FREE, WITH LEAST: Dedicated to my Brother Peter Biar Ajak

By Akut Francis

It was the Christmas of that year and I had just been let go. While getting out of the jail donning a suit and a girdle holding and hanging at loose, all my closest buddies – bills, debts, unfulfilled dreams, unwon battles in Life, broken spirit, zero tolerant and hopelessness were all assembled waiting for a grip of me in belching uneasiness right from the jail door. “Done! Come Back Again (or) Don’t Come Back Again” were the verbal hurlings thrown to me, a sinner and accompanied by untaxed raw slap signalling end to my long painful stay in detention.

I carried myself down the path but I succumbed to the pressure of fresh air and the aroma of freedom. It’s been a while in there. There I lay, outside, head in my hands. Not even the soft company of dust flakes on my hands distracted my mind. Then, I heard a faint thudding on the dust. There, appraoching was this small man, lost in an overcoat (or jalabia). His eyes were sad, surveying my miserable presence.
He must have been curious then to know why a man in ‘a suit’ would be slouched on the ground. “Bad day?” he asked. I gazed back, intrigued by the Juba’s moon lights illuminating his deep wrinkles and the ‘immense old age bags’ drooping from his eyes. He sighed as my lips attempted to muster the words, Yes, horrible to say the least. Nodding, the man approached me and soon we were both slouched together on the ground. “When I saw you coming from your office you looked like a man I should ask for some help,” explained the man, who mistook the ‘Blue House’ for an office, my office. And who had revealed to me his name was Yaba Wani. His voice was so weakened by the Juba’s thinness hope that every sound he ushered knocked any hope that there was inside me, yet every word filled the empty void in my heart.

I looked behind me to the great doors of the ‘Blue Home’ and then to its pillars soaring to the blackened sky. “I just felt it was the right place to [not miss] as I re-gather my thoughts entering yet another unlawful sentence and judgement of the society.

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