It is guilt that wakes me up from sleep and says that I don’t deserve rest. I don’t immediately hear what it is saying. I just look at my pillow in resigned alarm and nod that I have not earned the right to a peaceful sleep.

Bribing a soul to not cross over until you have paid off your debts reminds you of purgatory. And when what you owe is your life, you think this part of limbo is closest to hell.

For the fifteenth time, seven nights in a row, you write an unworthy poem. It doesn’t need a looking- at-twice to tell you that this cannot do. Of everything that has been done for you, of every time you have answered to creative, how does this satisfy it? Ina, you are not grateful enough yet.

You sigh and draw a large X over the poor words. You are not grateful enough yet — this is the beginning of your fears.
Ina, what we can do out of fear or driven by guilt, what we do from regret will never match what is prompted by gratitude.

You look at your pillow again and know that one cannot feel gratitude in purgatory. The emotion would upset the ecosystem of the place, if it manages to happen. But the air here is like in a suction tube – it takes the breath off gratefulness immediately one enters it. You chuckle sadly and then wonder that you allowed yourself such liberties.

I need to leave here.
It is now like a matter of life and death. You need to come from a place where you can enshrine this name on paper. Where after bears will see it and suspire to make it into a rapturous anthem, not a dirge. This name that gave you life, and you now have to give it an immortal body.
Yet you don’t think purgatory is a place you can just up and leave. There has to be a freeing from. A messiah or something.

Nenye Okoye loves God, people, money, and music. Likes beauty, poetry, and proverbs. Listens to Phyno, reads Dike Chukwumerije, watches beer adverts, and visits Quora. She’s on Facebook as nenye1okoye.