Alpha Series: E’s Empathy Lack

You can read my previous post here on Alpha Series – ‘A’s story  , Alpha Series – B’s Beast , Alpha Series – C’s Catastrophe and Alpha Series: D’s Debacle. You can also check out similar posts on the Alpha-series on Kofo’s blog here , herehere, and here . Enjoy!

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“Can you try to see with the eyes of another? Can you try to listen with the ears of another? Can you feel with the heart of another? If you can…congratulations! It means you can walk a mile in someone’s shoes and not just stand there feeling sorry that their shoes hurt.”

Enough is enough!’ Ereya screams at me. I look at him with utter shock; he does not believe a word of what I say. I scurry off like a mouse to my room. I am feeling unwanted and disliked. I am feeling all by myself. I do not like this feeling. I peer out the room window looking at the nearby sea and feel the distant breeze. The rain is coming again and I smile sardonically.

Eagerly I have been staring at the edge of the water for as long as I can remember and never really understanding just why; I want to be the perfect daughter – I wish I could, but it is really hard. So maybe I will just roll away, to a place far far away because no matter how hard I try, my body still leads me back to the water.

Enthusiastically, I run my palms across my hair with thoughts that the rain is falling on me, as I continue to look out. I want to cease from existing. I am not sure how I can achieve it but the rain gives me hope. I hear my name being called. I dive underneath the bed. ‘Berema? Berema?’

Ereya’s hard feet are thumping the ground. It is sounding like drops of heavy coco yam. I shake off the thought to smile and keep a grim face. He is looking at my box. ‘Ha! I do not hide there any more, you big goat!’ He continues pacing for a while and stops, muttering something I cannot hear. He moves away to another room. I stay put for a while. I know how tricky Ereya can be.

Evolving from my trance, I hear noises in the background. I realize I had slept off underneath the bed. I am not sure how long I have stayed put but as I stifle a loud yawn, I know that it must have been really long. I hear Jaja talk with somebody. That somebody does not have Ereya’s voice. What are they saying? I wonder. I try to listen but my heart beat is interrupting the voices. I strain my ear a bit.

‘Exactly what I am saying, Ereya should have applied more caution in dealing with the situation. I wonder where she might have run off to; poor child, having to go through all that in silence.’ I hear the ‘somebody’ sigh. I wonder if my elder brother is around. I want to get up and run. Run very far away where no one can see me but I am not sure where to run to. I hope that my brothers will keep this information amongst them. Perekule cannot hear that I let them know. I know what wonders he will perform if he finds out.

Expectantly, the four feet began to move away towards the outer door. I bring out my head and scan the arena. The coast is clear. I breathe in a bit too quickly. The sun hits me. I realize the weather had changed. What a pity, I mutter…I was hoping on the rain.

Eagerly, I prance about my room. My head is singing a happy song. I stop to listen a bit. I smile sheepishly. I know what I want and I will do as I please. I sit on the edge of my bed and twist my hair into Bantu knots. I am overly excited. My jaws begin to hurt. I refrain from smiling as I let my thoughts wander. I hear my name again; I reach for the floor again and dive under the bed.

‘Employ other means.’ I hear Jaja say ‘if we cannot find her in this small house, it is because we are acting inefficiently. Let us be calm about this and pretend that you and Berema did not discuss this sacrilege we hear. Let her tell us more succinctly what she is saying. At least, I will be present too and confirm if she is lying or not.’ I hear Ereya hiss out loud ‘Berema is just a coward! I have no idea where she ran off to but if I catch her, I will beat her brains out.’

Empathy is for the brave at heart and I know how uneasy it is for Ereya to wrap this strange idea around his head. He looks up to Perekule and sees no ill in him. How dare I spoil his so perfectly built up image?

Emotionally drained and exhausted, I hold back the tears that threaten to fall off my face as I stretch my full height underneath the bed. I am no longer in doubt as to what I need to do. I am no longer afraid of hiding the truth; after all, it will still be a lie in the ears of everyone. So much for holding it in, pretending to be the strong one; needing no help. So much for carrying up a front, leading everyone to believe that my life is happy and sweet.

Existing in sizes and bits is what I have been doing but no more. I will live my life to the fullest, just as I please. No more will I dance to the whims of anyone. I know everyone on this island seems so happy, everything is by design and I will not be satisfied if I play along.

Every turn I take – every trail I track, every path I make – every road leads back, to the place I know where I cannot go, where I long to be – see the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me and no one knows how far it goes. If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me, one day I’ll know. If I go away, there’s just no telling how far I’ll go.

Even if I’ll be satisfied when I play along, the voice inside me sings a different song. What is wrong with me? Can you see the light as it shines on that sea? It’s blinding but no one knows how deep it goes and it seems like it’s calling out to me. So I will let it come find me and let me know what’s beyond that line, if ever, will I cross that line?

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