My glossy mahogany-eyes are soaked with tears, sniffling ceaselessly as I navigate the flight of spiral stairways up the top floor. I exposed my vulnerability to them and now my walls have collapsed, brick by brick they tore me apart. The devils I met were not goat-like beasts with scary horns. They were in fact celestial angels, dressed in white. They gleamed brightly like fire flies during twilight, attracting their mates. They offered me a niche in Milky Way galaxy, exactly what I have been hankering for. They became my new family, better than the broken one I left back at home. Before them, brokenness was my daily bread and loneliness my cyclic breath. Everyone needs a shoulder to lean on; in this case they offered me theirs.
My name is Mary-Magdalene. The author and protagonist of my dark, shameful life. I am that girl you always saw at the wrong places, with mini-skirts scarfed around my waist. I know they always looked like a belt, but they made you think I am a whore didn’t they? In the sphere I live in, nobody wants to be around a depressed girl. So the mask of fake smiles camouflaged the depression in me. But deep within me, I craved for somebody to notice. You didn’t notice, did you? This was always a requirement for my soul. The faux smiles buried the pain inside of me. I couldn’t let it show. But soon, it started owning me up and dominating me. Better than boiling water, it burned my soul. It murdered my mind and suffocated my esteem. The drive to fit in a world that is apparently not my home was the start of my cloudburst.
It’s over a decade and half now since the man supposed to be my father broke my heart before any boy could. The figure I almost grew to admire vanished, left nothing, said nothing. The dimmed picture of once a loving and a great man is slowly drowning in my brain. A deadbeat dad, now he has become. Nevertheless, his ability to persuade my Mum to marry him is probably his best achievement. My mum is now the pillar holding steady our lives, my younger brother and myself. Despite the cold and lonely bed left behind, she took the responsibility of fathering and mothering us, without whining. “When I grow up, I want to be a man like you mum”, my brother Hope jokingly telling my mum once during dinner. He was an enthusiastic boy with a light sense of humor. He never once interacted with his dad but that did not stop him from growing up to a fine gentleman he has become.
“Just wine, men and fun”. This, I was made to believe was all about campus life. I was distraught, to buy this true lie; depending on the side you take. I had undergone infinite sessions of advice and warnings. Budding under the umbrella of my mother’s guidance, this was a chance to know how deep the numerous whipping had gone. I was willing to repay her for the sacrifices she made. The joy of finally living on my own terms was overwhelming. I yearned for this freedom for long, and it was time to fully exercise it. From the nethermost parts of the upcountry, I found myself in the biggest city in the country, the dream of every kid from my rural home. The day finally came and I joined college. A flower in bloom, I was divine. Innocence was written all over my face. Promptly, I joined up with the Christian Union. Those were my mum’s last and forbidding instructions. Her harsh yet passionate voice always ringed within me.
Life in campus, was another battle altogether. My mum could not afford the expenses college life gladly offered. I had to look for part time jobs, mostly night jobs, to make extra cash. It was too much for me. I started developing a negative attitude towards Christ-like life. Our meetings were always about preaching to ourselves and it hurt me that nobody noticed my struggles. We were a family during the engagements, and the bonds ended after the words of grace. So many times I went hungry to the meetings and returned with a devoid stomach. No soul could look me through the eyes and see the struggles. I started growing jealous of the non-Christians; how they seemed happy and always there for each other.
Soon after, I could not bear the long prayers, sermons and company of ‘boring people’. The church turned to a cemetery, a place of no life. Slowly, I glided away. I started spending time alone, utterly terrified in the darkness of strange people. My mum was nowhere to take this sting out. Unfortunately, my absence in the church was not felt. It was desperate moments.
One Friday eventide, lost in the world of solitude, some of my classmates noticed the changed behavior in me. In their own words I looked ‘liquidated’, dysfunctional, and it was time I breathed fun into my life. In my entire life, my weird character meant bargaining for friends always ended up in denial, anger and depression. My body was weak, and so was my spirit. They invited me to a party and I couldn’t refuse. Mama’s words consigned to oblivion. I gave myself away. To be candid, the party was fun, real fun. I did not drink, I behaved myself admirably. I always knew I would control myself. ‘Going to night parties and clubbing doesn’t mean you have to drink and have sex and staff, after all…’
Fast forward to this weekend. By now I had turned into a party animal, raving was my sermon, call me madam Rave-rend. This day was the Christmas of all parties. A buffet of all kind of drugs, plenty in range of different flavors anticipated our never baffling abuse, and I bided no time in fulfilling their wish. In utter honesty, all I can remember was rousing from a heavy slumber.
The room was dusky, drapes not opened. Stinky sweat and a smell like that of fermented fish stuffed the room. With no clothes or even money, nothing seemed familiar in that room. I needed no mirror to realize that my old self was in tatters, ripped and broken. The silence in the room was kind of emptiness that belonged to those whose days to mortality were relapsing. I thought I was the master of my thoughts but clearly I was not in control. In my mind the decision was made, the accord signed and sealed…
“Bing-bong! Bing-Bong!” the church bells jingled. So it was a Sunday. “Did God just whispered to me?” I wondered. “Let me give Him a chance” I persuaded myself. In my miserableness, dressed in what could only qualify as rags, I decided to visit my former home, the one recommended by mama. The grieving me sat alone in the far end corner of the church. Alone and detached, even here it was just me, myself and I. Everyone that saw me just looked at me in disarray shaking in disbelief on how girls in this age are disrespecting the house of grace. “Bangi si spinach” one of them announced to her fellow ‘saint’. I couldn’t stand the mockery.
Clearly this place was not for people us, the weary and heavy laden. I had to go away, to a place I cannot be found or return. Miles away was a deserted building, one that looks like something put through world war 2… One moment I was looked up to by my little brother. Once I was playing with my mum’s messy hair, impossible to brush through. But now I here another calling, the calling of quietus! “please hold me now,I am down to one last breath, and where I am standing, I am six feet from the edge and I am thinking maybe six feet, is not far down.”