I have a friend, let’s just call her Ling, who is from a small town. We first met when we started college back in April 2012 in Kuala Lumpur. At first, everything seems to go smoothly. Ling is a friend, who seems to be always ready to help out by taking seats and things like that. But gradually, problems arise.

At first, it is nothing serious. A question or two on the lectures, coming late and expecting me to save seats for her when she lives but 5-minutes walk away, etc. I thought she might be having some problems. Also, her English is not that strong and she needed my help, or so I thought.

But later on, when she realized that I am always ready to help,she seems to start taking advantage of me. Not to say she didn’t reciprocate the favours, but she seems to think a meal or two will be more than sufficient for her to take up all my spare time. Even worse, she started interrupting me during the lecture! So I shushed her and told her to wait until the lectures were over.

And so we go on. Over time, she came to be so dependent on me for her studies that I felt quite pressured and stifled. She dominated all my time at college, limiting my interaction with other friends. Everywhere I turn in the college she was practically in my face. She even suggested we eat breakfast and lunch together for every day we have class! You may comment that it doesn’t sounds so terrible; it is normal for friends to eat together. But you don’t know her! She eats a lot and very slowly, so whenever I eat with her, I am afraid of being late to class. Worse, she likes to talk when eating even though we are already running late and she even stop chewing to talk! Wouldn’t you be frustrated too?!

One day, she asked me whether we could study together. I said yes as she needed the help. Never have I so regretted a decision I made! On that fatal day, we decided to work on an assignment. Before we even started, she was already asking me what and how should she write in the assignment. So, I told her about the outline of the assignment and left her to write.

I was just starting on my first paragraph when she interrupted me, asking me to check her work. Goodness! She had only just written two lines! TWO miserable lines! So I asked her to finish her work before I checked for her. She subsided with the requests to check her work, but not with frequent questions about what to write next. After being interrupted in the middle of my thoughts for the nth time, I stopped trying to work, knowing it is futile. And so I wasted a day while the exams edged nearer.

I have this uncomfortable feeling that she is so friendly to me because I am a valuable source of information for her. While I have little to no knowledge of the fashion world and Korean stars whom she likes very much, I do have much information about our course and studies, procured after long hours of self studying.

At long last, the school year came to an end. From this September onwards, we embark on different courses, she on a twinning programme to UK; me, with my strained finances, doing an external UK programme. I congratulated myself for finally gaining freedom.