My name is Kenny Wellington, I’m no different from you, as simple as they come, a man with dinosaur sized dreams. As a kid I wanted so much in life, I would stare out of my window at the stars, and let my mind drift to what I could become. At first I wanted to be a doctor, I remember Dr Gary; he owned the biggest house in my neighbourhood, perhaps he was my first inspiration. The distinct contrast between our house and his left me puzzled as a kid, his huge white house, with its beautiful garden was simply breathtaking. We lived in a cottage, I wouldn’t say we were rich, but we just had enough, just enough. My first glimpse at failure was my dad, he simply did nothing, didn’t care if we had eaten or if we went to school, his parental silence left loud screams in my heart, but as I grew older I accepted the fact that my mum was the only parent I had. She was so strong and I relished the strength that emanated from her, she had three jobs just to make sure that I and my brother, Jackson didn’t go hungry. I grew up in an area where food stamps was the order of the day, but mum made sure it never got that bad. The years passed, we changed neighbourhoods a couple of times and soon I forgot about Dr Gary and his beautiful house, by the time I was in high school I knew what I wanted to become, a business executive! And I thrived so hard for it, soon I received a state scholarship and four years later I was wearing my convocation gown, I graduated tops in my class. Life was tough after graduation but I didn’t let the trials sting my budding dreams, I wasn’t deterred, I even resorted to food stamps to survive, with my worn out shoes and embarrassing clothes I dared to dream and it happened one day, I can still remember vividly, the phone call, the scream of joy, It was a swift transition, few days later I was an executive at an estate management firm, I dumped the rags and went all Italian, got my own apartment and I had it all going for me……….i thought I had it all..
Now success is like a honey comb, you like what it brings you but you keep digging for more, I was like a vampire that just discovered its fangs, I always wanted more; the demeaning thoughts of being poor again brought goose bumps to my skin. I know my story hasn’t been very perfect so far but this is just the beginning, perfection is only a word that simply fails in reality, perhaps we experience perfection the day we recognise our flaws or the little dents in our life, that discovery is what makes us wise, and I think wisdom is the closest thing to perfection. Back to my story, I was obviously rich and I tried to help as many people as I could, I gave money to friends, strangers and enemies! My kindness was obviously a blessing to people but it was also my curse. I might not remember the speech I gave at my valedictory service or my first crush but I remember that afternoon, the day that changed it all, a friend called and asked if he could borrow my Volks, a short trip to Chicago he said, it wasn’t so difficult for me to hand over the car keys to him and I never gave it a second thought after all it was just another act of kindness, but three days later I returned from work to find security operatives at my front door, I was accused of murder, my car was found at the crime scene and according to eye witnesses the description of the assailant had matched mine perfectly. I remember I stole Jacksons chocolate bars as a kid, growing up I had lied to mum a lot but I wasn’t capable of murder! I was a good man, loyal to my country, subservient to its laws, I didn’t kill nobody! My lawyer told me it was going to be a run-off, that they had nothing against me. It was a very long and exhausting trial, I spent every single day scared, I felt fear at its peak, my heart would beat so hard that I could have sworn that my neighbours could hear it. Mum and Jackson moved in with me, they were always in court with me. Exactly eight months later, at the final trial, my lawyer expected the jury to be lenient, we had done enough convincing he said, as I stood in the booth for the jury’s final verdict I felt my hands shake vigorously, then I heard those words
“With the evidence before us, we find Kenny Wellington guilty of first degree murder, he is hereby sentenced to life imprisonment with labour”
I remember the tears, I cried so much that day, for the first time in my life I saw mum cry. Jackson just stared, obviously shocked, I remember begging mum not to leave me
“Don’t leave me mum…..! Please don’t let them take me away” I cried
But I was dragged out of the court and transferred straight to a prison where I was to spend the rest of my life. I can’t remember how many times I tried to take my life, I wanted to embrace death, I was bullied and abused in ways I can’t explain, I remember dipping my head inside a drum of water, I thought I could kill myself that way, but death decided that it wasn’t going to be my friend, I just couldn’t kill myself, I wondered if my jail sentence was some sort of retribution for being a good man, or if God was angry at me for being too ambitious.
Mum died not too long after, I remember the short letter from Jackson explaining to me that mum was no more, I surprised myself by not crying, perhaps the tears had also taken sides with death. Jackson never came to visit me in jail, and I wasn’t bothered, I knew I had failed him as an older brother. I vividly recollect my first five years in jail, I kept explaining to the inmates that I was innocent but with time I began to doubt my innocence, I started to draw up images in my head; I pictured killing the man, my subconscious played tricks with me, at times I killed him with a pen knife, other times I did it with a gun and soon I stopped talking about my innocence. Every bit of ambition left me, every drop of hope in my heart soon drowned in the pain and anger I felt. I never envisaged leaving the prison, I stopped thinking about a colourful wedding and kids. I guess destiny still had one more surprise up its sleeves for me, fifteen years later I was released on the grounds of good conduct, they let a ghost out..Yes a ghost! I lacked every human desire; my once steaming heart was now empty and flaccid, but I knew I had to survive and I tried my best to.
I know you’re wondering if this is fictional, if Kelly exists, yes it is real I exist, I’m just a man crafted by the pen of this writer but you can find me everywhere, I live close to you, I sit beside you in church, I pass you often on the streets, I’m sure you don’t notice me. I’m that boy with shattered dreams, I’m the opera singer that just got diagnosed with throat cancer, I’m the farmer that lost all his harvest to the hailstorm, I’m the girl that doesn’t have a womb because of abortions,…… I exist, I’m real……. My name is KENNY WELLINGTON
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