Through The Eye of FAITH (7)
It is our sincere prayer that everyone reading this series with us be visited by God in due season. Don’t give up on HIM for HE is an on time GOD. if you missed the last episode please click here.
“Up on your feet, Faith!”
Faith was jolted from sleep and she yawned uncontrollably. She still felt very sleepy and wanted to succumb to the urge, but the bright light that shone through the window her mother had opened made her jump to her feet. “I’m late!”
“Shhhhhh!” mama gesticulated with her hands, pointing to a figure sprawled on the sofa, which was the only cushion in the room. “Don’t wake Papa! You know how he hates being disturbed.”
“When did he come home? I must have been fast asleep.” The last she could remember was the prayer they said for him before they had finally slept last night. She had told God specifically that she wanted Papa to change from his bad ways, and if he didn’t, God should give her another papa. Mama had stiffened a bit when Faith said those words and she didn’t say ‘amen’.
“Early this morning.” Mama opened up the pot from the small cupboard in the corner of the room. “You will eat the remaining rice this morning. That is all we have left.”
“What about you and Daniel? What will you eat?”
“Don’t worry about us. God will take care of us. Now, prepare for school while I wait for your father to wake up before I go to the market.”
The room was filled with a nauseating, familiar ooze. Papa was heavily drunk and he snored loudly with spittle coming out of the side of his mouth. He looked helpless and lost and Faith wondered if he would ever overcome his addiction. For as long as she could remember, he had always come home drunk and unhappy, and most times, he would turn the aggression on her and her mama, making the house unbearable for them. Now, as she watched him, she was amazed at how drunkenness could turn a ‘monster’ into nothingness and she felt really sorry for him. What worried her more though was his absence from the house every night. As much as she was happy he was away, there was an uncomfortable feeling that something was wrong but she could not say what. She watched him as he turned into a more comfortable position and a blue pack fell off his pocket.
She picked it up. “Mama, what is this? She began unwrapping.
When Mama saw what was in Faith’s hand, she jumped and rushed towards her daughter. “Bring that now!”
Faith quickly handed the object to her mother. “What is it?” She was surprised at the way her mother reacted.
Mama collected the pack and hid it inside her wrapper. “It is something I told your father to buy for me.” She lied.
“Okay.” Faith shrugged nonchalantly and went out of the room.
Mama could not control the vibrations through her body. God, why me? She untied her wrapper and the object fell on the floor. She was afraid to pick it up as it brought her closer to reality than before. She had denied over and over, but now the truth stared hard at her. Her husband was cheating on her. She kicked the condom to a corner in the room and fought the deep urge to arouse him from his sleep and ask him if it was true. She had suffered all through the years, had played the good wife, stood by him when he had nothing, she had even pretended she hadn’t seen the marijuana in one of his trousers when she washed his clothes two weeks ago… all along she had been the good wife as her Christian faith would allow and this was what she would receive in return? She could pretend no more. All the while she had refused to believe his late nights were connected to a woman, but now there was proof. The worst thing that could happen to a woman was facing the truth that her husband was a cheat.
Faith entered the house with a bucket half-filled with water. She saw her mother standing at the same spot she left her with a sad look on her face. “Mama, are you okay?”
Mama stared blankly at her daughter and nodded slowly. “Yes, I am fine. Get ready for school.” She commanded in a sharp voice.
Faith knew that voice. She also knew she dared not disobey. So, she quickly picked the bucket and dashed to the bathroom, hoping it would be free or else she would have to wait her turn. On her way, she greeted their neighbours and met Baba sitting outside, biting on a chewing stick. Once again, she felt that oddness around him.
“Good morning, Baba”
Baba waved his hands happily. “Good morning, my daughter. How are you?” He spat out the dirt in his mouth.
“I am very fine.” She didn’t want to wait for more pleasantries, but before she could go past him, he grabbed her hand and drew her close to him.
“You should greet like a well-trained Yoruba girl.”
Faith tried to release her hand but the grip was firm, too strong for a man who looked very old. Baba drew her close to his arms. “How is your daddy? I know he beats you a lot. Any time he is around and he wants to beat you, you can just come and hide in my room, okay?”
Faith nodded quickly. “Yes sir.”
“Good.” Then he released her but not without first squeezing her buttocks. When he saw her shocked look, he laughed. “Don’t worry. I am just playing with you.”
Luckily, someone stepped out of the bathroom and before Baba could continue, Faith was already running there. Bolting the door, she thought over what just happened. The old man had touched her and she didn’t like it. His eyes had looked so bright when he did it. No matter how terrible her home was, running to his room was out of the options. She would discuss this with Miss Patience.
As she lathered some soap on her body, a large cry emanated from the house and Faith jumped in fright. She could recognize the voice. Mama was in pains. Without waiting to rinse her body, she started putting on her clothes. Before she could finish, a neighbor had come banging on the bathroom door.
“Faith! Come out now! Your mother is in danger!”
Faith hurried out of the bathroom into the house. When she got to the room, what she saw made her scream. Her mother was in a pool of blood and people had gathered around her.
“Mamaaaaa!” Faith wailed. “Mama, what happened? Somebody please help Mama!
The neighbours quickly carried her mum out of the room and took her to the nearest hospital. Faith held on to her mother. She would never leave her alone. She looked around the people. Her father was nowhere to be found.
When they got to the hospital, Mama was taken into the emergency room while Faith was told to stay in the waiting room. Faith was very afraid. She had never been in this kind of problem before and didn’t know how to handle this. She wished she could call her teacher. She really needed a shoulder to lean on, but there was none.
Some minutes later, the doctor came out of the emergency room with a smile on his face. “Thank God she survived.”
“Which of you is her husband?”
There was a hushed silence as everyone turned to look at faith hoping she could tell where her father was. For what seemed like an eternity, no one could answer until Mr. Jide, a sympathetic neighbour who had volunteered to drive them to the hospital in his cab covered for her as a close relative. Faith knew it was a lie but was not perturbed because she was eager to know what had happened to her beloved Daniel. She had heard the neighbours talking in hushed voices while they waited for the doctor to come and she didn’t like the worried look on their faces. Her mind wandered back and forth but the only words she could say amidst her tears were from the Lord’s Prayer she had come to memorize fully ….”deliver us from all evil…..”
Lost in her own scary thoughts, she didn’t pay attention to the ensuing conversation but was brought to reality when one of her neighbours asked, “And the baby?”
“The baby didn’t. It was either her life or the baby’s. I am sorry.”
Faith started crying. How could God allow this? She could not believe her baby brother had gone. She dashed straight into the room without permission. Mama was lying face up with a distant look on her face. When she saw her daughter walk in, she tried to sit up and drew Faith into a tight embrace, weeping profusely.
“I’m sorry mama. I’m sorry I wasn’t there to help you. I know papa did this to you” Faith cried as she held her mum closely.
“He hit me in the stomach.” Her mum explained amidst tears. “We lost Daniel. He’s gone to be with Jesus now.”
“But Mama, when did that happen? I just left not long before I heard your voice.”
Her mama could say no more. Though she was deeply hurt and in pains, she willed herself to protect her daughter from anything that would birth a root of bitterness within. She had cried and asked God why and she wanted to just run away from her husband and never return but the sight of her daughter always made her remember the promise God gave her a long time ago and even though HE slayed her, yet she would trust HIM till her dying day. She knew the God she served and was confident He would come and save her. As she opened her mouth to talk, all Faith could hear were the words that her mama sang so graciously and she marveled and wondered what sort of mother she had. How could she still trust in a God who didn’t come to her rescue when papa was beating you up? Which tomorrow was mama singing about and which future was she referring to? Faith cried helplessly into her mother’s arms as she sang…. and life is worth a living just because HE lives …. Right now, she felt so dejected. God, I need another daddy.
Right through the weeping, she heard a strange voice. I am your daddy. I will take care of you. She looked around, but saw no other person. It was obviously not her papa’s voice but whoever it was; she liked the comfort and peace that came after HE spoke. She climbed the bed and laid beside her mother, holding her hands in hers.
“Don’t worry, Mama. God will give you another baby.”
Mama sniffed loud and drew Faith closer. “You are all I have now. You are my only baby left and I promise that no one, not even your dad, will take you from me.”
Faith snuggled deeply into Mama’s body, Right now, that was the safest place in the world.
Everything will be okay. The strange voice whispered again.
Jesus, is that you? If it is, I have heard you like little children like me. If this is true, please show me how much you love me and Mama too. I don’t know how you will do it, but just take Papa away from us. And oh! If Daniel is with you in Heaven like mama said, tell him we love and miss him. Tell him he will always be my little brother.