I crouched down in excruciating pain, trying to make sense of the tragedy that had befallen me. My banishment from the free world into prison destroyed my life beyond repair. Each piece of news Uncle Chigalu brought tormented my soul, a river of tears flowed unimpeded.

“So that’s just a quarter of the things that have happened ever since your dad died,” he sobbed.

Hair was all over his face like a wild monkey. It was obvious that poverty had engulfed his life. The dilapidated old jacket narrated the harrowing story of Uncle Chigalu after the death of the breadwinner – my dad. Even the trousers dangling loosely from his body spoke volumes about the privation he endured.

My dad was a surgical doctor. I was the only child in the family but my mom passed away when I was very little. Being the only blessing, I was more like a prince in a kingdom. I grew in a nest of great riches, switching from one TV channel to another – I was one of the fortunate kids in town. From nursery up to primary school, and then I enrolled at the all the expensive high schools in town, I had very little to worry about.

Later, things began to change when I got to secondary school and I got myself entangled into a bad company of friends on campus. It consisted of boys from affluent families, bent on wreaking havoc. We broke every rule that ever existed. That was the genesis of my straying as my class performance dropped drastically.

On two occasions I was suspended for bullying and later I was expelled. I ended up in a government school and that’s where things worsened and I joined another group of unscrupulous friends. I was introduced to beer drinking and weed smoking. We regularly went out of bounds and bullied fellow students. I carelessly sold my clothes and used the money to gratify my insatiable appetite for alcohol.

After a few troublesome school terms, I was expelled for leading violent protests against the school. It led to one teacher being injured, his house burnt to ashes and several other school properties destroyed. I was not moved even though dad had to pay a large amount of money for the charges gunned against me and bailing me out of police custody.

I spent a year at home, enduring the bombardment of advice from dad and mom. I pretended to have changed and then I was sent to another school.

One day as I was going to class and I saw a girl at the administration. She was a newcomer and I was captivated by her beauty.

A relationship soon started after I proposed. Her name was Sophie. The relationship sobered me for quite some time. She was there for me and she occasionally fished me out of trouble. But she never knew that I was all sorts of bad on campus. At that stage I had just started drug injections.

Womanizing was another thing that got in my way, together with the friends. More and more I became addicted to drugs. I ended up losing my senses and my behavior became beastly. I lost weight and I couldn’t catch sleep at night. I started taking sleeping pills to induce myself into sleep. Life became hell!

One night Sophie called me from her hostel. I forced myself into her presence though I was drunk. She told me it was over between us and I broke into laughter.

“So he was right, that you inhale drugs, smoke and even drink. It is a shame that I loved a person like you,” she erupted.

“Did I hear you say ‘he’?” I asked for the devil that unfolded my secret.

“Your friend Alexander told me every…”

My left blow sent her to ground like a bag of manure. I nearly killed her but I left her unconscious. I fished out apiece of burglar bar and hunted for Alexander. I stormed into the class where he was studying and hit his head thrice with the metal bar. He cried loudly as blood splashed out. He fell unconscious instantly and I bolted out of the scene.

Uncle Chigalu looked at me sadly. “Your father could not stand the news of your arrest for the murder, so he collapsed and died,” he narrated and his tears dropped.

“I should have dug a hole to bury the sins of a son but it was too late!” I spoke to myself in despair.


Tell us: What do you think caused the narrator to act the way he did?