Here is a featured story from one of the winners of Komplete Woman Creative Writing Award
Dear Adam by Ayooluwatomi Adesina
PRISON DOOR BANGS! “Osho!!! Remember me o!!!”
Adam sat in a corner as he listened to the sounds…the noise…the voices. Another inmate was leaving their walls. This feeling spelled joy for some, fear for others, and optimism for those whose time were almost up…but for him, all he had was a wait. He was waiting for forever.
He was going to die in here, he had been sentenced to life imprisonment. Presidential and state pardons had seen some go away but not for a man like him. He had slain families, brought tears to the eyes of a lot and was not worthy of pardon. Not worthy of any type of pardon. He wasn’t seeking pardon either.
He was feared by the other inmates. He ‘flew solo’ behind those walls, but was strong enough to take on a team. He wondered what the future held for the new ex-inmate…would he have a family waiting on him? Maybe a wife, a son or daughter, siblings or a mother? Adam thought about this. Adam never knew what it was like to have a real family. He was raised in an orphanage and as soon as he broke free, he learned the wrong ropes.
He took a deep breath as some tranquillity finally returned to their ward. He knew the uproar wasn’t bound to last. The mood that followed an inmate leaving was always sour…some spoke about their old friend, others talked ill of him, others cried wishing they got out. Adam never cared about their emotions…all he looked forward to was the next warden to approach them. He knew the warden by the heel of his shoes which scratched the floor violently from its peeling. Adam liked this warden. This was the only time Adam had a smile lurking around his cheek.
“TRACTS!” The warden announced and threw a pile of paper unto the floor.
Inmates rushed out and gathered the papers. They all had their use for it. To some, it was just another toilet aid, to another set, they used it to stash their left-over food from dinning, another bunch used it to hide their contrabands. Hardly would any of the inmates be found reading them…but this was Adam’s interest.
He had first picked interest in these tracts five years ago while the warden dumped them in the hallway. He was new to the maximum prison and had just pummelled a fellow inmate at breakfast and was been back to his cell when he saw his name on the tract – at least, the tract bore “Dear Adam”. He had asked for a copy and he took it with him. The author of the tract had attacked the first man, Adam for being the reason for the world’s problems. Adam had laughed at the naivety of the write-up as the author had found a way to heap most of the blame on Adam and shirk some from Eve whom he thought should have been apportioned more blame. He was going to discard the tract as soon as he had drawn his summation, but a second read and a deeper understanding fixed his thoughts on it. The author had cleverly drawn his mind to it, before introducing how Christ was in search for every lost soul…a soul like his.
“Hey!” he had said, stopping the warden after a year of receiving these letters.
The warden stared at him, in fear and curiosity. Adam had quite the reputation, he couldn’t be toyed with. “What do you want, inmate?” he asked, firmly.
Adam held out the tract before him. “Who sends this?”
“There is an address on it.” The warden replied. “It’s a Christian publication.”
“You hold a prayer meeting here, right?” Adam asked.
The warden nodded slowly.
“Can I come?” Adam asked.
The warden stared at him. He wasn’t sure if it was Adam who had asked him. “Of…Of course.”
Adam started attending the meetings and reading the tracts which told him more about
God’s love for a common man each passing day. He wasn’t convinced of how well God’s love could cover all his sins…but it was comforting to know that someone cared enough to write to damned souls.
He picked the last leaflet that danced in the air from the scattering by the other inmates and returned to his corner. He placed his new addition to the old ones and then laid on his bed as he prepared to read the letters that were always addressed to him.
Is it getting better in there? I get tired of writing these letters too sometimes, as I have never gotten a feedback in the five years I have sent them to you. But then, I have never needed the answers, I am just a tool to let you know how much God really cares about you.
You do remember we read the book of John last time? In case you have forgotten, let’s walk through it again, God loved the world and that’s why he gave us Jesus. His love is boundless and I know that most times you feel like you are not worth it, but Jesus wants you to come as you are…and he literarily means that. You don’t have to worry about all the wrongs you have done because God actually does love you, he doesn’t condone your sins, but you are important to him and it’s his love for you is what cleanses your sins…and mine too!
Adam, you are a man God loves. Never forget that. Remember to say a word of prayer to him today and pray for your family and friends out there too. They are in constant need of it.
You are not a forgotten case, I am always praying for you and maybe one day, they’ll let you out and you’ll find your way back home.
Your friend on the other side.
“Why do you even write these letters?” Mrs Oni asked as she watched her daughter fold up another letters.
“To remind those behind bars of how much God cares for them.” She replied and sealed up the last pile of letters.
Mrs Oni was indifferent. “Do you think they even read it?” The older woman asked. “Frankly, I don’t think they do. That place is too hard for anyone to remember there is a God.”
“It’s in those moments of solitude that we find God.” She replied.
Mrs Oni looked away. To her, this was money going to waste on making papers, but then, her daughter would not stop.
“God meets our needs in different ways.” Her daughter replied with a smile.
Who was his ‘friend on the other side?’ Adam hoped to meet this friend someday, maybe he’d be able to learn more from his friend who knew so much about God and his love for a man like him.
Reading each of the tracts was like a letter from God to him constantly reminding him that he was worth it and did this give him a feeling of hope.
Having worked as an assassin for a cartel mob that could afford him, he had become so ruthless that taking lives was easy until the day he was picked up during an operation. Initially he had felt no remorse and longed to serve his time till death, but ever since his encounter with the tracts that specially spoke to him – his flaws and how God was still willing to love him, he felt a sense of hope. He was willing to experience a second chance at life…and waking up to each new day in the prison yard was another chance for him to better his yesterday.
His fellow inmates could attest to a change in his life in the last couple of years, he was scared of this change initially but as the days went by, it was easier to love God and just live by him.
Adam folded the letter and offered a prayer to God. Ever since he learned to pray, all he said to God was ‘Lord, let thy will be done.’
His new walk with Christ was taking shape, he hoped to get through each day doing the will of God, and whenever he felt he had erred, he would offer a prayer of repentance. He felt God heard him, each day was easier to go through and he felt more relief from his burdens and guilt.
An aggressive bang on the cell woke him up the next morning. “Adam.”
He stared at the warden. “What?!”
“You are going home.” The warden said, sounding unimpressed. This was not his favourite warden so he knew the man might have been serious with him, but still Adam wasn’t sure, he was going to be here for life. That’s what they had said to him in court.
Adam blinked. “No, you have the wrong room. I didn’t request for pardon.”
“Well, it’s time to go. Get up! Presidential Pardon came for you.” The man replied and started opening the cell. “It’s time to go home.”
Adam was worried. Home seemed like a myth for him. Prison starts to feel like home when they put you out and you have nowhere to go. He had nowhere to call ‘Home’.
He followed the warden down the hallway to the exit of the ward. The uproar started in the hall as he walked past them. “Adam!!! Adam!!! Adam!!!” They chanted.
Maybe this was the Lord’s will after all.
Adam didn’t know where to go, but he knew where not to go to…his old friends. The streets and roads were not the same since the last time he saw them. Some were more developed, others in ruins. Everything was different. Things had a way of never staying the same. His life was proof of this.
He was different too…but he was blessed to be different in a good way. He couldn’t return to the orphanage, he wasn’t a child anymore and after harming his past foster parents, he knew he had no place there. He had lived his life wrongly, but he had made peace with himself now in Christ. He still didn’t understand why God had let him out. Why Him? He was least qualified for any sort of pardon, but he guessed he was found in Grace.
After an hour of sojourning the city, he had found somewhere he felt he would belong. He pressed the door bell and awaited a response. He stepped back as he heard keys rattle from the other end. The door opened and an elderly lady stood before him with a warm smile. “Good day, Sir.”
Adam stared at her. She wasn’t going to know who he was, but he knew her. She had to be his friend. He smiled back.
“May I help you?” she asked. She didn’t know him but he stared at her as though he knew her. That worried her. It’s not every day you have a stranger walk up to your door and stare at you with a level of familiarity.
He nodded. “They let me out.”
She stared at him as though expecting more clarification on what he was saying.
“I am Adam.” He said.
The door creaked open slightly and a younger lady stood behind the older woman.
Adam was worried. He had tailed the address correctly and now he wasn’t even sure if he was welcome as the letters had made him feel.
The younger lady stepped forward. “You are Adam?”
“Yes.” He replied, almost turning away.
“Dear Adam.” She called, with a smile.
He stopped and stared at her. He knew he had found home.