I sat at the back of the hall with my throat bloated like a toad’s. Only the presence of people caused me to blink back my tears. Everyone was on their feet, including my mother, clapping for her. For that Diana!
They’d not clapped as much in my turn. A few claps here and there, a few hand waves, and even some giggles, is all I got. That was unfair. My voice was better than hers. I only lacked the exposure she swam in.
Diana, wait until I find a good producer and trend. That’s when you’ll know that there are voices and there are voices.
God, I don’t know why you even allow such mediocrity to receive so much acclaim while you constantly shut the doors on my face. Just give me a stage, let me shine.
My mother woke me from my mental whine with a tap on my shoulders from her farm-roughened palm. “After the program, go and greet her. Congratulate her.”
Yuck. “Congratulate her for what? Immediately after the program, I’m going home.”
“Sandra Kendeh, envy is screaming from your face.”
I rolled my eyes. I wasn’t envious. Diana just didn’t deserve such an abundance of applause and admiration. The acclaim made her think she was something when in fact she was just some lucky fluff girl. Everyone, wait until Sandra blows, too.
Mama stood at the entrance into the church’s driveway. She wouldn’t let me go home without going to celebrate the already hyper-celebrated music star, Diana.
Ok, Mama. I will suit you.
A crowd surrounded Diana. Eish, how they thought she was somebody important.
With clenched teeth—because I would curl my lips if I didn’t—I waited. What was there to do than wait when Mama’s policing eyes watched my back?
Fifteen minutes later, my turn finally came. I stepped forward and shook the goddess’s hand. “You’re an excellent singer. I enjoyed your ministration this evening.” You already know I was lying.
She squeezed her brow, tilted her head to the side, and looked into my face. “Sandra, right?”
“Yes,” I answered like a skeptical Harvey in the Kendrick Brother’s Courageous. How did she know my name? She couldn’t have marked me after hearing my name just once.
“You are a raw talent,” she said with a smile.
Whatever she meant by ‘raw talent’, that sweet smile on her face chopped off the roots of my envy.
Brightstone, the eminent gospel record label she was signed to, was looking for raw talent to disciple and publish, and she was putting my name down on the list.
“What!?” I cupped my hands over my open mouth, my eyes so widened the evening cold stung them. But I cared less. Why would Diana be this sweet to me?
Then I stared down at my toes in shame. I had met a true disciple of Jesus Christ.
My envy for her melted down my legs and disappeared through the grass under our feet. Without thought, I hugged her so tightly you could have thought we were old friends reunited.
It’s been two years now, and I have shaken more than ten hands.
Hey, don’t fast-forward the story. None of them has opened doors for me like Diana’s—I didn’t shake the hands for open doors—but each has hammered a six-inch nail through the skull of the individual envy statues I had erected, and then coffined the statues.
Thank you, Mama.
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