What If (Revised Edition/Honourable Mention Entry SMC July) 

What If (Revised Edition/Honourable Mention Entry SMC July) 

Hello beautiful people! How has life been treating you? Hope you’ve been chasing those big dreams of yours, 2016 is still tagged DreamChasing and it’s not over until it’s over.

I got a honourable mention for my entry on Storried. Turns out I got a mail since August which I never read (Who else scrolls swiftly through their mails without checking them?) and I got published on their  website without even realizing it. 

While I was disappointed about so many things going wrong, this sure came at the right time and I really appreciate Storried for being people of integrity and taking so much effort to contact me.  (They still got my name wrong though – Patience instead of Precious)

I decided to share the original version of the entry – I had to edit it when I realized it was more than the required number of words. You can read the submitted entry on Storried while I post the original here. 

My wrist shook with rage as I walked faster down the empty road. I was ready to kill, beat, burn, and destroy. Tears threatened to fall, but I wouldn’t give them the pleasure of feeling stronger. 

Images of Chisom’s lifeless body ran through my mind and my lips squeezed harder, making my body vibrate in bitterness. 

“I swear to God”, I screamed at the empty road, the wind playing the silent unbiased messenger.
“The heart of man is innately wicked”, says William Golding in his novel Lord of the Flies. I remember standing up against this notion alongside my best friend. 

“It’s pure hasty generalization. People are good. They only make bad decisions sometimes”, we would argue.

When Father impregnated Titi, our house maid, I made excuses – mother didn’t dress too well at home. Wearing wrapper in the house without combing her hair was the cause. Her constant nagging pushed him to it. It didn’t matter that Titi had chocolate brown teeth, and bad breath, her lace dresses oozing that awful odour from the village.

The night thieves came to our house and took the loan Father had just collected, I insisted they could have been hungry or badly in need of money and had no choice but to steal. 

I’ve never seen Father that furious as he threw the knife sitting beside the sucked oranges on the tray at me. Fortunately, the grip hit me and not the edge. My mother and siblings pleadings saved me from being disowned that night.

Those late nights in the dormitory at St Elizabeth, Chisom and I would suddenly switch from teenage gossips to serious conversations about the future. We planned ahead like professional Chess players. I was to be the future Lawyer and motivational speaker while she wanted to be a university lecturer. It was the perfect blueprint for fulfilling our dreams of changing the world’s mindset and teaching them to stop seeing the evil in people, but the good. It was the real cause of pain in the world. 

Cain was just scared of being a nobody as we all are. Gowon and other military rulers only wanted Nigeria to be united. Terrorists merely want to be heard.

“There’s always a justifiable reason for bad decisions people make”, we would insist. 

What if that armed robber had a family member in need of an expensive operation? What if that girl that dresses immodestly grew up with esteem issues?

What if that proud young man is just scared of being looked down on? If only people looked beyond the act and consider the reasons for people’s decisions, the world would be a better place.

We had our long list of excuses, for people’s actions that were called wrong by the society. Who made the rules anyway? Who defined right and wrong? We had to make people understand.

It’s been seven years and despite life’s frequent knocks, we stood our ground and held on to our broken-winged dreams, knowing they would someday fly and soar high. Chisom had an extra year in the University for refusing to sleep with a lecturer.

“He isn’t a pervert”, we would repeat over and over, nobody really knew his side of the story. 

The prostitutes on the street, thieves and hoodlums, we never judged.

Chisom came to my place on Saturday, her eyes swollen from tears, the remains of her red lipstick hanging on her cut lips. Wrapped in her red scarf, I saw the torn red dress and the blood red stain first. 

Wasn’t it ironical that she was all red that night? Yet no amount of red could hide that stain and pain. It was on her way from a church service that finished too late. I wasn’t religious, though I believe in God or I think I do. Religious doctrines suffocated me, and the four walls of churches stunk hypocrisy every time I went visiting. They preached love and spent hours teaching how to judge. It was the last thing on the world-changing blueprint.

We both cried at the injustice. I think she cried more than I did. I tried to start up my excuses for the rapist, what if….

All I saw was unsureness and bitterness in her eyes. Had she stopped believing in the good in people? It had to be that church. 

What happened to our promise to change people’s mindsets?

I spoke on and on for hours, comforting, justifying. 

We cried in each other’s arms and I remember her sleeping off in tears before I did. 

Maybe I really should have listened more and talked less. Maybe I should have just kept my mouth shut and listened to her torn shattered heart speak. 

Waking up early the next morning to see my best friends body lay beside my bed, her bright red dress patterned with her blood, I knew I had been wrong all my life.

Screaming on and swearing to God as I ran madly down the road, the blood red knife in my hands, on my way to show the world the true meaning of innate evil, I knew there was really no excuse. We are all evil.

Thanks for reading. Thanks Storried for putting a smile on my face. Thanks Dee for reading through and giving me the confidence to submit this.
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7 thoughts on “What If (Revised Edition/Honourable Mention Entry SMC July) 

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