At age 22, things had started to look up. His uncle had put in a good word for him to one of his friends who worked at a factory. Favor had gotten employed doing menial jobs 2 weeks after he left home and had now been working as a cleaner for almost a year. He had managed to put his head down and did his job diligently at the behest of his uncle. He was pushed to work hard and it paid off. He impressed his boss who also put in a good word and was promoted to errand boy. As he started to run errands in his daily activities, a young pretty girl who sold tea outside the factory gate caught his eye. It turns out that she had also noticed him and always smiled as he walked past. Soon enough, he was courageous enough to buy tea from the pretty girl. And that is how they started dating. Their relationship was sluggish to begin with since he had never felt this way about any other person before. He had a hard time trying to show emotion and holding in his childhood experiences but the pretty girl was patient and understanding and gave him time. Soon enough, he was able to talk about his childhood and the pretty girl encouraged him to forge forward and let the past live in the past. He was able to, slowly but surely, start letting go of the hurt and pain that he walked around with almost all his life, a pain we’ll still never understand.
At age 25, he decided he wanted to marry his pretty girl, Mary, and start a life with a family. He was determined to change his situation. Change how his life was and do the exact opposite. He visited her parents and got their blessings and it was a dream come true for him. He always had his moments where he would be extremely quiet or at times have outbursts, but his pretty wife always understood and always tried to console him. She was his rock, his comfort, and life was now starting to look up. Life as a married man was good but challenging at the same time. He hard to learn how to give and receive love, and although Mary was ever understanding, sometimes situations would frustrate her too. She could not understand why he acted the way he did even after much persuasion and guarantee that she truly loved her and would always be there. Favor carried a heavy burden within him. He wanted to get past his childhood but the demons inside him would not let him. He struggled deeply and always fought a silent battle in his heart and mind. A battle we will surely never understand.
At 28, after saving and moving his wife to a one-bedroomed house, he got his firstborn; a beautiful bouncing baby girl. He had trouble naming her as he didn’t want the sordid memory of his mother to live on. So he named her Joy Baraka. Joy because she brought joy to him and Mary and Baraka because she was a blessing to him. He had always had trouble with the fact that he would sire a child into this cold world. He had even toyed with the idea of never having a child at all. Would he be able to care for it? To love it? To be a good role model while all he knew was heartache and pain? His wife Mary convinced him otherwise and he was glad he made the choice. But a few weeks in, Joy hadn’t slept once during the night, she had colic and cried the whole night through. As new parents, they did not have a slight idea of what to do and in turn, blamed each other for their daughter’s lack of sleep. They constantly fought and urged and what seemed like a good life for both of them was turning into a nightmare. Finances became tight when Mary had to quit her job to take care of the baby and Favor would get frustrated for not being able to provide for his family. For months, they fought and no one would understand the other. Mary became bitter and always angry and ended up being depressed while Favor turned his frustrations to the bottle and became a drunkard. The ghosts that he had tried to bury for the last couple of years were now manifesting themselves and he ended up harboring hate and resentment towards the world again. He no longer had the will to fight through it, he let it consume him. This pain, we will never understand.
At 32 he was now a full blown alcoholic and an absent father and husband. His wife finally walked away after she failed at trying to revive her broken marriage. She had realized that she needed help and sort the services of the church counselor who helped her through the pain. Several times, she had tried to look for Favor in his local drinking dens, and when he found him, he would take her home and clean him up and try to convince him to go to the counselor. It never worked because he would become angry and abusive and then leave. At times he felt a bit of guilt and remorse for abandoning his family but the pain he felt would always overshadow his logic and convince him that they were better off without him. He was on a downhill spiral. He had totally given up on life and had thrown all caution to the wind. Every day, he continued to battle the agony in his hurt, an agony we will never understand.
At 33, he was homeless and sleeping on the streets. He never cared much about his wellbeing. He would beg for food and money. Sometimes, he would do some menial jobs like carrying people’s trash and get a few coins which would all end up in his usual drinking den. He was dirty and unkempt and always looked ragged and disheveled. One night after his usual drink up, while staggering to his shack where he usually slept, he was met by a group of thugs who roughed him up and sodomized him. When he came to, he found himself in a hospital bed. He remembered what had happened to him and broke down in tears. He cried till he could cry no more. He had needed surgery to fix the damage they had done to him. He had to be sedated because his anger was getting worse and his outbursts were becoming more frequent. He was not only in physical pain but emotional and psychological pain too. The kind of pain we will truly never understand.
A few weeks shy of his 34th birthday, he had fallen so deep into his sorrow that he was not able to recover. He was living in the church compound where they used to attend with his family. The pastor was kind and had offered a room for him to recover and get the psychological help he needed. His physical wounds healed but his psychological wounds never did. He never talked, nor smiled. He was always in a state of silence and ever seemed to be in a daze. He couldn’t fathom why life was so cruel to him, why he had never caught a break. Why the little love and happiness he got was always short-lived. Why the demons inside him always won. He flashed back at his childhood. How his mother rejected and abandoned him. How his father was never affectionate and chose his new wife over him. He had hoped his step-sister had a better life. He remembered his uncle and the love he had for him during the time they spent together. He remembered how he let down Mary, the one who had given him a chance. He thought of Joy, his beautiful daughter, he had abandoned her and she was now living a life he had vowed not to let her live; a life without a father, a life without love and care. He was traumatized and never recovered from the wounds life had caused. He couldn’t take it anymore, it was just too much for him to handle. The pain we never understood, he couldn’t either, he ended it all, he killed himself!