Blotched

Last Saturday I bumped into Mr. M. He used to be a friend of the family, until a certain incident changed that. Surrounded by basins of beans, rice, crayfish and other food condiments, he peered so hard at the polythene bag gradually being filled with items of food I wondered if there were hieroglyphic inscriptions on them.

It was obvious he’d been avoiding my gaze, possibly hoping I would walk past and continue my journey down the aisle. If anything, the quick aversion of his eyes as I came to a halt in front of his stall, and an abject refusal to acknowledge the possibility of a sale were giveaways. And I get that because I was just as embarrassed. Had I known that was his spot, I would have pretended not to have noticed and walked past. Right now I can’t tell if that would have been for my benefit or his. But I stayed, said hello and inquired about his family. I smiled at another customer, a chatty young man whose presence was like warm fire on a cold night. And then I walked down the aisle to purchase my goods from a different vendor.

Today I saw Mr. M just around the spot where the butchers sell their meat. But I didn’t call out like I used to when we were friends with no secrets. I slinked back into the shadows, grateful for the setting sun, with my face towards the wall, and my heart praying he’d keep his head down and walk past. Well, I needn’t have bothered for Mr. M seems to have mastered the art of walking with his head bowed.

We trusted him and woke up one morning to realize he’d been stealing from us. He claims to be innocent of the charges, but how does one explain the disappearance of over one million naira worth of goods with no sign of forced entry and zero exposure to the public? And that was just the first. When we carried out the yearly report to ascertain profit, Mr. M was always informed of abnormal losses. Of course no one suspected foul play, but still he’d come up with some reasons and solutions that bordered on the spiritual, for aside being a trainee in the business of buying and selling, Mr. M was also a pastor. But fetish as Nigerians can be, spirits neither steal money nor carry goods. And that was the end of our journey.

I wonder about him sometimes; his life now, feelings, family, pre and post incident. How a once bubbly man can be reduced to darting eyes and hurried steps. How one can preach one thing, and practice another. And how people who revere you one day can turn around to curse you the next– murmurs, smirks and snarky remarks.

I wonder about life. Money, needs, wants… our desires. If truly we have learnt the value of contentment, or just waltz around coveting things that aren’t ours, never truly learning to be thankful for what we have. And patience coupled with hard work, with the knowledge that someday we’ll get all the gold we want from a honest living.

I wonder about choices and repercussions. Why one bad can wipe out a lifetime of good like blotched ink on a fine sheet. I wonder if that’s fair, for on a scale good should outweigh bad, and a man’s good should be counted in his favour. I wonder if choosing to see just that single blotch isn’t in some way satisfying our cynicism, that no one is truly upright. But doesn’t righteousness take into account the possibility of wrong and remorse?

I wonder about bad choices, these things we call mistakes. They come with a world of consequences; slamming doors of opportunities, and shutting windows of favours; they sever bonds of trust, and turn a righteous walk to one of shame.

The world isn’t very forgiving. I wonder if that can change…

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24 thoughts on “Blotched

  1. Adaeze March 13, 2015 / 2:18 pm

    There’s a quote that says “reputation is like a mirror, when it is cracked…. the crack is the first thing you’d notice”.
    It’s sad that he allowed greed rob him of the relationship you all built over the years.
    The world isn’t forgiving… not a teeny weeny bit.

    Like

    • uju March 13, 2015 / 5:04 pm

      Nice quote, Ada. I like the glass metaphor there. It’s easy to notice cracks because they are so conspicuous, so nobody really remembers that it was once a shiny mirror. Tough life

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Holistic Wayfarer March 2, 2015 / 2:27 am

    “Why one bad can wipe out a lifetime of good like blotched ink on a fine sheet.”

    Some choices bring such deep, costly repercussions. We don’t think about all the parties we are hurting, those will have to pay for our greed. And in the blinding dance of desire, we don’t really consider what it will cost us – sooner or later.

    Liked by 2 people

    • uju March 3, 2015 / 8:03 am

      We’ll be doing ourselves a favour if we can think paces ahead before making a decision.
      Our desires though… that’s something man needs to learn control over.

      Like

  3. olisakwerah March 1, 2015 / 6:57 pm

    Mr. M :), reminded me of Femi Jacob’s character in ‘The Meeting’ & his awkward romance wit a much younger Linda Ejiofor, but that’s by the way.

    To business, erm..sorry I’m one month late as usual, & yes u are right-“the world isn’t very forgiving’. It has always been that way. Disasters linger and Bad news sell. Good deeds are deemed normal and triumphs are quickly 4goten. Shakespeare said ‘the good that men do are oft interred with their bones’.

    In Mr. Man’s case, I think he got what he deserved. He even got off lightly if u ask me. He pleads ‘not guilty’ but his actions suggest otherwise. If u commit a crime, 4 God’s sake; own up, apologize and show remorse. U may or may not be forgiven and the stigma will always be there, but at least u’ll be at peace with urself and ur conscience & u’ll be beta able to move on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • uju March 3, 2015 / 7:53 am

      Hehe I saw the movie of recent and hadn’t even realised the name had stuck until I was done writing this 😀

      Anyway, yes the world isn’t very forgiving but it does help to clear one’s conscience by confessing an act and having some peace. There’s something else though. People say apology equals acceptance, and basically makes it ‘real’. Maybe he’s thinking about that; if I deny it long enough, then it might just go away. I dunno. I do know that nothing beats being at peace with yourself though.

      Like

  4. White-Edge February 25, 2015 / 3:23 pm

    For me, in as much as I like living comfortably conservatively though…I highly detests people who want to be rich either by hook or by crook so as to ‘belong’ .
    You see when the going was good for me I never misbehaved. And when things turned around along the line no body knew except few closed loved ones that I had tate a tate with cos I was able to handle it.
    Remember telling a lady who I am cos do not want to live a fake life being what am not from the onset…of course she’s of the beautiful mind an I respect her as such. So much cherish my freedom and rest of mind at any time t.
    Just thank God am not a gullible dude cos contentment is very key hear and there is nothing wrong in working hard to get the extra anyway.
    Just know that today is tomorrow’s yesterday, in other words what we are today is a reflection of our past and a fore shadow of our future. My 2 kobo pls!

    Like

    • uju February 25, 2015 / 4:38 pm

      You’re right. There’s no greater confidence than being comfortable in whatever position one currently habits, knowing also that there’s the possibility for growth.
      Perhaps the world is getting the wrong message from the celebration of wealth? It should be more hard work, not more dishonesty.
      I applaud your sincerity.

      Like

  5. livelytwist February 24, 2015 / 2:51 pm

    Uju, you’ve given us plenty to chew and reflect on.
    “The world isn’t very forgiving.” This is what we witness everyday.
    But if Mr M was guilty, why didn’t he admit guilt and apologise? Then your meeting in the market wouldn’t have been as uncomfortable, perhaps. Maybe it was the fear of punishment . . . hmmm

    Liked by 1 person

    • uju February 25, 2015 / 4:41 pm

      I really don’t know what kind of punishment a grown man will receive, save for restitution– unless that’s considered punishment though.
      I’ve just had mixed reactions to this.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. George February 24, 2015 / 2:37 am

    Another insightful post and a difficult one to put in perspective. Betrayal is always difficult to forgive especially when it comes from someone in a position of authority and respect who preaches one thing and does another. We had a pastor in our church who stole a significant amount of money from us and lied to us for over twenty years. He lived a double life and that in itself is a sickness that is not easy to come to grips with. On one hand you’re angry and on the other you feel a degree of empathy for such a conflicted life. To witness the obvious remorse you see in his face each day makes it difficult not to want to forgive and move on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • uju February 24, 2015 / 7:04 am

      “On one hand you’re angry and on the other you feel a degree of empathy for such a conflicted life.”—
      This pretty much sums up the way I feel. Conflicted. And sorry that a man who should be most sure of himself can lead a double life. You know what’s weird? On Sunday he was on the pulpit leading the intercessory prayers and all I could do was stare.

      Why do we punish ourselves so?

      Yes, I wish we could get this behind us. Yes, I wish this never actually happened too. And I also want his life to be relatively easier. Perhaps it was simply an error in judgement. Or maybe he’s always been like that. Who knows?

      About your pastor. Does it feel like there are people in ministry whose sole aim is to rip people off their money, and not furthering the kingdom of God? I know around this parts, the church is a profitable venture. But I believe God sees and will handle things accordingly.

      Like

  7. yemi February 23, 2015 / 6:41 pm

    ..well the things we do have a way of catching up to us sooner or later..

    Like

    • uju February 24, 2015 / 6:44 am

      Uh huh. God says vengeance is His. If there’s anything I’ve learned in my short sojourn on this earth, it’s that that statement is very true.
      There’s no peace for those who deny His children peace.

      Like

  8. smxclusive February 23, 2015 / 3:30 pm

    sometimes I wonder if being dishonest pays, let alone preaching against it and doing otherwise. Perhaps, the word ‘conscience’ no longer exist in their dictionaries.
    living a dishonest life has become the norm in the society, and people longer care for their reputation, pilfering on daily basis as per their misdeeds. The kids they think they steal to care for, on the long run suffer for their infidelity when thy are up to age, making them face a long raged society once cheated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • uju February 24, 2015 / 6:42 am

      True dear. Choices and repercussions. There are people I know currently whose lives are pretty… odd. The story is that they are suffering from the things their parents did when alive. Now of course these kids don’t know, so have no idea why their lives are so dreadfully difficult.

      It’s easy to live for the moment, oh who wouldn’t want to? But it takes some level of wisdom and patience to think about the future and how it’s affected by the things we do today. More thoughts and fewer more calculated actions will change this world.
      How many are willing to think though? To wait? And to secure a better life (even in name only) for the people they leave behind?

      Like

  9. makagutu February 23, 2015 / 3:14 pm

    i don’t think it would change.
    deep down, everywhere you turn, there is a person waiting for the downfall of the other. we live in a competitive world and we like to pretend a lot just to go on living

    Liked by 1 person

    • uju February 24, 2015 / 6:37 am

      Of what use is pretense to man? We claim a desire to be accepted like we are, and yet we prance about pretending to be who we are not.

      Isn’t that a glaring contrast?

      Liked by 1 person

      • makagutu February 24, 2015 / 5:11 pm

        sweetheart, most of our lives are a contradiction. We walk looking happy but are hurting.
        Honour is a man’s estimation of himself among others not to himself. It is important to us how others see us than who we really are

        Like

        • uju February 25, 2015 / 4:58 pm

          Hmmm. I’ve been giving some thought to ‘self consciousness’ or maybe just awareness. How we place so much value on how the world views us– sure our reputation isn’t a bad thing to protect, but then it should spend more time working on contentment and how comfortable we are with the current version of ourself.

          Like

          • makagutu February 25, 2015 / 6:43 pm

            it is easier to lie to others than to ourselves. why not take the easiest route?

            Liked by 1 person

            • uju February 26, 2015 / 10:07 am

              Takes two to tell a lie. One who’s deceitful, and another who is gullible.

              Like

  10. outlanderspecies February 22, 2015 / 8:25 am

    It is a sad reality. While most times those choices are done out of selfish reason, sometimes the person not knowing better, they hurt people and that hurt is carried about. Everytime that hurt is remembered, the emotions come.

    Judging someone by one event might not be a good idea but in this case of graft, it is a continuous thing that went for months on end and the fact that he conveniently lied is worrying too and that screams betrayal of trust and fear.

    I have learnt to forgive people even before they apologize because most times I see people for what they are; humans, flawed and imperfect and so them apologizing for what they are seem redundant but what I hardly do is to forget. While I am willing to forgive before asking, I will not be in a hurry to give that person the same opportunity to repeat that same thing.

    If in this case, he took the money to feed his kids or even something as selfish as starting his own business, I wont mind but it was not once. It was continuous, he kept taking it in bits and found the best way to lie.

    You should forgive him though (if you have not) perhaps be friendly and don’t make a huge case of the past but watch your purse well around him (without making it obvious). This is what the Bible asks of us and also what we owe one another as flawed and imperfect humans: Second chances. A chance to tell the person that he/she might have been wrong but there is redemption and the world does not end there.

    Doing this not cos it makes you better(it might lt might not make you feel better though) but it is right.

    In the words of Rapper The Game, “You still have a chance to live (right) even if you were dead wrong”

    Liked by 3 people

    • uju February 24, 2015 / 6:35 am

      You’ve spoken well,but forgiveness is a lot more difficult than it seems. For one I could easily say, ‘i forgive him’ and yet carry about some form of resentment. I’ve seen that play out in people. They act all cool when the offender isn’t in close proximity, but when the opposite is the case, you can visibly see all the pain they’ve caused them bubbling to the surface.

      I don’t know if I really have anything to forgive because he hurt my dad (and I doubt he’s forgiven that yet). It’s just weird to know you’re constantly getting ripped off by people whom you help and give an extra chance in life. It’s just… wrong from every angle and I can’t accept that they shouldn’t apologize for harming another. And then he lied with the one thing he knew was a sour spot for him. Who does that?

      But yes, I feel sorry for him. For the man he has reduced himself to become, and even though we didn’t publicize the event, I can still see that the shame weighs heavily on him. I feel ashamed for him too.

      Choices. We need to pay more attention to them.

      Like

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