Amanda Nechesa is sucker for the fictional world, she always has been. She finds joy in creating little worlds with her fictional charact
She is standing up, her arms resting on the marble podium, her brown hands already on the mic, her black eyes facing the hundreds of people facing her. She takes a deep breathe, then a second one, then a third one.
She is ready now. Ready to confess her crimes, ready to lay bear in front of all these "saints" and beg for forgiveness; ready to admit to her sins.
"Hello everyone," she starts with a forced smile on her round face.
"Hello Purity," they all answer in unison.
But it's not their voice she hears. It is hers. Her voice calling her over and over again, begging her, pleading with her.
She closes her eyes briefly, plasters a smile and starts the admission of sin.
"Well, I guess you all know why I am here."
A shuffle is heard around the room. The 'saints' are looking at her now, whispering about her, waiting for her utter confession. Sitting on the front row, one particular 'saint' is eyeing her. His brown eyes seem gentle. She knows better now.
"It all started when I met Bethel."
Did it start there though? Don't you remember the dreams Purity? Don't you remember Karen, and Veronica and Sasha?
Her mind needs to shut up, she thinks as she proceeds. Time to please the 'saints' . Time to be pure.
But her mind does not shut up. Instead, it takes her there. To the day she met Bethel.
Two months ago:
"Purity,Bless the food our Heavenly Father has placed before us."
Purity clasped her palms together, closed her eyes, and like the good daughter and good christian she had been taught to be, obeyed her father.
Her prayer was short and full of meekeness and love. As she finished, she opened her eyes to find the brown eyes of her father staring at her. In them, she saw what she has always seen. Love, gentleness, and pride. It was no secret that she was his favourite.
"Thank you Purity."
They had dined that afternoon to the feast the Lord had prepared. Their father always insisted they refer to it that way. He never seemed to acknowledge the fact that the so called feast that the Lord had prepared was actually due to the mere hard work of his wife who worked tirelessly to feed his family and his congretation alike. To him, his wife's lawyering job was a door the Lord had opened for them. The church she built for him to conduct his preachings was another door the Lord had opened. The house she worked tirelessly to pay rent for was yet another door.
Doors and the Lord. That was all he seemed to care about. That was all he ever thanked. Not his wife.Not his congregation, not his children.
Purity, nineteen and just out of High school, was just starting to see that now. Her eyes found her mother then. Her mother wasn't looking at her. Her eyes were focused on the mess her nine year old brother had just made with the chicken soup, her hands moving quickly to clean it up with the paper towels before they made a stain.
Purity, bored and suddenly full, excused herself politely from the dinner table. With her mind on nothing in particular, she went into her room, and finding nothing to occupy her, decided to go for a walk.
Funny how the stars align, if you believe in that sort of thing. But Purity was not a believer of anythig but God, and so as she walked down the dusty road to nowhere, fate was the last thing she expected to meet. And fate does come in funny ways. In her case, it came in form of a very dusty ball thrown at her beautiful brown face.
She turned, angry and ready to lash out, then for a moment, she stopped breathing. Right in front of her with the expression of someone not at all sorry for hurting her was Bethel.
She did not know her name though then. All she knew was she had never felt the way she was feeling as she looked at this girl standing in front of her.
Bethel, a sly smirk on her face, and still with no care about hitting her, proceeded to pick the dusty ball lying next to Purity's feet.
"You should apologise," Purity heard her mouth say.
"And you should look where you are going," was Bethel's fast rude reply.
Those were the first words they said to each other. They often joked about it especially after their throngs of passion and Bethel would admit how she had hit her purposefully, wanting her to notice her. Purity would then pretend to be angry, warranting a passionate kiss from her.
"You are my world," Bethel would say.
"And you my universe," she would respond and together, world and universe, they would exist .
But those were the good times. The times she replayed in her mind as she lay in her bed at night. The times she tried to recreate for her friends when they could not understand how she was in love with Bethel.
They were also the times she desperately wanted to hold strongly onto when it finally became known to her preacher-father what his favourite child, his hope, his physical represantion of the Lord's blessings upon his family had been up to.
"YOU SHALL NOT SHAME ME LIKE THIS PURITY," he had said while delivering a blow to her back.
"I RAISED YOU RIGHT, GAVE YOU EVERYTHING AND NOW, NOW YOU WANT TO BE A DEVIL'S AGENT, DOING SINFUL THINGS WITH THAT STUPID GIRL," another blow, this one to her head.
"WHAT KIND OF NONSCENCE IS THIS??? HMM, WHAT KIND?" DO YOU ENJOY MAKING ME A LAUGHING STOCK? DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE REFUSE TO COME TO MY CHURCH NOW?? DO YOU?" blows, blows, blows.
A weeping , dirt covered, nose-running Purity just lay there, unable to move as the man she had respected and loved and called father tore her flesh apart. She had tried talking, reasoning, but that had only resulted to her skin suffering.
Was it a sin to love someone? She wanted to ask as the blows kept coming. Was what she felt for Bethel such a bad thing? If it was, why was it then that being with her was the only thing that brought calm to her mind? Surely, was the God she had served all years of her life so cruel that He would find fault in His servant finding tranquility?
"YOU WILL STAND IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH ON SUNDAY, AND CONFESS YOUR SINS!!! I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ANYTHING ABOUT BETHEL AGAIN!!NUNDERSTAND??? YOU SHALL RESEPCT ME AND RESPECT GOD!" he still continued.
That Sunday however found her in a hospital bed still nursing the wounds from her father's animalism. She had looked at her mother as she tried to feed her. Why? Her eyes asked. Her mother, eyes averted, walked out of the room, leaving Purity to her thoughts and memories of a time where her universe was passion-filled and calm.
Two weeks is what took for her to be fully healed., and one more week to prepare her apology to the 'saints'.
In that time, all she thought of was Bethel, and how great it had felt when she ran her fingers through her long hair, the butterflies whenever she saw her, the beat of her heart when their lips touched , the feeling during their moments of passion and the calmness that came after with their naked bodies entwining.
She is now pure. Free of sins. God's child agan. Her Father's child. The 'saints' are pleased that she has found her way back. They are clapping as she steps from the podium. They are not whispering now.
"The Lord has delivered you my child. I am grateful," her father says as he hugs her and she slightly winces. Seems she is not completely healed after all.
Purity seats down next to her father. There is a guest Pastor today. Homosexuality is his main focus today. He praises the Lord for delivering her from the devil's temptations. Purity smiles and nods her head in agreement.
The service has ended. The 'saints' keep coming to her, congratulating her for finding her way again, thanking the Lord for saving her from utter damnation. To all these she still nods and smiles.
The 'saints' have gone back to their homes to continue with their 'saintly' lives. In the empty church remain her 'saintly' family. Her father is talking to the Guest pastor, her mother is wiping the dirt off her small brother's jeans. Her eleven year old sister is playing with her Hail Mary doll.
She looks at them. There is no smile on her lips, and no tears in her eyes either as she says walks away.
Outside the gate, hidden among the numerous shops, her Universe awaits. She smiles as she sees her. Seems like once again she has forgotten how to breath.
"You sure about this," Bethel asks.
"More than anything," she says.
Together, world and universe, hand in hand, they escape to a place they can exist.