So, Easter has come and gone. It has however left a mark- an anthology of 10 short stories, edited by Kingsley Okechukwu.
The stories are rich, funny, and touching, with a good dose of humor. They are written by authors who are not afraid to write stories based on their faith.
I will be sharing one of the stories here today. It is titled “Unedited Jesus” written by Kingsley Okechukwu, a prolific blogger and story teller. In his characteristic style, Kingsley tells the story of a 13 year old, faced with a dilemma of faith, in a light hearted manner. It is my favorite story in the anthology.
I said a silent prayer before I walked in. He sat behind his desk, his fresh face smartly cut into two intellectual halves by the goggles on the bridge of his nose. His hair was full and spotted with grey patches in the right places, in the right amount. He was writing and frowning at it. My ‘Good morning sir’ relaxed his tightened lips a little but he didn’t look up nor stop writing. I felt a twig of jealousy at the pen which held his attention so much, and pitied it a little, poor pen held like vice in a massive fist.
My form teacher had told me, after the assembly, to go and see the principal during break. I know I hadn’t committed any offence but no one saw the principal for anything trivial, the C-in-C as we called him only dealt with heavy issues and wouldn’t bother with a thirteen years old SS1 girl with sickle cell anaemia, except she had done something wrong. So I waited and hoped.
I didn’t catch anything the teachers taught in the nearly four hours of waiting, and by the time the bell for break was rung my handkerchief was sweat-soaked. So watching him write I half-assumed he was writing the expulsion letter he would flung at me; or he would look up, shake his head and say, ‘No, I didn’t send for you.’ I couldn’t think of anything between these two extremities.
When he looked up, he shocked me with a smile. ‘Please have a seat.’ I sat on one of the twin chairs before his desk. He fished out a paper from a file and lifted it close to his face, like a mirror, and gave an appreciative nod.
‘Did you write this poem -Feathers of the Past yourself?’
‘Yes.’ I didn’t hear myself. ‘This is so excellent! Well crafted, simple and firm.’
I wanted to cry with joy, and to run out of the office before he re-read the poem more closely and see the utter rubbish it was.
Every year, our school organized a poetry competition named after our principal entered by at least eighty students. The three best poems were awarded on the speech and prize giving day, with handshakes, plaques and monetary prizes, and were then published in the Sunday Sun. It was the dream of every student.
I never dreamed of winning. I just wrote a poem about my father, dead when I was three, and whose absence Mom mourned at dire moments in her struggle to raise her five daughters. I submitted because Mr Olu threatened to flog any Press Club member who didn’t enter the competition.
‘…A real beauty. Your poem came first; now, I don’t usually call the winners to discuss their work. We tend to surprise them on the prize day, but there’s a little problem with your poem.’
My heart stopped beating.
‘Nothing we can’t handle.’ He smiled and handed me the poem. The paper shook a little in my hand. ‘In line nine you wrote, “The silent call of Jesus Christ”, right?’ I nodded.
‘You see this poem will be read aloud on the prize giving day then published in the newspaper for a diverse audience who don’t necessarily share your religious sentiment. Why don’t we tweak it a little–?’
‘You mean remove Jesus Christ from my poem?’
‘Yes. You can replace it with “The Lord” or “The Saviour”.’
‘But it won’t be the same thing.’ His eyes narrowed but he kept the smile on his lips, with trained patience.
‘Will that be a problem?’
‘No. But why can’t Jesus remain in the poem?’
The principal laughed a loud hollow laugh of one suppressing a mounting rage. ‘My girl you are young and a little foolish. If you don’t replace that phrase your poem will be disqualified. You will lose the fifty thousand naira prize.’
Fifty thousand naira would transform my mother’s second-hand shoe business. But…
‘Give me the poem. I will make the change myself.’
As he stretched his hand, I stood up and ran out of the office; poor Jesus in my hand, intact.
Hope you enjoyed it? Now go get the free e-book here and read my story.
In the comment section, let me know which story was your favorite, and what you thought of my story.