A few weeks back, he finally decided that there was no point in fighting anymore. He knew too well that he had done what could be termed his best and his best was never good enough to satisfy him or the huge man he had never seen. He had often walked around dark corners; many times he had taken more than a mouthful of forbidden fruits. He knew too well that he did not feel guilty anymore. Gone were the days that he told a lie and he felt terrible and remorseful. The only reasons he seeked penance these days were when he needed favors from above and often times, he felt too guilty to go back on his knees to say those hackneyed, banal words while facing heaven.
The days that followed his decision were a mix of sweet and bitter. His spirit felt lighter and he wanted to do everything he often bottled in his thoughts yet, that part of him that people called conscience kept nudging him. He buried it. He knew too well that he would not walk into a bank to rob it nor would he accept the desires of his boss who wanted him in bed nor would he buy a poison or a gun to murder his loud mouthed landlord. His idea of the other side was a bit of the grey lines- He might tell little white lies that often bring a spark to his face, he might betray his friend to get a promotion at work and maybe just maybe, he would have a chance to sleep with Amina his wife’s cousin. Her thoughts were always in his head and he knew what her body would feel like just looking at her. He had often stolen glances at her full rounded breasts which were a bit too big for her body, he had fanaticized about them and imagined that they were his without feeling guilty. His thoughts alone he knew qualified him to be on the other side although sometimes he felt that the invisible man was really partial to categorize him with murderers and thieves.
The new days however brought with it a new sense of freedom and he allowed his thoughts to even question the validity of the unseen man and the divinity of his son. The more he thought and researched about it, the more confused he got. Sometimes it seemed that his entire life was based on a farce made up by a few individuals or at best a little part of history that was over celebrated. Knowledge for the first time made him restless and he longed for the days that he knew nothing. But he knew that he knew a few things and he longed to get the restlessness off his chest. Amina did not give him the pleasure expected of the forbidden fruit. As a matter of fact, his longing for her felt better than the act in itself. But the fact that with her, he was on the other side made him go to her for relief- She often listened to his ranting about black, white and gray but most times, she preferred him with his mouth shut. She never tried to justify her actions, never tried to even think beyond the present. She simply took the next breath and it seemed to work for her.
Several calendar pages had turned and with each, he had gotten bolder and more comfortable with his life. He loved his wife more- he could never love another not even Amina. His walk and talk had changed, he laughed easily, moved lighter and never missed a chance to make more money regardless of the cost, he had been promoted and he had friends flocking around him. He no longer felt restless, his conscience, he had seared.
His laughter ceased the day Amina asked him to pray. He stumbled as he walked over to her and stuttered as he tried to find what was amiss- his lithe walk and smooth talk turned to vapor and escaped through Amina’s open windows. Amina’s face which used to be unreadable was smeared with fear and gloom. She had the untreatable disease she told him and she was sure he must have contracted it too. For once, the world stopped or so he thought. After shattering into the wall her flower vases and tearing down every painting that once lit up the room, after pulling down every item he could lay his hands on, he reached a moment of silence, closed his eyes and for the first time in a long time faced heaven in tears. But he knew it was too late, he decided he would walk tall and defy the man in the clouds but his restless spirit came back with such a force as he had never experienced.
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