Easily Beset

NANA Kwesi paced up and down the five feet that his room allowed him; he was doing just one thing. He had Hillsong’s Aftermath playing on his computer speakers but he was not merely listening to the music and worshiping, he was speaking in heavenly tongues. He barely stopped to take a breath. He flung his hands up, left them lifted for a few minutes and then dropped them down. His voice was loud although his tone was gravelly. It was seven in the morning and he had no idea how he had woken up this early. His first class was at eleven and he had slept for a bit over five hours but his body felt strong and refreshed. This was unusual for him. He was still in his nightclothes and quite sleepy. Nevertheless as he prayed he felt powerful. His steps felt heavy as they landed on the slightly cold hardwood floor. He clapped his hands and increased his momentum. For those few moments, he was a giant, only spiritually. Physically, he was five feet eleven, far from giant status. His pride in his physical ability rested in playing football for his high school but nothing more. He touched the knob of his door and gently pulling it, continued speaking in tongues. The empty hallway made his voice bounce off the walls a bit. He stepped out and kept praying. Nana was not loud enough to wake up anyone but he was loud enough to be heard by a passer-by.

The words leaving his mouth were not discernible by him. The sounds did not resemble any language he had heard in his lifetime. Yet they flowed right out of his lips and he made no attempt to stop them. He was not ashamed of how he might appear to someone who met him in the hallway, babbling meaningless words. He was speaking to himself and to God. He always reasoned in his mind that people walked around seemingly speaking to themselves these days while they engaged in conversations using their phone’s headphones anyway. And if they thought he was beside himself, he would be fine with that too. He was only walking down the hallway to use the water fountain. Once he got his water, he returned to his room. And upon entering his room, he stopped to stare at his reflection in the mirror behind his door.

Ugly. The word seemed plastered right on his forehead in his reflection. He gave his reflection, a plastic smile as though to appease it. “You’re the farthest thing from photogenic,” it seemed to reply. Nana stood there, his lips still going as his spirit prayed. It was not that he wrestled with the man in the mirror. The man in the mirror paid him respect, and pleased his eyes. It was just every time he took a picture that his faith in his looks was shattered. He turned from the image of himself which he had now come to believe had to be deceptive. It was a wonder to him how any girl could like a guy with his looks. His nose was too flat. He wore contacts to see and glasses sometimes. His complexion begged for dermatological care. And his hairline seemed to be receding with each haircut he got. He was not tall with broad shoulders (which was what most girls liked). His attempt to wear caps or dark shades just never quite did it. He was simply not good-looking. No, you look handsome. But he knew he wasn’t. The thoughts filled his mind and forced to choke the good feelings he had had from praying just a few minutes ago. His lecture was in two hours but he was no longer in the mood to go to class. He flopped on his bed and lay still. For a minute he remembered Shelly and groaned. He would need to tell her he could no longer see her. Or talk to her for that matter. She was bad news. Messing up his walk with God and all. The night after he had seen her had been pure misery. How had he even agreed to see her in the first place? Nana sat up in his bed. He had refused to turn away from God just because he felt sinful. If they thought sin would separate him from his God, they were wrong. He would fast, he would pray, he would fight till his flight, he would do whatever. Shelly was no idol. If giving her up was what God wanted, so be it. He folded his hands and sank down into his bed again. He liked her though. But what did she even like about him?

“Probably my GPA.” He spoke to himself out loud this time. It was the truth and it hurt. Shelly would only come over when she needed academic assistance. And she had him fooled thinking she was interested in him. He had stopped praying. He needed to sleep. He needed to forget everything. What better way than to bury himself beneath his sheets and count sheep till the Lord gave his beloved sleep? In the next few minutes, Nana Kwesi Brandful was in deep slumber not to be awoken by any noise or alarm till the next four hours.

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