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"That ends the news on the hour", the newscaster said, as Halima turned off the radio sitting on her bedside cabinet. She was still in bed, but she was wide awake. She had spent time listening to the news first, as it had a way of helping her decide what her day would be like.
This had become her early morning routine, since after she lost both her parents in a ghastly motor accident. That was three years ago. She had been so devastated when she heard the news. She had hoped that one day she would wake up from a dream and see that was all it was. A dream. Then things will be as they used to. The news report from that fateful evening, stating that the car was actually bombed, had not stopped ringing in her head. The words were still clear in her head and the pain that came with it still burned in her heart.
"So somebody just planned to take their lives intentionally?" she always asked aloud when she was all alone. In several ways the question had been asked, but there was never an answer.
She remembered asking her best friend, Bisi, one of the most disturbing of the questions while they were in their final year and working on a term paper centered on terrorist attacks in the society.
"Bisi" she had called, "If you were in my shoes what will you do when you come face to face the people who killed your parents?"
Bisi kept mute for some seconds and gave it a thought. After a while, she turned to Halima. "I know you know the question is for me" she said. "But I really don't know what I will do."
"I've been asking myself again and again and I don't know either." Halima said, tears streaming down her cheeks.
What would she do? Kill them if she had a gun? Maybe stab them with a knife or blow them up as they did her parents? Or would she let them be? Would it be that easy?
Her sobs shook her fragile form as she rested in Bisi's arms. It took some more efforts from Bisi before she calmed down. Then drying her tears, she said in a matter of fact tone, "I can't say what I will do, because anything is possible". That said, she stood up and walked away, leaving Bisi to follow behind.
Wiping the trickle of tears from her eyes as the memory faded away, she gently got up from her bed and quietly got ready for work. She wasn't in a hurry, given that it was Friday. As she prepared, she hummed her favourite Cece Winans song 'No one'. Indeed God had been her sustainer ever since her parents died. She had questioned God when the tragedy occured. But now, she found grace to trust Him.
Looking at the sky from her bedroom window, she saw that the clouds had gathered. It was going to rain heavily, just as the weather forecaster had mentioned in the news earlier. She had her umbrella, so she wasn't disturbed.
A few minutes later, she stepped out of her house. She had reached her street junction when it started to drizzle. But just as she tried opening her umbrella while taking a few steps forward, she mistakenly bumped into a young man. On closer look, she realized he was about same age as she was. He looked haggard. His expression was death cold and sad. But his eyes looked at her with uncertainty and guilt.
Although they had bumped into each other, something didn't seem right. She had thought the firm grip of the man was as a result of their clash but then seeing that he had regained balance but was still holding her, she became afraid and was about to scream. Just then, the man dropped an envelop in her open palm before letting go.
The letter was addressed to her, as it should be. But what frightened her were the bold words. "This is about your parents"
What could this be? A letter bomb? A revelation bomb? She thought. She raised her head to look at him. But before she could speak, he ran away.
She looked at her surroundings. No one was close enough to had seen what happened. Halima was scared. Should I call the police? she thought, twice, before discarding the idea. She quickly retraced her steps back to her apartment and immediately called Bisi to help her take permission from her boss. She won't be able to make it to work. Halima didn't wait for Bisi's questions. She hung up and returned to the letter lying on her bed. She was determination to know what the event of a few minutes ago was all about. She said a quick prayer and then tore the envelope open. She unfolded the small letter inside and slowly read it, sometimes repeating some words in her head.
A cold shiver ran down her spine, vivid memories came flooding back and tears threatened to erupt. Right in her palm was a letter addressed by a Mr. Musa, a supposed friend of her late father, begging for forgiveness for bombing her parents car. It was a mistake he wished he didn't make. It was the man himself that handed her the letter. What could she do? How would she start to trace him? Why did he wait 3years before coming to meet her and confess? Why didn't he turn himself to the police? Not able to bear the pain anymore, she burst into tears, crying loudly and not caring if anyone heard her or not.
Still in tears, she remembered the sorry look on the Man's face, and her innocence of mistaking him for a beggar when the incident had happened. She felt sorry for him. He must have killed himself with guilt already she thought. But why did he do it in the first place? she asked as she cupped her face with her hands and wept more sorely.
Now its obvious that there is nothing I can do after all. She thought. I just saw him and I feel sorry for him already. I pray He doesn't kill himself like Judas Iscariot. She was surprised that she was praying for her parents murderer.
"Mum and dad," she said, looking to the ceiling. "I know you are proud of me, seeing my reaction. I believe strongly you are both with Jesus in Heaven. That's where I want to be also. I have to do this and many more if I am to see you and be with you forever."
After these self encouraging words, Halima wiped her tears and changed her mind. She was going to the office. She would work like nothing happened. She would later tell Bisi that she knows what she would do to her parents' killer, because she had just done it.