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It’d been a big struggle to quit my addictions!
Same for my big bros!
How the whole thing started was actually what I did not understand!
Drugs, incest, cigars, clubbing, serious fashion lifestyle, all!
Dad never envisaged this happening to his kids-neither did we tho!
Although since we were young, we had always thought of being ‘big boys’ and’ big girl’, you know that kind stuff shae?
I never really loved church!
I used to like it when we were in the children church where we sang, ate biscuits and sipped caprisone but immediately we got to the youth church, we were compelled to fast to church, yet, dad would still be asked to wait for meetings after meetings.
Oh those Sundays!
It was different from what I watched on TV or what my friends had told me about their own churches.
There was so much freedom in their churches but ours had always been solemn- no this, no that!
In the long hours of the message, we would start dozing and then nodding like agama lizards, shaking our crossed legs in order to show that we were following in the Spirit!- such pseudo!
While peeping to see if mum was watching, her smiling face would greet me, laden with really loud undertone that I read to be ‘Ride on sleeper!’ and then she would look back at her husband, nodding as the message sunk into her being.
What was she learning from the biblical gibberish he was narrating?
Those were the strange thoughts that my brain processed whenever I watched on.
I just realized that the Spirit of God comes in a small still voice most time while at another time, he could come as a mighty rushing wind!
So, even in very solemn assemblies of God’s children, without bang or boom, God would be present as they offered themselves holily before God!
The age difference between Ruby, Gem and I was a year each so by the time both of them graduated, they didn’t do well in their international examination and dad wanted them to study abroad by all means.
Dad’s dream though!
But we loved it!
The joy of going abroad, posing with different wonders of the world and pasting them on my Facebook wall was mindboggling;
The excitement of leaving this dark continent was killing;
My brothers wanted to go badly and by the time I graduated, we all passed the IOEFL exams and off to America we went!
It was to my dad’s greatest joy and my mum’s displeasure
We all wept as she hugged us goodbye but we had to go.
Looking back at that time, I wish we had never left!
I wish we had stuck close to those boring sermons for one day, we would have found it as honey in our mouths and music to our souls!
I wish we had been under mum’s gentle but disciplinary measures and dad’s strict correctional measures too!
I wish we had stayed in our fatherland because being groomed by the noise of generator and being bruised by mosquitoes alone could have been enough discipline to make us sane!
Oh I wish!
We left years ago and coming back now, it was a great difference.
We were no longer the kids our mother used to think we were!
We knew a whole lot about sex- oh mine!- we practiced incest!
We smoked stuffs!!
We used drugs
We went to clubs to dance and all!
We rocked ‘real’ fashion!
But for money issues, we would have done real plastic surgeries!
For us, we were not influenced by friends o!
We had seen people around do it and we wondered why they could do it and our own parents kept on restricting us!
All these vices we engaged in were all out of curiousity
I wished dad and mum had told us that our bodies were really precious to us
They told us though but we thought that they were just being religious about it
How I wish they had been more explicit about these truths!
How I really do wish!
While the three of us rode in our small car from the movie theatre in Los Angeles where we had gone to see a movie, I received a call from Abigail that we should come home immediately.
“Are you for real? Come back home? You think this is Lag?” I had blurted out that day
“I am sorry but you have to find all the means to come back home” she argued
“I think you are sick Ab! What is the problem?” I was getting angry.
“Mummy is dead!” she exclaimed and I chuckled
“What?” I asked to be sure
It sounded too unrealistic and plastic!
“What!” I exclaimed as my brain booted for a second
“what do you mean?” I screamed and the car screeched to a halt as Ruby and Gem looked back at me with questioning eyes.
I dropped the phone and my head was blocked.
“What does that mean?” I asked dumbly, my heart, muddled up.
“What’s it?” Ruby asked, his eyes widened
“Did somebody die?” Gem asked, expectantly and I nodded
“That was what Abigail said” I said and they both held my hands as if being controlled
“Who?” they asked almost together
“She said mum” I still said on.
I was unable to decode the message well, so I was seated, blinking hard as if my brain depended on them to function well
It was a riddle unsolved!
“What! Mum’s dad? Are you fucking kidding me right now?” Ruby screamed
If nothing, the guys had been mum’s favorite for a long time now.
“And you are still talking and all? Its definitely impossible!” Gem cried out too.
Ruby placed his head on the steering and broke down into tears.
“Mum, You can’t die ma. I won’t wear these god-forsaken rings again. I will throw them away bt die, no!” he cried and started removing the rings he was wearing.
Those had always been the cause of argument between him and mum before we left Nigeria.
Mum said those numerous rings made him to look like a criminal and that she didn’t want that for him.
As they wept, the pictures of mummy smiling, praying on her knees, correcting us in love, caring and laying her hands on dad all relived in my brain and my heart became swollen.
The swelling reached my brain and my whole head became large and heavy.
My eyes couldn’t bear the pains that suddenly befell it and immediately, they became clouded and blurry.
I placed my head on the driver’s seat and my tears flowed.
Oh precious mum!
As I held her already death-infested, cold and stiff hands, my tears fell upon her lifeless body and I placed my hands on her chest.
Her eyes were tightly shut but the smile on her face remained there- though, very dry!
“Mummy, I had always caused you tears. I had always behaved like a prodigal daughter. I had never for once done you any proud but I know your worth and I really do love you. I can’t believe you are dead mum…” I cried on, tears still streaming down my face.
Ruby screamed again as he turned back from the window side from which he had been staying for long.
“Mum, you can’t just die. We didn’t release you to death and you are going nowhere” he cried aloud.
Abigail sobbed loudly.
“She died since Tuesday and it’s already Thursday. Her doctor even used some embalming chemicals on her if not; she would be smelling by now.” Abigail explained and Ruby charged at her with his blood-shot eyes.
“What do mean? For how many days was Lazarus dead before Jesus raised him?” he asked and no one answered
“Well, that is even the tip of an iceberg sef. A whole army died and they had already dry bones….dry…very dry I mean but what happened when God asked the Son of Man if the bones could live?….” he asked on rhetorically
“They lived eventually” Gem replied, teary.
“They were raised up as a very mighty army and God promised life to Israelites that no matter how grave the situation could be, he would come to the situation and save them.Read Ezekiel 37” Ruby preached on.
I watched on
From Ruby who was delivering the sermon, to Gem who was nodding as an enthusiastic listener…
I was really dazed!
When did my brothers become pastors like this?
While we travelled down to Nigeria, we all held our hands to get strength from one another and as we sat down, we cried silently when we thought about so many things.
Everyone noticed us..
But a man on the same row with us noticed us more.
He smiled at us and my brothers looked away irritated
“What sort of a Job’s comforter is this oh Lord?” Gem complained but Ruby just adjusted his seat and plugged his earphone.
So the man would not feel embarrassed, I smiled back at him and he started talking with me.
He was a Neuro surgeon and I was studying Neuro sciences too so it was easier for him to get me through that.
I told him about my problems and what had happened to my mum.
He started to preach to me in a way that I had never heard before.
He stirred my faith and consoled me, saying that all would be well whether she eventually lived or not.
My brothers weren’t listening so how did they get to hear all these?
Where did they get such a kind of faith from?
“While on board today, a doctor told us that if we have faith like mustard seed, we can move any mountain…I don’t think you have seen a mustard seed before but I have seen it, I have eaten it. Even if I hadn’t been a good boy, it’s never too late. That was what he said and funny enough, I believe it.” he said on and I was amazed.
He actually was listening to the man on te plane then.
“No other choice but to believe it as long as it’s gonna bring back my momma” Gem rapped on, tears stains on his face
“Exactly. I have nothing as I stand. No dime! Only drugs, cigar, beer, whisky, vodka, nonsense! They can’t revive mum” Ruby almost screamed loudly.
“Those things didn’t revive Nancy when she died last month. In fact, those things killed her…oh shit!” Ruby lamented on and on
Nancy was the love of his life.
They had always loved each other until she died of Tramadol overdose last month.
It was a real trying time for us all as Ruby couldn’t take charge of himself no more!
“If Jesus could wake my mum again o, chai! I swear that I would give all over to him. I would be a changed guy. I will drink no more, smoke no more, and fornicate no more, no more sin! I swear!” Ruby cried on as he knelt down beside mummy, placed his head on her tummy.
“She died of blood cancer! It was the second relapse of the chemotherapy. Even fibroid was another thing.” Abigail said again.
She was obviously worn out and tired.
Ruby looked up strictly, stood up, pulled Abigail’s hands and dragged her towards the door.
“I used to think that you were a Christian. You were always preaching to us over the phone. So, where is that faith? Where is the faith that Mr. Douglas talked about? Where?” he said firmly
as he dragged her out
“I was only saying the fact…” she defended herself
“No fact is needed here gal, only faith!” Gem said and I looked up at him.
“Gerrarahere please! I don’t want anyone who isn’t strong to fight this battle with me.” He said as he jammed the door
He dusted his hands together after turning the key over and over again to lock it.
“No wonder God ordered Joshua to screen the thousands of men first before they started the battle. God doesn’t fight according to the number of people available. He is present where two or more people are gathered” he said as he walked back to the bedside.
“Anyone with shaky faith here should go out of this room.” He said and there was no movement.
“If you all have faith, join your hands with mine then” he said again and we all joined our hands together and we went on our knees.
“Oh Lord, we are sinners…all of us!” he started the prayer of confessing our sins.
The sins, especially our incest act alone would kill mum even if God decided to raise her up.
“Since we have confessed all our sins and have promised never to go into them again by your grace, we pray that you help us oh Lord in Jesus’ name” he prayed on
“Amen” we all replied.
“Father, heal our mother. Her blood had been said to be cancerous before she died and she had been said to even have fibroid. One thing I believe is that you have our spare parts in your hands” Ruby prayed on and I opened my eyes to gaze at them.
They were both sweating profusely and shaking all the members of their bodies.
“Oh yes Lord” Gem replied, opening his mouth and closing it as if he had eaten something peppery.
“Toyota has spare parts for all its products, same for Sony, same for LG, so for all other producers. Then let’s talk more of our own God whom we do not deserve even to call on” he prayed on
How did he get such prayer points?
When last did we step into a church?
It was so strange to me but I loved the feeling of it.
“And Lord, since the salvation of three dirty children depends on it here Lord, glorify your name. please oh Lord.” Gem cried too.
I swallowed hard.
I was the only one who hadn’t been touched by whatever had touched these people of mine o.
God have mercy!
I closed my eyes firmly and remembered Sunday school, I remembered the little things we had been taught ever.
I wept bitterly
But I didn’t feel anything special
I didn’t feel anything that would make me weep and quote scriptures like my brothers did.
I felt really bad
I wanted to experience it too…
I was constipated…
It had been three hours now that we had been praying but mum remained motionless.
It seemed that our prayers weren’t even reaching the ceiling!
Was I the cause of it all?
Did I need to increase my faith?
How do I do so?
My brothers still prayed on although it was obvious that they were getting tired.
The whole floor was filled with perspiration and tears.
“God, I am getting tired but your word says in Isaiah 50 verse 7 that Mr. Douglas read that ‘For the Lord God will help me, therefore shall I not be confounded, therefore have I set my face like a flint and I now that I shall not be ashamed’ we have set our eyes like stone today and we wouldn’t want you to drag your own holy name in the mud because you are able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think” he prayed on.
If nothing, I was very sure of my brother’s great intelligence when it comes to cramming things.
Everything he was saying now was what Mr. Douglas had said and he had retained them in his own memory.
When I couldn’t even remember much!
We heard the gate opened and I ran to the window to check.
The doors of a sleek, black car opened and two men and a lady ran inside.
“Dad is here” I announced and my brothers looked up.
“Glory! Maybe God would respect his own anointing more” Ruby said, standing up and wiping his sweat
“Exactly, ‘cos it’s a must that mum wakes up” Gem said
“Yeah. I hadn’t seen mum in months…I mean long months here and never would I be able to forgive myself if we don’t get to see again. I won’t forgive myself! Never!” Ruby took it personal once more.
“For goodness’ sake, mummy isn’t even 60 yet” Gem said
“60? She is just in her early 50s and God promised that with long life would he satisfy us…is God then a man that he should lie?” Ruby asked again, sharply
“No” Gem and I replied him and he shook his head.
There was a knock at the door.
The knocks became louder
They became more rapid
“Who is there?” I asked
“Dad” he replied and I ran to the door.
I opened and saw my father at the door with one fresh guy and one beautifully huge woman like Queen Lateefah!
“Dad” I exclaimed as I jumped into the arms of my father.
I sobbed as I perceived the dew on his pajamas.
Dad had gone to pray alone again!
See how haggard he looked!
Long neck, his hair formed small lumps on his head and he looked unshaved
He must have been gone for long.
He was weeping too and I realized that there might be no hope.
God must have spoken to him.
If dad should say that it was God’s will, that means, we would just have to accept it.
“She’s dead?” he asked and I nodded against his chest
“Yes!” I replied again and dad sat on the floor, weeping profusely
My heart melted and I knew that was all!
It was just too late.
It seemed that Abigail was just too skeptical but for real, she was damn right!
If dad could wail someone’s loss, that was all.
“God gives and he takes away” he said
“No!” Ruby said as he joined us at the door, Gem closely behind him.
“She can’t be dead! Never! God didn’t take her away. Sickness did!… and since the time of John the Baptist, the Kingdom of God suffereth violence and the…”
“…violent takes it by force!” a very weak voice said and Ruby gave me a thumbs up as if I was the one that had completed it.
It wasn’t me o
I didn’t even have much verses in my memory any longer.
So whose voice was that?
Was it this aunty?
She looked huge; her voice should be very deep!
It can’t be this uncle…
it was a female’s voice.
Nobody seemed to notice.
“Dad, I can’t believe you are giving up already. Aren’t you coming from a prayer programme? So, where is your faith? Where was all you had taught us? Where is your faith?” Ruby asked on
What cute audacity it was!
Dad bent his head and wept hard.
“I am sorry” that was only what he said as he sobbed loudly
“God doesn’t just seem ready to forgive me all and erase all my sins out of my remembrance. I had really failed in my responsibility. I threw you away all in the name of western education even when God was saying something else. I disregarded my wife’s advice and she was treated like an outcast…. Like a candle in the wind” He paused and wept some more.
We all joined in the crying exercise.
The candle in the wind!
That really described mum
It really did!
“If my wife died, it would be for God to punish me and teach me that I should always put my family aright before my ministry. It would be an unforgettable experience for me…I have been away for about a month now and since God still allowed her to go, then, who am I?” he cried.
“Who are you? You think you can really survive without the support of this woman? You think so?” Ruby charged at dad
“I don’t think so son. I know I would fail” Dad replied obediently.
“So, why not fight for her life? Why not, so you make all things work together again?”
Ruby was very desperate and the huge aunty watched on with a very great interest, nodding her head with great enthusiasm.
“Why not let’s pray again? Why not let’s call on God once more? If God could heal mum and bring her back to life, we have promised to serve the Lord with the whole of our hearts. If not…” he shook his head and dad looked up at him, obviously broken hearted
“God is good my son no matter what happens” he said
“Yes I know. Gideon asked for signs from God and God gave him. I am asking for a sign from God now to confirm to me that he is good. The sign I request isn’t much, eternal breath should enter into my mum’s body and the vital organs which are faulty in her body should be brought back to life. That’s the sign I require” he said again, his chest rising as he spoke.
“Oh my God!” Dad cried out.
“I agree with you” the huge aunty said
All eyes turned to her…her spoken English command was killing!
She must have great alto…or bass!
“God has to raise her as only there and then can Tony and I get married. She is going to be the Mother in Israel that day” she said and the fresh guy looked at him.
Was he the Tony?
“I agree too” the guy said.
Dad stood up gently with Gem’s help.
“I agree too” dad said
“Me too” Gem said
“Me too” the weak voice said again.
Ruby looked at me and smiled faintly
“Haven’t you said ‘me too’ before? Why are you saying it again?” he asked and I frowned
“Does that sound like my voice? That was not me o” I said
All eyes were on me.
“Who spoke then?” Gem asked
“I noticed that voice too when you were saying violent suffer or suffer violent or something…I wasn’t the one o.” I explained.
“Maybe it’s Abigail then” Ruby said
“Or mummy” Gem said and Ruby looked at him and shook his head
“You think we are joking here?” he asked almost provoked.
Gem shook his head.
“I wasn’t joking either.” He said and Ruby shook his head still.
“Let’s go downstairs and pray please. This is just an unserious boy” Ruby said and everyone started moving towards the stairs.
“But wait everyone.” I called out and everyone stopped again
“what do we want to go and pray about?” I asked and Ruby chuckled
“See question o. I thought you said you agreed to pray for mum” Ruby said
“Fine, I agreed but we are just like the disciples in the bible because if I know nothing in the bible, the day a bible study teacher came to teach us about this subject, I can never forget!”
“What subject?” dad asked
“The disciples were praying after Peter was arrested and was in jail. They were praying for his release and God heard them. There was a knock at the door and Rhoda went to check. By the time she saw Peter, she rushed back to tell them it was him but they told Rhoda that she was this or that. It meant they were not praying with faith” I explained in my own way
“So? What are you saying?” Ruby asked, confused
I never really knew how to explain things
I knew I wouldn’t do well if I was a teacher
“Why could it not be mummy?” I asked and they all looked at me, surprised.
“What!” dad exclaimed
“When Gem said it might be mummy, why did you think he was joking and you even said he was just an unserious boy? Why?” I asked, tears gathering in my eyes
I hated it when people don’t seem to understand my point.
“Ok, you are saying mummy could be alive?” Ruby asked.
“Yes” the weak voice sounded again and I widened my eyes, nose and mouth altogether.
“That wasn’t me that spoke again o. it wasn’t me. Mummy must be alive! She must be!” I almost screamed as I pushed Gem out of the way and rushed inside.
My heart jumped into my mouth!
I searched for my voice to no avail!
By the time I found it, it came out very silently
“Mum!” I called out.
There she was, smiling faintly, still lying on her back
“Baby!” she called out weakly.
“It’s impossible!” Ruby exclaimed as he jumped inside and went towards the bed
“Sweetheart” Daddy called out and mummy smiled faintly.
“My love” she replied, holding her hands towards him
“Oh my God!” The uncle exclaimed and the huge aunty fell to the ground and started rolling, speaking in tongues
“I saw Jesus!” Mummy said faintly.
“Oh my father!” Gem rushed towards her and fell on her too, crying profusely
“One Doctor came to me with two nurses behind him.One nurse held a tray that contained a new liver, lungs, kidneys, womb and all other internal organs with about four large packs of blood and some tubes. The other nurse held an empty tray.”
She paused as she rubbed her husband’s head and patted his back.
“The doctor removed all in my inside and oh God! It was so rotten and black!” she said, irritatingly.
I could only imagine
“After the removal, he used a tube and one machine to drain all the black blood in my body after which he removed the fibroid. It was very big!” she said and I shook my head
Is God really real?
I had only watched this kinda thing on Christian Television Channels.
“He dumped all these in the empty tray and started transfusing blood for me. After that, he replaced my internal organs with the new ones and told me to go back” she completed her tale and Ruby who had started crying increased his cries from gear to gear.
“Oh God is wonderful!” I cried out loud.
God heard the prayers of this dirty filthy rag!
His prayer point exactly!
“I surrender all…I surrender all…all to thee my blessed savior, I surrender all…” Gem sang on and we joined him.
“I will worship forever, love him forever because this God is too good o” The huge aunty sang sonorously and we joined too.
“He’s too good” Dad cried too, rolling on the ground.
He spoke weakly.
Just then, there was a loud fart from the bed and we all turned to look towards the bed.
It was mum!
She farted and it was brutal!
The uncle laughed and rubbed his hands together.
“It must have been a really great surgery that Doctor Jesus conducted. After all successful surgical operations, the patient must fart. God is beautiful! she just farted now” he explained and I nodded.
It was strange to me.
Sure I was in the medical line and what he explained was not new to me..
I wondered how operation would be conducted in the spiritual realm and then it would take effect physically this way!
God must be really huge!
“Looks like she has fainted” The uncle announced again and we all rushed towards her and held her different body parts.
“Someone should switch on the air conditioner please and give me space.” The uncle said again as he walked to the wardrobe.
He brought out two saline drips and the intravenous lines and after injected a particular medicine in it, he set the line in mum’s hands and he smiled at us.
“God has done what no man can do” The uncle said.
“Oh yes! But your face looks familiar uncle” Gem said
“At John Hopkins?” he asked and Gem smiled
“That’s it! I knew it” he exclaimed and hugged him
“You are the intelligent radiography students in our college” he said as he patted his back
“And you are the number one youngest gynecologist there. It’s an honor to meet you here holding my mum” Gem said again and he smiled
“I never knew all these about you” Pastor said and the uncle smiled again.
“You will know everything soon sir” he said and looked at the other aunty who was busy caressing mum’s hands.
He whispered something into Gem’s ears and he smiled
The duo went on their knees.
“Please say yes Precious” they chorused together and the aunty faced them.
She smiled and shook her head.
“Why should i?” she asked, playfully
“Because God is good and so that mum would be the mother in Israel that day” he said and she twisted her nose to a side
“Just that reason?” she asked
“And because he loves you” Gem said sweetly
“Yes I do. I love you so much. Please say yes!” he cried out
Precious smiled and faced mummy.
“If mummy says yes, I will” she said and Tony arched his brows.
“Mummy, should I say yes to Tony?” she asked and almost like a magic, mummy nodded, trying to adjust her head on the pillow.
Someone who had fainted o!
All was just amazing to me
Tony and Gem screamed while Ruby looked on, a bright smile on his face.
“Mummy said yes” Tony and Gem screamed almost together and dad smiled.
“Alright then, I say yes” Precious said and we all clapped happily.
Abigail entered through the door too and clapped, a huge smile on her teary face.
What was she crying for?
I could only wonder
All that had happen today really did worth crying for though!
“I am happy for you guys. Congratulations” Ruby said and the duo smiled.
“Oh my God, thank you because all is falling into place for my family and these children of mine” pastor said, his hands clasped together as he focused on his recuperating wife
“When would you guys be going back to the United States?” Tony asked
“Not any time soon. We are all done with schooling though, so going back to the US would be on a visit” Ruby said and we nodded in agreement.
“When are you going back too?” Gem asked Tony and Precious looked up immediately.
“Anytime from now” he said.
Precious frowned and her face dropped.
“It seemed aunty isn’t happy about that o” I said and she gave me a “who sent you” look.
“Should I stay?” Tony asked giving her a cute look.
Precious’ face was stern
“Go!” She said
“And you would be happy about it? Really?” He asked, smiling again.
“Yes” she replied again, her face straight.
“So, what is it with that face?” He asked
I smiled as I watched on.
Precious looked forlorn and her face misty
“Aunty, are you crying?” I asked and everyone turned to look at her.
She didn’t say anything
“Awwwwwnnnn, she would miss me” Tony smiled and it was touching.
“I won’t” she retorted
“So why were you crying?” He teased on
” Because I don’t like long distance courtship. I like it when both parties are around” she explained and we all smiled
“Its the same as saying you would seriously miss him my dear” daddy said
“I definitely would” she confessed
Tony covered his face babyishly
“Were you shy before?” Ruby asked, a smile etched on his face.
“Not shy. You guys tend to start feeling yourselves. Its that feeling that I hate” She confessed again.
We all laughed loudly.
“You guys wouldnt even let someone sleep” Mum muttered as she stretched.
We all rushed towards her bed, giggling happily.
“I think this would be a nice shot if snapped” Gem said.
“Who would be the photographer?” Tony asked
“Ruby” Gem and I echoed.
“Why? I wouldn’t be in the whole scenario then? Mbanu!”
“Not to worry children. We are all going to show in it. There is a selfie stick in that wardrobe, Emerald, bring it. You are the last born here” Dad intervened and I stood up.
We started taking as many shots as possible.
It was really a time worth living and I really felt alive like a member of a real family!
Mum and even we the children were no longer candles in the wind but now, I felt like we were like a gasoline lamp that even the surrounding insects could only perch on but can’t attack anymore.
All thanks to God the greatest restorer!