Story: From Wild to Virtuous

From Wild to Virtuous

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    I am Ella Bella well what I can say about myself, I am 24 years old I currently working at a small organization as a writer. I have two sisters and a brother but all of them are in boarding schools so it’s basically just me at home with some other family members. My Father is a pastor and my Mother a business woman. Growing up life was so easy, I practically grew up in the church and you know what they say about pastor’s children, they have the worst kind of behaviors. My case was different even though I hated going to church I used to attend most of the services all because I wanted to maintain my parent’s image I had to be the daughter they deserved so I went to church and I tried by all means to stay out of trouble, I was what everyone described as good girl and I truly was a happy soul but along the way I was caught up in a web of deceit, betrayal, cheating, dishonesty and brokenness. It all started when I was 16, young, carefree, naïve when I met Jerome, he was everything I ever wanted and it was love at first sight we enjoyed being with each other and I was content. Jerome was my first love and it’s with him I shared my first kiss, we had so many dreams for the future and I never saw myself with anyone else apart from him. I met Jerome during my last year in High school and at that time I was staying with a friend in a small room because it was closer to school than being home so he would visit me home and we would just have fun with Tasha inclusive. I liked how Tasha and Jerome bonded because not many friends will be happy if you are dating a hunk of a man so for me having my friend and boyfriend who were getting along so well was a bonus. One Friday evening I came home after spending some time with Jerome when I met Tasha all dressed up ready to go, she was dressed in a black ripped jean, a black vest and a black coat with black stilettos and her hair was up in a pony tail, I can say she looked hot. Tasha was what I can describe the dream of every man, she was perfect, her body was to die for everything on her was on point and she looked nice in any kind of clothes. Unlike me Tasha was single she had broken with her boyfriend of six months because she found him cheating so she would always be home most of the time. Tasha- Eh you are back already? Where is J I thought he would be bringing you a bit later? Me- Yoh my friend that’s what I thought too but he said he had an emergency to attend to no wonder he didn’t even enter to say hi and where are you dressed to? Tasha- Too bad for that, I met a guy last week and he has invited me out I will be back before you know it. Me- Tasha who is this someone that I don’t know of? Tasha- Eh girl you are not the only one capable of having a man you know Me- I am just looking out for you, I don’t want you getting in the wrong hands Tasha- cut it Ella stop acting all parental on me I will be back. Tasha slammed the door shut and left just like that leaving me to think about what wrong I had said to her. So I made cornflakes for supper and decided to sleep since I was bored. I woke up a little later and Tasha still wasn’t home so I called her but it went straight to voicemail then I called Jerome and I got the same response. I switched of my phone and decided to go back to sleep. A week went by after the incident I had with Tasha and she had been a bit distant even though she had apologized for what happened I couldn’t help but feel something was wrong. She was usually out spending time with her mysterious man and I was spending most of the time studying since Jerome was also busy on his studies so we rarely saw each other but when we did it was all love and no talk. Sunday Morning Tasha woke up very early made breakfast and went to bath, I was in bed eating breakfast when her phone rung and i picked it so I could take it to her only to realize it was Jerome calling even if his number wasn't and as I was staring at the phone the call ended. I thought it was weird, why would J be calling Tasha? But I let it slip my mind and started watching photos in her phone yoh what I saw made me wanna fall of the bed. But why? (Inspired by True life Events) Note: This is my first story so give feedback and let me know if you are enjoying the story or finding it boring. Don’t forget to like, comment and share with others

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    What I found in Tasha’s phone gave me goose bumps it was photos of her and Jerome kissing and having fun in different places some photos were taken in his room with his friends around. For a moment I felt lost, my head was spinning I thought I was going to faint. So I switched of her phone went back to bed and pretended as if I saw nothing but I couldn’t hold my tears from falling. I was so lost in my thoughts I didn’t even hear Tasha calling me. Tasha- Stop day dreaming Ella Me- oh hey sorry, I got lost in my imagination, what where you saying? Tasha- I was saying I will see you later I need to go out for a few minutes. Me – Ok Ella- mmmm you sound distant are you sure you are ok? Have you been crying? Me- No girl friend something entered my eye don’t worry about me I will be fine, run along. After Tasha left I switched of my phone and just cried my lungs out I didn’t know what to do I felt so hopeless, I was damaged I had no power to argue or shout so I just curled myself in bed and continue crying till later in the evening. I must have fallen asleep while crying because when I woke up it was around 18:00 and Tasha wasn’t yet back so I called J and he said he was home studying and he would call me as soon as he was done. Well I decided to pay him a surprise visit so I could catch them unaware. I bathed, wore a long summer dress with slippers and decided not to put any make up. J was staying at a flat with his friends but each of them had a room of their own, it took me only thirty minutes to get there, when I reached I went straight to his room and opened door and boom there was Tasha in her underwear sleeping with J on the side, they were too busy to notice me so I cleared my throats so they could see me , yoh you should have seen the expressions on their faces. The pain I felt at that moment was immense I can’t even begin to describe what I felt so I just turned around and left the room while J ran after me. J- Ella wait Me- What for? How could you J? With Tasha of all people, please just leave me alone. J- Am sorry you found out like this Ella, I do love you but I also have strong feelings for Tasha and unlike you Tasha has fully given herself to me. Me- oh so it’s about sex huh, you know what you can die for all I care but just stay away from me. J – Ella please listen to me I didn’t let him finish talking I just ran off, I kept running while crying am sure onlookers must have thought I was drunk. The pain would have been better if it was only J who betrayed me but Tasha, my friend, my sister and confidant where had I gone wrong with her, I loved her like my own sister and through thick and thin I was there for her, why would she hurt me in this manner? After wandering around for too long I went home and there she was sitting and eating as if nothing had happened, I so wanted to strangle her to death but I had to compose myself, I passed her and went to take a bath afterwards I got into bed then she followed me. Tasha- Ella, I am (I cut her short) Me – Please I need to rest I have class tomorrow just sleep. Tasha- We need to talk about this situation, sooner or later so why not now? Me – I said leave me alone whats wrong with you? Haven’t you done enough damage? Tasha- Am sorry I hurt you but to be honest I don’t regret falling for J, he is more of my type than yours please let him go so he can be with me. Me – did I hear you out? You sound just like a demon there, out of all the men it had to be J couldn’t you have found someone else? Tasha- it just happened Ella, it wasn’t planned besides you are too busy concentrating on school and J doesn’t fit in your future plans, he loves me and wants to be with me. Me – Ok Tasha you win, let me sleep. Like, comment, share and tag friends

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    There is a big difference between being betrayed by an enemy and being betrayed by a friend. The latter hurts more. Oftentimes betrayal does not come from strangers but from our loved ones and friends, it comes from those we trust and look up to, the ones we are always ready to take a bullet for, Listening to all that Tasha said broke me, it paralyzed me and what hurt the most is that she wasn’t remorseful at all. That night I couldn’t sleep my blankets were twisted around my body from all the tossing and turning. My eyes were itching from the tears and tiredness, all I wanted to do was sleep and get my mind of everything that was going on around me but that seemed impossible. The next Morning I woke up earlier than I usually do I bathed and wore my uniform then left for class so I could avoid bumping into Tasha. Being a Monday class was boring, I was not concentrating my mind was all over the place, I could see my teachers mouth moving , words flying past my head but all I could think of was Tasha and J. Finally class was over and instead of going home I went to the school ground to just clear my mind, I sat there for a long time thinking then my thoughts got disturbed by the school guard telling me it was getting late so I had to leave. As I was walking back home I felt the sound similar to that of thunder rumbling from my stomach and then I realized I hadn’t eaten since the previous night but honestly food was the last thing on my mind. So when I got home I just by passed Tasha who was on the phone and made my way to bed. I was seriously drained I didn’t even have the energy to change my uniform so I slept in it, Minutes later Tasha came to sit on my bed and asked me to have something to eat but I told her I wasn’t hungry and turned the other way. So she didn’t argue, she just went to sleep on her bed. One month later I had only weeks remaining to my exams, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for them because I was hardly studying, I wasn’t concentrating in class, I rarely ate and I had slightly lost weight . I was seriously depressed and I had no one to talk to, I felt like I was trapped in my own mind because all I did was think and cry while trying to find a way to move on but the more I tried the more and more I got depressed. Sleeping also was another issue I now depended on sleeping pills to get rest this whole betrayal was tormenting me in a bad way. Tasha and I hardly talked I was in my own space and I told her to stay in hers. What killed me the most was the fact that they were still seeing each other, sometimes J would come to see Tasha and I would have to act all tough and pretend he was not around, sometimes I would run into them holding hands and being all romantic in the school grounds and I would just wonder if at all I meant anything to him. I felt alone, I felt worthless, I was messed up, moving on from this was going to be hard because I loved J so much but one thing was certain if at all I ever moved on, I would never be the same person ever. Tasha and Jerome had managed to destroy me So many times we are aware of who our enemies are so we are always alert when we feel they want to harm us, in reality it’s the friends we keep that we should watch out for, an enemy that shows they hate you is better than a friend who pretends to like you but stabs you in the back. Not all friendships are genuine, not everyone you call your friend will have your back when you need them so before getting too attached to a person know their motives because Friends can break your heart too and broken friendships hurt more than broken relationshipsLike, comment, share, tag friends and give me feedback on how you are finding the story so far. Ella

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    Stab the body and it heals but injure the heart and the wound lasts a life time. People who betray others have no idea the implications betrayal plays on a person psychologically, after writing my exams I suffered greatly trying to move on from what occurred at school, I was living in fear, fear of getting too attached, fear of opening up to people, fear of getting into new relationships because I was afraid the past would repeat itself and I had lost trust in people. I completely cut off Tasha and J from my life because I wanted a fresh start at life. Fast forward two years down the line I was in college, I had made some new friends and I can say I had tried to get into relationships here and there but nothing seemed to be working. I came to conclude that maybe I wasn’t meant for these things because each time I had something with someone it turned out t be a blunder. I made new friends at school Myra, Frieda and Maya but I was more close to Maya, I guess it’s because of the way she carried herself, she was outspoken, adventurous and would let no one step on her feet. The girls made my life easier on campus we were inseparable and made it a point to always have each other’s backs. Instead of staying at the hostels provided by the school, my friends and I decided to rent a small house near the school so we could have freedom and fun without being disturbed or ordered around. So Friday classes ended fast and we went to our little house. We got home and the girls were making plans on how to how we would spend our Friday evening. Maya – Lets just go clubbing I will cover the costs. Me – mmmm I really don’t feel like going out eh, you guys can go without me. Frieda - No ways, we can’t leave you behind. Myra- I agree who knows maybe you might even get lucky and get yourself a boyfriend. Me – get myself a boyfriend from the club? You must be kidding. Maya– it’s my treat and I am not taking no for an answer we are all going out. Me- what ever Later in the evening we bathed and started preparing for our evening out. I wore a blue ripped skin jean with and white vest and blue pumps, Maya wore a short sleeveless pink dress with black boots, Frieda and Myra wore black bum shorts with white crop tops and boots. I can say we all slayed. We hit the club, got there and found an empty table to sit on, Maya bought beer and we started drinking, minutes later we hit the dance floor and danced our butts out. I had so much fun I don’t remember when last I felt this alive. After a while I excused myself to go to the rest room, I was walking fast and didn’t seem to notice the person who was coming in front of me, as I hurried off I bumped into him, and almost fail to the floor but he quickly wrapped his hands around my waist preventing me from falling. I looked up and our eyes met for a moment, his dark eyes where small and spaced evenly apart, he kept his mouth closed in a thin straight line and for a few minutes we just starred at each other. After while I came back to life and broke the silence Me - I am sorry I should have watched where I was going. Him – it’s fine, I should be the one apologizing. Me- I should get going now. I hurried of to the rest room, and just stood in there thinking about this strange man I bumped into, his smell was captivating, his eyes OMG any way I emptied my bladder, washed my hands and walked out, to my surprise he was standing by the door anxiously waiting for me. Him- Sorry I didn’t get your name Me- was I supposed to give it to you? Him – please Me- No I walked back into the club with him following me behind, I went to my friends table and sat down and he sat on the table opposite mine, he kept staring at me making me feel uncomfortable. Maya – mmmmm you sure took your time and the way that guy keeps staring at you are you sure nothing happened in the rest room? Me – Maya you are too dramatic you know, please leave me alone. Myra – You are blushing, are we missing something here. Me- No you are missing nothing, and where is Frieda? Myra – Frieda is all over the place, maybe she has found herself a man here. So my friends started dancing again and I just remained at the table sipping on my hunter’s bottle. Then he walked over my table and sat down. Me- And then? Him – Come on am just asking for your name, no harm in that right? Me – you don’t give up do you? Him – Please I can even kneel down, am harmless. Me – Fine am Ella Him – Am Mubanga Me- I didn’t ask Him – I like your attitude, can I have your number as well? Me – You are pushing it now. You have my name so just leave. Just then Maya walked back to the table. Maya – I can see you have company. Me – No girlfriend he was just leaving Mubanga- Not until you give me your number Me- No ways, just leave me alone Maya – Don’t worry I will give you her line. And just like that Maya gave him my number, I was so pissed I stood up and went outside the girls followed me later and we went home, I was silent all the way, when I got home I just got into the blankets and slept. I woke up early the next morning feeling like I was going to explode, my head was pounding so I decided to make breakfast, I was thinking about last night as I prepared our breakfast then I remembered we didn’t come back home with Frieda. So I went to wake Myra up so I could ask about her. Me- Babes wake up, where is Frieda? Mayra- She left with some guy last night, she should be back soon. Me- And you are not worried at all. Myra – please let me sleep, she is a big girl she will be back soon. Anyway I carried on with my business and Frieda came back in the evening, no one wanted to ask her anything so I also kept quiet, we decided to spend our day in the room just chilling and talking and later I received a call from a stranger number, after answering I found out it was Mubanga we talked a bit before hanging up. I must say he was quiet a nice and charming guy. So Mubanga and I became close over the weeks he came over to our house quiet a number of times, we would go out together but I didn’t want to get too attached so I was always cautious of my actions towards him. Classes where going on just fine we had lots of assignments to attend to and little time to play. So this day Maya and I were discussing our assignment questions when Mubanga called and said he wanted to see me because he wanted to tell me something very important. Since I was feeling very tired I told him to come over to the house. Frieda and Myra weren’t around so it was just me and Maya we cleansed up the place and I went to bath so I could wait for him, I was seriously curious to hear what he wanted to tell me

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    So Mubanga came over and he was so nervous, Maya went out to give us some privacy. Mubanga went on and on telling me he much loved me, he told me he wanted me to give him a chance so he could make me happy. Honestly I wasn’t sure if I was ready for any relationships but I told him I would think about it. He went and Maya came back, she found me staring at the ceiling, deep in thoughts. Maya – So what happened? Why do you look so disturbed? Me – Eh babe am confused. Maya- About? Me – Mubanga wants us to date, I don’t know what to do, I feel like I don’t know a lot of things about him. Maya – come on Mubanga seems like a nice guy, give him a chance, you will get to know him better as days go by. Me – You know these relationships always bring me sorrow. Maya – Forget the past Ella, open you heart don’t make this guy pay for other peoples mistakes. Me – maybe you are right I will think about it. Maya – Please do Mubanga was always calling me, buying us stuff with my friends and taking us out here and there, he even got to meet the guys the girls where dating. It was nice seeing our boyfriends bonding in such a way. I can say things where ok between me and Mubanga though I kept on thinking I needed to know more about him. So one Saturday Evening he called me over to chill at his house everything was going so well, we where cuddling and watching movies then he turned me around and kissed me, I responded to the kiss because I thought it was harmless but a while later things were getting intense and Mubanga wanted to pull up my dress so I pulled out and that’s how hell broke loose. Me – Am sorry am not ready Mubanga – will you ever be ready huh? Every time you are not ready, you are beginning to piss me off. Me - I better be going, this environment is not conducive for me. I didn’t like the way Mubanga was raising his voice at me so I stood up ready to walk out then he pulled me by my hair and slapped me, he slapped me so hard I fell on the couch. Before i could recover, he slapped me again and punched me so hard on my face, tears filled my eyes, I was basically frozen in fear at this point. Then he picked me up and hugged me so tight. Mubanga – see what you made me do see Ella I didn’t mean to hurt you. Me- Please take me home Mubanga – fine I will take you home but please forgive me I don’t know what came over me. Me – Its fine Mubanga, let me just wash my face so you can take me home. I went to his bathroom and just buried my face in the water I cried so much, I hadn’t seen this part of Mubanga before and it scared me so much. Minutes later I was done i went out and he drove me home, the ride home seemed to take forever, there was awkward silence in the car. I was looking the other side so he could not notice my tears. We got to my place I dropped off; he hugged me and promised to come see me the following day. I just shook my head in agreement. No man had ever laid their hand on me, this was the first of its kind I walked into my room and didn’t find the girls. I was happy they weren’t home because I didn’t have the energy to start explaining myself to them. I checked Maya’s bag for rub-on and rubbed my swollen face then I drunk some sleeping pills locked the door and curled myself to sleep. Mubanga sent me a text apologizing for what he had done, I read the text and ignored it then he started calling. I switched of my phone and closed my eyes, surprisingly I wasn’t crying much I was in shock, I started recalling the happenings of the night, I must have dozed off because when I woke up it was daylight and the girls were snoring, they must have come back very late because I didn’t hear them when they came in. I woke up, looked myself in the mirror and went to bath. My face wasn’t too swollen and am sure make up would hide off the cut I got on my left eye. So I quickly bathed, and put some make up then sat on my bed and started listening to Music. The girls woke up later and started preparing for Church, I didn’t like going to church and especially now that I was out of my parent’s sight, church was an option for me. So the girls got ready and persuaded me to join them but I refused. Frieda - What is it about you and the church huh? Myra – Heh forget her it seems like the church is grandmother no wonder she hates it so much. Me – Nothing you say will change my mind ok so get going before you are late. Maya – Ok we are out of here just prepare lunch for us. Me – ok no problem The girls left and I decided to type my assignment then later on I started preparing lunch, I made them Rice and beef stew with Cabbage, I didn’t want to make anything complicated. After wards I dished up for myself and started eating. Then Mubanga called but I kept ignoring his calls. A few minutes later there was a knock at the door I went to open it and I was received with a slap. Mubanga- what do you think you are doing ignoring my calls? I was worried about you. Me – Mubanga whats wrong with you? What demon has come over you? Mubanga – Huh so now am a demon? Me – please leave me alone I don’t want to argue. Mubanga – listen here woman I love you and I care about you, so don’t push me. Me – you call hitting me love? Huh, you slapping me and punching me is your definition of love? If that’s what you call love then I can’t do this. Mubanga – My baby am sorry I didn’t mean to hurt you, please forgive me, I lost control. So he started apologizing and crying saying he didn’t want me to leave him and that he would try to be a better man for me, ya call me foolish I forgave him. He joined me and we started eating together. The girls got in and found us watching a movie, I dished up for them and Continued with the movie. Then Mubanga suggested we go clubbing in the evening, I wasn’t up for the idea but the girls were thrilled and I didn’t want to disappoint them so I agreed. Mubanga spent the day with us and later took us out, I wore a short black bare back dress with boots but apparently hubby wasn’t happy with my dressing so I changed into black skinnies and a yellow crop top. Chris Brown’s “please don’t judge me” played in the car and we sang all the way till we reached the club. It wasn’t too packed so the girls got into action they started dancing and drinking; I just got water because I wasn’t in any mood to get wasted. I warned Frieda not to disappear on us like she did last time and remained on the table with Mubanga. Maya got tired and got back to the table so I asked if I could leave her with Mubanga a bit so I could dance some too

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    Just when I hit the dance floor some guy came and asked to dance with me, I didn’t think it was harmless so we started dancing till I got pulled out of the stage by Mubanga. He pulled me and took me to the rest room then he slapped me and strangled me, I was struggling to breathe because he held my Neck so tight. He must have sensed I was chocking so let go of me and hit the wall with his fist. Mubanga – Damn Ella what was that all about huh? I didn’t answer I wanted to run out of there but he held my hand tight and pulled me out to his car, we used the other door to go outside so my friends wouldn’t notice what was happening. The moment we reached the car he started screaming at me, telling me how I was making him a monster with my actions. This side of him was draining me it terrified me I couldn’t even answer him I just let my tears fall with full force like a river. The he hugged me tight and said he was sorry, he said this would never happen again if I behaved myself and asked if we could go back inside, I faked a smile as i blinked my tears away, we walked inside and I pretended to be fine even though my neck was killing me. What had I gotten myself into? We got home very late, the girls were wasted so they slept as soon as we got home , I went to bath then I applied so rub-on on my neck to stop the pain I woke up the next day feeling better, I bathed and went to attend my first class, it was boring plus I wasn’t feeling too good. So after class I went to Mubanga’s place to talk. I got in and found him watching T.V he got up and hugged me but I pulled out and told him we needed to talk, I told him I wasn’t going to stand and be with a man who hits me whenever he feels like it so if he wanted us to continue then needed to find ways of handling his temper. He knelt down before me and started apologizing I was taken so I forgave him we chilled a bit before he took me home. I got home bathed, ate and started chilling with the ladies. So we were talking about relationships, Frieda was hurting because apparently she caught her boyfriend of two years Chris cheating on her. Frieda – Dating is hard you know, after everything we have gone through Chris he still gets to cheat on me. Me – why don’t you let him go? Maya – Yes why? He cheated and is not remorseful about it so why are you holding on huh? Myra – Love love love things Frieda – Shut up it’s not that easy to walk away Maya – These relationships are something else my dear I think I even want to remain single now Frieda – I wish Chris can just be half the man Mubanga is, you see how Mubanga treats you Ella, you guys are so perfect. Me – Babe not all that glitters is gold, you know. Maya – You guys are so perfect do you even fight? See even that night when Mubanga got upset at the club you sorted it out in a blink of an eye. I – yoh stop it guys, we also have our own share of troubles. Myra – Name one Me – let’s not get into that Maya – you see Frieda- I would die to get anyone like Mubanga, girl you are one lucky chick. Me – Ah please The chat with the girls got me so uncomfortable, how would I get to tell them their sweet Mubanga beats me up, I just couldn’t bring myself to do so, I just kept quiet. A month passed and we were writing our tests, things between me and Mubanga where stable he would only snap at me when I refused to have sex with him but he hasn’t laid a finger on me since that night.

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    Sometimes we refuse to see how bad something is until it completely destroys us. Saturday Morning I called some guys from school to come over so we could have a group discussion about the paper we were writing on Monday, the guys came over and we got into business. We discussed and got tired, I prepared lunch and we started eating, I was leaning on one of the guys whose my closest friend as we ate we were laughing and joking about school stuff, it was just loud in the house I didn’t even hear my phone ringing neither did I notice Mubanga standing by the door, so after I stood up to take the place I saw him standing and giving me a death stare. I greeted him but he didn’t answer, so I offered him a seat and after a while my friends excused themselves and left. Frieda and Myra escorted them Maya wasn’t around so I just remained with him. He held my hand so tight pushed me on the bed, got his belt and started whipping me, I had never seen him this angry and I was so scared. I was crying and Screaming for him to stop but the more I screamed the more he whipped me, he kept going on and on about how he would kill me one day if I didn’t stop my promiscuous ways, just then Maya got in and she pushed him of me, he walked out angry and drove off I cried so much my voice even went. The other girls came in and just held me. I went to bath and took some pills then went to sleep because my whole body was in pain. The pills made me sleep for a bit but I woke up later and found it was dark; I got out of bed and entered the bathroom after I finished with my business, i looked at myself in the mirror and for a second I could not recognize the figure that reflected on it. Only when I waved and the person waved back did I realize it was me. I felt my heart pounding as I flushed the toilet and washed my hands then I went out, I found the girls sitting probably waiting for me to explain what happened but I was too drained so I just got back in bed and cried. I failed to eat that night, how was I even going to get out of this, I loved Mubanga but I couldn’t continue living like this. Where did I go wrong? This is not the Mubanga I knew, he changed overnight he wasn’t the guy that swept me off my feet and treated me like a princess, now all he did was snap and hit me at every silly thing, where was this relationship going to? I kept thinking but I must dozed off because when I woke up it was morning, I didn’t want go outside that day because I wasn’t looking good at all and my body was still in pain. I woke up, took a bath and got back into bed I tried to fight off my tears but to no avail. Maya came and sat on my bed. Maya – Won’t you eat anything? Me – Not now maybe later Maya – Do you want to talk about it? Me – No Maya – ok I will we are all here for you , if you feel like talking just halla. 2 weeks later my body had healed from the beating, I had been avoiding Mubanga at all costs but he didn’t seem to quit on me, he was always calling and texting even when I didn’t answer. I told the girls never to allow him into the house. Friday afternoon we knocked off early and went grocery shopping with the girls. We bought everything we needed and decided to buy some takeaways for our lunch, just as we were about to exit the mall we bumped into Mubanga. I tried walking fast but he caught up with me, he asked to speak to me in private and the girls excused themselves. Mubanga – You are looking nice. Me – And then? Mubanga – Am sorry about what happened I miss you Me – Is that all? Mubanga – Say something please Me – I have nothing to say I am tired of being tired you know? Mubanga – I know and am sorry we can make this work, I promise to change Me – Promises, promises everyday promises but you never even keep them. Mubanga- Please I need you, all I need is one last chance please Me – I will think about it Mubanga – Thank you baby I promise I will call you later. Me – what ever After talking to Mubanga and seeing him apologize like that just made me melt, foolish of me I guess but I loved this guy, I needed to think of ways to make us work, I wanted to help him deal with his anger but I was still scared. Was he really going to change?

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    Abusers control, manipulate and make you feel like you are the one with the problem. Stand up, speak out and take back your life. You are not to blame. Call me stupid but I went back to Mubanga this time around I was determined to make it work, I would be a perfect girlfriend and I would avoid getting into situations that upset him, I told myself I would listen to him and all he said hence that way we would have a peaceful relationship. Mubanga wasn’t perfect he was just human like the rest of us so I didn’t want any judgment from anyone. I didn’t realize getting back with Mubanga would bring me so much pain eh, so we wrote our tests and closed schools, I wasn’t going back home because home was always boring everyone was always too busy with their lives so me and the girls stayed over at our little house except for Frieda who was not Lusaka based but she promised to come back before schools open so she could catch up on our holiday escapades. We escorted Frieda to Intercity Bus Terminus and waited for her to board the bus to Chipata, we shed a few tears as the bus started off afterwards we went back home. It was a holiday so less studying and more playing. We decided to hit the club that night; it was just a girl’s night out so we didn’t invite our boyfriends. We got there and started drinking instantly I was determined to have lots of fun that night I wanted to relieve all the stress that school had given me that semester. Myra bought the beer and we found an open spot and started drinking later on Maya and I took to the dance floor and just danced our butts out, we clubbed and only decided to go back home around 3 in the morning, we bought more beer so we could continue the party from home. So we got home put on some loud music and continued dancing, around 5 we decided to take a rest and all slept , I was woken up by ringing tone around 8, I honestly didn’t want to talk to anyone so I switched it off and went back to sleep, I slept some more and woke up around 14, I woke the girls up we cleaned the whole place and took turns in bathing then we prepared food and ate. We decided to spend the day indoors just watching movies, I later switched on my phone and found several missed calls and texts from Mubanga then I called him, I could hear from his voice that he was filled with rage, he asked where I was and I told him then he said he would pick me up. I got dressed in leggings and t shirt with pumps and thirty minutes later he picked me up. He was awfully quiet in the car and that scared the shit out of me we got to his house and he locked his door, yoh I was so nervous so we sat down and he asked where I had gone the previous night, I knew better than to lie so I told him the truth. Mubanga – Interesting so you go out, at 22 and come back at 3, ignore all my calls till 14 hours, Me – It was just a girls night out I didn’t think you would mind besides you were busy last night Mubanga – what do you take me for Ella? A fool? A dumb man or maybe you think am too naïve huh? Me – I am sorry I shouldn’t have gone out without letting you know, it won’t happen again. Mubanga – Of course it won’t happen again because after the lesson I will teach you today you will never ever disrespect me like that. Me – Mubanga please What had I gotten myself into? He had locked the door and took my phone. I said a silent prayer asking God to forgive me for my sins incase I don’t manage to get out of this place alive.

    Insert 9

    Poisonous Relationships can alter our perception you can spend many years thinking you are worthless but you are not worthless, you are unappreciated. Mubanga went upstairs and got a rope, I was pleading for his forgiveness but seemed like the words that came out of my mouth angered him more because I could see his temper rising , his facial expression alone was enough to have me pee on myself. After tying me up he raised his hand back and threw it forward with so much force whipping me across my face, the sound of the slap echoed off the walls, I felt my body vibrate with pain then my nose started bleeding. He then started whipping me mercilessly, he whipped me with all the force he had in his body, I got tired of screaming I just watched the whip pierce into my skin as blood dripped off. He was whipping me and calling me all sorts of names, he went on and on about how I was becoming a whore and he was tired of always being this perfect boy friend. Afterwards he untied me and told me to take a bath. I could hardly walk but I went to the bathroom, I looked at myself in the mirror and just a single tear opened up the rest in an unbroken stream, I bent forward and sat on the floor and cried with so much force. He came into the bathroom, sat down and held my hands then we just cried together. After wards I bathed and he gave me clean clothes I didn’t want to go home in that state so I slept in his guest room, he brought me food but I declined I locked the door and cried myself to sleep. I woke up the next day and he was all lovey dovy, I just ignored me, he knelt down before me and started crying and saying he would kill himself if I left. So I told him I needed time alone and he obliged I called my sister and told her to pick me up. Few minutes later she arrived and we went home. She was worried about me and how I was looking but I told her I fell down the stairs when I was drunk, she didn’t buy the story but she didn’t ask more questions. It was nice being home and spending time with my sister, I called the girls and told them I would be spending some days at home, I wanted to heal. Mubanga kept calling but I switched of my phone. I spent three days at home it was fun I was even feeling better and taking some medication my sister bought me, I was lucky the parents where away otherwise I would have been in so much trouble coming home looking so battered. So I left the day before my parents came home, I told my sister I would spend the coming weekend with them first I needed to heal I didn’t want my parents seeing me like that. So my sister drove me back and the girls were surprised at how I looked because the bruises were still showing so I fed them the same story of falling. We watched some movies and I dozed off, I had night mare so I woke up at midnight and started watching movies, I also got my phone and logged onto Facebook and Mubanga had changed his relationship status from single to dating me. He had even posted pics about me and written some cute stuff there oh my I was taken. I called him just to say thanks one thing led to another and boom we were back together. Days later we went by and we were back to being the happy couple or maybe he was just pretending because the happiness was short lived. So we were celebrating our Fourth Month Anniversary at his house with friends nothing big just dinner and I received a call so I excused myself and went to answer the call. It was an old friend of mine (Joel) from way back and he was just so happy he had finally managed to get my line so we are talking and catching up with stuff and I just laughed out so loud because he reminded me of something that happened when we were young. So after five minutes of talking I told him I would call him later because we needed the whole night to catch up on the past. I was almost turning to go to the others when I found Mubanga behind me. Me – And then? Mubanga – who was that? Me – W e are past this am I supposed to explain everything to you? Mubanga – Don’t taste my patience woman I will fucking kill you. Me – Not now we have guests around. Mubanga – I don’t care about the damn guests, are you cheating on me? Me – dude stop being paranoid, let me attend to the guests. Mubanga- you dare to walk out on me? I will deal with you later We walked out and went to attend to our friends, I knew I was in so much trouble with Mubanga but I didn’t want him to disrespect me in front of our friends on our anniversary. No ways so the night went on just well, me and the girls slept at Mubanga’s place, I lay in bed for a long time without sleeping thinking of what would happen the following day.

    Insert 10

    There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds. I woke up the next morning, took a quick bath and left the girls to have enough rest. I want to watch TV as was chatting with some friends on whatsapp just then Joel called and asked if we could do lunch and I agreed. I asked him if it was fine if I went with the girls, he agreed and said he would come with his cousins. So I was excited I went to wake the girls up and told them we had to leave because we had a lunch date. I went to look for Mubanga and I found him with his friend playing chess, for some reason he was in foul mood but I didn’t care I said bye to him and left We reached home bathed and prepared for our lunch we dressed casually because it was just lunch with friends. So Joel picked us up and we met with his cousins at some Italian Restaurant, we were laughing and just talking about the old days when Hubby dearest appeared from nowhere. He grabbed me by my hand and said we were going home. When my friends tried saying anything he shut them up and carried me, he was cursing, insulting and calling me all sorts of names. I swear this was the worst kind of embarrassment I have ever gone through. He put me in his car and immediately drove off; he was driving like a maniac. I was shouting as he was cursing and we almost had an accident, so I told him to slow down but he didn’t, it was just by Gods grace we got to his house safely. We got to his house i got out of he got out of the car so did i. Me – You know what am so tired of you and your foolish actions. Mubanga – you even have the guts to talk? Me – Man up Mubanga you don’t show love by being violent, am so tired of you I want out of this relationship. Then he squeezed my hand so tight I thought it would break, I wasn’t even crying because I had cried enough tears being in this relationship. Mubanga – this will teach you not to disrespect me, you are such a whore, I accept to be with you without having sex but you still go around sleeping with everything in trousers huh? Me – How dare you accuse me of such things, you know what am done, and this time it’s for good. He pinned me to the wall, and held my neck so tight, it hurt so badly but I had no strength to fight back, he was holding me with so much force and each minute I was slowly losing my breath, I don’t remember what happened next because the time I opened my eyes I was in his room and a strange man was examining me. The man seemed like a Doctor because the moment I opened my eyes he called Mubanga in and examined me some more, asked a few questions of how I was doing, he then gave me some medication and told me not to stretch my neck too much, afterwards he left. Few minutes later Mubanga walked in and I told him I wanted to go home but he said I wasn’t going anywhere he left the room and banged it I searched for my phone but couldn’t find it. There was no word to describe the pain I was feeling but despite the pain I just couldn’t cry, I was drained and just tired of fighting. Two days later I was still at his place, I was wondering why my friends hadn’t come to check on me after the incidence that happened at the restaurant, Mubanga was making sure I take my medicine and he would bring me food but apart from that we were not on talking terms. He came back that afternoon and I told him we had to talk. Mubanga – what is this about? Me – I need to go back home I feel better. Mubanga – I don’t want you to leave me. Me – I promise I won’t, I forgive you I had to agree to forgive him so I could go home, he was all smiles he took me out shopping before taking me home and he even gave me my phone back. We got home and he kissed me goodbye saying he would call me back. As soon as I got inside I switched off my phone, I threw myself on the bed and cried. The girls asked what was wrong and I narrated what happened. Maya – OMG we thought you guys where fine, we received a text your phone saying you were spending some nights there. Me – I just got my phone back, he must have texted you guys so you don’t come after me. Myra – Please stay away from that guy he is a psycho Me – I am done, never again. Maya – Joel has been looking for you. Me –I am not even ready to see him, am so ashamed. A week later I had changed my simcard and deleted Mubanga’s line and made sure each time he came over the girls told him I had gone back home. I tried by all means to avoid him but this very day I went to buy food stuffs because we were expecting some friends over for dinner , the girls remained tiding up the house so I went alone. I felt like someone was following me but, I just brushed it off, I bought what I was buying then went to look for a taxi to go back home, as I was talking to the taxi driver someone held my hand. I swear I would have peed on myself because even before looking back I knew just who it was, there was no way I could miss Mubanga’s cologne. I looked back and there he was looking good as always. Mubanga – so we finally meet huh? Me – What do you want from me? Mubanga – How can you ask me that question baby? Me – I am not your baby, please leave my hand I want to go. Mubanga – why do you treat me like this? All I ever did is love you. Me – Love huh? Mubanga Love? Please tell me you are kidding? Mubanga – you know I adore you Me – Eh please, this topic is boring, I need to go. Mubanga- so you treat me like trash now? You are such an ungrateful bitch He was saying all these things while holding my hand, then he slapped me and let me go assuring me he would be back. I got into the taxi told the driver to drive at high speed few minutes later I was home, I wasn’t even interested in dinner anymore I took some pills and slept. The girls prepared everything and waited for our guests to arrive. The loud music that was being played in the room woke me up later, I found the girls drinking and dancing with Joel and his friends, i decided to join in, I drank too much that night till I passed out, I wanted beer to help me erase the pain I was feeling. After that Night Joel and his friends would regularly come over and we would drink our lungs out, Mubanga was quiet and I was glad he was finally not trying to make me go back to him. We just had a week before school re opened and Frieda was not yet back plus her phone was not going through, we were getting worried about her so we decided to go over to her cousins place to find out but she said she had not spoken to her in a while but she would let us know if she managed to get in touch with her. Afterwards we went to the salon and did our hair and nails, then went back home to relax. We reached home and I was surprised at the person we found at our doorstep.

    Insert 11

    Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will always hurt me. I was shocked to find Mubanga standing by our door step as if he owned the building, my friends got in and I asked what he wanted so he said we needed to talk, I said we had nothing to talk about then he snapped and started calling me names. I told him to leave and got inside the house but he was not having any of that, he was yelling and screaming my friends were even scared to come outside. He pushed me and hit me against the wall shouting and spiting in my face I was so scared, I was even shivering, then he let go and drove off. The girls were terrified and told me to report him to the police but I was too ashamed to do that so I declined the idea. That night I couldn’t sleep I had nightmares and I kept waking up, I finally woke up at 3 and started watching a movie, Myra also woke up. Myra – You can’t sleep? Me – Yes, am stressed, I don’t know what to do with Mubanga. Myra – Maybe take him back Me – And watch him kill me? Myra – You love him don’t you? Me – I do but being with him is like signing my death sentence, I can’t control him you know Myra – But you can change him, you know Fabian used to hit me but he has since stopped. Me – How come you have never told us any of this? Myra – I didn’t want you guys to be scared of him but he has changed and Mubanga can change too. Me – Honestly am tired I just want to move on from this. Myra – you will, whatever you decide just know you have our backs. I knew I loved Mubanga but he was just too temperamental and controlling so going back to him would lead me to my death, I decided to shut him out at all costs no matter what my heart was telling me. A week later we finally opened schools and Frieda came back two days after opening saying she had some family issues to sort out. Mubanga kept bugging me but I kept ignoring him and he vowed he would make my life a living hell, apparently he was always everywhere I went causing a scene, calling me names in public, saying I was worthless and deserved to just be alone. He was constantly on my back, and even when I changed my line he found a way to contact me and made threats of how he would never allow any man to date me. One night I went out with the girls, Joel and his friends Mubanga appeared from now where and caused a scene. He started hitting the table and breaking stuff. Mubanga – So you left me so you could gallivant all over town with these fools? You are a piece of trash you know? I don’t even know what attracted me to you but I wish I never met you, you a good for nothing whore, you are not even beautiful, I did you a favor by making you my woman, look at how fat you are, you think any man would like to be with you? You are good for nothing; you don’t deserve to be happy you disgust me Ella. With that said he walked away and everyone in that place was staring me at me. His words pierced through my skin, what he had just said were enough to break my spirit. In that moment he injected self doubt in my veins and stripped my self-worth slowly until nothing was left of my personality. I was shaken; I didn’t know who I was anymore. I was crushed and I didn’t know if I would be able to pick myself of the ground. I wanted to run and just hide from all the hurt he had caused me, I was screaming with all the power in me, I had to be carried to the car. This time around he hurt me badly and the pain I was feeling was too deep. He destroyed every little bit of me and I let him. After that incidence I just became a different person, I never talked much, i was scared to open up to anyone, my heart was bruised but I didn’t want to talk about it, I was hiding from the world, I would go for classes but after class I would be in bed sleeping or studying but I never went out, I was off social media and I would often cry myself to bed. I kept the pain to myself and a part of me died in the process. I was no longer this bubbly and happy girl, and every time someone raised their hand near me I would flinch. Mubanga’s words where always playing in my head day in day out. “You are good for nothing; you don’t deserve to be happy you disgust me Ella. “ The people around me wanted to help me but I shut them out, I blamed myself for letting things go that far with Mubanga, if only I had left him the minute I saw him snap and hit me, it would never have reached to that point. It’s true when they say words hurt more than physical pain because words have the ability to build or destroy a person, words have the ability to make someone feel worthless, and words can break someone to pieces. Some words stick with you forever they hurt and scar more than people think; the tongue is small yet poisonous, before you spit your words make sure you taste them, because once said words can never be taken back. The whole time I got thinking what I had done to deserve such cruelty from a person I showed nothing but love, a person that promised to stand by me at all odds, a person that was supposed to protect me was the one that caused me so much pain.

    Insert 12

    Abuse changes your life, fight back and change the life of your abusers by breaking the silence on Abuse. Most of the people that have never been in abusive relationships feel it’s easy to walk away, he abuses you, you pack and leave him, most people have asked why didn’t you leave earlier why did you let things escalate this far? I loved this man, he was my pride and joy, telling my friends about him gave me peace, he loved me in all possible ways before he suddenly snapped and the abuse kicked in, what did I feel at that moment? Shame I was ashamed to open up to friends and admit I was being abused, I was embarrassed to admit to what was going on right under my nose. Growing up I had always told myself I would never allow a man to treat me poorly yet I let him, I let him step all over me. I felt like I was failure, I had failed myself and everyone else that cared for me, I had failed even as a girlfriend. I was always in a state of confusion, fear and despair. I was torn between two worlds. Most of the times I blamed myself for his behavior like many people who are abused do, I made so many excuses for his attitude I thought if i listened to him and followed all his instructions he would not get mad but no matter how careful I was there was always something about me that would make him upset and angry. So many times Mubanga made me believe I was the one causing the problems in the relationship and I believed him. There were so many times I prayed he would change, because I believed underneath the violence was a good man and that’s the one that swept me of my feet. I was sensitive and he managed to manipulate me each time I threatened to leave him. One minute we would be happy the next minute he would be violent. I think my biggest mistake was make excuses for him because the more I stayed behind looking for ways to change him and make him better the more he destroyed me, he stepped on me, messed me up and completely left me hopeless then he left. I suffered at the hands of a man that was supposed to protect me, I blamed myself for letting him get comfortable with belittling and disrespecting me, I sacrificed my heart for someone whose only goal was to torment me. He made me believe I was nothing, he made me lose the love I had for myself and my self confidence was shattered. With those words spoken I knew I had to let go, hard as it was i had to move on because I knew I would never heal if I held on to him. I vowed never to settle for something less than what I deserved, I vowed to do better I just didn’t know If I was ever going to heal, moving on was the hardest thing to do, looking back on the memories broke me, why was I always attracting the wrong men maybe it was a curse or something or maybe I wasn’t worthy of happiness. How do you determine the strength of a woman? “ Don’t judge the strength of a woman while she is a victim of physical, mental or emotional abuse because her strength is in the way she endures pain, her strength is in the way she carries her scars with pride, her strength is in her healing process, her strength is in her forgiveness. You can see the strength of a woman when she is a survivor because her real strength is in her survival story and that is when she is the strongest. “
    Life is a circle of happiness, sadness, hard times and good times, if you are going through hard times have faith that good times are on the way. After the traumatic experience with Mubanga I struggled to heal and move on. Even when I knew Mubanga was no longer in my life I constantly experienced feelings of depression, fear, stress, heart break and mostly I had difficulties in sleeping because I was afraid he would come back for me. My self esteem was stepped on and now I doubted my abilities to make correct decisions or to attract the right people, I was living in Mubanga’s words. It took me a whole year to get back on my feet, I was taking it one step at a time and my friends stood by me through it, despite feeling so much pain I decided I was capable of being happy, I deserved happiness and so I started working on my fears first by opening up to the people closest to me and talking about really helped me. The day I decided I needed a new start was day I began to live again. I was in second year of college me and my friends had managed to clear all our courses and we were going out partying to celebrate our achievement. Myra – can’t wait for us to paint the city red this evening Me- I also can’t wait, it’s been a long time Frieda – Finally we can all go out like the old days, it’s good to have our girl back. Maya – I know right, it’s always fun when the squad is full Me – Yo you guys are crazy, you missed me this much? Maya – You just can’t imagine babe Me – Am to be taking control of my life again. That evening we went partying, one of our classmates was hosting a party at his house for all the students who cleared, the party was on point we ate, laughed, drank and danced it was like the old days and I was glad I had finally decided to join in the fun, I had missed so much. We went home in the morning exhausted and slept all through the day, I had to wake up and prepare the girls supper later in the evening. After that night my life was back on track, I was doing well in school my grades where on point, I was partying a lot during the weekend but I was staying off men. I tried flirting here and there but I refused to have any commitments with anyone. Mubanga was out of sight and I was happy with that. Monday morning we woke up took turns in bathing and went for classes, Monday is always boring and I was trying my best to concentrate, to avoid sleeping I got my phone and started chatting on whatsapp. Frieda was trying to hook up with Chris’s friend. Me – You know am off relationships huh Frieda- Babe come on its been a year, you have to move on Me – I have moved on Frieda- At least meet up with him and we can take it from there. Me- you won’t give up will you? Frieda – No I won’t, Me- Fine send me his pix then maybe I will just accept to meet him. Frieda- awwwwww, if I wasn’t in class I would have screamed Me – Gosh this man is boring eh, Frieda – Too much we need to get out of here soon. So me and Frieda continued chatting, she sent me the guys pix and I can say he wasn’t bad. His name was Kelvin and he was working in the same Place as Chris. We kept talking and I was smiling here and there I didn’t notice the lecturer talking to me, he came and grabbed my phone and chased me out of his class. I was so shocked who does that at college, so I waited for class to be over then I followed him to the office. Me – Good day sir Him – How can I help you? Me- I came for my phone Him – So you take me for a fool young lady? Me – I am sorry sir, it won’t happen again Him – it had better not happen again otherwise I will ban you from attending my class, do we understand each other? Me – Yes sir He gave me my phone and I went to meet up with the girls then we laughed like crazy girls as we were going home, so Frieda had managed to secure me a date with this Kelvin guy that evening and I didn’t want to go but the girls persuaded me to. I got home and we just bonded with my friends later I bathed and wore a yellow long dress with a high slit in front and black heels, I combed my weave and let it fall on my shoulders, I applied my nude lipstick and put a bit of make up, I should say I looked hot for this date even if I wasn’t interested. Maya – OMG you look hot girl, Frieda – And she says she is not interested in him, mmmmmmm Me – hahahahah cant a girl look hot huh? Myra – Babe seriously you look supper hot, this dress blends your shape very well Me – Thanks my girls, Frieda – please keep us updated oh, Me – come on am doing this for you. Them – Continue saying that oh

    Insert 13

    You don’t always need a plan sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens. Kelvin arrived minutes later and he suggested we do dinner and watch a movie afterwards, I was chilled with the idea, we arrived at the restaurant and ordered our food and the conversation kicked in. Him- So how well do you know me? Me – Just a few things like you name and work place apart from that nothing really. Him – oh see, how long have you been single? Me – Over a year Him – Well that’s too long Me – Its life and you? Him – Just a week Me – That short? Him – Yes I don’t have time to mourn over an ex, so now am off to the next. Me – I see Him – So why did you break up with your ex? Me – He was abusive Him – Maybe you were always messing up Me – Excuse me? Should there be an excuse for beating a woman? Him – If she is being disrespectful yes, a slap or two wouldn’t hurt. Me – This conversation is getting me uncomfortable, I hate abusive men Him – suit yourself so now you are ready to date? Me – No am not Him – then why did you come here in the first place? Me – because Frieda bugged me Him – huh? Me – The food is here let’s eat. We started eating a few minutes later , I hated every minute I spent with this guy firstly he was so full of himself then he was justifying men who beat women and he went on and on about how he changed women because life is too short to cling onto one person who keeps tripping. Gosh I was so bored, I wish the earth could swallow me because he was talking even with food in his mouth and his was loud people kept staring at us. After eating he said we split the bill because he believed in Gender, just perfect I paid and we left, he wanted us to watch a movie but I faked a headache and Nigga told me to go, because he wasn’t about to miss the movie for anything, lucky I had money on me so I booked a taxi and went home. I was so upset with Frieda for hooking me up with a person with an awful personality. I got home and just dropped myself on the bed and the girls where all over me trying to get the details of the date. So I narrated what happened and we laughed about it. Maya - And to think you dressed this nice for an ass hole Myra – Imagine, Frieda defend yourself Frieda – Come on ladies I thought he was a great guy, at least that’s how he perceives himself to be. Me – Lol I forgive you but please no more hook ups Maya – But you need to get yourself a man Me- please don’t get ahead of yourself am off men Them – No ways That evening we watched movies and just talked about random stuff till mid night and we slept because we had an early class the following day. So basically life for me rotated around school, the girls and going out here and there I was determined to remain single for a while I wasn’t willing to get heartbroken again. So Saturday evening I was home alone the girls had gone out spending time with their men, I was in bed chatting and getting drunk because at least that’s the only thing that kept me sane. My sister called and we talked for a while and I went back to my chatting then I received a text from a strange number. Him- Hey beautiful, how’s your day? Well first things first I checked his the profile picture and man wasn’t he hot, my jaw dropped, I became sober like oh ya, Me- hey my day just got better with your text how are you? So we got talking he told me he was Charles and he got my line from a friend of his after he saw my pics, I wasn’t looking for a relationship so we became friends and he would constantly call me, text me and visit me during my free time. We had now been talking for like a month and he was already getting interested in me so I started giving him the cold shoulder, I started ignoring his calls and texts and would always be busy when he came over because I was trying to protect myself from getting hurt. Tuesday afternoon after class we were having lunch with the girls and they brought him up. Maya – Babe that guy how long will you ignore him? Me – Until he realizes I don’t want to date him Myra – We all know that’s a lie, you are just scared. Frieda – You need to open your heart Babe, what happened with Mubanga was way back it’s been a year and a half already give this guy a chance. Maya – He looks decent, he looks real Me – that’s how they all look in the beginning, remember Mubanga came as an angel too? Maya – But you can’t always compare everyone with Mubanga, people are different Me – whatever, Frieda – come on life is all about risks, loosen up a little bit. Me- Fine I will think about it

    Insert 14

    I thought about what the girls said and since I had nothing to lose I gave Charles chance because people are different I wasn’t always going to live being scared so I was willing to give us a chance. The first two months of dating were amazing we would meet once in a while, we would always be on phone we were inseparable I was in love and everything was falling in place, I was even planning our wedding and I already had the names of our children and what we would do for our first year marriage anniversary all in my head. I forgot to mention had never had sex before, for me sex was not an area of interest and I kept away from it so finding a man like Charles who was fine with no sex was a bonus for me. Saturday evening we were having a girls night out because we hadn’t been spending time together apart from school, we decided to have a dinner at home plus movies just bonding. Maya – mmmmm it’s been bells we bonded like this. Me – I know girl Frieda- Babe you haven’t even told us much about Charles neh, how is he treating you? Myra – Yes tell us about him Me – Well what can I say, I think I have finally arrived he has been so good to me. Frieda- So happy for you Maya – Yes we are happy for you Me – Come let’s eat and talk later Them – dah what ever I had been dating Charles for four months when I started noticing a few changes here and there, he was usually busier than before and the texts and calls gradually reduced, being the understanding girlfriend that I was I didn’t really think too much into it, well its life and we are all busy so I thought it was fine. So when he got busy I also kind of pulled away a bit, I mean I was also busy with school and being the only one saying hey, hi, I miss you, I love you kinda got boring so I thought why not let him concentrate on what he was busy with. Time went by no calls, no texts, no visits, I was seriously hurting but I had to focus on something else, drinking and studying, yes i would mostly drink myself to bed, it hurt but I kept it deep in me, pretending I was fine. So one afternoon I was studying and listening to Music in my room when Charles texted me, part of me was excited another part was angry with him for being quiet for almost three weeks. Charles- Hi baby Me- Now you remember you have a baby somewhere? Charles- Forgive me my baby for being quiet and for ignoring your messages and calls, so much has been happening. Me- So you mean you can’t trust me with your issues? Charles- it’s not that I just needed time to sort myself out but am back now and I will make time available for you. Me- Ok if you say so. Charles – Lets do dinner tonight, I will pick you up at 7 Me – Alright baby I will see you at 7. I was so excited that day I finished studying, listened to some music, prepared Supper for the ladies and started preparing for my night out with Bae. I bathed and got ready. I waited for him but he didn’t show up, I tried calling his phone went straight to voice mail, I was devastated why would he call me, make plans and stand me up just like that with no explanation whatsoever. I changed into my casual clothes and booked a cab to the nearest club and drunk my lungs out, I was so wasted, I could hardly walk. The day I opened my eyes and woke up in a strange room and I had a terrible headache. I was so scared because I had no idea where I was, just then the door opened and a man entered the room. Him – Finally you are awake, you have been sleeping for too long. Me – Sorry who are you and what am doing in your house? Him – Don’t tell me you forgot what happened last night. Me – OMG did I sleep with you? Him – Hahahahah, come on, No you didn’t I slept in the other room. So he explained how he had come to the club for a drink when he saw I could barely walk and he tried to take me home but I failed to give him directions so he took me to his house. I thanked him for his kind gesture and told him I needed to go home. So he told me to take a bath and after wards he drove me home, we exchanged numbers and he left. When I got home I found the girls pacing up and down as they were worried about my way about. I explained what happened and promised it would never happen again. I switched on my phone and found a text From Charles saying he would make it up to me for standing me up and I ignored him. Despite Charles being distant with me I still loved him and I hoped we would sort out the differences and I was willing to work on us, I was afraid of letting him go, I was afraid of being alone and mostly I was afraid of falling once again so even when I saw the signs of him losing interest I ignored them. I decided I would visit him over the weekend so I could pump some sense into his head about the direction of our relationship.

    Insert 15

    The week was a busy one, we had tests plus lots of assignments for continuous assessments so I had little time to think about Charles and he hadn’t called nor texted since his last text. As planned on Saturday morning I woke up Early bathed and prepared to visit him. I reached his place and got in lucky for me the door wasn’t closed, I walked in all the way to the sitting room and there he was making out with some woman on his chair. I felt a tight clench around my heart, tears where already coming out’ my vision got blurry; I felt so weak and screamed out loud. My screaming shocked them, they both stopped and turned to me, the lady got up and went upstairs Charles was about to say something when I stormed out of the house, he called after me but I didn’t look back, I hurried off till I reached the gate, just when I was about to open it, he yanked back my hand and turned me around to face him. It’s not what you think baby, he said, I was just too tired to answer him so I just kept staring at him. Charles- Baby please say something Me – Like what? Charles – Am sorry you were not supposed to witness that Me – oh so that’s the reason you stood me up huh? Charles – No baby I was stressed, that girl means nothing to me it’s you I love. Me- Charles let me go please I have nothing to tell you, let me cool down first then we can talk. He let go of my hand and I dragged myself out of his house, my heart was seriously heavy and the only thing I wanted was beer, I went home and started drinking I didn’t tell anyone what happened I made sure I drank till I passed out. Charles came to see me the next day and I wasn’t in the mood for his drama but he was persistent so I let him in, we talked and he apologized, well I decided to give him a second chance hoping he would change. We were ok for some time till one Sunday evening when he stood me up again apparently Frieda was also going through relationship issues so to cheer ourselves up we decided to hit the club. We got into the club and started doing what we do best then minutes later I spotted Charles entering the club with the same girl I found him with last time. They started dancing tightly while holding each other, Frieda wanted us to confront them but I wasn’t ready for any drama. I got my phone and started calling his line, it was on he cut the line and sent me a text saying he was attending to something important and he would get back to me later. I got so mad I went to the stage and started dancing I danced as though I was possessed, Charles saw me and I could see him getting angry, our eyes locked and afterwards I left the stage and walked out, he followed me outside and held my hand. Charles – What was that all about? Me – Please go back to the person you were with and leave me alone. Charles – I am sorry Me – You are always sorry Charles, so you stood me up for her and to top it up you lied about where you were huh? Charles – I didn’t want to hurt you Hurt me huh? Hurt me? I shouted, you have hurt me enough to last a life time you know, you keep lying to me what have I not done for you in this relationship? Am I not enough huh? I can’t do this anymore I seriously can’t, this hurts you know. Let’s just end this, now right here Please Ella don’t leave me, anything else but leaving me please, I will find a way to make this up to you he said while holding me and looking straight into my eyes. He knelt down and held my legs; please don’t break up with me. I was confused at that point, I didn’t know whether to leave him or stay and fight for what we had, I guess I was drunk in love so I forgave him and gave him just one more chance. Even though this relationship was draining me I didn’t feel like giving up, I wanted it to work so I told Charles to let the other girl go if he wanted to make things work between us. He called that girl and told her to my face that he didn’t want to continue their affair and all she did was nod her head and walk away. I didn’t understand what that meant because a girl in her right mind would probably put up a fight but not her, she was just calm even in her talking. Any way I let this incidence pass. Charles was behaving better at least that’s what he made me believe, we barely saw each other but he would always call and text. School was hectic I was working so hard because I needed to clear all my subjects to qualify for my third year. The girls and I spent less time out and more time at home or school doing group discussions and studying. Finally it was exam time, I was really hopeful the exam would be friendly but the first paper I wrote was so hard I was debating whether I had cleared or not. After writing that paper I went straight home, didn’t want to participate in that days discussions, Maya followed me home and we slept till evening. I woke up later and found Frieda crying while Myra was comforting her so I went over to her. Me – what’s wrong Babe Myra – Chris broke up with her, he said he has found someone better and she should move on. Me – God who does that to someone especially now when we are writing our exams, babe you need to be strong. It was hard to stop Frieda from crying she sobbed throughout the night I was worried about her performance in the exam but the following morning she woke up better. We wrote our exams and finally school closed and I decided to spend a few days home, we escorted Frieda to the station as usual and went back to the house, Maya was also going away for a few days so I invited Myra to spend the holiday with me. I didn’t see much of Charles during the holiday but we kept in touch, spending time with family was really a great thing even though I didn’t have too much freedom. So after being home for three weeks we went back to our house so we could have some fun for the last school week, I called Charles and told him I would be spending the following day with him and he agreed. My sister drove us back home and we cleaned up the place washed dirty stuff and the next morning we went grocery shopping. After our time at the mall I went straight to Charles’s place, we bonded and it was nice spending time with him I even spent the night at his place. The next morning I woke up and found he had gone to pick up some papers from his work place so I bathed wore his T-Shirt and prepared us breakfast, then I called Myra and told her I would be home for lunch, I sat down and started eating while watching a movie Charles came back and we bonded some more, I ended up going home late. Like, comment and share, let’s get interactive how is the story going for you? Do you think Charles will finally be loyal to Ella?

    Insert 16

    I spent the following week with Charles, he was spoiling me like no man’s business and I loved every minute of it, we went out to the movies, picnics, the park and just stayed home and cuddled I was amazed by the person he had become it was a different side of him I was getting to know. Schools delayed to open because the results were not yet ready, it was more time to play for us so we utilized that time to bond and spend some time with our men, except for Frieda who was still single but we managed to fill her in our programs one way or another so she couldn’t feel alone. A few weeks later Charles took me to meet his family and they welcomed me just fine. I loved the fact that they were open and social it was whole new experience for me, you know that feeling where you know you are appreciated, wanted and accepted? That’s all I felt that day, it was so amazed eish. So after the visit I kept in contact with his sister and we would text each other often and Charles loved how his sister (Sharon) and I connected in such a short time. So results were out, Maya and I cleared in everything, Frieda failed in two subjects and Myra failed in one but we all managed to get into third year they carried the subjects the failed forward. We didn’t go out after collecting our results we just spent the day at home. Frieda – This is so bad babe, mum will kill me Me – The good thing is its only two subjects and you will clear it this year just work extra hard. Myra – This year will be busy for us, but we will pull through Maya – that’s the spirit girl, you surely will Frieda – Okay let’s drink to that, cheers to third year. We managed to cheer the girls up and we had a quiet evening, next morning we woke up took turns in bathing wore similar jeans and vests and went to school for registrations. We were late so we stayed in the line till afternoon, it was exhausting so afterwards we went to have lunch from Hungry Lion before going home. We reached home and slept woke up in the evening and prepared supper. The first week of school went by slowly and it was boring, finally it was Sunday, the girls woke up and prepared for church, Maya tried to convince me to attend church with them I refused so they let me be. I woke up later bathed and prepared lunch; the girls came back and announced we would be having dinner at Maya’s boyfriend’s house to celebrate our making it to third year. We had lunch then looked for clothes for the evening after wards we prepared ourselves. I called Charles but his line was off so I sent him a text saying I was going with my friends. We went for dinner and it was amazing there were a few of his friends and their girlfriends, we got drunk , danced our butts out and just enjoyed the night, forgetting the next day was Monday, by the time the event was ending we were exhausted to go home so we spent the night, I woke up in the morning with my head spinning but I wasn’t about to miss class, I looked around and there was only Frieda with me in the room so I woke her up and we showered, I went to look for Maya and Myra, they said they were too tired for school, so Maya gave us some of her clothes that she usually left at her boyfriend’s house, we wore and went to school even though we were late we managed to get notes and attend some other classes. After class we went straight home and the girls weren’t back yet so we decided to sleep before cooking. I was still dreaming when a knock disturbed my sleep I stood up and lazily opened the door. Charles busted in, gave me a deadly stare with no greeting and requested to talk to me outside. I got dressed joined him outside and asked why he looked furious. “Where did you go last night? Where did you go? I called you several times but you didn’t pick up my calls” he screamed, so I was shocked because I found no reason for his screaming knowing that I had sent him a text explaining I would be out, I didn’t want to argue with him, I turned my back to him and started walking back to the room when he pulled my had and slapped me I almost fell. “Never again, will you ever walk out on me when am talking to you ok? Never again he shouted” “I didn’t mean to disrespect you or anything Charles but you coming here screaming like you own me or slapping me as though I am your child, I will not tolerate that, you can do anything you want but never lay your hands on me ever again . That slap just took me back to memories that I had managed so well to bury the past year so don’t take me back please” I yelled With that said tears started falling down my eyes; I cried uncontrollably, I wasn’t ready to tolerate another Mubanga Saga, I knew Charles was a lot of things but an abuser no ways. We stood outside facing different directions for a while and no one said anything. Then he made his way to where I was standing. “I am sorry” he pleaded I didn’t mean to hurt you or take you back to what your ex did, am sorry Ella” he made his way to me and tried to embrace me, I fought him off till I had no more strength to do so, so I let him hold me and cried out in his arms. “I swear I just lost it, I will never hurt you again, I know I keep hurting you but please don’t ever forget I love you” “I need to rest Charles I will talk to you later” I told him then he hugged me tightly, kissed me and told me how much he loved me and said good bye. He drove off and I sat outside, this love business was getting too hard for me, I was always the one sacrificing and getting hurt in return all the time, letting go even though things were falling apart was the hardest thing to do, I was fighting within myself weather to let go or hold on and wait for things to get better. I was deep in thoughts I didn’t even notice Frieda standing by my side, I stood up and hugged her tightly while I cried out loudly, with Frieda I didn’t need words to describe what I was going through because I knew she could feel my pain. I cried for a good 5 minutes then we sat down and talked about random stuff, I liked the fact that she didn’t ask me questions about what happened with Charles knowing I wasn’t ready to talk about it. Will Charles turn out Like Mubanga? Like, comment, share and tag others.

    Insert 17

    . It was still just me and Frieda at home so she prepared us supper then we started studying and afterwards decided to call it a night. We overslept and were late for class we even missed our first class, the day went on so well, Charles kept texting me but I wasn’t replying. When we knocked off we went straight home to work on our assignments, we had lots of assignments that week and there was less time to play around, I managed to keep ignoring Charles because I was still thinking of what to do about him. Soon the week was over, we knocked off Friday afternoon and went straight home I was surprised to meet Charles sister at our doorstep. So I welcomed her and introduced her to the girls. Frieda left a few minutes after to buy lunch. Me – it’s a surprise seeing you here how are you? Sharon – I am fine, so now it’s wrong to visit my favorite sister in law? Me – Nop am glad to see you here, what can I offer you? Sharon- Just water will be fine with me. Me – ok so how is home? Sharon – Home is fine, But Charles hasn’t been ok Me – why? Whats wrong with him? Sharon - His Blood Pressure has high he was admitted last night but he is home now. I was surprised I haven’t seen you around so I decide to drop by and ask why. Me – It’s a long story, am sorry to hear about his illness I will pay him a visit later. Sharon- please babe, whatever you guys fought about, you can deal with it later, he needs you now Me - I hear you girl. I waited for the girls and we all went to see Charles, the state I found him in broke my heart he was pale and had lost a bit of some weight, I even felt guilty for neglecting him the past week. So I asked everyone to give us a moment alone. “I am sorry I didn’t know it was this bad, how are you feeling?” I asked him. He blinked away tears and faced me “I know I hurt you badly but i feel worthless without you, please forgive me” His tears moved me so I decided to give us another chance, I took care of him till he got better his sister was around as well so he was behaving better than before. 7 months later a lot had happened, school was becoming tougher, we had just opened for a new semester so there was no playing around it was books all the way. Charles had been on his best behavior, he had met some of my family members and the great news was that we were practically engaged, our engagement wasn’t a big thing he just surprised me one morning with a ring and a speech of how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me so I said yes. He would get to formally go to my family with his people the coming year because we were taking things slow. I was content because I never thought he would change and became the man that I had always wished he would be, through all we had gone through we were getting stronger by the day.

    Insert 18

    The new semester started with so much work, I barely had time to spend with Charles, I was always at school, or having discussions with friends even weekends were busy for me so I relied on Calls and Messages to keep in touch Bae which was fine for me. The communication was great in our relationship and I felt I had nothing to worry about. Weekes later we there was workshop at school for most of the lecturers so I got some free time to spend with Charles, I called him to let him know I would be spending some days with him and he was happy. I went to his House on a Monday and after he came back from work we bonded, cuddled and watched movies, I spent the night and the next day I decided to spoil him a little, I took him out bought him a few things and then treated him to lunch before going for the movies. We later went back home and bonded some more, I spent the night again I called the girls and told them I would get back the following day. Wednesday Morning his phone rang and he went to pick it up from the bathroom which I found strange but decided not to question him thinking it might be business. He came out all moody and irritated; he was pacing up and down. I tried talking to him but he ignored me so I went and took a shower and started making breakfast, he took a shower too and found me making breakfast then he told me he needed to rush out somewhere he would be back later. “Is this about the phone call you received? “Because you have been moody from that time, talk to me, whats up?” He looked away before answering me “I seriously don’t want to talk about it, I need to rush before I miss my appointment” “Appointment you say?’ I shook my head, “anyway go well I might be gone by the time you come back.” He banged the table and cursed “Damn Ella whats all this now?” you know what do whatever you want to do, I will sort you out later” with that said he rushed out of the door and drove off. I was just shocked at what happened, I decided I would wait for him so I continued preparing breakfast, dished up for myself and started watching the six wives of Henry Lafe, I was enjoying it and laughing my lungs out in between till I got disturbed by a loud knock at the gate. I went to open it and the girl who was knocking bugged in and walked past me like I was invisible I was startled but I kept my piece and followed her into the house, she was about to go upstairs when I pulled her hand and asked her what she wanted , she turned around and slapped me. Me – (shouting) what the hell was that for? Her - Are you talking to me? Me – please leave I have no time for you Her- Where is Charles? Where are you hiding him? Me – Me, hide a full grown man huh? Her – Anyway I will wait for him Me – Suit yourself then I wasn’t in the mood for this lady’s drama so I went upstairs to pack my things, I was on my way downstairs when I heard the door open, as soon as Charles got in the lady got crazy she was screaming at him, shouting and throwing stuff. Charles – Lisa! What are you doing here? I went to your place I didn’t find you. Her – how could you stand me up like that? Charles – Listen we can’t talk about this now, let me drive you home then we can talk from there. Her – No ways, we are talking about this here and now. I so wanted to hear what this lady had on Charles so I walked downstairs wanting an explanation, she stared at me then back at Charles. “You haven’t told her yet?” “Told me what?” I asked. Then Charles pulled her hand, “Lisa please not now, let’s go” She yanked her hand out of his looked at me and opened her bag, removed some papers and threw them at me; Charles grabbed them from me before I could open them. “Charles I have given you enough time to come clean with this girl so she knows her place but you keep giving me excuses, are you gonna tell her or should i?” I looked at Charles and he had this confused look on his face, he looked like he was about to cry and from the look of things, whatever he was supposed to tell me was big, so I stood up and held his hand and told him to be honest with me. “Ella whatever I tell you, just promise you won’t leave please” “We have been through a lot Charles, talk to me I am sure we can work this out together.” I calmly told him even if my heart was racing as though someone had been chasing me.

    Insert 19

    “Lisa is umhhhh, uhmmm, I, Gosh I don’t know how to say this, “Cut the crap Charles, is it so hard to tell her you got me pregnant?” She cried out I felt my heart fall out of my chest and for a moment I felt numbness, I looked at Charles hoping he could say she was joking but his eyes told me otherwise. He came to me and held my hand, “Ella it was a mistake, I didn’t mean for this to happen. Lisa- No it was not a mistake Charles own up to your responsibilities, this girl was sexually frustrating you no wonder you always came to me. I had a mixture of emotions, I wanted to yell, shout and scream but my voice failed me, I felt a different kind of sadness surge through me with so much force and for a moment my heart stopped beating, nothing could be compared to the pain I felt at that moment. Tears were flowing I couldn’t hold them back, in that minute I felt my world collapse, I was bruised. “How long has your relationship been going on?” I finally managed to speak “Ella don’t do this to yourself, please you know I love you” I don’t know why but when he said he loved me I laughed out so loudly they must thought I was going crazy. “How long have you been sleeping with her demit?” “A month after your engagement but we knew each other before that,” she said You know the Betrayal by Jerome, the abuse by Mubanga and all the other stuff I had ever gone through, where way better than this disgrace, how could a man have been confident enough ask for my hand in marriage, meet my family members and take me to his, parading me all over town and still continue to have sex with other ladies? “Everything has been a lie huh?” the stupid engagement, the love, all this was a lie? If your aim was to make a fool out of me, congrats because you have finally managed” I lashed out I took a glance at my engagement ring, then removed it and threw it in his face, got my bag, reached for my shoes and started walking out. “Ella, I” “Don’t Charles, please don’t” I left his place, and went to the nearest drinking place and started drinking rapidly, i was so broken I just wanted to get wasted and not remember what was happening around me, i was never going to recover from this humiliation and this was my last straw at finding love. I was drinking as tears were streaming down my face, people kept staring at me but I didn’t care. My conclusion was that maybe some people aren’t meant to find love, love chooses who to find and some of us were just not worth finding it, once more I was a failure at finding love, I was just a girl that was searching for love but always ended up getting hurt. I kept on drinking and drinking, till it was dark, I was so wasted but I managed to pick myself up, booked a cab and went home, I reached home and only found Frieda because the rest had gone to look for me. Frieda just hugged me and I cried some more. I didn’t want to talk so I lay on the bed and next minute I turn it was morning, my head was spinning, my eyes were red and i didn’t have any energy at all. I bathed and wore my leggings and T-Shirt then started listening to Music, I was feeling so much pain, the only thing I wanted to do was die. How was I going to get out of this? How was I going to tell my parents that the guy who was supposed to marry me had managed to impregnate someone else, how was I going to move in public while people talked about my failed engagement? What of the photos I had flaunted on social media, how was I going to pull them out without people asking too many questions, this was just too much for one person to bear, I swear I was going to lose my mind. I lay on my bed turning and tossing, Myra came to bring me food but I just couldn’t eat, I tried but I failed to swallow so I just drunk water and continued lying in bed. I didn’t want to talk about my situation with anyone at least not just yet, so I told the girls I would talk to them once I found the strength to do so.

    Insert 20

    Later in the evening Charles came by, I wasn’t in the mood to see him but I had so many questions to ask him. The girls excused us and he sat on my bed, there was awkward silence for a while till I broke it. “What brings you here? Haven’t you done enough damage?” “I know I have caused you so much pain Ella and I want to make things right” he knelt down as he spoke “Make what right huh? Make what right? You think you can mend my broken heart and bring back all the tears I have cried because of you?” He tried to touch me but I moved away, “Ella I love you, we can make this right, the baby doesn’t change anything at all, we can raise her together” “Charles, you are a fool, you hear me a big fool, you think I will stay and play happy mummy to your child huh, you must be out of your mind” “You said whatever issue I had we could make us work you promised Ella” “Gracious God Charles grow some balls, there is a baby in the line, a fucking child huh, forget whatever I said because we are done.” “Ella please I will be miserable without you, I can’t leave without you” “If you knew you couldn’t live without me, you could have kept your trousers closed but instead you went around having sex with every skirt you met, who knows maybe they are more ladies you got pregnant.” I opened the door and told him to leave because he was suffocating me. He turned around and held my hand tightly “ Ella come on, you know I did this for us for you, you always said no sex before marriage and I honored your body, I respected you enough not to pressure you and when I was sexually frustrated Lisa was around, what was I supposed to do huh? You need to understand you are also to blame for what I did, if we had been having sex no one would have been pregnant here, but look at you now trying to play victim, we can work this out please don’t push me away,” “Charles you have the guts to stand here, look me in my face and start saying all that trash huh? Out of my house before I cause a scene.” “Fine Ella, I will go but this is not the last you have heard of me, I will not watch another man get you, I won’t I will fight to win you,” He pushed me and left the house, I was just shocked at his stupidity instead of being remorseful he was here trying to justify his foolishness, God why was this happening to me? I lay in bed that night with so much thoughts, I didn’t know who to talk to, I wanted someone that had experienced a pain similar to mine because I didn’t want anyone to feel pity for me because of my misfortunes and that’s the reason I didn’t want to talk to my friends about it because they wouldn’t understand the kind of pain my heart was feeling. Even though this wasn’t the first time I was this broken, this fell too heavy on my heart because I was sure Charles was the last person i would date, i was certain he was the one, i got my phone and listened to “I will survive” by Andrea Martins because i was falling to sleep no matter how much i tried. Why does love hurt one so much, why did he injure me this badly i needed answers but no one could provide them. I just wanted to wake up and forget this hurt i wanted to wake up and feel fine, i wanted to get some sleep but my eyes failed me, all i did was cry. When did I become so messed up? The next day I woke up feeling the same, my eyes were itching from so much crying, my body had no energy due to lack of food, I was a walking corpse I felt I was going to drop dead anytime soon. That day I bathed and wore my long sleeveless summer dress, with sandals, I didn’t care to apply makeup and didn’t comb my hair I went to the chemist and bought me sleeping pills then I went and bought beer because I needed to drown my sorrows in it. Just as I was leaving one shop I bumped into the Lisa girl. “Look at you, have you been sleeping?” “I owe you no explanations you know,” She looked at me and laughed “Oh poor girl I feel so sorry for you, anyway Charles and I are getting married I will send you wedding invitation cards. Just before I could answer she waved her hands in my face and she had on my engagement ring, like wow the kind of pain I felt at that minute I can’t even describe. “Congratulations” I said and rushed off I went back home angry, how could he have given her the same ring I was wearing just day ago and now she was bullying me around with it, when I got home quickly I logged onto facebook so I could delete my engagement photos and boom I was received by photos of Lisa flaunting the ring and also hugging Charles in the other one, and she made sure he tagged him and tagged me as well. What killed me the most were the comments, just then I wanted to die, no one was home so I opened one whiskey bottle and got my sleeping pills and gulped them all at once together with the beer. My vision became blurry minutes later all I saw was a black surface in my face, I didn’t know what happened afterward. ………………

    Insert 21

    I woke later in a hospital bed with a drip on my hand, I had a sharp pain in my abdomen and i had a terrible headache, I turned around and saw my mum by the corner praying. “Mum”, I tried to call out but my voice failed me, my throat was dry and it hurt badly. The nurse walked in, “you are awake” she screamed, I tried talking but I failed. My mum came to me and hugged me tightly while crying. “You scared me baby, don’t ever do that to us no matter the situation, dying is not a solution.” “I am” shhhhhh don’t talk just yet she cautioned me. My friends came in and they cried seeing me in that state, I was so ashamed of myself how could I have been so selfish as to try and take away my life because of one person forgetting all the people who cared about me. Later on Maya and Myra went to get me some clothes and mum left too saying she would be back later, I was only left with Frieda. “Who brought me here? Why didn’t you guys let me die?” I asked her “Don’t say that ever again babe, we were all scared of losing you, we walked into the room and you were down with foam coming off your mouth, at first we thought you were drunk but when Maya saw the empty bottle of sleeping pills we panicked and got a cab, we were lucky to have brought you here in time otherwise you would have died” “How long have I been here?” I asked “A week, we were so scared I tell you,” I was kept at the hospital for observations for the next three days. Charles came to visit me on the day I was being discharged. “Why would you act so stupid Ella? You think killing yourself is the solution to all your problems? You need to face the world sooner or later” Seeing him brought back so many memories, and the minute he started talking I began to cry. “Get out of here Charles, I don’t want to see you, I hate you,” He came close to me but I screamed and the nurse came in and told him to leave. Later my mum picked me up and we went home, my dad was giving me silent treatment because he was still upset with me, being home was boring but mum thought it was for the best. I was still hurting and so many nights I thought of ways to end my life, I just wanted it done with. My friends would visit and bring me books and assignments and that kept me busy and away from my evil thoughts. Three months later I was showing signs of being fine so my mum allowed me to go back to my friends with the promise of calling and checking up on me regularly. I was fine on the outside I smiled and talked when I was required to but deep down I felt my life had no meaning, I felt there was nothing worth leaving for. I was even afraid to go on social media because I was always welcomed with Lisa’s photos talking about her baby, her hubby and how they were going to be a family soon. Myra hinted that maybe what I was going through was spiritual and I needed to make peace with God but I lashed out at her, I just didn’t care anymore and if God loved me as much as she made it seem then he would never have allowed me fall in the hands of the wrong men over and over again. School was going on just fine and few months later Lisa had a baby girl, she was over the moon and Charles even decided to settle down with her. I bumped into him one day at the mall, I tried going the other way but he held me. “What now, what do you want from me?” “Ella I never meant for things to end this way, I never meant to hurt you this way and since you have refused to take me back I have decided to marry Lisa, so we can raise the baby together” I looked at him, yanked my hand of his and slapped him really hard “Have a happy marriage, I said and walked away. He tried running after me but I was too fast, I got into a Cab told the driver to speed of. I cried when I got home I drunk some sleeping pills and dozed off. I woke up later to eat and study with the girls after wards we all slept. ………………. Quick question: Do you think Ella should completely give up on love? Is there hope for her? Let’s get interactive

    Insert 22

    The months that followed by everything was pretty much the same, I hardly ate and I mostly found myself crying at nothing, beer became a friend that comforted me in those moments if I wasn’t at school or studying then I was getting drunk but no matter how much I drunk the pain never went away. I met a guy (Luke) at the club who liked me and we started flirting, I wanted no commitments so I vowed I was only going to flirt with different guys to prevent myself from getting hurt. The following year, I managed to graduate from school even though my fourth year grades weren’t as impressive as the previous ones I was glad I had managed to graduate. Two months after graduation Frieda and I managed to get us Jobs at a Non-governmental Organization, it was nothing big but it was enough for a start. Myra was in Ndola working for her father’s company and Maya was a stay home lady planning her wedding, her long time boyfriend had proposed during our graduation and they were set to wed after a year once they managed to finalize everything. We were all happy for her at least she managed to find a decent man. The company we were working for had a few people so it wasn’t hard to know everyone, I was enjoying it and I got along with almost everyone except for the Manager, for some reason she hated our guts, I came to learn later that she wanted her daughter to be employed for this post but management turned her down because she wasn’t qualified. One Monday morning Frieda and I woke up and prepared for work, I wore a black dress, a white jacket and black heels, I tied my hair in a pony, Frieda wore a short red dress with black heels, my dress showed a little bit of cleavage like all my other dresses because I found no problem with that. We walked into the office and met the madam at the front desk, we greeted her and she gave us such a nasty look. “Who are you leaving that cleavage for? Don’t you see they are married men here do you want to cause confusion? “She scolded me “I am sorry madam it won’t happen again” “It had better not happen again otherwise I won’t hesitate to fire you” she said that and walked to her office. “That was uncalled for” said Frieda; I swear that lady has something against you” Work went on just fine with hiccups here and there and most of the times after work we would get drunk with Frieda, that was our life, Luke even taught me how to smoke and I would smoke like no man’s business when I was with him. Things were different with him since we weren’t dating it was just fun but I was still saying no to sex. So he texted me one night Luke- You know how much I would have wanted you here right now, Me – Please Luke I can’t spend a night in your house we are not dating you know. Luke- But I miss you, why are you so against sex? Me – Long story Luke – Were you once raped? Me – Lol no ways, I just don’t find any value in it, Luke – Ok do me a favor Me- what? Luke – You can’t have sex, just send me some nude photos of you even just one Me - why would I do that? Luke – Because you like me Me – I will think about it good night. …………………… Nude photos, what do you think Ella will do? Will she give in or not?

    Insert 23

    Sending nude photos was not something on my agenda but I felt it was better than having sex Plus I had nothing to lose so I talked to Frieda about before going ahead with it. Me: Babe, what’s your view on Nude photos? Frieda – Well, I don’t know I can only send them to a person I trust, I have only send Chris nudes with the other guys I refuse. Why? Me: Luke wants me to send him some but I am being skeptical about this, I have never sent anyone such you know. Frieda: Heheheh you are a virgin in everything, Me: Lol go to hell Frieda, Frieda: If you trust him you can send for him but just don’t include your face that way in case of anything you are protected, but it’s dangerous you know. Me: Ok I will think about it. I started sending Luke the photos he wanted and I would hide my face like Frieda said. It went on and on for a while, at first he was fine with it the he started pressuring me to send with my face as well but Frieda said I should never do that, next he started pressuring me to have sex, he would always be talking about sex, what he would do to me, how I turn him on, it began to scare me, I talked to Frieda about this an she suggested I leave him because this obsession could be fatal. So finally I decided I was going to end things with Luke, I was going to find myself another flirt mate to keep me busy. I got up Saturday morning in a bid to Visit Luke so I could cut ties with him because, I knew he was usually home on Saturday’s so I didn’t bother call him before going to his place I got to his place and knocked at the door, you won’t believe the person that opened for me. I just stood there and looked at him I was shocked, how come. “Surprised to see me here Ella? He asked “I am sorry am I in the right place?” where is Luke? How do you two know each other?” “One question at a time Ella, Luke has gone to the mall, come in?” “Huh no I had better get going,” “ I see you haven’t changed one bit, you look amazing, I know you have lots of questions to ask but I am not in any position to answer you ok” he said while smiling. Not in one bit did I think I would meet this person here, not after so much time had passed without me bumping into him, seeing him looking as fresh as always just got me back to the memories, I had a mixture of emotions, I stood there for a good 3 minutes just staring at him, confused at what connection he had with Luke “Hey hey, didn’t your mother tell you it’s bad to stare? He asked I looked away shyly, “Pardon my manners you were the last person I expected to see here, how you have been even?” “I have been Fine Ella, you left me bruised but I managed to pick myself up, I was out of the country I recently came back,” I looked at him with a confused look did he just say I bruised him? “What do you mean I left you bruised? lol like are you for real, are you sure you are fine?” “Don’t play dumb with me Ella, we ended things on a rough patch, I wasn’t as bad as you made me look you know?” I wanted to laugh but I controlled myself, seeing him didn’t hurt at all, he was still the same person I knew, the way he talked and defended himself but I was glad I had gotten over him “You know what, tell Luke I came by, I will Halla at him later, and it was nice seeing you. I was about to go out when he pulled me back, “not so fast Ella, not so fast” “Let go of my hand” I yelled at him. Then he let go and I started walking away. Just before I could open the gate he laughed out and I turned, “I never thought you could stoop as low as sending nude photos to men Ella,” he said that and went in the house “WTF, what was happening around here, Luke didn’t dare, because if he did all hell would break lose”. …………………………………… I guess drama is about to unfold here, who do you think Ella met at Luke’s house? And what connection does that person have with Luke?

    Insert 24

    I decided not to leave I wanted answers from Luke, so I stood outside his gate and waited, it took a while before he came and he was shocked to meet me outside his gate. Luke: Ella what are you doing here? Me: We need to talk, Luke: Come in, So we walked to his house and am sure he must have forgotten that Mubanga was in his house because as he was about to open the door he cursed and closed it, you know what we can’t talk from here. Me: Why? Is it because of Mubanga? When I mentioned Mubanga his jawed dropped “shit” he cursed. Me: How are you connected to Mubanga? Luke- Ella it’s a long story but I can’t talk about it now, just go home we will talk later. Me- No I want to know whats going on here, I won’t go till you tell me, Just then Mubanga came outside, “You are still the same old stubborn girl I knew, are you sure you can handle the truth”? If it’s the truth you want then you shall have it” For some reason I wasn’t scared of him anymore so I just stared at him waiting for an explanation. It was quiet for a minute then Mubanga started talking “You know Ella, you are silly and you are weak, I loved you but see how things turned out, even when I wanted to correct you, you made it seem like I abused you so after the break up I left knowing I would get back at you one day.” “What the hell is this about Mubanga?” Mubanga: Shut up and let me talk, you wanted the truth and the truth you shall have. Luke could hardly look at me he was facing the other way and his face was staring at the floor. Mubanga: Yes so Luke and I are cousins more like brothers. Me- WTF Mubanga: Yes you heard me right, when he told me he had met a girl he was flirting with but wanted to take things to the next level, I told him to send me Pix and he did, only that it was you so I told him our History, he wanted to end things with you but I wanted to get back at you so I told him to try and have sex with you and dump you and that I know would be great pay back for dumping me for someone else, for not understanding my flaws and leaving me when my anger got the better of me. Me – How could you? I loved you but you kept stepping on me, you wanted me to stay till you killed me huh? I was now yelling and screaming. Mubanga: Shut up, so when he failed to have sex with you he instead started asking for nudes and like a fool that you are you gave in, that’s why Luke has been so obsessed about sex with you. It was all just a game; he was trying to help me his brother get revenge. I will ruin your reputation Ella, I will make sure no man stays with you I promise. I was hurt beyond words, how come I am always the victim to such stupid stuff, even when I tried to stay with someone just for fun I get to be played. I looked at them both, I wanted to yell at them but no words came out of my mouth, it hurt so badly, I slowly walked away in shame. I could hear Mubanga laughing. How could a human being be so cruel to another? I went straight home because for the first time I just wanted to be sober and think about why I was so unlucky. Anyway even if I was hurt I tried by all means to be sober during that weekend because I had work to finish, I only smoked and cried like always my tears were flowing like a stream, even when I tried not to cry in such situations I always did but this time around I was crying because of my stupidity, I was crying at how foolish I had been to allow things get that far with Luke, he played with me like a ball on a soccer pitch and I allowed him to do so. Luke kept calling and sending me messages saying we needed to meet so he could explain himself but I wasn’t in the mood for his trouble, he had already managed to humiliate me I didn’t want any trouble, I just kept wondering how many people had seen the photos of my private parts. I blocked him on social media and blacklisted my phone from social media. I was just praying he wouldn’t screen grab conversations and leak the on social media because that would ruin me and it would kill my father. …………………… Is this bad luck or maybe Ella is just cursed?

    Insert 25

    Monday morning we reported for work and we had an early meeting. After that we stayed in the office for a while before I left for lunch, Frieda was still working on something so she sent me to buy lunch. I went back to the office after I bought lunch and found Frieda pacing up and down. “I have been trying to call you, but you weren’t picking,” she said. I could feel something wasn’t right so I moved closer to her. “Sorry my phone was on silent, what happened?” “We are in trouble Ella, I don’t know what to do I am so afraid right now.” “You are scaring me Frieda what happened?” “Madam is fuming upstairs some money has been stolen around this place and can you imagine that woman has the guts to say we are the first suspects because no money has ever been stolen before we started working here.” “Huh! What!!!How what happened?” I asked “Well she said Susan the accountant was supposed to deposit money this morning but failed to do so since she had other errands to run, so just a few minutes ago when she was about to take the money to the bank she checked the suitcase where the money was and part of it is missing.” “Huh Frieda you don’t say, how much is missing?” “5000 Ella, we have hardly been here for a month where are we supposed to get that kind of money from” I was now pacing up and down as well because I didn’t know how we were going to get out of this and something inside of me told me it was a set up. A few minutes later madam walked in and we were all called to the conference room and given an hour to give her the money otherwise she was going to have us locked up. I was so scared I had no where to start from, what kind of bad luck was this? Our boss went out for an hour and when she came back she brought some police men with her and they took us to the police station where we were allowed to make a call each, I called mum and Frieda called her Uncle. They told us to hand over our phones and remove any sort or jewelry, and then they told us to remove our shoes and took us to a small room. Inside that room where two police officers seated on the two-seater bench that was by the corner, they instructed us to sit on the other side and stared at us in a ruthless way. “Such pretty ladies resorting to stealing, I wonder where this country is heading to” said one of the officers. The other Officer laughed and replied “Mwana Chalo chavuta elo bakazi ndiye bakawalala bovuta, kaya babagwila bwanji aba. (My friend the world is tough, you know ladies are the worse kind of criminals I wonder how they caught these) Hearing these officers speak like this broke my heart we were practically being labeled as criminals before even being found guilty, I couldn’t hold back my tears so I let them stream down my face. The other officer looked at me and shock his head “This is no time to cry mummy, you knew what you were doing when you stole the money, I have a few questions for you and I hope you comply otherwise you will end up being locked up for years.” They asked how long we had been working at the organization, the relationship we had with the bosses and what we did that day, they asked us several times where we left the money but we said we had no idea. Then they called someone to escort us to our cell. I was so scared, I could feel butterflies turning in my stomach, my hands tightened and I almost fail. We got to the cell room, they opened and pushed us in, I looked around and my heart stopped beating for a minute, I started sweating and I peed on myself. The lady seated on the bed gave me a deadly stare and I knew I was dead meat. They took us to some room and questioned us but the more we said no the more they beat us up, it was so painful I thought I was going to die. My mum came by and said they had refused bail and wanted the case to go to court I was so scared we would go to jail. The cell was tiny and had a small window close to the ceiling, spider webs hung from every corner of the room and it smelt a dog had died in it. Within minutes of being there I was throwing up from the awful smell. The toilet was a small hole right opposite to where the beds were, the floor was dirty and cold. They were two other ladies seated on the beds and one of them stood up and punched me because I was vomiting. She then gave me a dirty cloth to clean up my mess.

    Insert 26

    Spending nights in that cell really broke me, I missed being in my bed I was constantly coughing and throwing up, my parents visited but we were denied bail. Maya came by and she brought us some clothes and food, she was really broken by the situation but she held her tears because she was trying to be strong for us. They questioned us some more and when we refused to answer they resorted to torturing us. We had been there for seven days when they threatened to electrocute us and that’s when Grace confesses to having been the one that hid the money. “I saw how madam never liked them and I used the opportunity to frame them since I had some needs I needed to attend to, I thought she wouldn’t bring me to prison with you guys but I was wrong.” She confessed. I was really hurt but I had no energy to fight her, the officers called our boss and explained the situation then we were released, my parents picked us and up and we went home, I didn’t want to go home and be with family, I just wanted my own quietness with Frieda so they took us to our house. I spent a lot of time bathing that day because I felt so dirty and disgusted; I left the water run through my body, as tears ran down my face. Just then I felt dizzy and boom I collapsed. When I woke up I was in a hospital bed, Frieda was by my side, she hugged me tightly and we cried together. My parents and my siblings came and brought me some stuff and they left, I told Frieda to go home and rest then my sister came and spent the night with me. Frieda came very early the following day she brought me some toiletries and she looked better. We were talking when the door opened and our madam boss entered. I looked at her with so much disgust and told her to leave. “I heard what happened to you and decided to visit, how are you feeling?” she asked As if you care” I mumbled “Get out of here before I call security” “I am sorry things got that far, I didn’t know that Grace was capable of that, I don’t expect you to forgive me but I need to know when you will come back for work things aren’t moving there.” This lady had guts huh I looked at Frieda and I could see she was also shocked, so I answered “So all you care about is that stupid job huh and you feel we will come back to work for you? I curse the day i met you get out” “No need to be angry I am leaving and if you won’t continue working with us I suggest you bring your resignation letters tomorrow so we can start looking for new people, get better soon, she said and walked out. Two weeks later I was out of the hospital, my dad picked me up because he wanted us to talk before he took me to my place. So he took me to this eating place and we sat the table in the corner, I was nervous because I don’t remember when last I had a chat with him. He stared at me for a while before he started talking. He cleared his throat “My child,” “Yes daddy” I answered not sure where this was going “Among all my children, you are the one that choose to stay away from home, you have always stood by your decision to be independent even when you were a little girl and you wanted to do things your way all the time.” He said before he paused, he looked at me and continued talking “When you went to that boarding school in grade 10, your mother wasn’t for the idea but I let you go, I wanted to give you the freedom you so desired, because I saw a warrior in you. You came back and only stayed home a while before you left for college and I let you stay on your own, college got done you still choose your independence, your mother thinks I have spoiled you and we haven’t taught you enough lessons of life no wonder you keep finding yourself in such situations.” “Daddy, I” “Hush listen to me, I was broken when you tried to take your own life because I thought you were stronger than that, I was hurt because I felt I had failed you as a father but still I let you go your way so you could make your own decisions. “I am sorry I have made you feel that way daddy,” He looked at me and smiled “No matter what I am proud of you, academically you have done me proud but spiritually and emotionally I worry about you.” “What do you mean?”I asked “You are spiritually dead my child, you don’t know God and you are emotionally weak, you trust people easily and you let them play with you, the world is a dangerous place, this life is not for the feint hearted, you need to be prayerful and stand strong on your own feet don’t allow people to use you. My father’s words sank deep in me, this was the one man that had ever been real to me, the one who loved me beyond my imperfections, the only man that ever celebrated my life and hearing him say this to me, made me want to be better for him. “Your mother wanted me to take you back home because she is afraid the next news she will receive about you will be about your death, but I can’t force anything on you, I have to let you be on your own because that’s what makes you happy and I want you to make your own mistakes so you can learn from them, but baby consider adding Jesus a part of your life” I cried yoh, “How do I even start daddy, I am so broken.” “Begin by recognizing your sins, repent, confess and surrender your life to Christ, you don’t need to be perfect for God, all you need is call on to him and he will be there for you, I love you my child and I want you to dedicate your life to God, he is calling you, just say yes to his calling.” After that talk I had lunch with daddy and we talked about random stuff then he dropped me off and gave me some money to help out with the bills and other stuff I needed. …………………… Will Ella consider her father’s advice?

    Insert 27

    When I got home, mum called : Mummy: I thought you were coming to spend a few days here Me: No mummy I need to get myself a job soon. Mummy: can’t you relax a bit huh? Job this job that, you have never lacked anything so come back home. Me: Mummy this is uncalled for, you know I have my own life. Mum: I wonder why your father lets you get away with these things Ella; you will kill me with your stubbornness. Me: Mum I need to rest now, I will call you back later. Mum: I will come and drag you out of that place. Me: Bye I cut the call on her because my mum can be a bit dramatic. Two months later the Job search was tough but Frieda found herself a job and I was finally called for interviews at a law firm as an assistant to the manager, so I woke up early showered, got dressed and left. When I got to the place I was being interviewed from I was shocked to find I was the only one being interviewed, the receptionist then directed me to the interview room. I found a man facing downwards, he was focused he didn’t hear me enter, I said hi and he quickly got up. Him: Hmmmmm you must be Ella Me: Yes Sir, Him: You look beautiful in person. Me: Excuse me? Him: oh pardon my manners am Rex, I saw your job application and did a little bit of investigating on you, I must stay I liked what I found I was captivated I called you here so we could have a one on one talk. Me: am I in the right place? Him: Of course you are the, job could be yours if you comply with me. Me: I don’t understand. Him: Well I like you and I will give you this job if only you will accept to be my woman. Me: Am sorry sir, I think I am in the wrong place I have to go, Him: Not too fast young lady, I was about to open the door when he grabbed my hand covered my mouth and started kissing my neck while holding my butt firmly; I was so scared, like who does that? Advertise for job position so you can exploit women, I tried to pull away from him but he was stronger than me. He then started fondling my breasts and I bite his hand. I tried running but I tripped over his adapter and i fell off, he started coming towards me, I was terrified so I screamed out hoping someone would come to my aid. He got on top on me and started undressing me while mumbling to himself, I kept on fighting him but he was too powerful. He managed to tear of my shirt but just when he was removing my skirt someone knocked at his door, he cursed and pushed me behind the door then I started screaming. I don’t know what happened because a few minutes later I saw him lying on the ground with blood dripping off his fore head. Then the receptionist got in and pulled my hand out of the office, she saw how terrified I was so she called a cab for me and gave me her jersey and told me to run away while I still had time. I was crying the whole way home, I got home and started shaking, I was deeply hurting, all the men I have ever met keep on trying to hurt me then I remembered my father’s words. “You need Jesus my child, you are spiritually dead” that kept playing in my head. I searched around the room and found my old bible packed underneath my things, it was given to me by my father when I finished high school as a present but I never used it so it was as good as new. I was looking through because I wanted a verse that would relate to my situation then I stumbled upon Matthew 11:28 -30 “Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest, take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble at heart and you will find rest for your soul, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light” This verse spoke to me because I was one tired soul searching for rest. So after reading it I knelt down and prayed. “Dear God I know I haven’t come to you in a long time, I have denied your existence for a long time but now I come to you seeking peace and rest, I am tired of being taken advantage of, I am tired of being rejected, please help me feel whole again, remove this pain from my heart because it’s hurting, so many people talk good of you so help me as you have helped them.” Amen I just don’t know what happened after that prayer, I can’t describe the kind of peace I felt, it was like a heavy load had been lifted off my chest, I managed to cook ate and slept peacefully without crying, without drinking or smoking and without the pills. I was feeling a sense of freedom like I have never felt before.

    Insert 28

    I was laying in bed on Saturday when Frieda came to sit beside me so we could watch movies. “Babe I would like to come with you to church tomorrow.” I said with a smile. You should have seen the look on her face, she stood up and came to feel my body temperature, checked my eyes for any fever then she breathed a sigh of relief. “Ella are you sure you are ok? She asked “Of course I am, why?” “We have lived together for five years now and never have I ever seen you go to church, and each time we tried to take you with us you would refuse, what happened? Why the sudden change?” “I thought this would make you happy Frieda” I shook my head “Of course I am happy for you, I am just surprised” So I explained to her the talk I had with my dad and the incidence that happened at the place I went for interviews. I told her I needed divine intervention because nothing was going right in my life. We talked about her church and what happens and I decided I would go there the following day. Sunday morning I woke up and showered, I was a bit nervous because I hadn’t gone to church in a long time; I wore a long black straight dress with black sandals and a black jacket. I tied my weave and applied my purple lipstick then I got my small black bag and packed my bible, note book and a pen. “Girl, you are going to church not a funeral, whats with the all black stuff?” Frieda asked “Come on let’s get going or we will be late” We got to church a few minutes before the service started so we had time to mingle, Frieda introduced me to some of her church members. When the pastor entered the church I was expecting to see an old man but the man that just walked in swept me off my feet. My eyes traced his tall slender body from his dark nicely cut hair to his worn brown shoes. I took a deep breath trying to relax, when he passed where I was I found myself taken by his powerful scent, gosh he smelt heavenly. He went to the pulpit, greeted everyone and started praying. The praise team where on fire with their singing, they sang a few songs before he commenced with the preaching, when he started preaching he told us to open our Bible’s to the book of psalms of 147:2-3 “The lord is restoring Jerusalem; he is bringing back the exiles. He heals the broken hearted and bandages their wounds” “Do you know God loves you? Somebody shout Amen” he began The congregation stood up lifted their hands and shouted Amen. Then he began talking “ In this life you will have trouble, some days will be tough while some will be easy to go by, a lot of you are hurting, you are struggling to survive and nothing seems to go right in your lives, you feel you have no purpose and you are all alone, you feel God has neglected you and you are not worthy of being a part of his plan but I am here to tell you something different, God has seen your tears, he has heard your cry and he feels your pain and now he is telling you he will heal your broken heart and will bandage your wounds all you need to do is trust him completely surrender your life to him, the Lord is always by your side ready to lead you, are you going to allow him?” He preached He went on and on about a lot of things and after wards he called out to all that felt broken so he could pray for their healing, I was skeptical about going forth but Frieda made me stand and I went to the front and kneeled down like the other people. He put his hands on our heads and started praying. “God I thank you for who you are in our lives, you can do anything because nothing is impossible with you, i place your children into your capable hands, heal there broken hearts, restore what was gotten from them, renew their lives, forgive them of any wrong doings lord, help them to stay focused on you and your power, let them not be afraid to come to you amidst their deepest troubles and tribulations, strengthen them oh lord and do not put them to shame for they have called on your name. In the Mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen I felt uplifted after the church, i felt that sermon deep within me and if surely this God could give me healing and make my life better then I was going to give it a try. [18/06, 16:35] Martin Martino: I

    Insert 29

    The weeks that followed by where pretty much the same, even if I was going to church my life still revolved around beer and smoking, I thought going to church was it, listening to a few sermons here and there then my life would automatically go back to being great. I made a few friends from church and they would encourage me on a number of things but most of the time I brushed them off because I didn’t want anyone intruding in my life. I visited home on some weekends but mum was on my neck about going back home since I didn’t have a job yet, dad on the other hand was being supportive and he would give me money to help me out with stuff I needed. I was watching T.V one weekend when I visited home, I didn’t hear mum get in because I was so focused she grabbed the remote from my hand and switched off the TV, “We need to talk” she said “Huh Mum what now?” “You coming back home” “Aren’t we done talking about this Mummy?” “That’s the problem with you Ella you think you know it all, look at how messed up your life is, come back home and let me take care of you.” “Mum I think I better get going, I will see you some other time.” I said that while standing, then mum stood up pulled me and slapped me. “What was that for?” I asked surprised “Don’t you dare walk out on me young lady, you will sit your ass down and wait till we finish talking” so I sat back down and waited for her to talk “Do you have any idea how many sleepless nights I have had about you huh? Do you have any idea how it felt knowing you tried to kill yourself and that people are still talking about you everywhere I go? Do you know how long I pray that God helps you so you don’t end up in a grave yard, each time my phone rings at night I am scared, it might be someone calling to tell me you are dead, do you have any idea how all that feels?” I knew better than to answer her so I listened to each of her words, my eyes bleed with pain and I felt hopelessness. She looked at me for a good five minutes before she continued talking. “You know what I don’t even blame you, I actually blame your father for spoiling you and giving you money because I told him not too at least if you are broke you would come back home, I wish you could more be like your siblings, they never bring me any trouble, Ella you will be the reason for my death you know?” With that said she walked out I was hurt that my own mother could tell me all that, I know I have made a lot of mistakes in life but I wasn’t a bad person neither was I the worst kind of person around, I went to my room and packed my stuff, my sister walked in and tried to stop me. Her: Don’t put what mum said to heart she is just worried about your well being. Me: Its fine and I am sorry I couldn’t be like you guys but its good you are making her proud. Her: Come on, we adore you Ella, you are my doll and I am proud of your achievements, you graduated among top five in your class that’s something to be proud off. Me: You graduated first in your class. Her: Don’t do this to yourself. Me: Look at me, Mum is right I am a mess, I have tried to kill myself, the man who was supposed to marry me impregnated another but you are perfect, and you are even getting married soon. Her: Its time doll, its time Me: I will get going. Her: at least let me drive you. My sister drove me home, we talked for a while when we got there then she gave me some money and left, that night I got myself drunk, I felt worthless. Frieda woke me up the next morning and we went to church even if I was feeling depressed. The months that followed by I was on the move searching for a job and I finally managed to get a job, I was the assistant to the manager at that company, the salary was good and the environment was great too. I got along with one older Lady Bupe, she was the Public Relations Officer and she was also a preacher so she was teaching me about reading the bible on my own and how to understand it as well as teaching me how to pray. ………

    Insert 30

    So I continued going to church every Sunday even though I wasn’t reading the bible nor taking time to pray, I only depended on what I got from the church sermons and youth groups , I settled in very well I was even teaching the Sunday school children and I was being taught about the church doctrine while awaiting baptism. Work was going just fine and Maya’s wedding was approaching, Frieda was on the line up but I was just part of the organizing team since line-ups weren’t really my thing. Myra was far so she was only going to manage to come the week before the wedding and kitchen party. We were really excited about Maya’s wedding at least one of us was getting their happy ending. Wednesday evening I knocked of early from work and went for the midweek prayers, Frieda wasn’t attending because she was working late, the Service was amazing. The pastor preached about how God showed his love for us even when we were still sinners he sent his son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. (Romans 5:8) He went on to say God had every reason to punish mankind or wipe away everyone from the face of earth because everyone had turned away from him but instead he choose to save us because he had great love for us. The service ended around 19; I said my goodbyes to the ladies, I was about to go out when someone tapped my shoulder. “Hey, Ella right” he said his voice was deep and it made me shiver. “Yes” “Ok can I give you a ride home?” “What If you are a killer I haven’t even gotten your name?” “Oh pardon my manners I am Tony” Since it was late I accepted his lift he took me home and we exchanged numbers, we got talking instantly charting and sending photos, I wasn’t looking for a relationship just some Godly friendships maybe they would help me turn the right direction and that would please my mother. I was on my phone chatting waiting for Frieda to finish preparing supper when she grabbed my phone and hit me with a pillow. “So it’s Tony” she said “Come on we are just friends Frieda” “Babe I am just watching out for you, I know what you have gone through relationship wise so please be careful.” “I hear you girl, but at least he is a church boy so no harm right?” “Really Ella, that’s dumb church boys are the worst they pretend too much, you never know what they do behind closed doors, please be careful huh.” Months passed by, work was going on just fine, Tony was being a gentleman and I had a huge crush on him I just felt he didn’t feel the same way for me. It was just a week to Maya’s wedding and kitchen party so we were busy I managed to get one week leave from work so I could make sure everything was perfect. It was hectic making sure everyone in the committee had paid and getting stuff needed for the kitchen party, Her kitchen party was a on a Saturday while the wedding on Sunday and that same week we planned a mini hen part for her at our place, it was cozy and nice since it was just a few of us and Myra was around so it was the full squad. The kitchen party went on great, Maya slayed her Pink Chitenge dress which had a snug waist, it flared out from the hips and fell all the way down to covering her yellow sandals, she plaited braids and tied them in a pony her makeup was on point and everything else was awesome. Myra, Frieda and I wore matching outfits being her best friends we wore different clothes from the rest of the committee members. It was a spectacular day, everyone sang danced and ate. She received a variety of gifts enough for the whole kitchen. Finally it was her wedding and for some reason I was emotional. Myra and I got to the church early to make sure everything was perfect. The minute she walked through the church doors, I couldn’t hold back tears I felt like we were losing her. She wore a white mermaid strapless silk gown with sewn diamonds which had a really long tail. In her hands were a bunch or festooned white flowers and she wore a gold headpiece at the corner of her hair with a flowing veil. The church service went on just fine by 111:00 they were declared husband and wife, we later proceeded for lunch then went to take photos thereafter went to the reception. Everything about that day was flawless it was really an awesome wedding.

    Insert 31

    Two months later things were getting a little too serious between me and Tony, from talking about church stuff to talking about personal issues. Tony was an accountant working for an insurance company in Lusaka he was staying in Chalala. He was an only child and his parents were on the Copperbelt. We hung out a couple of times and he showed interest in me several times. People at church were even begin to gossip about our closeness but I didn’t let that come in between us. He invited me for lunch one afternoon and I dressed casually but on point. We ordered and started eating while laughing and talking until someone disturbed our Conversation. “Ella” the person said, the moment I heard that voice I knew who it was because there was no way in hell I would miss that voice I would recognize it even in my sleep. So I turned around. “Mubanga, Good to see you.” I said. “I wish I could say the same thing about you. So this is the new guy you are hanging around with huh.” Tony stood up and introduced himself, he extended his hand to his but Mubanga didn’t reciprocate, I was so embarrassed and I felt so uncomfortable because the way Mubanga was staring at me was enough to make me pee on myself. Mubanga: so how long are you going to be with him before you dump him? Me: (Unsure of what to answer him) Mubanga please not here don’t cause a scene Tony: Whats going on here? Me: Nothing Tony lets go home. Mubanga: I will let you go for now but just know I am watching you Ella, pray we don’t cross paths again. He left and Tony was looking at me waiting for an explanation so I told him he was an ex but things ended on a rough patch, afterwards I didn’t feel like eating so Tony took me home and I spent the day sleeping. Next day Bupe dropped me off at home from work, Frieda wasn’t yet back so I got in and started preparing supper then there was a loud bang at the door. I open the door and Mubanga bugged in and closed the door. “Mubanga! What the hell? What are you doing here? Why can’t you leave me alone?” I screamed at him. “You are my fucking problem, you, it has always been you, I love you and I can’t stand seeing you with other men, I went away thinking I would forget you but guess what Ella I failed and now I am back to mend things with you but you are whoring around, tell me is that fair?” “Mubanga leave me alone I have moved on already you know?” He grabbed me by my neck and strangled me I was really finding it hard to breath, I was struggling with him but he was too powerful, just then Frieda walked in and hit him with a pot. He stopped hitting me and attacked her, I lost control and fell off but I wasn’t going to let him lay a hand on Frieda so I got a bottle of Strawberry lips and hit him on his head then he fail down and there was blood all over then I panicked. “I killed him Frieda I killed him” She knelt beside him and felt his pulse “he is still breathing call a cab and let’s rush him to the hospital” So I ran outside bare footed called a cab and we took him to the hospital, I was crying all the way to the hospital, what if he dies I kept thinking, what would my mum say, I would go to jail for a very long time and spending a minute in that place would kill me When we got to the hospital, they immediately rushed him to a small room at the corner and told us to get a police report. We rushed to the Police station and Frieda narrated what happened, we got the police report and went back to the hospital where we filled in some forms and waited for the doctors to attend to him. I was in a state of confusion I couldn’t think properly, I was frightened, I called Luke and he came by a few minutes later asking what happened but I had no strength to narrate the story to him. Frieda brought me a cup of coffee but I was just too scared to even think of drinking anything, the only thing I wanted to find out was if he was fine or not. “You need to calm down babe, he is going to be alright” Frieda held my hand. “I can’t keep calm what if he dies? I could go to jail; my life would be over, I am so afraid. We waited for a while for the doctor t come out and when he did he looked so exhausted, we rushed to him waiting for him to speak. I held Frieda’s hand tightly .The doctor looked at us and shook his head. ………………………… The dream keeps unfolding. Will Mubanga die?

    Insert 32

    “You are lucky you brought him here in time, he lost a lot of blood but he is stable and will be good to go in the next couple of days.” The doctor said. “Can we see him” I asked “You can see him but he is sleeping we just stitched his wounds and sedated him, he will only be up tomorrow” We checked out Mubanga then Luke drove us home I was so tired I called in sick for work, Mubanga stayed in the hospital for a week and I only visited him twice. I was washing my clothes on a sunny Saturday afternoon when Mubanga came over I didn’t want a repeat of last time so I told him to leave. “You have really become a monster Ella, so you wounded me and left me at the hospital to die, you couldn’t check up on me?” He said with so much rage in his eyes. “Mubanga please leave me alone now or I will be forced to get a restraining order,” “You think that can scare me Ella, get the damn restraining order, all I needed was a chance with you but now I see you aren’t worthy of my time so I will deal with you, I will make sure that church boy leaves you.” I swear. Mubanga left and I was just confused, Tony came in the evening and we watched movies and bonded. A week later Tony and I were dating and the relationship was fine, he was helping me become a better person. I was getting so many threats from Mubanga he would call and text, even when I blocked his line he would find a new one and the funny was that he knew my every move because he would text and tell me I was looking nice or pass compliments about my hair. That scared me, Mubanga was a psycho and I was terrified of what he would do to me. I reported him to the police but nothing serious was done. I was going for work when I received a strange text Mubanga sent, “Today is the day I get my revenge on you Ella, when I am done you won’t know what hit you.” I ignored the text and proceeded to work; when I arrived everyone was staring at me in weird ways and I was summoned to the manager’s office, I got in and she was furious with me for some reason, she told me how much of an asset I was to the company but she was doing the best to protect the company so she gave me a dismissal letter. I was confused because I didn’t know what was happening then she showed me the screen shots and photos of my nude photos that Mubanga sent to him that morning, in all of the photos my face wasn’t showing but someone who knew so well could be able to tell it was me plus the text messages and my number played a part to confirm it was truly me. The messages also weren’t pleasant to read, he was so clever he had rubbed of Luke’s number. I was shocked but what puzzled me the most was how he managed to get my boss’s line. I left his office and went to clear my things Bupe came in and gave me a tight hug. “I tried to reason with him not to let you go but it fail on deaf ears, this ex of yours must really be a psycho we can get him arrested” she said I wiped off my tears “It’s really not important any more the damage has been done Bupe.” They gave me my pay check and I packed my stuff then Bupe drove me home, I was crying all the way I could hardly get what Bupe was saying, she dropped me off and promised to visit me the next day. Few minutes later Frieda called me. Me: Babe (I answered while sobbing) Frieda: I saw the photos babe Mubanga is crazy he sent me a long message on how he was going to destroy you. Me: He has managed to do that, I just got fired Frieda: WTF, that’s sad, I will come home as soon as I can please don’t do anything bad, stay calm. I checked my whatsapp and it was flooding with messages, I went on facebook and people were talking about me, Mubanga had updated a status on how he was disappointed to find the girl he wanted to marry was a whore, he even tagged me, people in groups were talking about it and they had even started making memes about it. It hurt badly so I logged out and switched my phone off. Few minutes later Tony busted into the house and the way he was looking I could see he had seen the photos too. “How could you Ella? How could you be so cheap to send nudes and engage yourself in such disgusting conversations? I thought you were the right girl for me; I wanted to have a future with you and now this? All this talk of no sex was bullshit huh? “ I couldn’t answer him I was just powerless so he came and held my hand tightly and it hurt, “You disgust me you know, you disgust me Ella, you are nothing but a cheap whore I wish I had never met you” He let go of me, pushed me to the wall and spat on my face, “you have ruined me Ella, now I will be the laughing stock of everyone I hate you. And I never want to see you again, stay away from me” He stared with so much hatred in his eyes then went out. I couldn’t take it anymore I burst into tears and screamed out. I realized Mubanga must have hacked my line and got numbers of the important people I talk to and hell would break lose if he sent the photos to my mum that would be the end of me I was still in tears when mum got in with my sister, “speaking of the devil” I mumbled to myself

    Insert 33

    Mum looked at me with such disgust then she threw her phone at me. “Care to explain what this is?” she asked I tried to answer her but all that came out were deep wrenching sobs. “I said it, I always said you were going to kill me, tell me what wrong have I ever done giving birth to you Ella? What? Right now am ashamed to call you my child, I regret ever bringing you into this world, that nine months I had you in my womb I would have used the for something productive, You are shameless Ella.” The words she told me tore me to pieces, the pierced my heart. “Right now I want nothing to do with you, as far as I am concerned you are dead to me, this shame you have brought upon my family I can’t take it, i just want throw up right now because looking at you breaks my heart, to know I carried you in my womb makes me break down. You are on your own now” She wiped of her tears took her bag and left. My sister looked at me as if I was some piece of garbage then she clapped her hands. “This time around Ella you have really proved how shameless you are and to think you are my sister”. She clicked her tongue and also left. After my mother left I was a wreck, my face was dripping with salt water, no matter how much I tried to I just couldn’t stop crying. I had so many thoughts of suicide in my head but I decided I wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction I had cried enough tears to last me a life time so I got up and bathed, Frieda came in when I was about to go out, she asked where I was going and I told her so she escorted me. We reached Mubanga’s place and found him having beer with a number of people, some of whom where girls “I knew you would come back to me one day” chuckled Mubanga “You fool, so what did you achieve by what you did? I hate you so much and mark my words, karma will deal with you when you least expect it, I hate you so much, I swear you will never be happy and I curse the day I met you.” With that said we walked out and went clubbing, I got drank and later we went home. The next time I opened my eyes it was morning. Dad called me and we talked a bit he said he was praying for me and he told me not to let what people were saying get to me, I knew this had broken him and being a pastor it would dent his image but my father believed every person makes mistakes and no matter how much one messed up they deserved forgiveness and a second chance at happiness. I felt better after talking to him he said mum was still furious so I should avoid her till she calms down. He asked if I needed anything but I said no, after I hung up I received a text from my phone he had deposited some money in my account, typical of my dad though. The months that followed by were hectic for me, I rarely went outside people were talking about me, my sister didn’t want anything to do with me, I tried calling her but she would cut my calls, just like mum did. Bupe was a great help, she never judged me not one bit she would visit and take me out most of the times encouraging me to seek God’s intervention but I refused, I didn’t feel there was anything God would do for me, so much had happened and if he wanted me to be happy like everyone else, he wouldn’t have let me get this humiliated. Frieda was a great source of strength as well she had my back always and I loved the fact that she would always offered her shoulder for me to lean on without questioning me, I knew her reputation was a t stake, she could have easily turned her back on me but she chose to stay by my side when everyone else deserted me. I tried reaching out to Tony but he made it clear he didn’t want anything to do with me he even told me he had someone else in his life and he didn’t want to get entangled with my issues. I was mostly locked up because I wasn’t ready to face the world a lot of people had seen my nudes and it just made me feel like I was naked each time I walked in the streets. I was watching a movie one afternoon when Dad paid me a visit as soon as I saw him I ran to him and hugged him, I cried while he hugged me tightly. “My little girl how have you been?” he asked looking worried “Fine daddy, taking each day as it comes” “You are a strong lady my child, don’t let this break you, you need to standoff that ground and prove everyone wrong, yes you have made mistakes but you are not a bad person” he said “It hurts daddy, it hurts so much to think that even mum and my siblings want nothing to do with me. “Don’t worry they will come around soon, your sister’s kitchen party is coming up next month, I want you to attend, I brought you the family card. “Daddy I don’t know if mummy will want to see me there I don’t want to cause any confusion.” “Just do this for your sister I don’t think your mum would cause a scene in public.” He said “Alright daddy I will go, I am really happy for her.” I wiped off tears. Dad took me out for lunch that day and afterwards he gave me money to spoil myself he said I shouldn’t spend my time locked up in the house but try to get my life back,”

    Insert 34

    Next day I was determined to spoil myself, I took myself out for breakfast then went shopping, by lunch time I was so tired I decided to treat myself to lunch, I sat down, made my order and I started pressing my phone. Charles walked in and came straight to my table he was carrying a little girl in his hands that I figured was his daughter. Charles: Ella my Ella Me: Charles hey Charles: How are you? Me: I am great as you can see, nice baby Charles: Thank you, her name is Jessica Me: Can I hold her? Charles: sure Me: so what are you doing here how is your wife? Charles: she is fine, I actually came here to get her lunch, too much cravings. Me: She is pregnant? Charles: Yes Me: Congrats you guys baby number two so soon? Charles: Ya, you know I hate wasting time. Me: I see Charles: So what have you been up to? Me: Nothing much just been home, I guess you saw what happened via social media. Charles: Yes I did, that guy is a psycho, don’t mind what people are saying you are strong and I know this won’t break you. Me: Thanks Charles, I really appreciate (Just then his phone rang) Charles: I need to pick this Me: sure From the way he was talking I figured it was Lisa, I couldn’t help but see how he was smiling as he talked to her, he ended the call by saying “I love you too, I will be back shortly” Me: Lisa? Charles: Yes, she was just reminding me not to forget her yogurt you know pregnant women and cravings. Me: I can imagine, I can see things are great for you guys? Charles: Yes they are, after losing you I vowed to stay faithful to one woman and make her happy so I gave it a try with Lisa and I can say I am content. Me: I am happy for you. Charles: Thank you Ella, I think my order is ready I better be going. Me: sure thing, my regards to Lisa. Charles: It was nice seeing you. Seeing Charles made me go back to the happy times we once shared, life was so unfair, he was supposed to be mine, all this attention Lisa is getting was supposed to be directed at me, I was supposed to carry his babies. He looked really happy and I couldn’t help but feel jealous why was everyone around me moving on and finding their happy ending except me? I had a headache so I paid my bill got my plastics and went home. I spent the rest of the day sleeping then later I went to the movies, taking myself for a movie was really boring but it was better than sleeping the whole time. ………

    Insert 35

    My sister’s kitchen party was in two days and I wasn’t sure what I would wear, I asked Frieda to come with me in case of anything. The day came and it was scheduled to start at 14:00 the theme colours where white and purple so I wore a long purple dress with a long slit on the front and black wedges. We got to the venue and guess who was at the gate, mummy dearest she was giving instructions to the ladies at the gate she hardly noticed me, my auntie is the one who saw me. “Ah wemwana kale weh namukula epowaba Ella” (Ah my child it’s been long, you have grown, so you are around) she said. Then mum turned and our eyes met, she gave me this ugly stare and told my aunties to excuse us, now it was just me her and Frieda. “I see you decided to come and cause some more trouble huh? We are not playing here this is your sisters kitchen party and I wouldn’t want you bring bad luck to her marriage” What she said pained me, “How can you even think like that mummy?” “Ella I gave birth to you myself, I know what you are capable of so before you embarrass me and cause any more trouble I would appreciate if you turn and go back to where you are coming from.” I was so ashamed I just turned and started walking then she called my name. “Ella?” “Yes”, she looked at me from head to toe scanning my whole body, “When I said you are dead to me, I meant it.” How could a woman that gave birth to me be so cruel, I mean yes I have made a lot of mistakes, I had drugged her name in the mud but her treating me like a no body was uncalled for, weren’t mothers supposed to the one that stuck by you through thick and thin? How was she living with herself knowing that she rejected me at a time I needed her most, if my own mother didn’t want me, who would want me, was her status more important than my well being? What was my reason for living if the person that brought me to this earth saw me as a misfit? The days that followed by were depressing for me, I rarely left my bed, I ate less even bathing was something I did occasionally, I found myself crying so many times. My father hinted I needed to talk to someone for my depression because it could be fatal but I refused. I got up one morning feeling like a train had trashed me, I was feeling weak and I knew I needed food and a good bath, I got my phone and checked out the date, then I realized my sister’s wedding was two days way. I went on facebook and I had a lot of messages but I ignored them, I checked my sister’s timeline and it was flooded with photos of her kitchen party and congratulatory messages she looked really happy in fact they all looked happy without me. I saw my mum posted a number of photos so I went to check her time line, one photo caught my eye, it was a photo of her and my sister, it looked really nice but what hurt me was the caption. “This is my precious child, my baby has made me proud yet again, in the midst of trouble she cheers me up, it’s not easy raising children who grow up to make you as proud as she has, she has indeed wiped away the shame my other child has put me through, I wish you happiness my child, make your husband proud as well.” It read Another one was photo of the whole family, Mum, Dad, my two sisters and brother, the caption was: “My family, I love it when you are all here especially on a special day like this, love and unity is what keeps us close.” I felt hopeless, I felt angry and I blamed myself for not being perfect enough for my mother and I knew just what I was going to do to end this misery, my life was meaningless, there was no reason for my existence anymore. I wiped off my tears and stood up from the bed, I looked at the my phone, it was 16:00 It would take a while for Frieda to get home, I got in the bathroom and filled up the bathtub with water, I wanted to end it all, there was no turning back, I got a Razor blade and began pressing down on my wrist, then I cut deep into my skin, the pain was excruciating but I felt a sense of relief as I was doing that, I continued cutting myself, as blood dripped off and the water turned red. I started bleeding but the more I was bleeding the more I cut myself, after some time, my vision became blurry and I squeezed my eyes shut. ……………………… Maybe in death Ella will find the peace she has been searching for.

    Insert 36

    I don’t really know what happened next. The days that followed were like a dream, I could hear voices talking but I couldn’t get what was being said, there were blurred images of faces gazing down at me, I was aware f what was going on around me but I couldn’t open my eyes or make any movements. I would attempt to scream or say something but no words came out of my mouth. Later I found myself slowly floating up, I didn’t know what was happening to me and in my state of confusion I found myself in a strange place. I looked around and saw lovely flowers all over, on the far end I could hear people singing songs of praise, the songs they were singing where soothing to my heart, I felt peace and at home. I wanted to join the people who were singing so I started following the direction where the voices where coming from. I was almost getting there when I saw a little girl all dressed in white and glowing “Don’t try and cross over to the other side it’s not time yet, you need to go back to where you are coming from, a lot of things await you there, run and don’t back “ she said Before I could utter any words I saw her go into the sky and she disappeared into the light. Then I went back to where I had come from and found myself in the hospital, my body was laying down there but I wasn’t in it. There were a lot of machines constantly beeping connected to my nose and my body. The nurses and doctors kept coming in and out shaking their heads and I could hear silent conversations of the people who were by my bedside. By my bed side was Fried and another guy whom I failed to recognize. They were deep in conversation and I could see the sad look on their faces, I tried to talk to them, waving my hands at them, but the just couldn’t see me or hear me. This was frustrating me, seeing people talk but not able to interact with them. Frieda left then my father also came, I could see he had lost weight and he had this worried look on his face. “My child I have waited for you over the months to wake up but I can’t see any life in you, I don’t know if you will wake up some day, I spend each day praying that you come back to us so you can have a fresh start at life, so you can accomplish your dreams, I have failed you as a father, I failed to protect you, I am sorry maybe your mother is right, maybe it’s time to let you go so you can finally rest in peace, maybe you will find the peace and happiness we couldn’t give you here,” he wept I know I had wanted to take my life and leave this earth, me laying in that hospital bed was all my fault but seeing my father that broken really broke my heart and I was determined now more than ever to come back to life, but I wasn’t sure if they could wait for me or they were going to give up on me. Days went by, I didn’t know how long I had been in that state, I didn’t know what day it was neither could I tell the time, I felt like I was being trapped each time I wanted to go back to my body it was like some force kept pulling me back. Then I saw that little girl again, she was smiling at me. “Try harder” she said “I keep trying but to no avail,” I asked “You need to be focused, focus your mind on going back and you will go back” with that said she disappeared again I tried until I finally managed to repossess my body, the only thing left was for me to regain my strength and wake up. I went back in the state I was in at first being able to hear voices but falling to talk or make any movements. I heard the door open and someone reached out to my hand, and started playing with my thumbs. The moment they began to talk I knew it was my girls I could hear they had been crying. “We don’t know what to do Ella, everyone now says you won’t make it and that we should let go, how do we let go of you , this is so hard how will we carry on without you, please you need to fight for your life and wake up, come back to us,” I was trying so hard to make some sort of movements since someone was still holding my hands and I finally managed to move my hand. “She moved her hand I heard” Maya scream “Call the doctor,” she screamed out I heard the doctor come in and he too held my hand and asked if I could hear him I should make some sort of movement but to my surprise I failed. So I heard the doctor tell my friends that they might have imagined the whole thing because I showed no sign of life and that my family had decided they were going to pull of the life support. The next thing I heard where the screams from my friends then it went quiet. It was quiet for a long time then the door opened and I heard the doctor telling someone to come in. “Tell me when you are ready” he said “Just a few minutes” My father said. He said a little prayer and held my hand then called my mother. “I think it’s time the more time we spend here the more it’s going to hard to let her go” my mother said “Hope you find peace my girl” I heard my father say. Then the door opened and I heard the doctor tell my family it was time to switch of the machine.”

    Insert 37

    Their voices started fading away then I couldn’t hear anything, my body became numb I couldn’t move, I was struggling to open my eyes then I started to hear a lot of noise and the buzz of machines, with my eyes still shut I could see a callous glow on the back of my eyelids then I finally managed to open my eyes. I looked around the hospital room, they were get well soon cards, balloons, a teddy bear and a photo of me and my friends on one side. Then I tried to reach out to the person that was nearest to me. “She is awake” my brother shouted. They all turned and found me staring, the doctor came and bended over trying to check my eyes, “this is a miracle “he exclaimed. I tried to talk but no words came out then I cleared my throat and tried again. “I am alive” I let out a soft whisper. My father came to hug me while the rest of my family stood by the other side of the room, I couldn’t make out their expressions, I didn’t know if they were happy I was alive or if they were disappointed I didn’t die. The doctor gave them a few minutes to spend with me and he left the room, there was awkward silence till my mother came close to the bed and stared at me before letting out any sound. Mum: How could you Ella? How could you put us through all this? Dad: Bana Mwaba this is not the right time for this, let the poor girl be. Mum: As always you will support her, she needs to know the emotional pain we have suffered the past three months she has been in this bed. My sister: Mum, there is no need for all this, please let’s go. Mum: Don’t touch me let me speak my mind. Dad: No let’s leave you have all the time to scold her not here. So my dad pulled mum out of the ward and they all left. I loved my mother so much but the kind of hostility she had towards me was uncalled for, that was exactly what i was running away from, I just didn’t feel like facing her again I needed her to stay away from me for a while at least after I had healed because her telling me all those bad words would lead me to another suicide and I doubt I would be lucky to come back alive next time, I needed some positivity around. Later the girls came to see me I was feeling much better though I was still weak so we talked like the old days, they left and I only remained with Frieda. Me: I am sorry, I was just too stressed I couldn’t take it Frieda: You should have talked to me I am your friend i was always going to understand you. Me: I felt so depressed Babe, so worthless. Frieda: it broke my heart to find you laying lifeless in that bathtub bleeding your life away. I thought you would never make it, we all thought it was the end, you showed no signs of life Me: I am grateful you saved me I want to make amends with life I want to have a fresh start Frieda: You know, this experience with you has left me thinking and I kept praying that if God saved your life I was going to dedicate my life fully to him, no playing games. Me: That’s a good decision Babe. We talked for a while before she left she had brought me my phone so I wasn’t bored anymore. I had a lot of visitors that day Bupe came to visit me, Charles even Mubanga and Luke as well as some people from my father’s church. I guessed the news of my suicide had spread life bush fire. I had some cousins and other members from my extended family come to visit me as well, I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable among most of the people who came to visit me. The way I was being looked at was enough to send shivers down my spine, it’s like they saw me as a useless person. Nothing can ever justify suicide, people attempt suicide not thinking about the impact it will leave on the people that love them and no matter what the situation everyone deserves a chance at life. Suicide can never be the solution to anything, I realized that later in life and it was stupid of me to have ever tried it. Having that near death experience made me realize that they were better ways of dealing with issues other than resorting to taking my own life. I knew people would judge me they would talk about me and say all sorts of things, they would speculate and they would see me as a mess but I was ready to pick myself up and this time it would be for good, the fact that I had survived two suicide attempts meant there was something worth living for, there was a purpose for my life and I was going to live till I discovered it. I came to learn my sister’s wedding couldn’t go through because of what happened to me and it was rescheduled to take place in two months time. I was pained that my selfishness had gotten in the way of her wedding. A month had passed since my suicide attempt I was getting better I wanted nothing but to leave the hospital. My father had visited me on so many occasions but my mother and siblings rarely came and even if they did they didn’t talk to me they would only stare at me for a while then leave.

    Insert 38

    I was sitting in the hospital bed listening to Music when my mum got in. Mum: How are you doing today? Me: I feel better Mum: Good you feel better the Doctor says you will be discharged tomorrow. Me: Can’t wait to leave this place Mum: You are not home going from here, am taking you for Therapy for a while, I don’t want a repeat of this. Me: I am fine, I am not insane Mum: Stop being stubborn Ella, you need professional help. Me: Do I have a choice? Mum: The decision is made I will pick you up in the morning. Me: Ok Mum: You are my child Ella I carried you in my womb for nine months, I love you and even if it hurts to see what you have become you are still a part of me that’s why I want to see you get better. Me: It’s fine I will go if that will make you happy. Mum: I have to go now need to pick up stuff for your sister’s wedding. Me: Sure thing After mum left I was deep in thoughts, I know I wanted to get better and become a better person, but Therapy I didn’t think would do for me, I was never one to open up about my issues especially to a stranger. Mum picked me up very early the next day, we passed through my place and I packed a few of my stuff then she took me to the hospital where I was going to undergo Therapy for two months. I couldn’t help but feel sad at the fact that I would be in this place for two months with strangers because my mum thought I needed help. They took me to a small room where they said I would be sleeping it had three single beds, a Television, three small chairs and tables and a small closet. I sat on the bed that seem empty and started crying, mum entered to say bye. “Ella you don’t have to cry, this is for the best, when you come out of this place you will be a better person. You are allowed visits once a week, we will visit you and I will let your friends know so they can visit you, I have to go now get better my child.” Then she left I thought I was going to die in this place, what I needed was a cold beer and not to be locked up in this place like an insane person, I was really hurting I didn’t know if I would be able to survive the two months I was meant to be there. Two weeks later I was feeling worse than I was when I first came to the hospital, nothing pleased me in this place, I never wanted to participate in neither the individual nor group Therapy the only thing I wanted to do all was sleep. I felt like I was going mad, I wanted to be out of this place I needed my freedom back. My therapist called to get me in the morning, we went in her office and she closed the door. Her: How are you Ella? Me: I am fine Her: How are you finding this place? Me: It’s boring Her: Let’s get talking and you will be out of here soon. Tell me why did you try to take your own life? Me: I don’t want to talk about this, I need to sleep please. Her: You can trust me. She kept talking and writing in her note book and later dismissed me. I went back to my room and started crying uncontrollably, I didn’t even know why I was crying but crying helped me out to vent, crying helped release my emotions, I was in pain. The ladies I was in the same room with tried to console me but I wouldn’t let them touch me. Things were pretty much the same the next two weeks that passed by. I was sitting by the window watching the sunrise outside when one of the ladies came to pick call me, apparently I had a visitor. It was mum and I wasn’t in the mood for her drama. Me: Hi Mum: You look pale how are you? Me: How am I supposed to be when you locked me up here? Mum: I hear you haven’t been cooperating with people here? Me: Is that why you came? Mum: Always stubborn as usual Me: Can I go back to my room? Mum: It hurts to see a child of mine in here but this is (I cut her short) Me: For my own good I know Mum: I brought you some new clothes Me: What for? Mum: Ella I am your mother don’t push me away. Me: Mum I am tired and am sure you have better things to do like buying stuff for my sister’s wedding, so let me not keep you. Mum: I will see you soon please talk to these people let them help you. Me: Bye Mum: I love you. I didn’t even answer her I just stood up and went back inside I know she wanted the best for me but after everything that had happened between us I need space from her, I hated her for giving up on me when I needed her the most, yes the world and everyone else might have judged me and called me names but my mum and siblings were supposed to have my back no matter what, I knew if anything happened to my siblings I would stand by them through thick and thin

    Insert 39

    The following day I went for the individual Therapy. My Therapist was one beautiful woman, she was calm and ready to listen to me but I wasn’t willing to talk to her, how could I trust a person that I didn’t know, If my own mum judged me by the things I had done what guarantee was there she wasn’t going to do the same. I was in deep thoughts when she started talking. “Do you go to church Ella?” “Sometimes I do, it’s not something I do every time” I answered “Why?” she asked while jotting stuff in her note book “Look at me, I am a mess does it look like God wants a person like me? I am sure he has his own perfect people,” I answered “Why do you think like that?” she asked “Is it necessary that we talk about my belief in God, how is this helping me out?” I yelled out She looked at me and wrote something in her book. “Life is what you make of it, a lot of people have problems, you have had a share of your problems but what differentiates people is their way of handling their problems trying to take your own life doesn’t solve your problems it creates more of it and now you need to talk about it so you can heal otherwise you will go out of here and try to committee suicide again when things don’t go your way,” I was getting bored being in that room with her “Have you become a preacher or a motivation speaker?” “That’s all for today Ella.” She said Days passed and I still wasn’t opening up, if I went for group Therapy I would always be seated quietly at the corner and listen to people talk about their issues. Some ladies where talking to me but I was deep in my thoughts until they tapped my shoulders. |”They are people to see you Ella” They called out , I wanted to fake being sick because I thought it was mum but when they mentioned Bupe and Frieda I felt at ease. I walked up to them, they stood up when they saw me and each gave me a tight hug which made me cry. Bupe: Come on don’t cry you will be out of this place soon. Frieda: Babe I miss you, home is boring without you. Me: I miss you too this place is driving me crazy. Bupe: How is Therapy going so far? Me: Bad, I haven’t been able to take part in anything. Bupe: Ella that’s bad, you need to open up talk about your emotions trust these people and you will be out of this place soon. Frieda: Yes because if they report this to your mum I am sure you spend more days in here. Me: I will think about it It was nice spending time with Bupe and Frieda, Bupe shared a few Bible verses with me and we prayed afterwards then she left me one of her Bibles. I felt better after talking to them. I spent that day writing down stuff about my life, thinking about how I grew up, I used to be such a great girl, I was an A student, my mum was always proud of me she would always say how proud she was of me and everyday mum would tell us how much she loved us there was no favoritism in her raising us but things changed when I left for boarding school, she never liked the school I had chosen so there was always conflicts about it but my father allowed me to make my own decisions even at a tender age. Mum became distant with me but she tried hard not to show it anyhow It didn’t really matter because I was never home most of the times but in all I did all I could to make her proud, I may not have been first in my classes like my sisters but I was always top five and still that was never good enough for her. After high school I still opted to stay far from home because of her comparison games and after all the drama I had caused her she finally exploded and left me on my own, i had expected more from her no wonder I felt so much anger in me, I had so much resentment towards her.

    Insert 40

    Looking back at my life, looking back at my mistakes, falling in the wrong hands making bad decisions and seeing people that I thought would stand by me give up on me was enough to get me to think of ways I could change my life for the better, yes I was a mess but I was determined to get out of that mess so instead of being Hostile to my Therapist and the people I found there I decided I was better off participating so I could leave this place and make myself a better person. I started first by taking part in the group Therapy and other activities they offered us at the clinic. The people in that clinic were young people like me with troubled souls. They were people dealing with depression, suicide attempts, violence, anger issues among others but one thing about them all is that they were putting in all the effort needed so they could become better citizens of the community. Hearing people talk about their experiences made me feel at home, it made me feel like I belonged somewhere, here I was in a group of people from different backgrounds ready to hear me out and support me with no eyes of pity or judgment, they treated me better and understood me better than my family. The group Therapy consisted of people talking about their situations, lessons on how to deal with them and sometimes they would give us assignments to work on based on the lessons we learnt. Sometimes they would give us certain scenarios so they could be able to monitor and evaluate our thoughts and behavior, in the evening we would watch a movie or two, have supper drink our Antidepressants and go to sleep. I remember the first day I decided to speak out, our therapist was urging us to speak out so people were standing one by one to talk about their experiences. Then she asked if anyone else wanted to say something. I raised my hand much to the surprise of everyone. “Yes Ella, please feel free” she called out to me. So I stood up and went and stood in the Middle of the room. “I am Ella as all of you know, I came here because I attempted suicide, actually it was my second attempt but I didn’t die as you can see, my mum brought me here saying I needed help, at first I thought I didn’t need help because I thought Therapy was for crazy people but being here and looking back I realize I do need the help, my biggest threat is rejection that’s what actually drove me to attempt taking own life, I have been rejected so many times by people who I thought would stand by me, I felt I had failed everyone and death would solve it all, I am broken I feel so much pain and resentment towards a lot of people but I want to learn to become a better person,” I couldn’t finish talking I broke down I cried so much I realized I was holding on to so much pain and talking about it had helped uplift the weight off my head and from then on I talked more about my issues, I talked about my weaknesses and my strength, I talked about a lot of things, I felt I could trust these people and I followed my gut. As weeks went by I managed to talk to my Therapist one on one she managed to put a smile on my face, I told her a lot about my life and I liked the fact that she didn’t call me names or judge me. By the time the two months was over I was a better person. I was less bitter at the world I felt I had become a stronger person and my way of thinking about things had changed. Before the two months elapsed they invited our family members to one of our group Therapy. They reason they did so was to make family members understand why we got depressed and also to help us cope after leaving the hospital in case of anything. The Therapist told me she was proud of my progress and gave me her line, she told me to always call her if I needed a friend to talk to. The day I was leaving I packed my stuff, bathed and wore black blue ripped jeans and a pink cropped top with my pink sneakers. I combed my hair and tied it behind, wore a bit of makeup and purple lipstick then I said my goodbyes to the people who were remaining. Mum picked me up, I wasn’t at all pleased to see her, yes I had become better but I hadn’t forgiven her, I still felt hurt in her presence. Mum: My baby you look better than before. Me: Thank you Mum: So where do you want to eat your lunch? Me: No where I just want to go home and sleep. Mum: By home you mean? Me: Home, my place with Frieda Mum: Let’s get home then we will talk about that Mum brought me my phone so I called Frieda and told her I was out, she promised to visit me the following day.
    We are a few
    Inserts away from reaching the end of the story. I don’t know if we will have season two but a new story is definitely coming up after this.

    Insert 41

    I went home and nothing much had changed expect that my sister was now married, it hurt seeing her wedding photos with everyone in them apart from me very well displayed in our living room. My brother and sister had gone back to school so it was only Me, Dad, Mum, some cousins of mine and mum’s sister. I think my mum was trying to make amends because she was being nice to me but I gave her no attention. I got to my room and started listening to music, logged on to facebook and deactivated my account then I created a new one, I was set to start afresh I called Frieda and told her to get me a new Sim-card when coming to see me because I wanted to do away with the old one. Home was boring because I had no one to talk to, I have never been close to my cousins because they were judgmental and my auntie listened to everything mum said so I was basically on my own. Dad came in the evening when I was deep in thoughts I didn’t even hear him enter my room. Him: Where is your mind? Me: I want to go back home. Him: Your mother wants to have you here. Me: Just for a while I will stay maybe a week or so but I will go back to my place. Him: Anything is ok with me, you are a big girl. Frieda invited me for lunch the next day and I went just so we could catch up, I bought a new simcard and disposed of the old one, we talked like the old days and just laughed the afternoon away later I went home and found mum panicking. “Where have you been” she yelled at me “I am a big person I can always take care of myself” I told her and proceeded to my room and she followed me. “You had me worried and your number was off.” “Mum am here now and as you can see I am fine please let me rest” “Ella in my house you follow my rules you hear me?” “Fine” I whispered She went out and I could hear her talking to my auntie about me. Mum: I don’t know what to do with her my sister. Auntie: You have spoiled this girl too much mwaiche mwandi (my young sister). Mum: What can I do huh? Auntie: let her live by your rules, ine abana bandi you will never see them misbehave or talk back at me Mum: I hear you ah, let me prepare supper, hubby will be home soon I spent the rest of the week applying for jobs online and browsing the net, my new facebook account only had my close friends and the ones I had made at the hospital, I was even adding new people. My new whatsapp line was restricted to only a few people not even my mum had it. I was exchanging texts with Bupe and she was also helping me get a new job, she gave me some places to apply to and I did. Two weeks later I was invited for interviews at different places, the first one was on a Wednesday so I did my research about the company and prepared myself I said a short prayer and went to sleep. I woke up very early the next morning bathed and wore a black short pencil skirt and a black top and a pink jacket. I wore my pink wedges and tied my hair behind then I applied some nude lipstick and make up. I called for a cab and left before anyone else was up, I was really early for the interview so I sat for a long time chatting with my friends on whatsapp. The interview went well and after that I decided to treat myself out, I withdrew some money and went to do my hair, I settled for a blond short closed weave, I did my nails and then went shopping afterwards I did lunch and later went to the movies. I watched movie after movie till it was late. Then I booked a cab at around 22:00 and went home. I opened the door and I was received by a slap, I lost my balance and fell off. “How many times have I told you to never go out without telling anyone?” Mum yelled “What was that for?” I asked “You have the audacity to answer me huh? I can slap you again, why is your phone not going through?” “I blinked my tears away and remained silent.” Mum kept talking but I was quiet then she came and started shaking me furiously. “I am talking to you demit.” “I told you mum I am a big person and I can take care of myself” I said in between sobs “You can take care of yourself Ella, are you really telling me that? Two attempted suicides, nude photos leaked, being locked up in a cell and a failed engagement and you stand here and tell me about taking care of yourself really?” That was the last straw reminding me of my mistakes, I lost it and screamed out the anger I was feeling. Mum: Scream all you want, I will keep reminding you of your mistakes until you change. Me: You know what mum I have had it with you, I am so tired of you judging me every time I am leaving this house right now and don’t you dare stop me;” Auntie: You have lost it huh how dare you talk to you mother like that? Me: Bana Kulu stay away from this I beg you. I was packing my stuff while mum and her sister where cursing and screaming at me, I didn’t care at all. I just needed to leave before I caused a scene. …………

    Insert 42

    I finished packing and mum blocked the way for me so I pushed her and walked out, she was busy running after me. Mum: Am sorry my child I didn’t mean to hurt you, let’s talk about this please. Me: There is nothing to talk about, you stay with your prefect family and let me be. Few minutes later a cab came by and got in leaving her crying. I got home and Frieda was surprised to see me at that awkward time she didn’t even ask what was wrong, I hugged her and cried in her arms. Later we watched movies and slept. Mum woke me up the following morning with her knock. I opened for her and she looked like she hadn’t slept at all. “You had me worried, and if you don’t want to be home at least give me your number so I can call you.” She said “Mum let’s not pretend you care about me, just play you and let me play me.” “I may not show it but I love you and that’s why I do everything I do to you” she said “You have a weird way of showing love” I wrote the number on a piece of paper and told her to leave and surprisingly she left. Two weeks later we decided to shift to a new place, I didn’t want mum budging into my place anytime she felt like it and I didn’t tell her about moving. She had been calling me but I kept ignoring her calls, she tried texting I still didn’t fall for it. One of the companies I had applied foe called me and I was picked for the job, it was a great offer I had my own small office space. I was working as assistant editor at a media firm. The job was keeping me away from drama and I was feeling better both on the inside and outside. I was ready to move on with my life even though I was healing at a small pace. I decided to stop drinking and smoking, I wanted to be sober enough to make the right decisions. Bupe was heaven sent she invited us to her church and started helping us with understanding the bible, having a closer relationships with God and also learning to pray our own. Bupe told me for me to fully surrender myself to God I needed to let go of the past completely I needed to forgive the people that had hurt me and not hold grudges. Now that was the hardest thing to do, forgiveness as they say is easy but forgetting is the hardest part of it all. How do I start forgiving the people who had rejected me and broke me beyond measure? Where was I even going to start from? Who was I even going to start with? Knowing very well most of the people who hurt me weren’t even remorseful for their actions towards me. Bupe explained I needed to forgive for my own peace of mind, for my own freedom because if I held on to un-forgiveness I would never know the true meaning of healing, she said the first step in my healing process was forgiving. I didn’t know if I was going to actually forgive them but I promised her I would try. Work was going on very well I was enjoying my new position. It was a Friday afternoon I didn’t have a lot of work to do so I took the afternoon off and went into town to get stuff i needed for the house. I was in a rash because I didn’t want my favorite shop to close. As I was turning I didn’t notice the person that was coming ahead of me so I bumped into him and everything he had scattered on the floor. “I am sorry I should have been looking where I was going” I said while bending to pick his stuff “No no its fine, let me handle this,” The voice sounded familiar even before I could stand up and look at him I knew I had heard this voice before. I stood up and our eyes locked, I couldn’t believe the person I was seeing. I never thought I would ever have to see him. “You, It’s really you? I exclaimed. He was lost for words he just stood there and looked at me ………………………………. 8 more to go

    Insert 43

    Standing in my face was my first love, the man I given out so much love too but later betrayed me. Jerome after so many years of not seeing him I finally bumped into him. I couldn’t believe I had once loved him he had not changed at all he cleared his throat and extended his hand to me. J: OMG Ella is this you? Me: Yes in the flesh. J: wow I can’t believe it, how are you? Me: I am good I would really love to chat but am rushing somewhere. J: Just like that? Me: Yes what do you expect I do? J: At least give me your line so we can keep in touch, I would really like us to talk. Me: I don’t think we have anything to talk about J, nice seeing you. J: Ella please I didn’t let him say more I just rushed off and went to where I was going. I bought what I was buying then later proceeded home seeing Jerome had no effect on me at all, he meant nothing to me, I sat down laughing when I remembered all he made me go through later I prepared some food and started watching movies. Frieda came back and we watched movies together then I told her about Jerome. The next day was Saturday so it meant no work for the both of us, we woke up late and started cleaning the house then later washed our clothes, beddings and curtains it was a hectic day but we managed to finish everything by 16 hours. Afterwards we just decided to order Pizza for super and watch a few movies as a way of ending the day. There was a knock at the door after I finished bathing, so thinking it’s the Pizza guy I rushed out only to be met by Jerome. Me: Why are you here? How do you even know where I stay? Him: please here me out don’t push me away. Me: You have five minutes Him: I want to first say sorry for the pain I caused you, even if it has been so many years I feel I owe you an apology. Me: it’s fine Him: Life hasn’t been great, Tasha and i have a child together things never went as planned so we got separated after being together for a while, my love life is a mess Ella I have never found anyone that loves me like you did. Me: Karma is a bitch Him: I want you back let’s try again. The way I laughed after he said that, the nerve of that guy after 8 years he felt he would just walk in my life and demand such stupid stuff. Me: Please leave and never come back. Him: Ella please Me: I have forgiven you I hold no grudge against you just get the hell out of my house. After he left we laughed with Frieda and spent the night indoors, the weeks that followed by Jerome was being a pest, he was following me around pleading with me to take him back I had to get a restraining order for him to stop. It was two days before my sister’s birthday and I still hadn’t reached out to mum dad and I always talked and no matter how much he tried to convince me to talk to mum I refused. I was preparing lunch when a strange number called me I immediately picked and up but I almost hung up when I found out it was mum, so she was planning my sister’s birthday and she needed me to be there which of course I refused the offer. Mum got emotional and started crying on the phone so I gave in and told her I would go.

    Insert 44

    My sisters birthday was extra ordinary, when my mum organized a party she made sure , it became the talk of the town I was only there because I felt obliged to otherwise I wasn’t in the mood at all, we kept talking about random stuff here and there till I was called to say something as per tradition. So I stood up and went to the front, I honestly didn’t have any kind words for my siblings I was even shocked mum would call me want to say something so we could sound like a perfect family. I was just quiet staring at everyone, till mum whispered in my ear to say something. “I honestly have nothing to say right now, but all in all Happy Birthday to you sis, I didn’t even bring a present because I am sure mum has that all covered, I haven’t been so good with words lately and before I cause a scandal, I would rather just sit my ass down,” I said in the microphone and sat down I could see my mum boiling with rage but I cared less, I wasn’t about to play happy family just to pleas her ego. I sat down and Frieda pinched me. Me: what? Frieda: You are so dead. Me: She deserves it Frieda: You need to forgive your family Me: when the time comes I will. After the party Frieda and I called a cab to pick us up but before we could even make it to the gate mum called me back. “Trouble in paradise” I mumbled Me: You called me? Mum: How could you embarrass me like that huh? Me: What do you mean? Mum: don’t play dumb with me young lady Me: You didn’t expect me to pretend we were a perfect family when we are not Mum: You need to put your differences behind and reach out to your siblings. Me: Reach out to them? Why would I do that? They are the ones that drifted away tell them to reach out to me. Mum: God, where did I go wrong with you? Me: Bye Mum Mum: I am still talking to you Me: Bye Mum I knew I needed to forgive my family if not for them at least for my own peace of mind but where do I actually start from? Those people rejected me at a time I needed them the most, because of their reputation I was pushed aside and now I have to put my differences aside and forgive them so I could stop feeling the hurt I was feeling. I had a mixture of emotions so when we got home Bupe called me to ask about how it all went and I explained to her. “Ella, you need to let go, you will never find joy holding on to hurt, forgive Ella,” She said “I don’t know just how to start I want to make them suffer for all the pain they caused me,” So she started praying with me on phone and then she began preaching to me, she told me to open the book of Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly father will also forgive you but if you don’t forgive others their trespasses neither will your father forgive your trespasses” “Ella in this world we all bound to make mistakes, we all sin and wrong others daily, when you look at your past, you yourself acknowledge you have made mistakes and you need God to forgive you so you can start afresh but before God can forgive you need to forgive others, you can’t expect to be forgiven if you can’t forgive, God forgives us every time when we sin without looking at our past sins, we too should follow in that direction so if you want a happy life then forgive and then ask God to forgive you.” She said. I felt better after talking to her so I got on my knees and prayed, I asked God to give me enough strength to forgive all the people who had wronged me, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but it was worth a try. ………………………… Should she forgive even when she still feels betrayed?

    Insert 45

    The weeks that followed by where rough I was trying to make amends with my family even though they weren’t making much efforts I decided I was going to reach out to them and do my part after all they were my family and one way or another I would need them someday. Work was progressing just fine, unlike the other places I had worked for this one felt like home we were more of a family than work mates, it’s the way we treated each other and stood by each other that made me feel a sense of belonging, these people were focused and there was no time for petty gossips. Bupe’s church was amazing it was a great church to start over from, I was active in the activities, I was teaching the Sunday school and also part of the youth team that were chosen to go around and spread the gospel. We were scheduled to have a conference in a week’s time and people had voted for me to speak at that conference just to encourage my fellow youths. I was nervous because they would be youths form different churches but Bupe helped me prepare, Frieda was also taking the church issues seriously her passion was in singing so she joined the praise team. Dad was proud of me for being dedicated to the church. The day before the event I went home so I could talk to him, I wanted him to check the speech I had prepared for the conference and help me where necessary. I packed my hand bag and said bye to Frieda I told her I would see her first thing in the morning when I got home dad wasn’t around but the rest of the family were around even my married sister had come to visit. I greeted everyone and they were shocked to see me. Mum: Look whose here. Me: Hi mum, hi everyone Them: Hey you Mum: To what do we owe this visit? Me: Do I need a reason to visit my family? Mum: That’s not what I said. Me: I just thought I spend the night here, is dad home? Mum: What kind of trouble have you gotten yourself in now? Me: Mum no trouble at all, everything is fine. Auntie: Hope you haven’t killed anyone Me: I will let that pass. Sister: You sound different and calm even Me: Life has taught me to be calm I wonder why everyone always thought the worst of me but I wasn’t about to allow them get to me so I put my bag and offered to make supper for them. I cooked Macaroni, Mince meat and potatoes then I made the table called everyone and dished up for them. Dad walked in just when we were about to start eating I welcome him and he hugged me tightly the he put his bag and joined us at the dinner table. Afterwards I washed the dishes and cleaned the kitchen then I went to have a chat with dad in his study. Him: It’s good to see you bonding with your family, your mother told me you made supper. Me: Yes dad I am trying to be at peace with everyone even though they still think I am trouble Him: You have grown and I am glad you are taking your walk in Christ seriously. Me: I have to; I want to make you proud After Dad helped me out and gave me advice I went to my bedroom to sleep my sister came in, I noticed she was pregnant, she sat on my bed, we talked and joked like the old days, we later watched a movie then later slept. I woke up the next morning prepared breakfast for everyone then bathed and told called for a cab. My sister came and said she would drop me like the old days. So she drove me home and offered to even take us to the venue of the church program, I was shocked at the change of heart but I wasn’t about to question her about it I was just hoping it was genuine. After we were done she drove us there, everything was just as planned but my mood got spoilt when I saw Tony and some of the members from my his church, I felt something move in my tummy then Frieda held my hand we walked to the front and took our sits …………

    Insert 46

    “Breath in and out then pretend they are not here” Frieda whispered in my ear “Babe that’s hard to do, how do I stand in the front and talk to them when most of these people judged me, will they listen to anything I will say? I wondered So the programme started our head pastor said something followed by Bupe then they called me to the front to talk to my fellow youths. I was shaking I couldn’t even walk properly I could feel people’s eyes watching my every movement, I almost ran out but a voice in me told me to stand bold and firm. So I went in front and started talking, I talked about how we the youths must represent God on earth, the example we need to set for others, I talked about us being the light of the world and how people must see God in our conduct, behavior, attitude and dress code. I went as far as giving an example of myself and my past life and encouraged people to focus their eyes on Christ and nothing else. Honestly I said so many things I didn’t know where the courage came from it was overwhelming it was like I wasn’t the one speaking but an imaginable force had taken over me. After I finished people stood up and clapped for me something I wasn’t expecting them to do. When I was heading to sit, someone raised their hand saying they wanted to ask me something. “I am amazed at how well you speak, you should try acting you know, if I didn’t know you better I would have been taken by all you said, but unlike others am able to distinguish between real and fake.” She said I remembered the lady from my former church she must have been the girl Tony was now dating but for her to come at me like that in front of everyone was uncalled for, I felt very hurt because all I had said was who I had become and it wasn’t right for people to keep seeing my past in me, I felt tears flowing down my face then Frieda came to get me. Then the lady stood up again, “I hope you haven’t sent nude photos to the pastors so you can get accepted into this church” Bupe gave her that deadly look and shut her up but the damage had already been done. Its moments like this I wished I had just died when I attempted suicide because being humiliated in public was not something to laugh about, I could see how people where looking at me and I just knew they would start talking about me like everyone else did when the photos leaked. Bupe: How could you do that to her? Are you God to judge her? Her: I may not be God but bad company corrupts God morals and this girl will corrupt the young ones in this church. Bupe: People change and you also have made mistakes why should you keep pointing at hers. Her: She want not supposed to speak and act like a leader when she is whore. Bupe: Enough stop this I couldn’t stand this confrontation I rushed out of the church with Bupe and Frieda running after me and calling my name, I didn’t know where I was running too but I just wanted to run to a place where I was going to be alone where no one would ever throw curses and insults at me. My thoughts had overtaken me and I didn’t see the car that was coming ahead of me, the driver lost control and hit into me before hitting into a tree. “Ella” I heard Frieda screaming. I was in so much shock so I fainted I woke later in a hospital bed with Frieda and Bupe by my side. Thank God you are up Ella, you scared me the doctor came and examined me he said I was lucky I didn’t suffer any serious injuries just some bruises here and there he told me to be careful next time and released me. I was feeling fine just a little pain on my leg so we went home and I slept. Woke up later and started chatting with Frieda. Me: I feel like a cursed child you know? Frieda: don’t say that Ella Me: serious because how can you explain the things that keep happening to me. Frieda: it’s just time you know Me: I am never going to that church again Frieda: You will in fact we are going tomorrow you can’t spend your whole life running away from such situations. So we slept and woke up in the morning and prepared for church, I didn’t want to go but Frieda basically forced me.

    Insert 47

    When I got to church I expected to hear whispers but everyone was greeting and hugging me, they didn’t push me away or treat me like garbage instead they embraced me. The pastor talked about how God uses people imperfect people for his purpose he said so many times we feel unworthy because of the things we have done in the past and hence we fail to listen to what God is telling us, he said when you become a believer all the old is gone and you become a new person in Christ so no one has any right t judge you. He talked about the prostitute Rehab and how God used her for his purpose and turned her life around. “Don’t let the world define you because you don’t belong to them, let God give you a definition, it doesn’t matter who you were in the past what matters is what you are now, people will talk, they will throw stones at you and they will try to bring you down but all you need to do is stay strong in the lord trust he will vindicate you, he will defeat all the people who attack you,” he said I could feel the sermon was all about me it spoke to me deeply it gave me assurance that even though the world would hate me I was still going to persevere because I had someone who loved me enough to send his own son to die for my sins. It was a stepping point for me and I promised myself I was never going to allow the opinions of people get to me, I would instead focus on the cross and salvation because that was the most important thing to do I decided I would make peace with my past and forget all I did, I would only focus on the person that God was calling me even though it would be hard I was willing to take that road. The week that followed Frieda and I decided to take a one week prayer and fast, this was going to be our first time but Bupe encouraged it will help ur spiritual life grow and it would make us get closer to God than we were. It was challenging at first not being able to eat while seeing food in the house but we were determined to win, we didn’t want to give evil the right to win so we prayed, mediated on the word, worshiped God and just sat in his presence. It was amazing how I just wanted to do things to please God when at some point I never wanted to do anything that involved him, In fact God can change a person. Getting to have a close relationship with God changed my life, it changed my perception on things, now I was able to manage my anger and I was less stressful I had this kind of peace hovering over my life that I couldn’t explain. Some people thought I was faking being a Christian but I didn’t mind them as long as I knew what God believed about me. I had come to let go of my pain and hurt I had come to realize my past was the reason I was here today and I needed to be thankful even for those people who betrayed me because they played a part at helping me find my destiny. It was a Saturday afternoon Frieda and I decided to treat ourselves to lunch and movies. We went to some Italian restaurant and ordered then we sat and started chatting. Me: Frieda who would believe how far we have come? Frieda: I know right, we have come a long way Babe from those nights we used to drink and waste away to these nights that we spend in prayer it’s amazing. Me; I wouldn’t have believe if someone has told me I would become this Godly. Frieda: Yes and remember how we would force you to go to church Me: I know, dad is so proud of me, Frieda: I am also so proud of you girl. Me: You know you are heaven sent Frieda? Look at how you have been my back bone in the darkest hours of my life. Frieda: We are compatible for each other I would stand by you all over again no regrets about it Me: you have been more than a sister and if I have never told you how much I appreciate you then am letting you know now, I would never trade you for anything. Frieda: Don’t me cry now So we had our lunch and just talked about the old days and we planned we would have a reunion with Maya and Myra soon. Everything I said to Frieda was true what would have happen if she too would have left me, Frieda was a God given friend and I owed a lot to her, there was never a dull moment with her, she accepted me for me, she accepted my flaws and never judged me.

    Insert 48

    One year later I was promoted at work from assistant editor to editor. My spiritual life had grown tremendously, I was in good terms with my family even though they would pass comments at me and still talk about my past I got to accept that I can’t change their thoughts but I could change my reaction to what they said to me. I had met different men along the way and was taking things easy when it came to relationships. Charles had become a great friend alongside his daughter and wife and we even attended the same church. I was chosen at the church as one of the youth pastors, a role that came with so much responsibility and got people talking. I knew leading the youths was going to be a tough one because I was set to lead by example and be patient with them There was so many people that thought I didn’t deserve the position because of my past but I was more than glad to take it on because I felt I was being called for it. We were planning an overnight prayer for the ladies at a church meeting when I received a call from my sister. From the way she was talking I knew something was wrong because her voice was breaking, I could feel she had been crying. “Ella you need to come here now, I am at the hospital” she said “What happened are you ok?” I asked worried “Yes I am fine just drop whatever you are doing and rush here” she urged me She told me the hospital she was at and I immediately told my colleagues I had to rush, one of the ladies offered to drive me to the hospital because I was panicking. On the way I kept calling her but her line was off, I tried calling my other sister and brother I got the same response, I tried Dad’s line and it took me straight to voice mail. Then I called mum but it was busy. I was so scared I was even sweating. “Calm down Ella” one of the sisters said. “I don’t know if that is possible now, I don’t know whats happening and I can’t get through to any of my family members” I responded. I was already crying even when I didn’t know what awaited me at that hospital. But the lady seated behind began to pray and I was a bit at ease, I dropped Frieda a text and she promised to meet me at the hospital. When I got to the hospital I jumped out of the car as if I was being chased then my phone scatted all over the place I had forgotten I had placed it on my laps. I immediately bent down and picked it up when I saw mum come my direction. She hugged me tightly and cried which was strange. Me: Mum whats going on here. Her: Baby your dad had an accident. Me. What? How? Where? How is he? Her: Too many questions baby. He was coming home from work when he collided into another car, he was badly injured and his chances for survival are slim. Me: mummy no, this can’t be happening I was talking to him in the morning he was fine why now? Mum: You need to be strong baby, let’s go inside the rest of the family is there. I got inside and it broke me to see my siblings in that state they must have been crying for a long time, we did a group hug and I prayed, I prayed as if my life depended on it, losing him was not an option I was willing to accept he had to get better. I went to the room where Dad was and I couldn’t even recognize him he was badly injured, I couldn’t stand being there so I got out of the room and met Frieda by the door. She rushed to me as soon as she saw me and hugged me. Me: I can’t lose him I can’t (I said as I sobbed) Frieda: He is going to be fine, babe have faith. We spent the day at the hospital even when the doctor told us to leave we refused I had church members visit and praying I was too drained to pray on my own as usual Frieda was by side and we hardly slept that night because there was nowhere to sleep the hospital room was not enough for all of us. My father was scheduled for surgery the next day but the doctor said it was a fifty- fifty situation and we needed to be prepared for the worst. We went home to freshen up in the morning and went back to the hospital we got there and found he was still in surgery. I felt the need to pray so I knelt down and prayed with all the force in me. The doctor came out hours later looking defeated and immediately I saw him I knew things weren’t right. He was looking our direction and I felt like dying because I didn’t see any sign of good news on his face.

    Insert 49

    The doctor came to where we were and put his hand on his head, mum stood up and went to question him the obvious. Mum: Doctor Doctor: I am sorry we ………. (I didn’t let him finish the sentence I attacked him, I became hysterical I cried my lungs out, I rolled on the floor I felt drained). Doctor: We lost him we tried all we could, take heart. The next thing I heard were screams from my family, the drive back home was exhausting everyone was crying uncontrollably, I had so many questions why would God take the number one person that cared for me in this life. I felt betrayed I felt hurt, I was lost for words. I got home and just went straight to my room, I imagined life without him, even if things were fine between me and my family now, I still treasured my relationship with my father above anything else. He was my pillar, my strength, my comfort he was my number one supporter he loved me for me, he made it a point to always remind me of how much I was appreciated, who would have my back like he did now that he was gone. I couldn’t pull myself together during the whole funeral I was hurting , it was like a part of me was gone I was thinking all the while I had attempted suicide I never died but it took one simple accident to take my father. It was the most painful thing to have ever happened to me. A month later I wasn’t the same, in fact everyone at home wasn’t the same, I could see my father’s death tore them apart mum had lost so much weight she was always crying, my siblings were on the verge of depression and even I couldn’t pull myself together. Yes my father had left us enough money to survive on but things just weren’t the same with him gone. So many nights I cried myself to sleep thinking he would walk through the door and talk to me, I longed for his advice, his voice and hugs of comfort. I stopped praying because I just felt there was no need to especially that my hero was no more. I was still staying with Frieda but I would always be spending time home and work was going just fine it’s the only place that kept me sane. I had so much to tell my father, so many things I needed advice from and I thought I just needed to join him where he was. I was deep in thoughts when my phone rang, it was Bupe she asked me to open the door for her. Bupe: Hey Me: Hey Bupe Bupe: You have been avoiding my calls Me: I have been busy Bupe: that’s a lie I know you don’t want me telling you about going to church. Me: I am done with church matters Bupe: Is this you speaking? Where is the faith you so preached to others? Me: I don’t know Bupe it’s all gone I am not the same anymore. Bupe: What would your father want you to do in this situation? Me: To pray Bupe: Then pray and talk to God After Bupe left I kept having flash backs of my father and I know my father would have never been pleased with me giving up on God during such a trying moment. I started praying again, it was not easy to talk to God after losing my father but I had to start somewhere. It took me time to understand God’s message and I came to conclude that being a Christian does not guarantee you won’t have trouble, but what it guarantees is that during your time of trouble you will never be alone because God will be with you each step of the way. Losing my father actually gave me a chance to re affirm my faith in God and to get to know him at another level. Yes I still missed him and wish he was alive but I was trusting in the lord’s timing of doing things. I started praying for my family also to find comfort in God we would sit and talk about what we felt when we lost dad and talking about made the pain less painful. It took time for everyone to finally get to accept that he was really gone and to continue with their lives but we had to do it so he could rest in peace knowing that we weren’t giving up on our dreams because he was no more. Even after accepting he was no more, there were still days I would just wake up and cry especially when I need counsel from him, they were days that I thought I would never make it but here I am now, telling a different story.

    Insert 50 (Final)

    When I look at the person I used to be and the person I have become now, I can’t help but give glory to God. I have come to learn that life is what you make of it, you can spend your whole life worrying, feeling unworthy and accepting the world’s definition of you or you can take each day as a blessing and be thankful for even the little things of life like drinking water. Life hasn’t been easy yes but there are people with worse situations than I was in, people with worse stories to tell, people who can barely get a drop of water, people who wished they could be me so I resolved I was going to be thankful for my life each day and I was going to choose happiness above sadness no matter my circumstances. I used to be a wild girl, I was everything the world would want, I was young and ready to explore the world at the expense of my salvation I allowed people to use my innocence, I made so many mistakes and gave up on life but God had something different planned out for me. I had no direction I was wandering like a lost puppy but God found me and picked me up he loved me and accepted me for me, despite my faults he cherished me. I can’t say my life has been perfect the past two years I have been Christian but I can say things have been better, I have faced difficulties, challenges and temptations but unlike the wild me, the virtuous me takes her troubles to the lord and trusts things will be better because God has promised not to forsake her. Over the years my relationship with my family has matured mum has learnt to accept me for me and my siblings have accepted me into their hearts, they are times that we argue like all families but we have resorted to always sort out our differences. There have been a lot of men asking me out but this time around I don’t want to date just a handsome face, I need someone who can love me for me, accept I am no angel but still accept to take each step of life with me. At one of the seminars I went to I bumped into a young preacher and we got talking. He calls and texts and sometimes we meet up, we pray together often times but we are just friends, I haven’t decided to take the relationship to the next level. I want the relationship to be different from my previous ones so am taking it very slowly and only time will tell if we will progress to something deeper than what we share. In all my whoring around I never got to have sex I still had a phobia for it and now I will just wait till marriage to cross that bridge it’s something most people fail to believe especially when they see the things I got myself into in the past. Frieda is seriously dating someone from our church and I like just how the relationship is going. Mum has dedicated most of her time to community service and charity she even decided to open up an orphanage in memory of my father, she donates to various organizations as well and I can see she is happy. My sister has a baby and she named him after my father meanwhile my other siblings are still pursuing their studies. I am Ella Bella and this has been my story hope you enjoyed it and learnt one or two things.
    The End

    Moral of the story: It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done, Jesus understands all your pain, all your hurt, all your loss, all your temptations and all your struggles. Your past should never define you. What matters is who you are now and what you are doing. Don’t ever make yourself feel unworthy of God’s love, God doesn’t use perfect people he just wants people who are willing so matter how broken you are God can use those broken pieces to make an awesome piece. Lastly God exists, he loves you as much as he loves me he has no favorites. ……………………………………. What one thing has the story of Ella taught you?

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