The Church, The Sinner and The Stranger. (A Short Story)

I walked into the church compound with a straight face. The scourging sun was no longer bearable so I went into the church for shelter. Don’t get it twisted, I’m by no means a believer. I hate the world and its creator with a passion stronger than the waves of the ocean.

To me, a church is just a building where rich thieves flaunt their wealth to feed their conscience. A place where poor fools, foolishly give away their petty cash to a greedy gladiator, they think is bringing salvation unto them. The gladiator, a thief in the name of God ruthlessly exploit those dumb enough to believe his teachings. I entered the church from its central door and my eyes fell on the huge crucifix nailed to the altar wall. Obviously, it was a Roman Catholic Church.

The church was empty that afternoon. I guess its worshippers were out there doing the opposite of all they claim to believe in. I sat on one of the pews at the center of the church and brought out my cigarette. From my back pocket, I brought a lighter and lit it up. I needed to smoke in order to cool off. The day has been hell. I had moved from one job interview to another, yet nothing fruitful.

Smoking in the church brought a strange pleasure to me. It felt like I was deflowering a virgin. Cool feeling. This feeling brought Nneke to my mind. The stupid JSS 3 girl I deflowered, and I’m managing currently. When I finally have my big break, I will definitely dump her for slay queens. To truly relax, I brought out my phone and placed the earpiece on my ears listening to music. My playlist contains solely trap songs with vulgar lyrics, and I sang along with my eyes shut. A perfect harmony. 

My harmony was caught short by a tap on my shoulders. I opened my eyes and saw a lady standing by my side. “What?” I asked rudely. I assumed she was a church member who wanted to blab about me smoking in church. “May I get a cigarette from you?” she requested. Her request came as a shock to me. However, with a smile, I handed one to her, alongside my lighter.

Have you read how to deal with pain?

She sat next to me and a strange silence followed, for she just kept staring at the cigarette in her hand. Afterward, a dialogue ensued.

Lady: I can’t remember the last time I smoked a cigarette. I upgraded to cigars a long time ago, but sadly I have had to quit smoking. It’s funny how I spent my life rebelling against all moral standards. Screaming may the world be damned, only to quit my lifestyle, out of fear of the unknown. I’m dying of cancer.

Me: If the fear of death is what brought you to church, don’t bother. Even his followers do die.

Lady: I’m not looking forward to being saved. However, recently I read about a man named St Bonaventure. He was asked what he would do if he heard Christ was coming that day, and he simply said; I will keep doing what I have been doing. He was very confident that he was on the right path and had nothing to fear. I just keep wondering what kind of a life he lived to be so confident.

Me: Those are folk tales used to create illusions in the mind of people. How can you believe in such lies? You don’t look naive, so I guess the tumor must be located in your brain. No offense. 

Lady: No doubt, I’m dying of cancer. But what kills me more are the memories of regret. When one goes closer to the grave, one begins to reflect more on how one had lived. Today I’m haunted by the ghosts of my past. The luxury I did so many wrong acts to attain, I’m going to leave it behind. Lately I barely enjoy anything. The journey to the unknown is scourging me. I lack Inner peace and sadly it can’t be bought. Sometimes I take drugs to feel good, but when the ecstasy is over I still get scared of what awaits me. I wished I had lived a moral life and had believed in a God, then maybe dying won’t be so hard. I won’t be this scared, for I would have a hope to hold onto. The guilt of the past would not be this grave. And my soul won’t be so restless. It’s good to make money and obtain power, they help you enjoy life. However, if getting them will take away your inner peace, they are not worth it. You won’t feel the repercussions today. But as you go through life, especially when you’re walking towards death that guilt becomes so alive that they feed on you. Karma is truly a bitch and our conscience can be a great tormentor. Be Careful how you live today, so as not to be as restless as I am tomorrow. A clear conscience pays. There might not be a saintly way to live, but I’m sure there is a fair way to live. Be good.

She dropped my cigarette and lighter on the pew and left. I sat in the church staring into space, lost in thoughts. The lady sounded educated and looked rich but her words were filled with so much sadness. Her words did touch something in me. 

Slowly I stood up and left the church. I don’t know if I’m repentant, but I know things will never be the same again.

7 thoughts on “The Church, The Sinner and The Stranger. (A Short Story)

  1. Sometimes, we are not bad people—we just need someone (or something) to expose us to a light we desperately need.

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