Is it the bad days that made him the realest or it's the fact that he barely survived the cold hands of death; that, we don't know. He's the tall and handsome with a broad chest he had managed to build these few months although something about him remains the same: he's back to the streets life.
Every Sunday evening when the sunsets, Alihandro and his friends would trace their footprints through the old road as the dark birds sang and followed them deep into the jungle where they would smoke, drink and waste the evening till they couldn't feel their face.
Today's different even the dark birds stays mute as they strode through the jungle. "That's Mr. Jumbo's chicken" Marcelo whines pointing at a native hen that was scattering a waste bin by the corner. The chicken was so into her meal that it barely noticed them."That old bastard" Felix groaned with a sour expression on his face.
At same instance, they dragged their eyes back to their faces drowning in the same thought and idea. To them, it's definitely Mr. Jumbo's payback time because they all had brutal experiences with him and had nurtured hate and revenge towards his household till this moment. Alihandro nodded reluctantly in agreement although amongst the three of them, he has always been the fearful and weakest and he wasn't ready to be criticized by his friends so he didn't deem fit to object but obliged.
What were you expecting when they're heading for a jungle session which would last for hours. They had seen Mr. Jumbo's chicken as dinner and of course, today's Sunday so they deserve some extra groove. Marcelo quickly grasp a long stick while Felix positioned himself with a stone. Alihandro cocked himself to the other end knowing he would let the hen go if it comes his way but fortunately unfortunately, Felix didn't miss as his stone knocked the hen into the waste bin as she tried to escape.
They chanted some songs from their childhood days anytime they had succeeded in something and gathered some firewoods to roast the hen. That evening was lit and special to them including Alihandro who had drifted into the moment. While they smoked, Felix roasted the chicken till it was served. "The only thing missing right here is some soft drinks to dilute" Marcelo nags.
Alihandro shook his head vehemently but soon smiled when Marcelo threw his bone at him. "The old man should better look out for his animals" Felix grins, "Because I'll slaughter even his goats if they cross my path" He continues. His mouth was masticating the chunk of meat in his mouth as he had trouble talking.
That night when they got to their various homes, Alihandro still felt heavy on his chest. He was worried and it just didn't sit well with his spirit that he had killed and eaten Mr. Jumbo's hen yet there was nothing he could do about it since Mr. Jumbo doesn't know who did.
The first day passed, second too then on the third day, Mr. Jumbo walked round the village announcing about his missing hen. He threatened to do whatever he pleases if his hen wasn't returned to him after the ultimatum of twenty four hours. "Forget that old selfish man" Marcelo grins as Alihandro suggested that they report themselves. "The highest he can do is what he's doing already" Felix cuts in, "Besides, who gives a fuck about his black magic" he adds.
Yet Alihandro wasn't convinced. He knew what Mr. Jumbo was capable of doing mostly after hearing evil tales about the old man yet the words and courage of his friends induced him to stay quiet and hope that nothing happens.
Two days later, probably on a Friday morning. News got to him that Marcelo was bitten by a rattle snake and couldn't survive the bite and it gripped Alihandro like an electric shock even more when he heard that evening that Felix had been knocked by a motorcycle and died on the spot. "This isn't coincidence" Alihandro shivers as he raced to Mr. Jumbo's place to confess.
He had just crossed the T-junction before the street to the old man's compound when he noticed his heartbeat failing. He could feel his heart ceasing by the second as he struggled to the old man's house. "I see you made it" Mr. Jumbo wails with a smile as Alihandro appeared before him. "Please forgive me" Alihandro stutters as he shudders to gain redemption from Mr. Jumbo, the devil himself. "I purposely allowed you to live till this moment". Mr Jumbo squeaks, "I noticed you were foolish and childish to stand up for your own conscience" the old man continues, "So I decided to teach those bastards a lesson they'll never have a chance to learn except you" he adds then pats Alihandro on his shoulder.
Everything else that happened remains a distant memory as I tell this story. That day, I saw my soul on the other end staring heavily at me like it was the last minute of my life this is a tale I'll live to tell my children and their kid's kids. Mr. Jumbo spared my life though in exchange to be a better person by following my conscience with will and discipline.
Marcelo and Felix were the only friends I had from childhood and may their souls rest in peace but at the same time, they were the perfect picture of the tag they call 'TOXIC FRIENDS'.
Mr. Jumbo gave me a second chance to live but me, I gave myself a second chance to live, learn and grow. I'm telling this story for the sake of anyone out there who barely thinks for himself. You'll never be happy and live a blissful life until you stop chasing peer pressure to feel among and have a voice of your own.
True friendship doesn't discriminate rather, true friendship understands individual differences, personal weakness and most importantly, true friendship is a path to grow and teach virtues to one another not a quest to prove who's stronger and better than the other.
I learnt these lessons with my life on the line and I thank God I survived it but understand that grace differs just as our faces are different so it will be wise to learn from people's experience than risking your life in order to get a first hand experience. thanks for listening.