I didn’t commune much with Adrian after the trip to her grave. If at all Adrian had locked up more than I had because he never spoke about what was going on inside him. Josephine was worse; she was far away with no hope of coming to see where her dear friend was buried. I spent much of my time trying to keep my mind busy, trying to keep a finer sense of things locked up in my mind because I really wanted to go crazy. The dreams had stopped but Michelle and Gabby where still having them. Belana had become a topic no one really spoke about because it was too hard to talk about. As friends we had spoken about anything and everything but now this was too difficult, almost unbearable. Michelle did a lot of checking up on me, I guess she could tell I had really taken a deep blow to the stomach. Excluded from the world I chose to recollect my most recent memories of Belana and capture something momentous she had done for someone while she was still here. Who was more fitting than Juniper Trinity Rose Miles, the Crawling Moments! Belana had helped save a girl from things most heard off in fictional films and to me that had been her greatest fight for someone else before she had passed away. I started writing away, remembering moment after moment in that story and seeing Belana in every twist, turn and loophole of the story. What would the world be if there weren’t people like Belana, people who look outside themselves and love others unconditionally, people who always see the best in others and people who bring a joyful side to life? We were now four months since we buried Belana and life was sort of livable. I continued to write the story as I went along, trying to keep a piece of time locked in history. I would meet up with my friends now, trying to patch up the tides of silence that had found set camp in-between us. I grew closer to Michelle than I did anyone else, maybe because she had almost been able to read through me and boss me around from time to time. On one sunny Wednesday afternoon I set out on a journey, I was going to see Belana’s mother. I had not seen her since the memorial and I really wanted to know how she was doing. It was much of a lazy walk as I was not in a rush to get there. As I walked I remembered the day we buried her over and over again. It is purely fascinating how I had travelled the road since I was three years old and never felt a connection to it but the moment my friend passed away it changed because every time I am on the road I remember things about her.
I got to her house and walked in and knocked at the door. Bobo came to greet me, a bit surprised to see me but not entirely shocked. We had a few words, seeing how each of us was doing and if there were any new stories to discuss. Bobo invited me in as we spoke and I sat on the couch while he stood at the TV. Another brother of Belana’s came in and sat across from me. He only knew me by name and no finer details from there. “Where is mom Bobo?” I asked. “She is out, let me call her and tell her you are here.” Bobo called her and she asked for me to wait an hour for her so she could wrap up what she was doing and come home. I was in no rush really, had time to burn and small talk to partake in. It didn’t take Albert Einstein to see that the family had changed completely. Belana’s pictures were still around, the one where she met the President and the one when she was in Libya as well as a family shot where she was with her mom and all her siblings. Her Facebook profile had a lot of messages from her friends and associates in Libya and I really tried to visualize what they went through as they could not come to the funeral, memorial or even will also die before they see where their friend was buried. Small talk didn’t go too deep as no one seemed to want to talk about life after Belana. Belana was really the hope of the family, her brother Patrick who had joined us had Down’s syndrome and really struggled keeping up in school. Belana had been due to start University that year as she had passed her IGCSE exams exceptionally well. It all seemed to have just rushed down the drain as it all meant nothing now. I tried not to say too much, you never know what would send an entire family on the brink of destruction. In the passing of an hour Belana’s mother walked through the door and met my gaze. She tried to smile but I was no fool, it was a fake attempt. I stood up to greet her and she urged me to sit down as she sat next to me. This was the first time I had ever met Belana’s mother on a one on one level, I had always been afraid of her as I didn’t want conclusions drawn because I was so close to Belana. It was too late for that now because it didn’t matter at all! Out of formality she asked how I was doing and I am not one to be patronizing, I told her the truth and that was that I was still in pain and still struggled to get by. She nodded her head seemingly in agreement as I told her how I had been holding up since Belana left us. She wasn’t surprised; she wasn’t surprised at all because she had to live through worse. She spoke in a very low calmly voice as she started telling me how she had been holding up. “Thank you Corey for coming to see me, ever since that time you came with Belana’s friends none of them ever came back to see me again. It is hard living in this house, at times it’s so hard I can’t look at her pictures so I just turn them so that they can face the wall. On better days I turn them back around so I can look at her as the day goes by. I have not gotten the chance to clean out her room since she passed. Her father’s mother did not leave since the burial and she has been sleeping in there. I wanted some time to be close to my daughter, to all the things that were hers but she is camped there and won’t leave. I have been having dreams where Belana comes to me and tells me that she knows who killed her. She says she is going to revenge her death. In other dreams she says I know the enemy.” She didn’t waste time in getting into tears, really how can someone who has lost her entire hope dilly dally about getting to tears? “Belana was my hope, she is where I had put my hope for the future but now all of it is gone. Look now everything has crumbled, the family taxi business has broken down completely; everything has just gone so wrong. Who else do I have to turn to now? Patrick is not normal; he can’t have a normal life. Who else do I have to turn to?” In my heart I said to myself, “Bobo” but he had to prove himself. He had to walk away from the radical lifestyle he had and prove to be dependable and have a vision for his life.
She carried on, “Now her father just drinks and drinks. While she was still alive she would talk some sense into him and he would listen. Now he leaves the house and comes home the next morning while I am going to church, dead drunk! The wrecked car outside, he was involved in an accident coming from a bar!” I automatically related to what the dad was experiencing, grief without solution! A point where one lacked the strength to confront and chose to forget for a moment. Alcohol does that and that is why a lot of people use it. He was not a man of many words but I could see he was destroyed inside and he had nothing else to turn to. I could see the look on his face, he had to look strong but he was horridly destroyed inside and he could tell no one, not even his own wife! “Not too long ago I buried her brother, in the same cemetery and now she is there too. Is that all she has become, flowers on an aging grave? Is that all she has become?” Her words were cutting straight to my heart and I was strongly fighting away the tears. I perceived that this was the first time someone had really come to talk to her and hear what is going on inside her because she didn’t hide anything. “Maybe she will leave so that I can pack up Belana’s things. She had scented candles and I would want you to have them Corey, she used them when she prayed and I am sure she would want you to have them.” I couldn’t refuse the gift though I still did not want to hear about God! It really tore me inside to see someone at such a low point! I had never imagined the depth the love of a child can reach! She said things that day that even I cannot say because they were the biggest burdens on her heart. Words I desire not for anyone to ever say due to terrible pain. She let the cannon ball lose on everything, the people she blamed for her child’s death, how she was feeling inside and how everything was turning out. Her words left a mark on my mind up to this day and it is my burden to carry! It is in that moment that I learnt to never underestimate the love parents have for their children. I had seen a woman who had been torn limb from limb and had nothing else to sacrifice for. What could I have possible said in that situation, what could I have possibly done to make the situation better. I tried to encourage her, to tell her everything would become better with time and though I believed half of what I said I knew she needed to hear it. I remember telling her that Bobo needed her now and that she shouldn’t throw him away because the love of a parent can turn the wildest of children straight. Maybe she received those words, but I knew it was going to be a process for this to become reality. A great time had passed now since my arrival at their house and I had to leave. She walked me out the door and left me at the gate. I didn’t want to leave her in such pain but what else could I do? All her words circulated in my head as I made my way home! Being one notorious for talking to myself I started talking as I walked, “Gosh life should never be like this. No person deserves such pain! No parent deserves to bury their child. None! How could this have happened? What did Belana do to deserve this? This is a deep wound, one which a bandage cannot cover!” I could feel the tears at the edge of my eye lids, a tear went down my left cheek and I wiped it away but another one came down soon after. I didn’t wipe it away, why bother! It was a bit dark and no one would really notice that I was crying. Reality has a way of being constantly rude in times of turmoil. In that moment I wished I had a wish, and that was to have Belana see her mother again. That she may be alive and well and go on like nothing every happened. Little wizard in a bottle only worked in Middle Eastern cartoons! I felt powerless and I hated it because I knew I could do nothing about this situation.
As soon as I got home I sent Adrian a text message telling him where I had been. He replied asking how the family was keeping but I lacked words or courage to tell so I just told him he didn’t want to know. I didn’t have the strength to eat, I wanted to be alone and alone for a while! I hated what I had seen that day; it had crushed me to a point of silence. I retreated to my bedroom and sat in the dark looking out the window. As I sat by the window gazing at the moon that was out that day I found myself talking, “You knew that she was a friend I had spent eighteen years asking for and I only get three years with her. I won’t lie to you, you wronged me, you really wronged me! Did she not trust in you like I did? Did she not call on your name? Why then did you just watch as she came to nothing? I am really angry with you right now! This was a person with a very big place in my heart and you just stood there and watched the life evaporate out of her. How could you God, how could you do this to me, you hurt me you know that. You really hurt me, she was my friend, my friend, someone I looked for, for a very long time and now she is gone. She is just gone and there is nothing I can do about it anymore. How do you expect me to not want revenge? How do you expect me to not be angry?” I could feel rage coursing through my veins, but it wasn’t targeted at God, it was because I was feeling weak and helpless. Things happen and at times we really do not know why and in that confusion we experience helplessness and no everyone can keep from feeling angry and frustrated. I had never known this side of me until that moment and in all seriousness I hated it. I was strong, gosh I knew I was strong but I was so weak and torn it was crushing me to think I could not even confront simple emotions inside me. I almost cried, I hated feeling helpless but I didn’t know how to get out of it and I didn’t want to ask for help. Now I really understood people who resorted to drugs, alcohol and all sorts of depression relieving strategies because the pain just would not seize. It did not help having a character in my shadow constantly criticizing and ridiculing me all the way. Thank God for friends; thank God for Michelle and Adrian because they kept me from really going bonkers at times. My friends knew never to assume they knew what was going on with me, if at all they had no clue at all but they knew I was in a terrible state of confusion and pain and they could not leave me though I requested them time and time again to leave me because I didn’t want to be a burden. I entered 3 months of almost chronic depression but no one ever noticed because I can be such a good act at times. I couldn’t fool anyone because my friends could read me like a book. I kept Josephine out of the loop completely because I did not want her to see me like this but I tried to imagine what she went through all by herself so far away. I never set my foot in church since the time she passed away, I did not want to hear anything pertaining to God because I had put him in his own corner where I didn’t want to hear about him or see him. What made the pain even more unbearable was the fact that everyone who went to Belana for help was now turning to me and I could not help them. How could a blind man lead the blind? Phone call after phone call I would turn all of them down because I could not do anything about their pain and need for aid.
Months swept past quite slowly; at least I had work to hide behind but even my director new that all was a bit unwell. Reality really just caused too much damage to fix in a single turn of the tide. In all my pain I almost burn my Bible but got stopped by a voice inside me speaking reason. In all things I could not do that, I could not kill the one source of change in my life because of what had happened. I was angry with God to the corners of my heart but I just could not do it! Between a rock and a hard place, what choice did I have? I didn’t have a choice, I had a reflex action! Every time I am cornered into a place where I have nowhere else to go to without having to respond I do the last thing I can do, respond and bulldoze through everything in front of me. It was time to face my vices and confront reality.