‘She will make a great priest when she grows up.’ A friend whispers to Mama Ruth while in church. Ruth is standing at the church’s alter with a mic in her hand, singing another worship song she learnt this week.
Mama Ruth claps as her pre-teen girl, leaves the stage and the priest takes up the mic to say just how amazing her daughter is and how well she sings. That she will make a powerful woman of God when she grows up. Mama Ruth knows her daughter’s destiny and the whole church knows it too.
Years later, such memories torment Ruth when she’s up late at a club drinking her last beer. It’s been her last beer for the past four rounds. She’s what you’d call an alcoholic, a party animal, a sex maniac, a lost soul. Things did fall apart for her.
It all started in high school, her beliefs on all she was taught by her parents were put to the test. They say in high school you meet all sorts of kids with all sorts of upbringing. As it quickly turned out for her, not many of them subscribed to her way of life, her way of upbringing as taught to her by her parents. She started to change, gradually. This did bring a small rift between her and the parents but the loving parents were quick to dismiss it as a stage in life. It will pass, eventually.
Only that it never passed, it only got worse.
One time in campus, Ruth went for a party. Different type of friends having fun. She got really drunk. The next morning she woke up in a man’s room. A man she barely knew and had only met at the same party. That morning she left in a hurry, dressing up on her way out. A month later she knew she was pregnant. The same week she went to meet a quack and got rid of the pregnancy.
She fell into a depression afterwards, battling the demons of killing her own child. Growing up, never did she think she’d fall this low. She was the model child. The one every other kid was compared to. She was bright, aced her exams every term, she was pretty, a great singer in church and well-mannered too. She was the pride of her parents and her community. Now she was something else. All that she knew was lost and a new life was handed rather forcefully to her. She had to learn how to deal.
Ruth did her best to keep off her parents and the community. Her trips back home sparse, were always full of pretence, having to put up a face and not appear any different from the model daughter they once knew. Problem is, that daughter was long gone and she just didn’t have the courage to tell them much.
There’s an evening she stayed up late drinking and taking stock of her life. Realizing how far she had changed and resigning to the fact that nobody ever really feels prepared for life. It can yank the familiar off your feet and replace it with a cruel reality you have to live by and make do with.
‘What if life is angels playing games on us?’ She caught herself thinking out loud.
Straight out of campus she was lucky enough to get a job. She made it her life’s purpose to make something out of herself making the job her number one priority. She turned into a workaholic, the quest to run away had found a new path through work, away from the casual sex and the alcoholism she was battling.
Her input in the job was undeniable, with it came a promotion after another and better pay as she scaled the corporate ladder in her career. Back home, people started asking questions. ‘Why had she lost so much weight? She doesn’t look happy anymore. Who’s that man she brought home last Christmas? What about the other before that? Is she pregnant? I think she’d going mad.’
Ruth knew she had fallen from grace and the only thing she would do now is to live her own life the best was she knew how. Away from others’ judgment and prejudice. Nobody’s perfect, she said. I have to live my life.
What she learnt over the course of her life changed her perspective. She realized that the dice can be rolled once and the game can change entirely. That life and its beliefs can feel like we are playing phoney games. Believing in that which we ourselves cannot uphold.
She knew she had a big role to play. In two months’ time, she would hold her baby in her hands. A child that would grow up not knowing its father because not even she was sure about it. She vowed to teach this child how to live life off the books. How to make his own demands of life and go get it as opposed to live a pre-set life governed by others expectations.
She would teach her child one truth, ‘Life isn’t what it seems. And if you fall off the tracks, you can get back up on your own terms.’
Her life had been the lesson and she hoped her child’s would be different.
When the one you love doesn’t love you back, what do you do? Read the story now.