushed him away roughly. He lost his balance and grabbed at me for support. We screamed as we both fell into the river. The next thing I remember was being in hospital. Friends and relatives who came visit me later told me that they knew. Ismail had saved, risking his own life as he was not strong swimmer. His knees were injured while trying to save me.
I felt exceedingly ashamed of myself. I had put Ismail’s life in danger through my unreasonable, childish behavior. Yet, he had saved me. As a result of his knee injury, Ismail would not be able to represent the cross-country race. This made me feel worse than ever. I have, since that incident, resolved to make it all up to him in whatever way I can. I will try my best to be true friend to him as he has been to me.