15 May Whitewashed wall
He was going back home when he saw her by the road. She was one of his neighbors. She was sitting on a stool, holding her baby in her hands looking wretched. He opened his purse and placed some money in her hands. She looked up at him, her eyes full of gratitude.
“Thank you so much, Mr. Thomas. You are too kind.”
He smiled benevolently at her and continued on his way home. As he was about to enter his compound, someone who was rushing off to God-knows-where nearly crushed his foot. His lips were about to place a curse on the fellow but he gritted his teeth and managed to ground out a ‘God bless you.’
When he got to the door of his house, he breathed a sigh of relief and his muscles relaxed. His wife was waiting for him.
“Welcome,” she said briefly. He ignored her. He knew what she wanted and he wasn’t in the mood for it.
“Is there any food in this house?” he asked after a while.
“You very well know that there’s no money for food in this house,” she said quietly tying her wrapper more securely around her waist. “But I have been able to scrape a little money today. What there is I will give you.”
As she said this, her 12 year old son walked into the small parlour. “Mama, you know you have not eaten anything today, -” he began.
There was a knock on the door. The boy went to open it. It was the neighbor. Her eyes shone when she entered their house and saw Mr. Thomas seated on the settee. She knelt down in front of him.
“Sir, I just wanted to say thank you once again. I didn’t count the money you gave me until after you left. It was too much. With the money you gave us, I and my family can eat comfortably for three days.” His wife’s eyes widened as she stared at him. “Madam,” the woman said. “Please help me thank your husband.”
“It is enough,” Mr. Thomas said gruffly. “You can go.”
After the woman left, there was a deafening silence as Mrs. Thomas stared at her husband with something akin to despair in her eyes and a sense of betrayal. The silence was finally broken by the boy.
“Father, I never understood why you give away money to people when we don’t have enough money for ourselves. But I read about you in school today. The teacher called you a whitewashed wall.”
Mr. Thomas eyes flickered as he stared at his son. He knew he spoke the truth. But this did not stop him from loosening his belt and advancing towards his son.
P.S: Does this story remind you of anyone? People who look so good on the outside, but when you dig a little deeper you can see the rotteness underneath? Share your experiences in the comment box