Where is the joy of dying young or wasting youthful years over what can be avoided? There is no fun in that. But because we can’t go back in time to correct our errors, the best one can do is pick themselves up, dust off, but most importantly, learn from whatever mistakes are done, and move forward.
Frank jumps on his feet and ushers the customer is to a seat. It takes him a couple of minutes to recognize the customer who sits before taking off his cap. “Pastor, is this really you? I am sorry I didn’t recognize you in that cap when you walked in. How are you, sir?”
Pastor Victor has been Frank’s father figure since he was a young boy. His mother had requested him to step in and help him with parts of his life that needed a man. She knew there were things she couldn’t teach her son unless a man, a father, did.
“Hello, son. I heard you were back and I had to come to see for myself. This is a nice shop you have”, the pastor tells Frank as he steals glances back and forth admiring the orange-painted shelves and the white chairs by the door. “So when did you get back?”
“About two months now. I know I should have come to you first. But I wanted to get this business running first.”
The two men sit at the barbershop harking back to the good old days. Pastor Victor indulges Frank about his stay in Dubai. ‘Can he see right through me?’ Frank hesitates to tell his ‘father’ about the entirety of his life while in the diaspora. But after a moment of contemplation, he thinks, ‘what’s the worst that could happen if he tells him.’
“I feel stuck”, he begins fighting hard not to let his emotions show. He avoids direct contact with the pastor’s eyes. He looks away and stares at his shoes.
“I don’t know how to get out of the mess I am in right now. I am an addict, pastor. And I feel ashamed to even tell you about it. I became a Muslim for a girl’s sake and she later left me for another man. I met another lady who also left me. In the midst of my loneliness and bitterness, I turned to porn. I want to get out but I don’t know-how. I am also struggling with alcoholism. I couldn’t keep my job, I got into fights with colleagues. I just can’t seem to function without booze. Even after I got home, I am still drinking. If mum had not pushed me to start this business, even the little money I saved would have gone into the drain. And I don’t even think God would want anything to do with me. I attempted suicide but failed. I wanted to die. I didn’t see any joy in living, maybe I still don’t. I feel stuck. If only I can get unstuck.”
Frank did not finish his words before the pastor embraced him. “Son, I am here for you and I will help you get the help you need. It’s good you want out. So let’s do this son, together.” The two sat at the shop talking about life and what Frank envisioned for his life.
It’s now about two months since Frank and his father talked to the barbershop. He has since gone to rehab and is showing good progress in recovering. He is afraid, however, that society may stigmatize him when he comes back from rehab. But isn’t such life. Yet we need to take our chances in making things right. So hopefully, one day, Frank will look back and be glad he got help.
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