I walked into my room and slammed the door at no one in particular. I lay down on my bed and wrapped the duvet round my frame. I tried to be calm but it was too much for me to take. I flung the duvet aside ignoring it as it fell to the floor as I walked to the kitchen.
I opened the doors of the refrigerator and looked over it not really paying attention. I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to take. I picked up the nearest bottle. It was cranberry juice. My usual favorite. I sipped it and sputtered as it tasted bland in my mouth. Painfully, I swallowed and poured what was left in the sink… Restless, I paced the room.
“How could she? How could she…?” I mean “Why would she….?”
I had been the fool to let myself be friends with her; now she was talking about me behind my back. Things I had told her in secret… And I heard them from Alicia….. ‘How could she……?’
I lay on my bed again, turned on the TV, as if on cue, I saw some chaps singing, “I can be your hero baby” Ugh, I switched it off, lay back and cried…. “How could she…?!!!”
Why did I feel so cold….. I realized I had forgotten to turn on the heater… the whole room was dark… I checked my bedside clock, 2am…. I was still in the clothes I wore to class the previous day…And then like a wave, it hit me… I remembered what happened just before I slept…
The pain hit me afresh… I walked towards the heater, put it on…. Pulled off my jeans, groped towards where I knew my knickers and cami were hanging and climbed back into bed…
I remembered how I met Amelia…. (At the moment I didn’t feel like calling her Amy as I had grown to call her over the years) We met at the open day for school. I wasn’t sure at the time that I was going to continue with the school but Amy sounded so confident… we became friends from there…I mean Amy was like my best friend… I told her deep things about me, I shared my very best with her…. They sometimes thought we were sisters on campus….
I remember the night we went home together…. Something I had never been bold to do with any of my friends….
And then, late at night as we lay in our pyjamas and chatted idly, we talked about our future, our dreams, our plans after school… in the sacredness of the moment I had told her, “Rambo is gay”
For a second she kept quiet… and then she went like, ‘and what about it….’
I felt relieved, Rambo was my 1st brother, I called him Rambo because he was my hero when I was a little girl, and I felt 10 feet taller beside him in school… I mean, he made me feel so safe in an unsafe school world of bullies and teasers….
I felt VERY safe about our little secret and I forgot I even told Amy till this afternoon, I heard Sommie tauntingly ask me “Would Rambo not like me Tomi… me…? Adorable me?!” Sommie was liked by few in class, because she could be real bitchy… and I don’t know why all semester she had been on my case but that was like going too far….
It occurred to me that few people knew I called my brother Kola by that name… and the only person in the whole school who knew was Amy…. Worse still, the only person I had ever told about Rambo’s sexual preferences was Amy!!!!!!
I felt foolish… I told myself I was going to withdraw and not bother with being friends with anyone again…. It wasn’t worth it… Friendship came with so much hurt, broken down walls and pain. People were so fickle. It was easier to just be by myself.
Here I was lying in bed crying over Amelia when I had an exam in Calculus to read for…. ‘Oh Amelia, why….?’
As I wept, I heard this little voice… “As I have loved u…” I wept harder… What could He possibly be saying this time…? All of a sudden, I remembered where I read that….
‘How do you love?’ I asked Him. ‘I mean people can disappoint you when you want to count on them most, they hurt you even when you do nothing to them, they want to malign.They are….”
He didn’t interrupt me; but I felt him nudge me. I couldn’t resist the gentle nudge so I paused. Quietly, He continued “Yet, I love them. Love as I love…”
This was too much, I wanted to whine some more so I said, “Look what she did… I can’t trust her or anyone else anymore.”
Calmly he said “Trust is a gift. It’s a gift you give someone. You don’t give it to them because of what they do, you give it because my kind of love believes the best.”
He didn’t seem to be moved by the anger I felt. Was he actually getting what I was saying or trying to say?
I pushed my pillows aside and buried my face in the sheets.
When he noticed I was finally quiet, he held me for a bit as I cried and then He went on….
“I loved you, I loved them; even when you were vile and you didn’t love me back. I loved you; even when it looked like you would never love me back. I believed in you. I saw you through the eyes of grace and you looked so beautiful. Love as I do…”
How do you love….?!?!?!
And then I remembered, I had heard it somewhere, wasn’t it days ago, Amy and I had listened to pastor preach. I saw him there in his white suit saying, “and to know the love of Christ which passeth all gnosis….”
He read it from Ephesians 3:19, I remember the verse because he was so excited about the verse. His excitement was infectious. I knew there must be something big in that verse…!
I felt a tap on my shoulder, I had drifted off in my thoughts. I sniffed. “Lord, please continue…”
“Love as I love, see as I see. Just as you love me, they do too. They may not show it just the way you do, but they do. They may seem to be so weak outside, they may seem vile and treacherous, but in them is the void, the hunger, the desire to want to please me. See as I see, love as I have loved you, forgive as I forgive u.”
By this time I was really quiet. I felt such serenity now, and this time it came from inside.
“Picture me hanging on the cross, the very same people I came to die for taunting me, and Tomi, I wanted a drink so much then but what did they give me, vinegar… Yet, I loved them, I believed in them, I endured because I saw the larger picture. They didn’t hurt me because they wanted to, they didn’t know better so I forgave them. I loved them. Years later when some of them through the ministry of Paul asked to be called by my name, I embraced them. I didn’t shove it in their faces and say, you! Are you done with giving me vinegar to drink… I loved them still….”
“Tomi, love as I do……”
By this time I was crying, and I was not crying out of pain this time, I was crying because I realized how judgemental I had been, I remembered times I had done things that He had told me not to, yet the minute I said I was sorry, He forgave… “Aww Jesus, increase in me…”
He loves unconditionally and this was what I was going to do… He loves without judging and gloating when we make mistakes, and that was how I was going to love people… I made up my mind to buy Sommie a gift…. I wondered how life for her was like, she was pretty, really pretty but everyone in class kept away from her, maybe that was her way of getting attention. I was going to love as He does…
I eventually found out that Sommie secretly read Amy’s diary. I would have ended a beautiful friendship over a perceived wrong.
Also it turned out Sommie was abused as a kid and she covered up the hurt and anger she felt by being nasty towards everyone around her. However, in our fifth year on campus, Sommie gave her life to Christ, she often mentioned how the gift I got her (nothing exotic just a picture frame with the words ‘You are simply the best’ inscribed on them) gave her a glimmer of hope about her future. We are all married now with kids; but each time I visit Sommie, I see the tiny frame, worn out through years of handling resting on her mantelpiece… a constant reminder to me that love really changes things…!
(storyline & characters not related to any known person(s))