Even the street lamps were off by now. Using his mobile-phone lights, he found Kate. Without any salutation, Pete grabbed Kate’s hands and dragged her away from his house. In the next several minutes, he found the park lane, and found his favourite park bench. Sitting down, he began his narrative.
“See, I wasn’t always like this. My family wasn’t always like this. We were so close, we all trusted each other so much. I rather think that the source of such closeness was due to how religious we were. Every Sunday, without failure, we went to Church, sang hymns, prayed and listened to the vicar. Even at home, we had family rituals of singing religious songs, or praying together for the best – even turned on the telly to watch our favourite priest talk in front of the cameras. Mom would always say good night with a loving prayer, dad taught me many religious morals and the art of abstinence in order to reach a state of purity.
I don’t believe in this stuff anymore. I find it disgusting. Holy ghosts? God, Jesus Christ? I know there is no God.
Due to my goodness, as one might call it, I was subject to extreme bullying at school. My best buddy now, bullied me when I was younger. I still don’t understand how I became such good friends with him. I held no grudge against him, despite all those reasons to. I guess I was blinded by my ambitions to become one of them, one of his group members. Well, mentally pressured and torn at by Chris, I resorted to my only ally – God. I looked for excuses to escape my verbal and public humiliation, and turned to God for help. I always did. He was my only friend then. My only friend.
Until I met Alex Howard.
He lived on Cornwall Street, a half an hour’s journey from my place on my pitiful bicycle. He was a private preacher, and fantastic one too. I worshipped him – he was my idol. And my only other friend, other than God. He had a very lively personality, and was in every sense, very Christian. I saw traits that I lacked in him, the I strove to learn them. He could talk, he had the power of speech, and I was an introverted, tongue-twisted individual. I stuttered and put my ideas across very incoherently, whereas he was articulate and extremely lucid. I envied him, but was not spiteful.
I asked God everyday to show me the way. For about half a year, I prayed every morning, every night, 3 times on a Sunday, for God to help me lead the way to become like Alex Howard. And of course, it didn’t work.
It is easy to lose faith, but I was adamant to keep mine. God can’t listen to the wishes of every soul. Alex Howard’s path just simply did not cross with mine – it was not my nature, it was not God’s will. But I was still constantly bullied, and I found no more friends – even my cousins looked down upon me. My mom and dad were my only physical support. Alex Howard looked so far away; I couldn’t reach him, and I was not worthy of him. I asked God, why though? And my mind could find no answer.
Alex Howard told me instead, “God finds every soul worthy of his dreams. The only reason one might be stopped, is because that person has lost faith in himself. It is not always enough to have faith for God; you must have faith in yourself – in you.” He gave a prayer of goodness and wishes and thanks, leaving me to ponder at Alex Howard’s wise words. Dear God, I thought to myself, I see your words forming now. I will prove my worth.
Alex Howard told me, “There are always people who are misguided in their ways,” when I asked him about Chris, “and one must never be affected by the misguided. As there are God’s children, there are also other children. Stay away from temptation, my friend. You are one of God’s children – but not everyone can see it, that is why.” He gave me a prayer of good fortunes and luck, and asked God to help me lead my way. I still thought to myself, it’s not fair; not fair at all.
It’s very easy to get jealous of other people – and very hard to contain that jealousy. I knew that I was not good at anything. I had no talent. I had no talent to portray my goodness – no talent to show to others how much I loved God or anything. I was a nobody in the world. I have no idea why still, but this sudden realization that I was so unimportant to everybody (except for my family) inspired me into becoming Alex Howard’s pupil. I abjured my old life of daily pleasures and family time, and instead went to Cornwall Street to listen and learn from Alex Howard. I had faith, I had belief, I had goodness – all I needed was talent. And Alex Howard seemed to me the way out.”
At this point, Katie coughed and sighed. She searched for Pete’s hand, and looked for warmth. She was feeling very cold. Pete was surprised at her cold touch, and cut short in his narrative. “I never knew…” she said softly, “You must have succeeded – you’re one of the most talented person I know.” A warm sensation of pride permeated through Pete, but took heed of himself. He did not laugh to shrug off her compliment. He said, “It’s rather strange, isn’t it? I don’t quite rightly remember when I exactly changed, but poor Alex Howard has helped me a lot.” He sighed deeply as he thought about Alex Howard.