By Lydia Umoh-Abasi, Nigeria:
Throughout my life I’ve never known kindness. I’m bad luck in human form. My mother died when she gave birth to me, my father remarried and my stepmother gave birth to a girl, Elisha. Elisha died on my eleventh birthday and that sent my stepmother packing.
My father was so depressed until he met my second stepmother. They eventually got married and to be honest, I actually really liked her. One day we went for a drive just around the corner and on our way back we had an accident. She died and I didn’t. My father hated me immediately after that incident and told me for months that I was pointless and I started to believe him. He was so heartbroken and he became a drunk in order to ease the pain.
A few weeks later, he died, leaving me nothing in his will. I decided to stay in the house, after all I was fifteen and I knew how to take care of myself. I went to a school where everyone including the teachers, knew what had happened to my family. In other words I was a freak of nature to them. I had no friends and honestly, I wasn’t bothered. In class no one paid attention to me, not even the teachers but I can’t say I didn’t like being invisible. During class I pretty much just stared out the window and it was always that way until one day, while I was yet again ignored by the class, someone whispered in my ear, “Hi.”
I turned my head toward the direction of the whisperer and my eyes met these big beautiful eyes. Those eyes were something I’d have died to paint right there and then.
I took in the individual’s face. It was a girl. Someone I didn’t recognize at all. She had a big grin on her face and I was tempted to ask if it hurt to smile that way but instead, I said “hey…” in a very rude manner.
She ignored my rudeness and replied, “I’m Zipporah. I’m new here”. Figures, I thought to myself, why else would she be talking to me? I give her till lunch to learn about me and we’ll see if she still wants to talk then. I replied her with a nasty look, “I’m Adam,” and turned my head away.
I had always spent my lunchtime alone in class where it was peaceful. Quiet. Then she came in. Zipporah. Her name was pretty but not as pretty as she was. I saw two girls by the door and realised that those were her new found friends. Zipporah sat in the seat in front of me and just started talking. I thought she was insane. Clearly her friends thought the same as they looked at me with disgust and left the room. This girl was obviously mentally ill for her to have actually sat and talked to me. She succeeded in making me laugh and she just turned my whole world upside down.
“Do you know anything about me?” I asked, getting straight to the point.
“I know that you’ve had a really rough life and I don’t think you deserve to be treated the way you are”.
I was taken aback by the kindness in her voice, in her words and in her eyes. She was definitely delusional.
That day after school, she caught up with me on my way home and asked if I needed a lift. She introduced me to her parents who were the nicest people on earth. We all talked for a while until they dropped me off at home. “See you tomorrow,” she said and waved as the car was driven off. I smiled for the first time in what seemed like a million years to me and entered my dark haunted house.
Zipporah and her family treated me well for the next couple of months, inviting me to have lunch or go on picnics with them. She became the best friend that I loved and treasured so dearly. She made me care enough to want to show kindness or love to anyone, something I had thought was very impossible for me. I felt like the luckiest orphan in the world and I wanted to thank her for everything she had done for me. I saved up all my money to buy a necklace and carved our names on it. That was her birthday gift from me. On her birthday, I excitedly packaged her gift and was on my way to her house.
On my way I heard cries on the road up ahead, I asked what was going on and was told that there had been a hit and run not so long ago. I ran up to where a lot of people were gathered and stopped immediately as I saw the body. It was Zipporah’s, in a pool of her blood, holding onto a little book. When she saw me, she smiled faintly and held the book out to me. I shuffled forward and knelt beside her; I took her hands in mine and watched the life die in her eyes. I picked up the book and opened it. It was a diary of Zipporah’s life from the day she met me. She had written about how she had a crush on me and was planning to tell me on her birthday.
I broke down and cried like a child that had just lost its way to having a happy life. The only person that had ever cared about me was dead, just like everyone I ever knew was. The one person that made me care about my life was gone, so I didn’t see the point of my life. Just like my father said, I was pointless and I had to end it all. I took the diary and the necklace and ran to my house, not stopping until I got to my room. I put the necklace around my wrist and put the diary in the pocket of my jeans as I hanged myself on my ceiling fan. I felt the air go out of my lungs as I breathed my last breath. My Zipporah.
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