Lisa woke up to see the time way past what she had expected. She couldn’t even remember when she had slept off. Weary from the tempests of life, she laid with her back on the ground. Blankly staring at the smoke stained ceiling till she fell asleep.
Grabbing her coat from the rusty coat hanger, she stepped out for an evening stroll to clear her head.
After walking two blocks, she met some Christian fanatics who insisted on giving her gospel tracts. “Oh, please!” she thought. “God doesn’t want to have anything to do with me” she muttered as she politely collected the piece of paper from this rather aggressive group, screaming and yelling out lots of religious stuffs she couldn’t make out. She glanced at the paper which had boldly written ‘THE CROSS: YOUR ONLY WAY OUT’. How would there be only one way out? Even airplanes had at least 2 exit doors, she shook her head as she absent mindedly promenaded along the streets leading to the park.
Lisa hadn’t always been so unbelieving. There was a time she belonged to that group of fanatics, a time she believed in God, a time she even wore robes and sang in the choir. She gave Him her all, until…she tried to swallow a tight knot in her throat as she relived the most painful part of her life-he took her all. Some tears escaped her firm grasp and freely flowed down her high cheek bones. It still felt like it had just happened, every time she recalled mom and dad strapped in the flaming car with no exit whatsoever. The car doors were slammed, as the policemen told her after the accident with an oil tanker. Where was God when she sat in the hospital, praying, crying, praying again, and singing? With the stabbing pain that rushed out from the depths of her heart, she squeezed the little paper with all her might. They didn’t deserve to die. They were good people. If He could save others in the Bible she once loved reading but couldn’t save the two people she loved the most in the world, then there was no need to go on with Him.
She climbed a little hill located at the east side of the park they loved going to. It was their favorite picnic spot. Mom and dad always took her there on Saturdays, along with the freshly baked cookies mom loved making because she knew it was her favourite. She took in a deep breath, relishing the aroma from mom’s kitchen. Mom and dad really loved God. They always said she should trust in Him. She wiped a straying tear and looked up to the skies and whispered ‘are you there?’ A part of her wanted so badly to feel his presence envelope her and his love overwhelm her heart. She desperately needed answers to the why questions; why did they die? Why couldn’t he save them? Why did he abandon her?
It had been a year since she last stepped into church or said a prayer or even read her Bible. She suppressed every thought that reminded her of his presence. He didn’t love or care about her and most likely never existed. He was probably just another figment of her imagination.
Mustering all the strength within her, she screamed ‘God, are you there?!’ The thunder roared, the lightning flashed and the rain began to pour down but Lisa was unperturbed by the elements. She wanted closure so bad. She needed to know if He took her parents away just to hurt her or for the fun of it. She imagined He would bellow from the Heavens and give her answers. But He didn’t.
The silence that followed overwhelmed her as the tears began to flow uncontrollably. She had never felt more alone in her entire life. Soaking wet, she began to trudge downward, oblivious to the heavy downpour.
Of course, he had abandoned her. No doubt. The rain mixed with the tears on her face, flowing in torrents. She made a decision. There was no going back. Closed up from love, she picked a new path for her life. A path dark as the night. Cold as ice.
Mfon Etuk, 2015.