Staring throgh his misty eyes that had begun to form an ocean of tears, he stared through the bulky iron bars that separated him from the malnourished figure of his mother. Her faint smile looked like it had come from only one side of her lips.
“Oh! God! She never deserved this” he muttered as more tears rolled down his cheeks.
He always asked himself how it all started, and everytime it always came back like a nightmare that never ceased to hunt him.
He was only 13. He sidled into the living room which was adjacent to his room and almost stumbled over the pillow that decided it needed a break from a forced marriage with the only couch there. A centre table sat comfortably in the middle surrounded by two sofas and that only couch. The wall looked shabby from being poorly decorated with just the dusty wedding picture of his mother and his late father.
He met his mom amidst silent sobs. She’d been crying everyday for the past few weeks. He knew, after all, he missed his dad too. That was the day he promised her the world. “Mummy, stop crying na. See eh! Mummy, when I grow up, I’ll take care of you. I’ll buy you anything you want, anything that will make you happy,” he naively told her. “And Daddy will be proud of me,” he continued. She didn’t know how but somehow those words fed her with some sort of reassurance.
Time flew past and he was in senior secondary school already. Those days that brought bouts and bouts of headache to his mother. He didn’t believe the old saying his mother always drummed in his ears, “Evil communication corrupts good manners.” No, he didn’t, not until he met Azeez, his best friend in senior secondary school.
He still was trying to figure out how he got so close to Azeez. Azeez! Of all people! Yeah, maybe it was because of the admiration he had for this Azeez. Why would he ever admire such a piece of good-for-nothing object of the male specie? Easy! It always seemed like Azeez had a never-drying ocean of money in his pockets. Azeez was the reason the word ‘truant’ was coined in the English Language. Oh! How he remembered how Azeez always spoiled him with all sorts of gifts his money could afford!
Never did he know that he was gradually selling his soul. Soon, he learned to pick pockets, scale the school fence, steal petty things. And like a car headed to a particular destination, he landed in a gang. Dropping out of school dealt the biggest blow to his mother. She pleaded and wailed on the deaf ears of her son. Nothing could be done. She felt helpless. Maybe there was no redemption for him.
Days turned into months and months into years. He was 25 now and and a convict after a failed attempt by him and his gang to rob a major supermarket. It was disastrous. Lives were lost in the shootout with the police. He was in his 4th year behind bars and had 21 more years left.
The government had granted pardon to a handful of convicts in the state. Like a miracle, he was among them. Today, his mom had come to escort him out of the four walls of this dreaded hole. He knew this had to be a miracle.
Maybe, it was God saying to him, “This is your LAST CHANCE.”
With his face smeared with tears that streamed down seamlessly, he looked at his mom, and muttered to himself, “I’ll take it, Lord. I’ll take it.”