When I was in college, I bunked with an old school friend of mine named Mei.

Although we were never really close in school, we became good friends that first year of law school. And because she was also dating an old friend of mine, Wai, we had plenty to talk about. Wai and I had been childhood buddies, and used to play squash together. When I gave that up, we’d simply lost touch.

To supplement my living expenses as a student, I worked as a cashier (where I’d incidentally ‘met’ Lokes although we were never formally introduced) at a club (we called them ‘discoes’ back then). Wai visited often, and without Mei, whom he’d said he preferred to ‘leave at home’. He’d use my name to get in free, with his friends. Although my bosses did not like it, they liked me enough to let it slip.

Wai grew up to be very different from the boy I used to know. Like Leroy, he’d mixed with the wrong crowd and even joined a triad. From an innocent, shy boy, he’d become a rowdy hoodlum, often engaging in gang fights and was once even embroiled in a car-burning.

Needless to say, I avoided him as much as possible.

One day, Wai came to the club with another girl, and he didn’t even attempt to hide from me. Throughout the night, they danced and flirted and ended the night all over each other right in front of me. Wai’s eyes told me everything I needed to know.

Don’t tell Mei, or else

For a while, I kept my mouth shut. Naturally, with such things, he’d become emboldened by the sensation of cheating. And each time he came in with a different girl, he would give me that look.

So for a few months, I was an accomplice by silent consent, simply because I’d feared for my life.

And then one night, a friend of mine, Zarina, visited. She’d come with a couple of our college mates. A new student who’d arrived only a couple of months before, Zarina was pretty and innocent. And eager to experience everything the city had to offer.

Everything would’ve been okay until Wai boldly came and asked me to introduce Z. Something snapped.

That night, I went home and woke Mei up. Out poured every gory detail. We spent all night talking. Well, I talked and Mei cried. The next day, she vowed to break things off with Wai. And she promised me that she would not say that I’d told her, but instead that she’d seen him herself.

I waited anxiously for a week.

They never broke up. Instead, Mei distanced herself from me, and I received a phone call from Wai, threatening to do things to me I would regret for the rest of my life. For some reason, he never made good on his promise.

One day, when I was out, Mei even brought him to our room.

They had sex. On my bed.

Your bed is very nice to do it doggy style, he’d said to my face.

For a year, Wai continued to cheat on Mei. Two more times, Mei came begging me to tell her the truth. Threats of death followed threats of violence and rape. I’d become so afraid to go to work or walk home from college that I finally had to borrow money from my mom to move out.

 

I believe I was a good friend, but this incident scarred me for life when it comes to helping people who will not help themselves.

Friends who betray my trust and put me at risk.

Friends who say one thing and do another.

Friends who expect unconditional support to be a right.

Unconditional support is a privilege, the glue of which is trust, the source of which is respect and honesty. There is a limit to the number of fatal mistakes you keep making before the respect wears off and all that is left is honesty.

And if you can’t deal with that, then you should just rely on a psychologist.