The sky mumbled, speaking in an incomprehensible language. Its own way of informing the inhabitants of the planet of what is about to happen. From a bright sunny morning it was turning into a dark gloomy morning. The very many trees at the river bank swayed from side to side. Someone was shaking it, none other than the invisible wind. With it’s strong invisible hand it carried off all that stood on its path.
Out in the cold, at the edge of the river, was Shola, shivering and cuddled up into a ball like a snail retracting into it’s shell. He wrapped his arms round his legs, brought them closer to his body for more warmth and then buried his head between his knees, Eyes shot, oblivious of the happenings in his surroundings, Shola was lost in thought.
“Which way now” he thought. Wouldn’t plunging into the river end all the pain and save all from further disappointment.”
He thought about his mother she must be waiting for him at home now, wondering why he is not yet back as he had promised. He left his phone at home before leaving which means no one can contact him even if they wished to. He had promised to return as soon as he is through with his exam, so as to help her pound the palm fruits and attend to some other chores.
As he recalled the events of the past few years that had pushed him to this despicable point, Tears trickled down his cheek. Five years have now passed and he is still unsure of what the future holds for him.
He was the dream child of every parent. Intelligent, hardworking and obedient. He classmates envied him for what seemed to them an unnatural brilliance. His parents were very proud of him. Most especially his father who never failed to tell everyone that cared to listen that Shola his son would soon be the first barrister from their community.
Five years down the line now and the very intelligent boy is still unable to secure admission into the university. The cause of his failure he could not explain. At one point in time it was attributed to spiritual manipulation from his enemies who were unhappy with the direction his life was taking. This prompted him to start avoiding some persons who seemed to him the enemies behind his predicament.
And to cap it all his mates were now graduating while he was still struggling to enter. Frustration had set in. His father was no longer praising him as before. He could no longer boast of him as before and this has made him a little bit distant from him. He himself wasn’t left out of the frustration. He has found himself easily irritated and angry at the slightest provocation. He was becoming more gloomy and withdrawn. Unnecessarilly shy and nervous before his contemporaries and this was certainly not the one who wants to be a lawyer. What has happened to his cheerful, funny and outgoing nature? Shola had no answer. He found it hard to come out in public, for everytime he ventures out someone must ask about his academic pursuit and they never failed to make a demoralizing statement. His self confidence and self esteem were now slowly departing from him, he was now finding it hard to believe in himself which was unlike him. His spiritual life was heading for a total collapse, his belief in God was in danger. Shola was really not himself, prayer became a burden instead of habit of life. Those who were close to him in church were able to detect his declining spiritual life and kept on admonishing him. He thought about travelling far away, away to an unknown land, where no one knew him and no one would judge him but he couldn’t bring himself to abandon his family.
And now he has just finished another entrance exam and he is as of before unsure of his future. Had he not had a terrible system failure maybe he could have done better. But who would believe his story of having a faulty system. System failure, unfriendly invigilators, all these had contributed to his uneasiness in the hall, rendering him incapable of thinking rationally and clearly. Sweating even though the hall was air conditioned, thoughts of the previous year’s failures and disappointment weighed heavily on him. He was almost going crazy. Before he could gather himself together the time allotted for the exam had elapsed leaving him with so many of the questions unanswered. Now Shola has decided to find a permanent solution to his problem and the solution lies deep down in the middle of the river. But has he the courage to plunge in and find it?
The smiling faces of his younger siblings flashed through his mind. How would they react if they were told that he will never return. Especially KC who would carry him off to play with him and feed him.
The rains were now coming in drizzles, little petals that had a gentle but annoying touch. Shola’s navy blue shirt slowly but consistently were now drenched. From the little drizzlling it turned into a heavy shower. The type that is capable of penetrating deep into the soil faster.
He has to make a decision now, the rain is getting heavier by the minutues. Suddenly as if prompted by an external force. He stood up. Eyes red and swollen, from the constant tears. He looked straight into the river. He dipped his two feet into the cold waters, strolled a further distance untill the water level was up to his chest.
He looked round as if searching for a lost jewel. And then Shola made a loud cry.
“I am Shola Michael Ogundele Jr son of Shola Michael Ogundele Snr.
I will not give up. I will fight untill I win. I will overcome my challenges. I will fulfil my destiny and achieve my dreams!”
His voice was shaky. Tears continued to trickled down his cheek and run down into the river, the hot tears mixing with the cold water.The cold made him shiver and he knees jerked often. Nevertheless he defied all odds and continued.
“Whoever you are now you listen. I am a Child of God. And even if I walk through the valley of the shadows of death, I shall fear no evil. For many are afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers them all. I am a champion, I am a winner not a loser. I am not a failure. I Shola will go back home and fight till I win. So help me God. Amen!”
Immediately Shola finished speaking, a loud deafening bang of thunder sounded. Followed by a frightening flash of lightening. The heavens have voiced their approval. He ran out of the water and headed for his home. Running as fast as his legs could carry him just as the rains kept on increasing it’s own pace and intensity.
And never ever again to undertake such a mission.