Disclaimer: This is going to be a very long post. Have the patience? See you at the other side!
The traffic light turned green and a loud honk behind her took her away from the past. She drove for a couple of minutes, noticing as she did that her fuel tank was two lines away from empty.
Then the traffic lights turned red again and the past drew her back.
Her thoughts now turned toward Alex and as always, she smiled. He was the undisputed love of her life. She’d been extremely stupid often over that dude. Her smile turned sad.
They’d resumed their relationship and he seemed as excited being her boyfriend again as she was being his girlfriend. There was worry interlaced with the excitement though. They dated for a year then some months and she knew he wanted to propose soon and she was terrified. She’d seen pure undisguised hatred only one time before and she couldn’t bear ever seeing it in his eyes too. So she came over one day and told him everything. The full story.
And then he held her and rocked her while she sobbed.
Then when her eyes had grown puffy and she had a throbbing headache, he went into the room and brought out a 3 carat, square cut diamond surrounded by opals, her birthstone. And he asked her to marry him. And she ran out.
The traffic light had turned green. Up ahead were 2 filling stations. She normally used Total but today she was drawn to Conoil.
There was traffic getting into the filling station and she remembered reading that there was talk of an impending fuel scarcity.
A week later and he’d kept calling. Once he called sixteen times in a day. Later that night a large box was delivered from him, firmly wrapped and sealed.
She took it into her room, carefully unwrapping it. Inside, she found a letter- he had been posted to Ghana on a 3 year work exchange programme and although it was short notice, it was a great opportunity and he had taken it. He was flying out that night. Did she see herself joining him at any point?
The next item was the ring he had presented to her. But it was the next one that caused her to cry.
It was the teddy bear she had given him years ago, they’d named it Spiky. Extremely raggedy now, it bore a wood carved heart (Alex’s hobby was wood carving) which read- “With children or without, I love you. And I always will”.
On the reverse side he had written down a number. She’d repeated it to herself until she had it memorized.
She hadn’t called. But she had put the heart in her diary and stayed in her room for a week, only coming out for cereal in the nights. Finally, Jennifer accosted her on one of her night outings. Then she had been forced to tell her everything too. And she had listened. But, for the first time, Jennifer didn’t offer her any sympathy.
“You have been forgiven. You ARE loved. When do you think you’ll be ready to love yourself again? When do you think you’ll forgive yourself?”
Then without another word, she stood up and left. At that precise moment, there was a power outage, leaving her in the darkness with her thoughts.
It was her turn at the filling station. She asked for a full tank in response to the attendant’s query. Then she looked around. And shocked, she recoiled. She looked again. She wasn’t mistaken. The blind beggar sitting by the filling station was in fact the man who had raped her. A surge of anger went through her and then it dissipated when she remembered teenagehood. Whenever she got tired of following her siblings around or whenever she had felt they were tired of her, she would go talk to him and he would make her hot cocoa and toast. It was in fact because of these memories that she had allowed him to enter her house that night. It had been oddly reminiscent. But she could feel herself easing. Visiting a therapist once a week at Jennifer’s insistence, the memory of that night had lost so much of its capacity to hurt her. Now, looking at the pitiable man, it lost all of it and she felt free. She paid the attendant, he gave her some change and she quickly ran over and dropped it in his bowl and ran back into her car, unwilling to listen to his thank you message.
Jennifer had a framed plaque in her room of Isaiah 3:10 & 11 and she had always been fascinated with it.
“Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds.
11Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with them, for what their hands have done shall be done to them.”
She drove well out of the station, brought the car to a stop and dialed a number.
“If the proposal is still on the table, I’d love to be your wife”
Then he laughed. And she laughed. And they made plans.
A while later, they dropped the call. She remembered Jennifer telling her that once she ceased feeling the fear, everything would come easy to her. That she would be free. And then she replied her sister’s most recent message, ” I love you too”
If she hurried, she could make it to the praise service at her church. She started the car, turning up the volume of the CD player.
“… Everything comes alive in my life
As I lift you high
Let your freedom arise, in our lives
As we lift you up
Sing it out, Sing it out!
Freedom, is here now”*
Song- Freedom Is Here- Hillsong United.
Image- Screen shot from the movie Facing the Giants.
Freedom started out as a confused project. The story was actually developed in reverse. In part, I wanted to highlight my love for GOD while showing off some songs. On the other hand, I wanted to prove to myself that I could still write and I wanted to complete a series.
Thanks everyone for reading, commenting and bolstering my self confidence. Especially you, Maphorbs (Seyi Mafolabomi)
NB: You find Freedom when you forgive; first yourself and then whomever has hurt you.
And remember, call God your faithful friend and he definitely will be.