In Africa, we hold moral values very high; very high up in the sky. Yes we do. We easily judge the standards of morals by what we see; appearance, body language and the likes. Talking of appearance, I mean wearing short skirts on a sunny day, wearing shades and hats are thought of as sophisticated even on sunny days. These clothings can be misinterpreted as signs of immorality in Africa. Can you then imagine tattoos and piercings? Its utterly disgusting and unheard of. I guess you can imagine Christianity merged with our culture. We hear new forms of sins every day- not from the bible but from the ‘air’ of Africa. As a choir leader of my church, I had not set eyes on one of my choristers in ages. He was one of the vibrant choristers who would share a word and lead prayers at every meeting. He was also a worship leader in our church. His name, ‘Kwabena’ was accorded with the brotherly title as do all members of my church. He was called, ‘brother Kwabena’. This name was mentioned by members of the church in a spiritual accent-if there is anything like that because of who ‘brother Kwabena’ was. I had been calling him repeatedly for a long time but never seemed to get through to him so I tried to visit him on many occasions but he was never home. Today after service, my pastor called me and handed me a letter from brother Kwabena. I was so shocked and excited at the same time. I was so curious to open the letter that, I don’t remember saying a word to my pastor. With my eyes fixed on the letter, I dumped myself unto a seat to quickly read it. The letter was written in a frivolous handwriting. It read;
Hi brother Richard, I am so sorry for leaving church so sudden without warning. I cant believe whom I have turned into. I look at myself in the mirror and cannot recognize myself anymore. My life has been a long nightmare since you last saw me in church. I wish I could wake up from this nightmare but it seems I am dead, never to wake up again.
I hope you know about the mart I started with my brother. There was this female customer who seemed Ghanaian but looked Asian. She was always indecently dressed in tight trousers,short skirts and shorts. She had many piercings on her face and body. She also had a couple of tattoos; because of these my heart skipped a beat whenever I saw her. This was not because I liked her but she freaked me out in a way I could not explain. I thought of her as EVIL whenever she visited the mart but, “She is just a customer” I convinced myself. The worst part of her visits were how she would talk seductively and touch her thighs whenever she was talking to me. She was so repulsive and disgusting with every move she made on me.
One hot afternoon I came to the mart to see her engrossed in a conversation with my brother. This time, my heart nearly fell out of my chest. “The devil got my brother”, I said to myself. I knew how gullible and inexperienced my brother was with girls and I was so afraid this girl would deceive him and corrupt him. I stood in a distance and watched as she spoke, laughed and leaned against my brothers chest with every word he uttered. I could read her, “she is a fornicator and a money sucking Jezebel” I said to myself subconsciously. Getting stuffed up with the eye sore, I walked up to my brother and asked ‘Jezebel’ to leave for a flimsy excuse of work. She had no choice but to leave. The worst part of my afternoon was that, my brother could not see the devil beneath the white cloak and wings. He actually thought she was a great girl and my perception of her was all wrong.
Days passed, weeks passed and they seemed to be getting closer. Honestly, I never thought of how much I loved my brother till those times. I simply could not stop thinking about what she could do to hurt my brother. My thoughts swung from alcoholism, heartbreak to STI’s. Just could not help myself but go against Gods word concerning being judgmental. My brother introduced me to his new friend, but the only name I could hear in his introduction was ‘Jezebel’. It seemed my brother was fond of her so I decided to try and cope with her. In my brother’s absence she asked me why I didn’t like her. I was quite surprised at the question because I taught I was subtle with my feelings towards her. I admitted to my feelings towards her and told her the best I could do is to pretend to like her. The weirdest thing was, she quickly agreed to act as friends with no sign of worry.
I would laugh at her jokes although they were as dry as the desert, I would tell her she was looking gorgeous although she looked nothing better than a prostitute. The surprising thing was, as I did this over time, the comments, laughter and my fake temperament towards her became real. I begun to laugh at her jokes because they were genuinely funny, I would say she looks beautiful because I really thought she was a goddess. I was no more faking a liking but I was now feeling a loving towards her. I was falling in love with her. I simply could not believe it! My heart skipped a beat when I saw her but this time it was not because she freaked me out, but it was because I loved her. I loved everything for which I hated her in the past. It was unbelievable how happy I was because of her.
Before long, we were dating. We informed my brother about it. As surprised as he was, he agreed to our relationship. I shunned lots of my friends to be cool enough for her, I would drink and smoke simply because she would ask me to do so with her. I do drugs now because I loved her and I thought it was our bond. I wanted to be the man she wanted. Everything I feared for my brother, I have become. I am an alcoholic, smoker and a drug addict. I cant come back to God. No, I cant.
My girlfriend dumped me several months ago. I had not set eyes on her till recently when she visited me and gave me the climax of my horrific nightmare. She asked me to test for STI’s…….she walked away without another word. That was all she said to me. I watched her in shock as she left my presence as if she had no life in her. I am writing you this letter because I am at the worst point in my life and I want you to know how and why I died…….
The letter ended on this note. I could not help but think, “NEVER SAY NEVER” with tears rolling down my cheeks as my pastor shook me vigorously.His grip felt like nothing in his attempt to get a word out of me about the letter. Brother Kwabena was judgmental because he was not in the shoes of ‘Jezebel’. He had not let himself experience half of what Jezebel had experienced but was judgmental because he felt there was no way he could end up as ‘Jezebel’. We judge people everyday standing in our comfort zones and we feel immune to certain lifestyles and situations. You can be a victim too just don’t mistaken fire for a mirage. You can only get burnt when you play with fire so don’t judge those who have been burnt if you have never played with fire. Don’t play with fire if you do not want to be burnt. Simply, never say NEVER.