Our time in rehab ended and Ashlee managed to find something she liked doing and that was photography. She took pictures on her cell phone all the time and some of them were breath taking. Henry, or should I say dad, had her take some classes in photography and she passed top of the class. I continued with finishing my last year of high school so I could go to college and study psychology. I met up a lot with Corey after school. Slowly we both explored the things about me that made me who I was; the good, the bad and the absolutely horrible. In exploring myself I saw that what made me the person I was, was the fact that even though for so long I was ignorant, it was not that I was incapable. It was just that I was not enlightened. I learnt that I actually was not as dumb as I thought though it took much convincing for me to come to that realisation. I came to realize that I am very forgiving and that vengeance was not at all a part of me though previous actions proved otherwise. Ashlee would tag along whenever I met Corey and she would listen in on whatever he would be talking about. In a sense all of us needed the things he knew. In the adventure of introspection and learning about yourself, at most you can’t ever fully grasp whatever you are learning while you are learning it. The process is such that you know certain things about you but you won’t know how they contribute to who you are as an individual there and then. With the passing of time those things will speak for themselves through actions as they reveal the truth as to how they influence your character and identity. Patience is a virtue and keenness is a motivating factor for one to get to the end. I always wondered why I bottled up and collapsed easily. I kept things inside and let my pain out through tears. Though a hard pill to swallow I found out that certain parts of me corroded me all the time they applied themselves. Because of not having ways of letting my pain and anguish out, it would eat me up and destroy me inside. Corey told me something truly funny, “Do you know why a dog without teeth feels it is not a dog? Because it can’t defend the things it loves, it can’t chew the bones it likes and it can’t smile for the camera. A part of it has been taken from it and in the long run it sends it into a pit of depression and resentment. Now if you picture yourself as the dog, you are without the things that you do to relieve stress, anxiety, hurt and the likes, they will team up and defeat your confidence, your self esteem, your mind and all the things the real you finds strength from. In the end you become an image of those destructive entities and you slowly begin to die from the inside out. I find that writing helps me deal with a lot of my emotions as well as talking. But for you, just get a punching bag, you will do just fine!” Once you look past the things that are making you the person you are not and see the things that can make you who you ought to be, the battle is in activating those things one by one until your figure starts changing because of their influence. Though Corey viewed confessing emotions as a sign of weakness because that is how he was raised, I found it to be a way of strengthening my inner being because in acknowledging my emotions I would be able to come to terms with all that is affecting me with respect to anything on my mind or anything influencing me. I learnt that people are different and in this difference comes a difference in approach, volition, beliefs and hence a uniqueness of character. Life is a journey in which the hell on earth is supposed to make us stronger. My biggest lesson which I know my mother and father deep down in their hearts wanted me to learn was, ‘you can’t let other people tell you who you are and who you’re not. If you allow them to you simply cease to exist and their thoughts and ideas of you begin to live in you. In the end you die because their thoughts only go so far as to defining you. When the true tests and trials come, you won’t know how the assumed identity of yours can stand and fight. If you find out who you are and what you are capable of doing, you will stand on a rainy day when the rest fall. What you do not know can and will hurt you!’ Once I told Corey that I had learnt this lesson he smiled at me and looked down on the pigeons that were close to the bench we were sitting on in central park and said, “Bingo Jun, bingo! My job with you is done! You have finally conquered ignorance!” He stood up and walked away and I felt no need to leave. I sat on the bench for hours thinking of how long it had taken me to figure that out! Seventeen years to learn that. Truly ignorance is the virtue of the walking dead. With time I changed my dressing, how I kept my hair, how I spoke, the words I used, how I expressed myself emotionally and socially, how I reacted to things because I now had a picture of what I wanted to work towards with respect to who I wanted to be. One can’t remain the same after a taste of a tantalising future. I always thought of how proud my parents must have been with how I was finally coming out of the baby shell I was in. Though it was hard thinking of how my dad sold me, with time I didn’t bind him to it and I was actually quite thankful because in the end I got out a better person. No normal person can be thankful of going to hell, but I guess people are different, as I have reiterated earlier. I met a man on a bus one day and he said to me as he was getting off the bus. “You lady, life truly begins either when you fall pregnant as a teenager with no plan in sight or your parents die when you are much too young!” I agreed with the old man and the funny thing is I never saw him ever again. How he knew what to say, I just don’t know.
Life became even more interesting. With the passing of time, Jonah and Sylvanas became close friends and ‘soldiers in the marine core’. Corey never stops does he! I remembered his words when I opened the door and saw those two standing in front of me, “My task is to bring an end to this entire craziness.” They taught me and Ashlee a lot of things that made us even more powerful Christians and better people. Jonah could never stop asking for forgiveness and Sylvanas dedicated herself to helping people out of the craziness she created. In all the craziness that happened that year, I learnt that everyone has crawling moments but in the end, there is peace! My dad was actually implicated into the fraud crimes but they couldn’t charge a dead man so the case never went far. They liquidated the assets in his name and paid back the stolen money. Everything was taken but to my surprise our house was left. It wasn’t under my dad’s name. It turns out the title deeds had me as the owner. I don’t remember signing them but the signature is mine. The house brought back too many memories so in the end I allowed Corey, Sylvanas and Jonah to stay in it! Ashlee became a prolific wild life photographer. She never had time for boys though and besides she is too cocky when boys are around! Joe and I, well let’s wait and see what the future holds. Corey, don’t see much of him, busy with computer science and the after studying hours job that helped save people like me. He does text a lot and calls when he is free. Jonah and Sylvanas, they show up once in a while and share about what they have been doing. Dad, well he now has a private practice in neurology! Don’t ask me I can’t understand the definition of that anyway. Belana, well she passed away. Up to this day I don’t understand how she died, no one does really! If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be here so my gratitude is to her and how she persevered for me. The police never believed my story so they are all cold cases. Can’t do much there now! I am back at my dad’s church, I was elected onto the board of elders in honour of my father and they say God told them to do so! Everyone expects me to pick up the saddle from my father but I don’t think so yet! It was really hard facing the people in the church. Part of me wanted to hate them because some of them wanted to kill me but I guess the true strength of believing in supernatural doctrine is that from it comes a certain element of tolerance and forgiveness. In the end I just concluded that people are people! The funniest thing did happen though! I switched on the TV to watch the news and a headline caught my attention, “Mayor attacked by rogue cat.” I waited for that headline to come into the discussion and my favourite reporter Covanta Williams was breaking down the story. A picture came onto the screen and it was no one other than my pet cat Pablo. “A rogue cat somehow managed to sneak into the mayor’s home and found its way to the mayor’s bathroom. It attacked him while he was allegedly shaving and sent the mayor into the sprint of his life towards his security detail with the cat in hot pursuit. The cat was captured and was sent to the East Side Lost Animal Centre. The owner of the cat can collect it there. If you wish to comment on this event you can call us right now on 0800-CAT-MAYOR.” I burst out in laughter with no remorse in sight. “Go Pablo, show him whose boss.” I had been looking for Pablo in the lost animal compounds around the city and I had almost given up when this came up. I went later to the lost animal compound mentioned in the news to pick him up and the press was waiting for the owner to show up. There was no avoiding them and the mayor got wind as to the arrival of the owner and rushed to the facility to confront me. I won’t begin to tell you what I went through with the mayor that day! These were my crawling moments!