Ms. Akintobi sneaked into her son’s room. She felt like she had lost touch with him and she needed to know what was going on in his life to assure herself that she was still a good mother.
She carefully searched his wardrobe ‘Lord please let me not find any alcohol’ she prayed. She raised him in church. There was no way her son would fall into the clutches of the cursed liquid. Relieved when she found nothing, she continued searching around, careful not to leave any trace of snooping.
When she got to his bed the scariest thoughts crossed her mind ‘What if my son has started reading porn?’ ‘What if I find condom?’ She shook her head, no it could not be. She got on her knees to look under his bed. Toba was in his second year at the university, being the concerned mother that she was, she sent him to a Christian school, she even monitored his grades and his friends, but the more she tried to keep him within her radar, the more she felt she knew nothing about him.
It all started 7 years ago, after the death of her husband. Toba had cried for days without end. She remembered how he would run to the door filled with hope every time he heard a car horn or a male voice. Then one day he went numb. That was when the son she used to know changed. Now she knew nothing about this son who never said anything to her other than the formalities. She lifted up his pillow and finally she saw something.
A sheet of paper. The blue pen which was used to write on it was still beside it. She picked it up and read, hoping that this would be the big clue she had been searching for.
“I’ve been thinking, not now, I think I started thinking when I was born, it never stops. I’m always thinking and every time I think, I feel a hollow in my chest. The hollow seems to be growing bigger every day. I think I am depressed. Not the kind of depression that makes you want to end your life but the type that make you afraid of death. Am I making any sense?
It all started after Daddy died. The Doctor said it was cerebral malaria. He was just telling me to never forget to say my prayers when he fell asleep, then died. As I watched I thought ‘So this is how life ends.’ Then Uncle Jade died in that plane crash and Biggie, that fat boy that used to come here to play died of cardiac arrest. And now I have become convinced that life is an illusion, yet the thought of it ending depresses me.
Why are we born? What is the purpose? I read somewhere that, since the beginning of earth over 113,451,918,022 Humans have lived and died. Why so many humans? What is the purpose? That before Jesus over 1,137,789,769 humans have lived and died and that after Jesus over 106,464,918,022 have lived, have died, are still living and are still dying. Why? What is the purpose?
Countless philosophers have stated that religion is man-made, that God does not exist. I’m not bothered with this. Since only the fool says in his heart that there is no God, and I am no fool. I think. What bothers me is what happens after I die. Because I was raised a Christian I believe I should believe in hell fire. But the concept of hell fire makes no sense to me. Because if hell fire really exists and Christianity is the real religion then about 95% percent of the world’s former population are burning in it, and about 95% will still burn in it.
I also read on Wikipedia that today there are over 2.2 billion Christians in the world, 1.6 billion Muslims, 1.1 billion Atheists, 1 billion Hindus. And the remaining millions either practice traditional worship, Buddhism, Judaism, Spiritism, Sikhism, Baha’i, Jainism, Shinto, Cao Dai, Zoroastrianism, Tenrikyo, Neo-Paganism, Unitarian Universe Rastafarianism or others. If one of these religions is the right one then the rest are wrong and the people practicing the rest will be punished according to the religion’s doctrines when they die, maybe for eternity, maybe for a while. Who knows?
The Hollow in my heart is getting wider as I write. Why? I feel like I can understand how King Solomon felt when he was writing his Ecclesiastes journal. It’s all vanity, it means nothing. No matter what you achieve on earth once you die, it means nothing, but should I be miserable on earth and then in the afterlife?
Some people believe that you reincarnate after you die, well this explains why the population of humans keep increasing and what happened to the people that died before Jesus died and rose. Some people believe you go into a state of limbo, where you are conscious but alone in an empty space with nothing but your memories for company. This seems worse than burning for eternity. I don’t want to be bored for eternity. Some people believe we lose consciousness and return to the source of our life when we die, I can live with this, but the thought depresses me. Some people believe that we completely cease to exist when we die. Some people believe that good righteous people end up in a place called heaven and bad people end up in a place of torment or are erased. No matter how I look at it. All these thoughts frighten me.
When I die will I still have these emotions? Will I feel the emotions I no longer remember feeling? Will I feel love, hatred, lust, pride or grief? Will I still have the urge to sin? Will this hollow grow wider or will it disappear? Do the dead have human emotions or do I get a new set of unexplored emotions?
I am afraid to die and go to heaven, doing nothing but worshiping God for all eternity, nothing else but singing and dancing for all eternity. I am afraid of being surrounded by good righteous people who can do no wrong for all eternity. The thought tightens my chest.
I am afraid to die and go to hell fire, doing nothing but burning in a lake of fire, being tortured by large worms and tormented by human loathing demons and grudge filled humans for all eternity.
I am afraid to die and be wiped out of existence. If I cease to exist, then why was I born?
I am afraid of reincarnating, to die and be born anew, a continuous never ending circle with no memory of my past life.
I am afraid of death, yet I want to die. Because I know at the end, I will still die. It is inevitable. Life must end… Life must end.
When you die your fate lies in the hands of the unknown, and your hope is that the God you chose to serve was the right one. I am afraid. I want to die, I want to see what’s on the other side, but I don’t want it to be final. I want to return to life and prepare myself for what is to come.
Why am I being a coward? Does anything really matter? If these thoughts will torment me through my life, I might as well go ahead and begin my afterlife. After all once you die, you will have no choice but to accept your fate. And once you accept your fate, you will eventually get used to it.
Should I say goodbye? Does it even matter?
Her hands trembled, her knees became weak. The Paper slid from her hand to the floor “Lord don’t tell me he has killed himself.” She panicked and rushed out of his room to find him.
“Toba! Toba!” she called out as she ran outside and around the compound.
Toba was leaning on the water tank in the backyard smoking a fat stick of marijuana and staring into the sky lost in his thoughts when his mother’s voice dragged him back to earth.
He panicked. He thought of where to hide it, but the smell of marijuana was strong, this was his third joint. He thought of swallowing it, but that would cause him more pain than whatever pain he thought his mother was capable of inflict. He turned to the water tank and made to jump into it but before he could mount it, his mother appeared.
They both stood frozen. Two hands holding onto the top of the tank, one leg latching on to the top of tank and the other dangling in the air, and the joint, boldly protruding from his mouth.
As she stared at him she felt the nuts in her head begin to unscrew until they fell. “You! You will not kill me! Ungrateful child! This is how you want to end your life!” She rushed at him slapping his back several times with her palms. She pulled him to the ground and pounced on him. “When did you start smoking weed? Where did I go wrong? Tell me! I gave you everything!” She pulled the joint out of his mouth, flung it aside with disgust and beat him some more; Crying.
‘He must have made bad friends in school. He most have gotten involved with the wrong crowd. It is this thing that he is smoking that is making him think like this. It was the marijuana that wrote that letter. Not my son. I raised him right. We never missed church or the morning devotion, I fed him right, I sent him to a good school. I am a good mother. It is the things he has been watching and reading.’ A mirage of thoughts flooded her mind and before the day was over she had broken his phone and burnt every book he owned that was not related to the bible or his school work, and now they were on their way to visit their pastor.