Another story. I shared to a few persons when I first wrote it few weeks back. I thought it’d be a beautiful valentine gift. Enjoy!
“And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and go to hell.” Mark 9:43.
I closed the bible with my left hand and raised the cleaver in my right. Chanting those red letter words dancing in my peripheral vision I brought down the blunted cleaver on the left hand. Witty as always, it retracted towards me, and the cleaver, missing the wrist, landed on my phalanxes my screams tearing through the air.
One would think my heart was ripped out the way I howled, partly for the pain and then the disappointment that followed; I would have to try again because the darn thing couldn’t even cut off the phalanxes. I knew because I lifted up the hand from the pool of warm dark-red fluid expecting to see the distal phalanxes drop, but they DIDN’T!
Pinocchio would make a better liar if I said I didn’t know what I was doing when I lifted the cleaver—subtly acknowledging how powerful Uche, my neighbour, is to wield it as he would a feather—because painted in splashes of yellow and neon pink on my mind is graffiti of Amara emptying my bag at the hostel’s waiting lounge, in front of some hundred students, to prove that her faded gold chain that cost less than my face wipes was stolen by me.
I remember how the stares of contempt burned holes in my face when Kelechi screamed like a wild goat, “see my wrist watch oh!” and how someone had suggested my locker should be searched. How I was dragggggged to the room, and slapped to open my locker…
What I do not remember, however, is who first called me “CSI” (Commissioner for stolen items), when items that had been missing for weeks were found in my locker; or how it has progressed to “inoh eyen akpara” (stealing child of a whore) because somehow word got out that I do not belong to my father, rather, I am seed conceived from a gang rape of my mother two years before she got married.
Today, like every other day, the tears fall in torrents with each memory, or rather with each non-existent memory, because no one—including myself—believes me when I say I have no recollection of ever taking those items.
Father Benedict says it’s God’s love that brought the teacher to recess room where I was dragged to be beaten the first time this happened, and the next week too, when, after being expelled, I bagged a pack of Kitchen glory spices from Iya Ibrahim’s stall in the market, and her neighbor, who saw me, refused to deliver me to the market touts to be burned alive.
The same “God’s love” that made Amina speak up for me the day Amara found her chain in my bag.
He says God’s love will never stop coming after me till my heart completely belongs to Him. He says strange things like, “Cleptomaniac or not, God loves you, Bella.” Of course I do not believe him, but, if this is true, I want to be unloved.
I want to be burnt, I want to be beaten to a pulp, I want to leave here, to not have this left hand (so much for being a south paw), to not…so many things.
As I stare at the bleeding fingers, I remind God that yesterday I was almost burnt again, at the park, for taking that old woman’s pearl studs. I didn’t take it, actually, but how can I explain that they fell out of my bag when our bus finally arrived? And now, as I see my efforts at redemption fail miserably I say, “make me unloved.”
To which He replies, “Bella I have loved you with an everlasting love. For I made him who knew no sin to be sin for you that his righteousness may be yours, and what I did, nothing can undo. My love had made you whole. Will you receive it?”