- The Storried Platform
THE INESCAPABLE – A FRIEND TO NO ONE – By Nwachukwu Obinna
I watched as the priest moves his lips, sadly listening to the words that it expelled. Words that hurt more than the scorch of a flame. Words that are more piercing than the edge of a one-edged sword. Words that paved the way for my walk into the forbidden; my past. Every of the words escaped his lips and nested in my soul. Like they were being made with special consideration to myself alone. Clearing the path for the flow of tears from my eyes. Invisible tears that none could see.
For two months now, REGRET has been my only companion. Never failing on its duty as whenever I wake up in the morning, it is the first voice I hear. As I walk along the street, it walks by my side. And tells me goodnight before I go to bed. But silently it BITES, chewing up my self-esteem bit by bit and sucking away my purpose with large gulps.
My cousin Jude never made it easier. His looks remind me of what I could have had that I had thrown away. His pride, a reminder of what I could have built but had already destroyed. But he was ignorant and blind. Ignorant of the fact that his cousin is slowly walking into the jaws of THE INESCAPABLE and blind to the fact that his hands are on my shoulders patting me with encouraging rhythms as I make my journey to the unknown.
Once I was an extrovert, but now an introvert. Once I was an optimist, but now a pessimist. Conversions that took place with just a mention of three words. ‘You are positive.’ Three words that left a deep hole through my knee cap like a gun, shot at close range. Only that this bullet came from the mouth of a man in white overall rather than from the muzzle of the pistol of a man wearing a black hat. The words bite and they chew. Deeper and deeper the wound digs. And more visible every scar they create becomes. But as to every problem, there is a solution. And to every beginning, there is an end. To my problem, there is but one solution. (Or, just so I think.) Though the end is the same but at a faster pace.
As I was about leaving the church that Sunday, THE VOICE calls. ‘Its time’ it whispers for the first time. I ignored. Few blocks away from the church, I watch, in awe, as Jude walks. With a backpack firmly sitting on his back and a box wheeling close to him, I stood still on the other side of the road watching as he majestically tread. He catches me staring and waves, saying goodbye for the second time. If only I had summoned a genie, my first wish will be to become like him. But it’s a dream that can never come to pass. A wish that can never be granted. Because deep inside I know it is my worst fear. The fear of becoming like him. I only envy him because he seems perfect outwardly. He’s also smart and intelligent. But he brags too much about himself. His looks, his intelligence, and his smartness when it comes to using protection during sex were always the topic of his discussion.
I remember the astonished look on his face the day I told him that I finally terminated my innocence with Onome. The first question he asked me was if I had used protection. When my answer was negative, his countenance became hostile. He yelled and scolded me terribly. I was shocked, as to why Jude, the one who has been urging me for months to do the forbidden, the one who lays with nothing less than three girls a week should be the same one to give me an open rebuke. It was terrifying.
Every hour is a struggle; a fight against the inescapable. The loss of just one battle will lead to me being defeated and my existence terminated. With Jude on his way back to school, one would expect the battle to be easier, but the reverse becomes the case as I am beginning to feel my strength dwindle, slowly leading me to my most vulnerable stage. Never did I know that being alone will be my most exposed posture to the spear of my adversary.
My opponent, the inescapable, with its voice it calls again. First, the voice sounds like a whisper to my ear as I lay on my couch. Then it got more audible, “Its time Fred, Give up!” It commands. In a Zombie-like movement, I walk towards where my rack stood, pulled it closer and picked up the object it concealed; a cylindrical-shaped mini bottle with the word Conc. Tetraoxosulphate(VI)acid boldly written on its label. After I unstoppered the bottle and about to drain every last drop of its content down my throat, the tone of my phone distracts me; the harshness of its sound knocking me back to reality. With a reflex, I pick up the phone and answer the call. It’s Esther, Jude’s elder sister. And the way only words she says is, “Jude had an accident on his way back to school, and he’s been confirmed dead”.
From that day onwards, I started believing, that the inescapable, DEATH, is a shape-shifter that comes through various pathways and without invitation. Some believe it to be a transition to another world. Others believe it to be oblivion. But despite what one believes, whether it walks up to you boldly or it slithers past you unnoticed, it still doesn’t change the simple truth, which is “the inescapable, DEATH, is a friend to no one”.
By Nwachukwu Obinna
I watched as the priest moves his lips, sadly listening to the words that it expelled. Words that hurt more than the scorch of a flame. Words that are more piercing than the edge of a one-edged sword. Words that paved the way for my walk into the forbidden; my past. Every of the words