WRITTEN BY LIZZY OYEBOLA OYEKUNLE
For as much as it has pleased the Almighty God to take out of this world the soul of our sister, daughter, friend and mother, Miss. Tessie Hollands, we therefore commit her body to the ground, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, looking for that blessed hope when the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout…”
The deafening silence is pierced suddenly by the deathly shriek of a blackened crow standing afar off on one of the tombstones.
I looked around me and it felt like I was the only one who could hear the sound as everyone was lost in their own worlds
Again, it shrieked, and again and I held my chest and muttered ‘Jesus!’ as I hugged my Bible tightly across my chest.
I looked towards Talitha’s side even as the priest continued with his committals and she looked really pitiable!
She was dressed in a black, flowing gown and a very black goggles but I could still see the tears flowing down her face in two or more thin streams.
We had just concluded the burial of Jeff and she was inconsolable at the session. She even asked to be buried with the dead!
I watched as Happie held close to her and they both wept sore!
“…wherefore comfort ye one another with these words” The priest rounded off his committal and it was time for everyone to pour spadefuls of sand in the grave
When it was time for Happie to move out, the two friends hugged each other tightly, shaking with so much strength that I was afraid that Talitha would wound herself if she continued that way.
What was so special about the woman?
What was so special about her that she so mourned her than she had mourned the father of her child?
She staggered as she was about to fall backwards.
I ran to her side and quickly held her shoulders with all of my might!
It was very painful to see her like that, looking all weak and sorrowful!
All I could do was hold her close and let the torrent of her tears soak through my shirt.
I could feel her clench her fists, not knowing whether to be mad or to give up hope all together. I was so touched
I could hear her silently screaming, suffocating with each breath she took holding onto her small strength remaining.
I ran my fingers through her hair, time and time again, in an attempt to calm the silent war within her mind but she wept on and on
Happie came close afterwards, smiled a bit and took her off me while they continued crying from where they had stopped.
The burial came to an end and everyone was dispersed.
As the men tried to cover up the grave completely, Talitha broke free from Happie suddenly and started running towards the grave.
I couldn’t believe my eyes!
“She can’t be dead! She can’t be dead!” She screamed loudly as she ran towards the grave.
As some men tried to hold her, she kicked them as if she had the stamina and screamed aloud
“Leave me! Leave me alone!” She cried sore but they overpowered her as they carried her as if she was a piece of art.
She looked into their faces, her mouth twisted in a pitiable way. Her face showed distress as she closed her eyes and tear drops slowly ran down her face. She had so wiped her face that it had become red and swollen.
“Check her pulse again! Just check please” She cried further as the hefty men held her so strongly. She kicked and struggled for a while until Happie went close to those men and they brought her down
She held Happie’s shoulders hurriedly and smiled as tears flowed still
“I was with her those days. She didn’t tell me she was going to die. She just can’t die! She can’t” She cried the more as she fell to the muddy ground and pulled at her hair sorrowfully.
“Tally, we will miss Aunty definitely and I know how you feel but can you let’s leave this deathly place please?” She asked, trying to be strong too
Talitha shook her head and beat the ground
“Happie, you don’t understand at all. We didn’t agree that she will die. She didn’t tell me about this outrageous decision to leave!” She tried to explain to her friend, tears strolling down.
“I get” Happie said but she shook her head in the negative
“You don’t! See, I had a mummy who brought me to this world. She left me unannounced and I tried to cope with the vacuum she left behind. There was another mummy that I thought was my mum until problems came and she pushed me away! But this woman took me in! She took a stranger in! I became her child! She gave me a little princess room. The room she had been keeping for her daughter. Her daughter that she never had! The daughter she later found in me. Happie why can’t you understand? Why? Why can’t you get the fact that she can’t die?” She lamented and I started thinking so deeply
A lot of things must be eating this lady up!
“Please, can we help her to the car please?” Happie asked me and I nodded in the affirmative as we bent to pull her up but like a snake, she slid off and walked mournfully to the grave, unstopped
“They said that I should not jump into the grave with you mummy but deep in my heart I know that I would have wanted to go to hell with you” She said and I looked alarm
What was she talking about?
“I have realized that it looks like heaven is full already and no more candidate is allowed or why were you turned away? Why am I being turned away too? Even God was challenged, yet nothing was done to prove to you that He is alive! Heaven must definitely be filled up. No vacancy!” She exclaimed, her hands raised up high as she laughed hysterically and then stopped abruptly
My Spirit was troubled within me.
What was she talking about?
What did she know about God?
“I am determined anyways not to waste my time seeking for the God they would never let me meet!” She screamed to the extent that I was scared that her growing foetus might fall off
“Ta…” I was going to call her to order when Happie signalled to me to stop and though I felt otherwise, I gave in
“They said smoking and drinking and drawing tattoos and sleeping around is bad but I pledge with all strength in me that I won’t only smoke cigar, I will get marijuana! I will learn it, I will love it!” She said and my mouth opened as my shoulders dropped
What was she saying?
There rose up a sudden heat from the bottom of my tummy and up to my face as if there was a volcanic eruption in there. The flame entered into my face and tears gathered
“I will start sleeping around too. From young men to old men, to Alhaji. Every bad thing I hear them say we should not do, I will do! That is my pledge!” She said, bowed three times and smiled
She reached for the pockets of her gown and brought out a small leather pouched Bible
What was she going to do with it?
My heart started racing
She wouldn’t do anything with the Word of God, would she?
“This is the Bible the man I called daddy gave me when I clocked ten. I had kept it judiciously because he said it contained life! But almost all that is in it, none of those who preach it to me have been able to stand by! Probably the height is just unattainable for them” She continued
I swallowed but it felt like acid in my mouth!
She was definitely committing a sacrilege!
She looked so hardened
How do I come in, in this case Lord?
Why have you brought me at a time like this?
“Forgive, they can’t forgive! Love, they can’t love! Call upon me and I will answer you, He couldn’t stand by it! When you pass through fire, you shall not be burnt, He didn’t fulfil that! This book does not carry an expiry date but I guess it has expired!”
“Ah!” I couldn’t bear the burn sensation in my body anymore. What was she saying?
But she didn’t seem to hear me at all.
She went on her knees.
“I swear never to hold a Bible in my hands again! Never!” She said and in a twinkling of an eye, I saw her fling the Bible into the grave!
Tears rushed to my eyes at that and eventually slid down my face
“Ah!” I went on my knees as I held my tummy so tightly. The pain I felt inside was eating me up!
“Sacrilege Lord! Abomination!” I cried again
It was as if a table knife was forcefully inserted in the mid of my chest
“Forgive her Lord! Ah, Saviour, have mercy” I cried still until I felt a hand pull at my shoulder and I looked up to see Happie’s expressionless face
“She has moved to the car already” She said and it was then I realized that she was not around anymore. She must have left immediately she made her sacrilegious pledge.
“Shall we go?” She asked, obviously very weak.
I nodded as I wiped my face with my sleeves and stood up, following her like Mary’s little lamb
I didn’t feel good about all that Talitha said at the graveside but I intentionally didn’t want her to be disturbed because I knew one could definitely say all sort of unbelievable things at such situations.
She must have passed through hell all the time I was not around
“I wish Uncle Jeff didn’t go with me! He would have still been alive” I said as I went all emotional, tears cascading down my face
“Please stop crying Happie. Please for God’s sake. God understands” Uncle Dove said and I smiled as I wiped my face again!
I didn’t want my face to show much sign of heaviness and sadness when we get to the hospital where mummy was.
Her heart was not in a very good condition as to take all the shocks it had been receiving all the while.
I knew we had to travel back to the States soon too although I didn’t know when exactly that would be. We couldn’t just like granny in the State and expect her not to guess that something terrible had happened
“I wonder how long we will hide it from her. Two of three children! Ah!” I shook my head again as my eyes burned and my head ached
I was the only person remaining in the family remaining!
I had to ensure mum is fine and then grandma and grandpa and even Talitha!
I turned to look at the back seat and she was sleeping peacefully as if she was not the one that had just displayed some dramatic roles earlier.
I needed to be strong!
“It is well” Uncle Dove exclaimed again and I smiled
“What is your real name? I am sure Dove is a nickname” I said and he nodded. He wasn’t looking as cheerful as he was when we met earlier
“My name is Bowen Adameji” He said and I looked into his face
“Bowen? Your parents want you to be like that Baptist missionary or what?” I asked and he smiled
“I have had people ask me that a lot of times and that is it. My parents want me to grow up to become so great a missionary. Hence the name.”
“Wow! Beautiful! I love the way you talk” I said and he smiled
“Thanks for the compliment aburo” He said quickly and I got his method in quickly drawing a line. A line I was not intending to cross anyways
“Do you know Tally?” I asked and he smiled and nodded
“Her family attends my dad’s church” He said and only then did it click
“Oh, Pastor Adameji’s son! So good to have you sir!” I said and bowed
“You must have a lot about us Happie” He said and I chuckled
“Oh well, yes! But there is no need beating about the bush sir. The summary of all I have heard about the church and the leaders was what Tally displayed at the grave side earlier” I said and looked straight into space
“And you don’t believe in Jesus too?” He asked
“Seeing is believing! If someone that had always been preaching Christ to me since the day I met her could suddenly stand up and declare a pledge because she didn’t see what she had believed, who am I to believe?” I asked sincerely as that was how I felt
His face fell and I saw him struggling to hold the steering as he looked forlorn
“Blessed are those who haven’t seen Him but yet have believed Him is what the Bible says Happie. Jesus is alive! We don’t accept Him to make Him feel good or to better His life. We accept Him because we need Him!”
“I seriously am not in the mood to listen to preaching sir. I am very sorry” I said as politely as I could sound and he smiled, regrettably
“I am sorry” He said and drove on
“Sir” I called to see if his face would have changed into an angry lion’s after I had rejected his preaching but he was actually still looking ready to listen even though he looked pained like someone that had been deprived of his mother’s love
“Yes Happie” He replied
“How did you get to know about our need for blood?” I asked and he scratched his beard as he smiled
“One Happie which I guess is you now placed it on Facebook and tagged Talitha as an emergency case and I found myself on Talitha’s wall at that time, I saw it and had to come rushing down from Lagos” He said and I looked shocked
“All the way from Lagos!” I exclaimed and he nodded as he smiled
“That is very touching of you to do. Probably Talitha would see you and still be encouraged again. I really feel sorry for her” I said and I knew he wanted more gist about her
“Her dad that stays close by was called at a critical point when we needed him but he refused saying God will have mercy on our souls. Imagine! Is that how a so called child of God should behave?” I asked and he shook his head in the negative
“No church member, no family, no friend, nobody came round her! What if she had aborted the baby before they got to know and then she ties her scarf again to minister? Would she have been pardoned?” I asked rhetorically and he looked lost in all I was saying
“No wonder the church has so many pretenders and hypocrites as leaders!” I exclaimed and he shook his head as raised his right hand to cover his face
“My Father!” He exclaimed, his voice quaking terribly
“Talitha would love your christian attributes. Please I leave her to you in case we travel any time soon” I said and he smiled
“I hope in the Lord even though she had pledged never to hold a Bible in her hands, she will not only hold it but she will preach it in Jesus’ name” he prayed and I clasped my hands together
“Me, I don’t know o. Just help me take care of her” I said and in a flash, Talitha’s face shot forward by my side. She stuck her head between the two chairs in the front and looked at Uncle Dove
“So, you are the Pastor’s first son abi? You are part of the people deceiving us with Christianity right?” She asked as she belched as if she was drunk
“Tali…” Uncle Dove tried to hold her hand when she suddenly pushed him to the door.
The car started screeching on the road, being out of control.
As it swerved from the right to the left, I jumped up in fear as Uncle Dove cried ‘Jesus have mercy’ most times while Tally’s face held no fear! She was as fearless as a lion!
She held on tightly to his collar and looked dangerously into his face
I tried my best to locate the brake with my leg and thank God he was not speeding earlier, the car swerved a little more and came to a sharp stop!
I turned the key and pulled the gear
“Talitha!” I screamed out of anger and fear but she wouldn’t even answer me
“I am not indebted to you or your family or your church! I was not, I am not and never will I be!” She said, belched again and as the poor man wanted to reply her, whoosh inside his mouth did she vomit!
“Talitha!” I screamed as I felt so irritated.
The poor man tried to spit vomitus out as he tried to push her off him but she had suddenly gone to get power and was not moved as he pinned him down the more
“That was intentional! How did it taste, huh? Bitter? That’s how my stomach feels towards you all. I will never trust any of you even if you donate your eyes to me to save me! I hate all of you and I don’t want to be contaminated by your miserable lives.” She said and there was silence.
As I tried to pull her off, she bent over him suddenly and located his ear
“Are you going to bite him also? He came to do you good Talitha. It’s not fair!” I screamed as I pulled her to no avail
“Pastor’s son, leave me alone!” She screamed into his ear and if the ear was not that stable, I was sure it would have gone deaf.
I eventually succeeded in pulling her away and she fell back to the back seat.
I looked into Uncle Dove’s eyes and saw tears gathered in his eyes as he checked out his ex beautiful turned vomitus-stained shirt.
He stunk from the vomitus.
“I am so sorry sir. Let me come and drive so we can get some water and a change of cloth. You can’t go this way” I said but he shook his head
“It’s fine. I will drive” He said and sniffed quietly.
I looked Talitha at the back seat hoping to hit her with my purse but she had suddenly slept off again!
“Her case is hopeless right?” I asked and he shook his head
He was obviously tired of the whole thing!
Ah, he really tried o!
Even if a baby mistakenly vomits on my body, I knew what mess I would be in, talkless of an adult, vomiting in my very mouth!
“She would need a psychiatrist, right?” I asked and he looked at me with eyes filled with tears
“I don’t know!” He struggled to reply me as I realized that saliva had gathered in his mouth.
He looked extremely sad and I was so sure he was struggling with his emotions.
It looked like he was looking for an opportunity to fall to his bed and cry like a baby.
He stopped the car suddenly.
“I will be back” He said as he went out and slammed the door.
“Oh my God! What could have happened to this Talitha ehn! Chai!” I exclaimed as I eyed her with my heavy eyes and moved out to join him too.
Talitha snored on at the backseat!
I felt refreshed to an extent after I had washed my mouth with sufficient water but I couldn’t wait to get home to have a thorough teeth cleansing and mouth wash.
I had never been more humiliated in my life!
How God would have brought me so low to have me disgraced was what I couldn’t bring myself to understand.
What lesson did He want me want me learn from this humiliation?
I had never been subjected to more casting down at all in my entire life.
“You feel a bit better?” Happie asked and I smiled a bit although I felt a continuous jabbing at my heart.
I felt like going beside River Han and dive inside, burying my head in it for some hours!
“I’ll be fine.” I said when I remembered I had been asked a question
I turned the ignition and we were set to go again.
After driving for some minutes, I was looking at the hospital not too far off and the gladness that filled my soul was more than the joy that filled my heart the day I came back from Germany and saw my fiancee again.
I was glad!
I couldn’t wait to get home, fall over my mum’s shoulder and narrate my most embarrassing moments with her as I cry.
“Tally, you need to say sorry to this nice uncle. He has been of a great help to you. He is God-sent indeed! Ki n ji ko?” She asked but there was no response
“No problem dear. It was all for God. No need to be sorry about it” I said when the look on Happie’s face was unhappy at the misbehaviour of her friend
“But sincerely Tally, if someone had told me that you would turn to be an ingrate this way, I would have disagreed. What happened to you?” She asked, looking sternly at the windscreen as if her face was etched there.
I looked at the rear mirror and my heart jumped into my mouth as I brought the car to an abrupt stop.
“What’s that?” Happie asked, obviously horrified
“Tally is not at the back seat” I announced and she turned back in a jiffy, obviously terrified
I came out of the car, opened the back seat and looked at the nooks and crannies of the back seat.
“Sir, please open the boot from that side” Happie said and as if it was the best bet at that time, I pulled the boot lever and we both ransacked the boot to the extent of unbolting the tyre house where extra tyre was kept.
She was nowhere to be found!
I looked up at the skies and it felt as if a stone was dropped on my small heart and being unable to cope, my heart bounced away like a rolling coin. I felt so heavy inside of me.
“What do we do? We can’t find Tally” Happie pulled at my hands, her eyes filled with fear
But knew I had to behave like a man that I was not sure I was anymore
“Let’s drive down again. Maybe she left the car when we went to get water” I said as my excitement of going home was again tampered with.
“Oh my God! What sought of a mess is this? Tally can’t be lost oooo” Happie kept on lamenting as we approached the place where we had earlier alighted.
There she was sitting down like a hopeless, rain drenched bird on one of the electric pillars.
She kept staring at the cars passing by the road that she didn’t even seem to take note of our car.
“See her!” Happie screamed as she pointed at her where she was seated. Her face had broken out into a sweet curve.
What a love!
I watched on as she jumped down and ran to Tally. She hugged her at first and thereafter started to beat her back.
I came down too but could only watch.
I didn’t know what I felt towards Talitha at all.
It looked like anger, hatred, bitterness, caution and stuffs like that but I could sincerely not describe it.
And if those were the feelings that I was having really, I knew I was already sinning
God, help me not to sin against You, please!
I muttered those words silently in my heart as my head thumped
“There are many fishes in this ocean” Tally said and I was shocked
The weather was so hot and there didn’t seem to be a small puddle of water on the floor talk less of an ocean.
“See Tilapia… see” she pointed at a car speeding away and Happie straightened up as she looked dismayed again
“Sir, what is she saying?” She asked, looking so worried and dejected
“Let’s help her to the hospital. They will tell us what is wrong exactly there” That was all I could say.
I never studied the sciences at all so I knew nothing about all that was happening
“Salmon, another Tilapia, whale….chai, see shark!” She started screaming as we helped her up.
Just as she was standing, she belched and without warning, I let go of her hands out of irritation and fear that she could vomit on me again.
But she fell over the pole then and a bottle rolled from under her then. She yelled in pain but all I could see was the bottle
“She’s been drinking!” I exclaimed Alice didn’t see that at all.
“She’s bleeding” She exclaimed and that was when I saw the red stream flowing down her legs.
“Ah, Lord Jesus!” I exclaimed as we helped her hurriedly into the car and straight into the emergency ward while Happie kept dancing in fear as I could feel her heart scampering.
“Miss Happiness, thank God you are here. Your attention is needed at the Intensive Care Unit 4” A doctor came over to her side, announced and she looked at me.
“I don’t have anyone in the ICU. What could be wrong?” She asked as if I knew
“Oh!” That was the only thing I could bring myself to say when it dawned on me that I would have to stay alone with the Talitha for a while again
“I will be back” She said and ran after the doctor.
I turned to look in front of me and realized that Talitha had been wheeled into the ward very close to me.
“Are you are husband?” The doctor asked and I had to bend and look towards the door to be sure he was not talking to me
“It is you I am talking to. Can’t you father a baby?” He asked as he laughed. The nurse too smiled and I could only gasp out of indignation
“I am not her husband” I said so firmly that the two medical personnel looked into my face and bowed a bit
“Sorry” The doctor said but the nurse continued
“Young men of nowadays can only do and do but when it is time to take responsibility, they duck! Ah! Men!” She exclaimed and the doctor laughed too
“But he said he is not the husband. Lets agree” He said sarcastically and I felt hotness rush from my heart to my face.
It felt as if my face was on fire and my eyes couldn’t stay white!
I turned back, found a chair, sat in it and buried my face in my hands for a while.
I wanted my head to cool down a bit before I find myself doing the unthinkable
“How is the baby?” I asked when they eventually wheeled her inside from the adjoining room and the nurse winked at me, smiling sheepishly
What is wrong with this woman?
“See, she is not my wife. The baby is not my baby.” I almost shouted and the doctor looked at me, shocked.
“I thought we had forgotten all about that sir. Why are you bringing it up again? Guilty conscience?” He asked and they laughed again.
It was not getting any funny but I didn’t know why I stayed.
I was so vexed in my spirit that staying would have been a No! But I stayed
“The baby” I said again and the doctor walked close to me and patted my back
“We are just catching our fun. Don’t take it to heart men! You are a man! The baby is doing well although it is attaching to the uterine lining which caused the bleeding but it will be fine. Spotting is a normal thing in some women.” He said and I heaved a sigh of relief as if a heavy burden had been lifted up from my shoulders.
I couldn’t wait to get home
“So, what of the condition they were talking about that her womb has to be removed?” I asked and the doctor smiled
“I am just here in case of emergency. This is a specialist hospital and since she had been under observation, she will still have to continue her treatment after a while here. Mine was to ascertain that the bleeding was not anything red light and I have ensured that” He said and I closed my eyes and sighed dejectedly as it dawned on me that I was not ready to go home yet.
I felt a slap over my head and it reverberated deep into my brain as I looked up.
Her eyes were filled with fire
“What are you doing here?” She asked, looking very infuriated
I panted so heavily as I tried to bring myself under control
“I don’t think I have done anything to deserve you slapping me across the head Talitha. As far as I can remember, I am far older than you, excuse me” I said and was walking to the door when her words stopped me in my tracks
“Yes, go and tell them that she is not only pregnant but she is now drinking alcohol, and that she had renounced their Bible and that she will never worship their God. Tell then she is a lunatic and she even slapped an older brother. In fact, tell your dad that the Sunday sermon be centered round Talitha! Okay” She continued and I looked back at her
“I don’t do all those things Tali…”
“You are all the same. You can’t because you donated your blood and served as a day driver act all angelic. You are all evil like that! You are a bunch of disgrace. A flock of hypocrites!” She screamed more and I started walking back to her.
“Don’t come close!” She sat straight and I read pain in her eyes as she tried her best to be all active despite her pain in her body
“Be calm a bit Talitha! You are sick!” I exclaimed and she hissed
“Like you care” She hissed again
“If I don’t care Talitha, I won’t leave Lagos to see a lady I had never met before. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t allow a needle enter my hand to save you. If I didn’t care, I would have left you immediately I finished the blood transfusion but I stayed behind because I know you need help. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be here after you had almost strangled me and vomited right into my mouth Talitha! I would have gone long ago if I didn’t care but I do care. And Jesus even care most” I said sincerely as I made her understand.
She looked like she was touched this minute and the next minute, I saw her looking around as if she had lost something
“Is there something you are looking for?” I asked as I walked near her but the look she shot me stopped me and I looked into her shivering lips
“I was looking for a gun! If I can lay hold on one, I will kill you, kill my dad, kill all your family members and kill anybody who dares mention care or Jesus beside me! Go!” She screamed and I was downcast
How else can this soul be saved oh Lord?
“I will go!” I said firmly too and she looked into my eyes to see if I meant it.
But I meant it really!
“I have done my best” I said and there was a kick at my heart
You have done nothing!
“As far as I am concerned, I have exerted all my strength. I am done! I have tried!” I muttered on in my spirit
She isn’t saved yet!
“Send another person. Obviously, I have failed, okay!” I said and walked towards the door again.
The door flung opened and Happie entered the ward. Her eyes were filled with tears again and I pulled her close to know what had gone wrong
She rested against my chest and cried more deeply
“My mum” She exclaimed, releasing some hot air from her mouth and nose to my sheer shirt which sent me tingling with a painful feeling.
I wondered what brought me to this crossroad- with these problem soaked girl!
“What happened again?” I asked and she hugged me tighter
“Her kidneys are failing! Her heart is weak! All is not working well! I am tired” She continued and I didn’t know what to do again.
I knew she had found solace in me to an extent and she looked so lonely. I grabbed her head and placed my on it as I closed my eyes.
I shed few drops of tears on her hair as I tried to pray.
God, heal, save and deliver Happie and her mum. Make her happy Lord. Amen
I prayed briefly and after a while, she lifted her head and smiled a bit as she wiped her face.
“I feel better. Your chest is magical! I wish my mum can enter into your chest for a minute. She will be completely fine” she said, smiling gratefully and bowed
Whatever she said might have been metaphoric but my heart stirred at such words.
They looked deeper than they sounded.
“I have to leave you again and I hope it is for the better Talitha. I hope no one dies again! Not you, not mom, not granny, not me!” she said as she fell beside her on the bed.
“You are leaving me again?” Talitha asked and I shook my head at her soft voice again.
Wasn’t she the lion that was roaring at me few minutes ago?
“Mum needs new kidneys and she is to be flown out now. Her name is on the priority list and I hope she gets good, compatible ones.”
“Amen!” Talitha said calmly as if she was not the angry oceanic wave that was almost chasing me off the seashore earlier.
“Please take care of yourself as much as possible. When you are discharged, Auntie’s house will be there for you to stay in. Her driver, Eddie is there for you with her car” She said further and I looked into Talitha’s face. She looked as if her life was coming to an abrupt end as she struggled to breathe.
Happie reached into a bag beside her and got an inhaler.
“Open” She said and she opened her mouth. She pressed some dose into her mouth.
“Exams would be starting soon. If you are able to, please write if not defer till next session when you are fine. Okay?” She asked as tears ran down Tally’s face
Happie tried to look away as she blinked severally obviously trying not to cry again.
“Also, don’t drink alcohol. No matter how bad I am, you won’t see me take hot drinks. Please don’t! Not with Uncle Jeff’s baby inside of you Talitha. Please. It will hurt you both.” She said as she rubbed her already protruding tummy while Talitha wailed on
“Stop crying Tally. Please be strong for me. Please” She said as she hugged her so tightly and they both wept again
I didn’t know what exactly to do at that point!
“Take this. This is my credit card. I really don’t have much inside but it should take care of your basic needs to an extent. You know my PIN?” She asked and Tally shook her head as she collected the card.
“My PIN is Tally with a single L” She said and Tally looked lost for a while, pulled her by the head and started planting kisses on her forehead
“I love you too. Ama miss you” She cried on and my eyes started going misty all over.
“My my!” I slapped my chest to cooperate and not go all emotional.
“I will have to go now Tally. They are waiting at the park for me” She said as she disengaged from the embrace.
Talitha looked lost in space as she watched her friend moved to the door.
“Happie” she called suddenly and we both looked towards her place
“What is that?” She asked as she sniffed wetly
“Take that thing out of this place as you move out” She said and we looked towards where she was pointing
Suddenly a bag of saline water fell on my shoe and splashed all over me.
“That thing” she said again and Happie looked alarmed as she eyed her angrily and looked at me in a bid to pacify me.
She had thrown the bag of saline water at me!
“Me?! I am the thing that should be taken out? Ah!” I exclaimed and Happie pulled me by the hands as we left the ward.
I was shaking with anger!
Lord, pacify me please! I am losing it all!
Happie looked into my face and smiled.
I looked into her eyes too and they were all red and teary.
I felt something deep in my heart for her that was indescribable. She looked like my little puppy Emel that died in my arms at two weeks old after an illness even though we tried all we could to save its life.
“Uncle Dove” She called me and I nodded, unable to talk
“You are a Dove. You can’t be choked!” She said as she straightened my neck as if she could see that it needed straightening because like a squeezed paper, it’s been very perched and almost rendered useless.
“Miss Happie” A male voice called out and she looked into my face again
“I have a lot of things to say but no time sir. Please don’t give up on Tally. She is the sweetest person I have met asides you. She is not that bad!” She said as she started running down the corridor
“It was nice meeting you Uncle Dove” she turned back to say to me and I could only nod.
“I am on my way sir” She replied as she ran while I stood glued to where I was.
I smiled to myself as I touched my neck and remembered how she straightened it out for me.
I heard and shook my head to normal as I started walking down the corridor too.
I heard that in my spirit and I shook my head
“She asked me to go and that if she found a gun, she would shoot my head.” I said that to my spirit again in case God didn’t hear that part.
Please don’t give up on Tally
Happie’s enchanting words rang in my head also and I shook my head and saw myself walking back towards the ward.
The door opened by itself and I was shocked.
I looked towards the bed and she was not there.
As I tried to move out, a hand pushed my head to a side and I looked to see what it was as my eyes blinked lawlessly.
“I knew you would come back and I am ready for you!” She said as if she was under the influence of something. She brought out something suddenly and was almost inserting it in my neck when my brain resumed and I caught her hand in a rush
It was an injection needle and it was a hair’s breadth away from my jugular.
My eyes shone as if they were going to fall off their sockets as slowly I reversed out the door, pushed her hands over and then started running down the corridor.
I was panting like a deer in the desert!
By the time I got to the exit, I nodded to myself and was sure beyond all doubt that I would outrun a cheetah if I could run that fast!
As my heart beat as if it was going to stop in a bit, I looked at my clothes and shoes and indeed, I was very dirty!
“Your handbag, brother” The woman who had a kiosk in front of the gate with whom I had kept my bag while we were going to the cemetery told me as I walked aimlessly around.
“Thank you ma” I said as she sent her child to bring it to me.
When I realized that people looking at my body were getting too many, I flagged down a taxi
“Drop?” He asked and I nodded
“Asokoro” I said and I entered the car.
As I closed my eyes, I buried my face in my hands and like a small child cried, changing from one gear to another.
“Eric, check who is at the gate please” I said as I checked the time. It was past 8 at night and I wondered who it was.
My husband had gone to Lagos for a convention and he definitely couldn’t be the person at the gate.
Who could it be?
I went to sit down as I wore my nightcap well- I had just had a warm bath, ready to sleep.
“Oga mi sir. Welcome ooo” I heard Eric say and my heart jumped to my mouth.
Wasn’t my husband able to make it down to Lagos again?
I jumped towards the door and as I wanted to open, the door opened and I saw my prince with a very sad look, looking very dirty at the door.
“Hello mum” He said and he stunk as he entered, dropped his bag and walked straight to the bathroom
I followed after him straight up
“Oko mi, what is the matter with you? Why are you looking like this? Where are you coming from?” I asked and got no answer.
He picked his toothbrush, laid some paste on the teeth and sanctified with some water at the tap
“You didn’t even say you were coming home” I said again but he was not answering me.
As he started brushing as if he had some kolanut stains on his teeth, I pulled at his shirt and started unbuttoning in the little way I could, my heart thumping as if it was undergoing some hard work.
I dumped the shirt which stunk of some smell that I could not fathom inside the laundry bag and walked up to the bath
Was he involved in a fight?
Has he been sacked?
Did he drink alcohol?
Was he involved in an accident?
These and many other thoughts ran through my mind as I pressed the tap for some hot water and got his bathing water ready.
He removed his trousers with his mouth twisted in irritation and I knew he would need a warm bath in the jacuzzi so I quickly filled the bath up and scented it up a little bit.
I excused him and went to the dining room, wondering what could be wrong.
As I brought out some a plate of frozen soup from the freezer, I heard someone call my name from inside
“Mum” He called and I went close to the bathroom.
“Where are you coming from this night?” I asked without mincing words, my ears close to the door.
“It’s not easy obeying God right?” He asked and my head started counting as fast as it could
What could he mean by that?
What was he expecting me to say?
“Well, difficult as it may, our patriarchs of faith who were obedient had their blessings and we have been called to obey God too” I explained too, trying to see what he was driving at
“What if in the process of obeying God, you meet some life threatening circumstances?” He asked and my legs went all weak
“Life threatening circumstances as how?” I asked as my hands shook as if they were going to fall off their balls.
“Like being vomited over, being insulted and harassed, being choked and strangled or an attempt of stabbing thereabout” He explained and my bladder lost control as I could feel my panties getting wet all off a sudden
“Oh my Saviour. Ah, Oluwa oooo” I exclaimed with great fear as I ran inside the adjoining toilet
“How did you come across all those Bowen. How?” I asked as I released the remaining urine in the toilet. I cleaned myself up thereafter and heard him sigh
“Tali…” He was saying when I jumped up from the toilet seat.
“I pray this girl does not finish you for me Bowen! I said you should leave her alone! What is your problem?” I shouted out loud, feeling as if I could pull my son into a cupboard and shield him from any Talitha whatsoever.
The little girl that grew up on the porch of my shop then had become the thorn in my flesh and I couldn’t even imagine that.
“Mum, I didn’t want to have anything to do with her earlier after you warned me but I know how God speaks to me and I didn’t want to be adamant. That’s all.” He was still explaining but I couldn’t understand it at all.
Why was my only son being deceived this way?
“Were we not the one that raised you up in this faith Bowen? Do you want to know better than us?” I asked angrily
“Mum, wait, what am I saying and what…” He was saying but I didn’t allow him land as I flushed and went to the front of the bathroom again
“Proverbs 15 verse 20 says A wise son makes a father glad, But a foolish man despises his mother….continue!” I said again as I didn’t know what else to do to stop him from involving himself in her matter again.
“The Bible also makes me to understand that the eye that mocks a father and scorns a mother, The ravens of the valley will pick it out, And the young eagles will eat it” I said again and then, the door opened and he came out, a towel round his waist.
He looked into my eyes and shook his head.
“I will be going back to Lagos tomorrow morning” he said and started mounting up the stairs.
I probably didn’t handle things well at all right?
I should have allowed him to explain himself and not stress him up the more. I needed to tell him sorry…
But by the time I got to the entrance of his room, his door was locked
As the cold breeze from the AC blew round the room, I bent a standing fan close to my head and it sent some coolness to my tensed nerves.
“Chai! Women wahala sha! I ran away from World War 1 and still came back to the second part!…huh!” I exclaimed and then smiled as I remembered the look on her face as she said ‘And the young eagle will eat it!”
“Mummy!” I laughed again and rolled over the bed.
My phone beeped and that was when I remembered I had a phone.
I5 missed calls from Princess, my Boss’s daughter and 2 missed calls from Becca, my fiancee. There were some messages too and as I wanted to check them…
Some noises started in my head as if bees were buzzing continually.
I left the phone and held my head in both hands
“Ah ah, but LORD, I am tired of this Talitha this, Talitah that which You have been screaming in my ears for a while now. I am very tired!” I said as if He was seated beside me and needed some explanations
I jumped up from my bed and looked around, very tired as to what else to do.
“Seriously, this has to stop Lord! God, as you could see, I tried my best to show her some love but she sent me away by herself! She humiliated me” I argued
Those were the next words I heard and I knelt beside my bed to weep
I saw the very pretty lady with a melancholic face who said those words in my dreams- those scary dreams
“I live in a village nearby. We were told not to come near the cliff but remain in the village but I was too adventurous.”
The dream started to relive again in my head and I started shaking my head
“Lord, No! Please I don’t want to feel this way. I can’t go through hell again Lord! Please Saviour!” I cried out loud
“And as I was found on the cliff, some village elders saw me and went to tell my dad who is a village chief. He came to see me and was really disappointed in me!”
The words rang on in my ears as if my mine didn’t matter.
“But I hung on to the tip of the cliff with the strength of a lion, very afraid of jumping down and breaking my bones until the other village chiefs came and pushed me down totally!”
As those lines relived in my head, the vomitus that sank into my mouth also relived in my imaginations.
“Then my dad pushed me off the cliff!”
I closed my eyes in exasperation
“I thought I needed help but now, it is too late. One of my eyes has gone blind, an arm also is broken already. I’ll rather remain that way”
“Oh my God!” I cried out in dire need of help.
“Sail alone. Leave me!”
As her words in that dream rang in my ears, I felt as if I was going to run mad!
“Ah! The humiliation Lord! I can’t do this anymore! She asked me to leave her in the dream and in even in real life. Why wouldn’t I respect her decision and avoid disgrace Lord?” I wept on
My feet slipped from the cliff and then I tumbled for what felt like for ever, hitting trees and branches along the way.
Of course I could remember those awful dreams. I could!
I watched in my mind television how halfway down the cliff, the trees gave way and I was left falling through the air.
Before I knew it I was hurtling over grass, earth and rock until the cliff slope became even steeper and I fell farther.
A little later I must have hit a rock and blacked out but I didn’t!
You didn’t black out, did you?
“I didn’t Lord. I didn’t but…” I cried as the meaning of the dream I had been having came to my understanding.
I found myself lying by a small river I’d spotted from the top of the cliff
“Any wounds?” That melancholic girl asked again and I blocked my ears and opened my eyes wide like my life depended on how widely open it could go.
“Leave me alone! Leave me!” I screamed the more
There was a knock at the door and I knew my mum was still there.
I knew she would stop me before I go all mad.
I ran to the door and hugged it tightly
“Mum!” I called out
“My prince” She answered in fear
“I will be going back to Lagos first thing tomorrow morning.” I said again, my heart thumping
“Should I book your flight?” She asked, obviously glad
“Immediately mum” I said even though some kickings had started in my heart
“That’s my son! The Lord be with you dearie. Good night” She said and as I fell to the ground, holding my thumping chest in my hands, I looked at the door and smiled faintly
“Good night mum”
I held my chest and swallowed hard if probably the spittle would go and moisturize the dryness in me as the kickings therein wouldn’t let me be.
“I am going to Lagos first thing tomorrow morning. The earlier you get that Lord, the better!” I said and almost immediately after I said that, the kickings subsided and there was calm!
I was scared!
Watch out for 7
Thanks for staying tune.
Written By: Lizzy Oyebola Oyekunle ~~~2017
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