This is me; a walking corpse or as they say, the man with the walking corpse syndrome. But this is no syndrome, this is real. My long forgotten “vision” has returned to me, and now, I can see clearly. I see them coming after me, haunting me, piercing my eyes to the point where it all becomes so dark and gloomy. It’s no use looking behind now and there’s nothing to look forward to either. Behind me is a white truck full of shattered dreams, blunders, regrets and damage and before me is a black truck with just one thing inside, absolute peace.
As I take this walk of shame, it all comes back to me now. Mary, my very good friend and confidant– I recall us taking series of JAMB exams until we finally got accepted into the university. It was the best moment of our lives! We had planned out how our university lives was going to be like. The mysterious yet smart ones, you know, not engaging in futile activities and giving maximum time to our books alone. She knew my life story and I knew hers, and for the both of us, it was us against the world till the end.
“Easier said than done”. But it was all so easy with Mary always on my side, giving me words of advice and encouragements when I needed it. She was one to reprimand me so vehemently like she was my mother and I would surrender to her reproach like a feeble child. That was the relationship between me and Mary. Most often, people thought we were dating but ah! I could never have brought all my manly guts together to say I’m asking Mary out. Never dared it! We respected each other so much! And it all worked well for us as planned; good friends, good grades, participating in church activities and the likes! – Until I met Tasha.
Tasha! My beloved. A whole year could be spent just attempting to describe what a beauty she was. I wore my heart on my sleeves when she became mine. I was not shamed to show her off to the world. They say “the only way to get across to the world is to be born there” and all the mocking signs making me feel as though I was not qualified enough to make Tasha mine, I had to break them all, one after the other. I took that bold step, too high and too slippery. I could have drunk some intoxicants just to die then get back up my grave when she finally accepts me. But this wasn’t the case! It was less of a hassle expressing my feelings to Tasha because we clicked instantly. It was as though we were both on a mission to find the same thing, or so I thought! But hey! The deal is that she accepted to me mine and even though she was on the wild side it was a wrap for me! I was no more a lonely single dude pretending to be strong yet dying inside for the touch and caress of a woman I would call mine. I was no longer pretending not to have a boner even when right inside me was a massive aquarium with jelly fishes inside ready to get leaked out. I’m a man after all “body no be wood”. I was introduced to this brand new side of me I had never met before and we became close buddies! He never judged me nor discriminated against me. He accepted me and showed me the way to the “good life” of course, with the help of Tasha! That was goodbye to old me and hello to new me.
“The living self has one purpose only: to come into its own fullness of being, as a tree comes into full blossom or a bird into spring beauty”. I had found my own fullness, it was all in Tasha! And that was death to Mary. I murdered her. Everything about her became history to me. I avoided her calls, pretended to be busy when she came around until we became absolute strangers. I mean, I had to face Tasha squarely now. I didn’t want her to know what a loner I used to be. Quicker than the flames of a wildfire, conformity set in and that was the beginning of my damage. I had made way “cooler” friends, did all the things they did, went to places they went to, all to impress my Tasha. Every Friday night, I found it worthy to break free from the “made up” stress I’d convinced myself that I had accumulated all through the week. I graced all the clubs; and made headway as a pimp supplying guys with hungry strippers.
It takes so many years to build a dream. Some never wake up to accomplish it, some wake up and turn it into reality while some wake up to it, meet it down halfway and dump it like a dough. I was in the class of the third, only that it’s too late to get back to tossing and moulding my dough now. It’s well decayed with swarms of flies all around it. And I say to myself, was I actually under pressure? Where ever did I go wrong? I realised one thing; the pressure was all made up in my head. I made conformity my mistress, breaking all my norms, ideologies and principles. Conformity, the thief of my inner freedom!
I miss her! –Tasha I mean. Why do I miss her, even though she was the genesis to my revelation? –Because I killed her, (just like I murdered Mary). And why did I kill her? I’m not sure I can answer that now as I do not have much time left. The quest for money, fame and power is the beginning of destruction. She was the key to my wealth, they made me believe. But they didn’t need her; they needed her “parts”. If I didn’t produce it, I’d be slayed like a beast. You should know the end of the story by now, I mean, this is why I’m here. Tell Mary I’m sorry and I wish her a beautiful life ahead.
So this is the end of the road for me, my last walk of shame. It’s now time to cross the threshold of what awaits in the black truck. “Black Maria” they call it, I call it “Ave Maria”. She carries the peace that the world could never give me. As I sit in here, looking at the so many faces that are about to be led to their death bed like me, I can only say – “Life is but a dream for the dead”.
Inspired by: The Creative Writers’ Association.
Written by: ‘Nonye J. Chidolue (@Nonyewrites)