She cried loudly when she saw him.
The day he was born.
Even the nurses could not hide the grievous shock they experienced.
When they looked at him.
And all they could manage were the words.
“It is well madam, God is in control.”
Such was the effect of his looks.
Looks which deviated even more from the general appreciation of aesthetics as he grew older.
The painful stares and wicked words that were directed at him sliced into him like daggers.
It affected his psyche and his confidence.
So badly that he had to be home schooled.
And fearing a repeat of the dastardly treatment he had recieved, his parents decided not to have any more kids.
Since they didnt know what exactly was responsible for his hideous looks.
When time came to go to university.
He shocked them all when he insisted on going to one faraway.
And stop wearing the face cap he had grown accustomed to.
The only thing he usually hid behind when he went out in public.
But something he had been told by the Priest he had been speaking to.
Was his enemy and not his friend.
Because it helped him survive his looks instead of God.
The Priest told him that for him to be ashamed of his looks meant he was ashamed of the work of God.
He said it was him saying that God was not a perfect creator.
And encouraged him to look at it as God wanting to use the disfigurement of his face as a teaching tool for the world.
That one can be so externally unpleasant to behold.
But internally angelic to engage.
He enjoined him to focus on his inside and ignore his outside.
To make himself so wonderful and happy and fulfilled inside that his inner glow will overshadow his outward look.
And so he did.
Everyday he meditated, prayed, sang, danced and found something to be grateful for.
While his parents grieved for him.
Both of them wondering how he will deal with the rejection of the adult world.
So they made plans to save as much as they could.
So that when he was through with university.
They could open up a business for him.
Help him manage it as they had managed theirs.
So that in the course of time.
He would be wealthy.
And that wealth will marry him a wife.
Because they feared no woman will be open to marrying him unless her reward was untethered access to his wealth.
Even though there will be a prenuptial agreement that was fair to her and which protected him.
Off he went to university.
Where the stares that greeted him were painful.
And the whispers were hurtful.
But right amongst the Catholic Union of Students were he promptly joined.
His charm began to work.
An affectation so powerful that in no time.
Mostly everyone knew about the one.
That was called.
He embraced the name.
And was known to say when he was trying to comfort someone who was down on their luck or caught in the fangs of depression.
“Come on if someone as ugly as me can be so happy and filled with hope in spite of everything, why won’t someone as beautiful and lovely as you are see that all this is temporary and the wonderful things that are waiting for you tomorrow or the next or in two weeks or even 6 months or a year will be so great that you will wonder how on earth you could have made such a fuss of what is confronting you today.”
Like that he became the one to talk to.
Lecturers used him as an example to encourage others.
And everywhere he went to.
Calls we ring out.
And he will turn to the caller.
Give them his million watts smile.
And say with full cheerfulness.
“It is a beautiful day to be alive, may my looks be your healing.”
And they will call back.
“Amen brother. Amen!!”
When his mother came to see him.
And he took her around the school.
Introducing her to those who encountered duo.
And she marvelled.
Gripping his hand tight in disbelief.
As she witnessed the love people showered on him and on her.
“He is so wonderful”
“He is such a lovely soul.”
“I have never met someone so positive and hopeful”
“He made me not give up with life.”
And when he took her to the female hostel.
Where the most gorgeous looking girl.
With an ethereal aura of pure loveliness.
Walked down to meet them.
A girl who he introduced to her as his girlfriend.
Her heart stopped for a moment.
As the reality hit her.
And when the words the girl was saying to her finally registered and made sense.
“You are so blessed ma, to have a son this beautiful and loving and encouraging and patient. Who knows ma, I know I am being too forward and unladylike, maybe you will one day soon, be my mother-in-law.”
His mother broke down in tears.
And as he and his girlfriend comforted her.
She looked into his face.
And for the first time.
She truly saw him.
She saw the joy in his eyes.
The kindness of his smile.
The honest assurance in his jawline.
The playful hopefulness in the slant of his head as he stared at her.
The comforting peace that radiated from him.
And as she stared at him.
She kept hearing the words of her friend who she had overheard speaking to another friend at his sixteenth birthday party.
“…. he has to be rich o for him to find wife in this world or maybe one girl who has money herself and is just looking to marry husband that no woman will drag with her will take pity on him and marry him, even then she will be fearing to have children with him o. Because even though his parents are not ugly, no one knows if the ugliness skipped one or two generations and will come again. Tufiakwa! May God not allow us see bad thing and have such ugliness in our bloodline…”
And all she could say.
Even as she allowed her tears flow.
Were the words.
“Thank you Father. Thank you Father. Thank you Father…”