As I sat in that dimly lit room with hands cuffed in front of me, I couldn’t help but try to distract myself from the cruel reality that awaited me. I looked around the room at the faces of the other occupants. There were scary faces, innocent faces and blanks faces – those whose faces were dead and devoid of any form of emotion. I wondered what they saw in my face. Would I last long in this sea of faces? Would my face become dead by the time I got out? Thoughts flashed across my mind and most of them were horrifying.
My attention was shifted all of a sudden to the metal bucket that lay in the corner of the room. The bucket was kept there to keep the drop of water from the leaking roof from filling the room. I laughed in my mind when two of the occupants started arguing if the droplets of water could fill up the room if left to continue. The first lad claimed that if the water was left to drop like that forever, the bucket will fill and then the whole room and it will continue forever. His friend countered his point claiming that the water will continue evaporating and that even if the bucket got full, the room will never be filled up with water. This continued for a while until a guard came to shut them up. Every other person in the room didn’t even as much as look in their direction. As for me, my eyes were fixed on the bucket as I tried to make sense of the argument. What if the leak is not fixed? Will the room actually get filled up?
My mind drifted back to my childhood. My first drop was when I slapped my aunt back at the family reunion. A quick slap and spanking would have fixed the leak in my roof. The slap was replaced by excuses instead. It was no big deal. The other massive drop was when I stole my classmate’s pen. Again, it was no big deal. Young boys will always do what young boys do. It was no big deal. Then I moved on to bigger things unchecked. Then followed more unchecked drops and the bucket was filled to the brim. The next thing I know, I am in a chokehold in the arms of a cop in plain clothes who used his knowledge of taekwondo to disarm me during a failed attempt to rob a grocery store.
As soon as I felt my head enter the lock, I knew that was the last drop and my bucket was now overflowing. I didn’t even struggle much, and slowly, I faded into unconsciousness. I woke up in this sea of faces and here I am gazing at a metal bucket slowly filling up and having flashbacks of my slow but steady rise to infamy.
If only my dad or my teacher had mended that roof when the leak was not profound. Maybe I would have become a doctor or something more useful. But now, while my mates are defending their projects, I am in here with strange people trying very hard to determine which one of them would come at me if I mistakenly dropped the soap. What I would do now to get a chance to roll back the years and fix the leaky roof. Maybe I should start by fixing this particular leak in this room.
As I climbed the table and tried to reach for the leak, a guard rushed into the room, baton in hand. He grabbed me from where I was standing and slammed me into the concrete floor. He then kicked me multiple times in the head, the groin and the solar plexus. I lay there writhing in pain after he left. The occupants completely ignored the incident. . .like it was no big deal. When I finally struggled back to my feet and sat back up, someone pierced the cloak of silence that had descended upon the room. It was one of the two arguing friends.
“You see. I told you the leak couldn’t possibly continue forever. One idiot must surely try to fix it”.