Through the Eye of FAITH (11)
It is episode 11 today. Please, accept my apologies for not posting on Thursday. It has been a really TIGHT week. Will keep up… 🙂 Please check here for previous episode. Enjoy!
Faith rolled restlessly on the bed. All her joints were stiff and her mind was deeply disturbed. Too many things had happened earlier in the day. First, Miss Patience was replaced by the terrible Mrs Jaiye and that had not gone down well with the class. Mrs Jaiye was a no-nonsense teacher who would flog at the slightest opportunity and Faith had never liked her one bit. What would make the Proprietor change their teacher? She never had the opportunity to talk to Miss Patience, whose sad face was all she could notice throughout the day, though Miss Patience had pretended that everything was alright. But the one that worried her most was what occurred after school.
She had walked home from school, feeling broken-hearted at the turn of events. Home was few minutes away from school and before long, she could see the roof of her house. When she turned the corner, she stopped dead on her tracks. There was a crowd in front of their house and that scared her to bits. A familiar dread filled her. Perhaps Papa was back again to vent his terror. Her pace quickened. This time, she would be there to defend Mama.
She scampered through the crowd into the house and noticed the door to her home was wide open. As she walked to the entrance, she didn’t want to imagine the horror that awaited her, but when she saw her mother sitting quietly and safe between two policemen, she relaxed a bit.
What had happened? Why would policemen visit their home? Was everything alright?.
Mama stretched out shaking hands towards her daughter and placed them on the space beside her. Faith walked quickly to join her mother, who had a fearful look in her eyes.
Mama whispered into her ears. “Your father has put me into more trouble. That is why these policemen are here.”
“What did he do again? Did he hurt you?” Faith examined her mother’s body.
“No, No. It is worse this time. They say they are looking for him because he robbed a bank last night.”
Faith could not believe her ears. Her father was a thief! “Have they caught him?”
“No. That is why they are here. He escaped during the shootout. They think he may be here. They have scattered my house, thinking he has kept the money here.”
For the first time, Faith noticed how disarranged the room was. Everything had been turned upside down. She looked boldly into the eyes of one of the policemen. “Papa is not here and we do not have any money.”
The policeman smiled kindly. “I know that little girl, but we just have to be sure.” Then he handed a paper to Mama. “Call that number anytime he comes home. We have been looking for him for a long time and you will help us catch him.”
“You want me to hand over my husband to you?” Mama challenged.
“With all due respect madam, your husband is a thief, and not just a thief, one that is on our danger-list. So, you either cooperate or I will arrest you as an accomplice.”
Faith jumped from her seat. “You cannot arrest my mother!”
Mama pulled Faith to her side and spoke gently. “I have heard you and will do what I can do.”
“Make sure whatever you do is for the good of everyone. You would not want your daughter to be left alone, would you?”
Mama didn’t respond.
“Can we talk briefly outside?” He asked Mama, who stood up reluctantly and after some minutes, she was back in the room, looking more confused than ever.
Faith watched the five men leave one after the other and quickly shut the door to stop outsiders from coming in. She rushed into her mother’s arms. “Mama, what are we going to do if Papa comes home?”
Mama held her daughter in a tight embrace. “God shall teach us what to do.”
Now, as Faith struggled to sleep, she knew she had to find a way out for she and her mother to be safe from all these. If Papa came home, there was no way Mama would be strong enough to keep him till the policemen came for his arrest. Mama turned on the mat and Faith knew she could not sleep either.
Mama turned to face Faith. “You have not slept at all. Your eyes are still bright.”
“I cannot sleep. I am worried about Papa. What if he comes tonight?”
“He cannot come tonight. He knows the police are after him and that this place is no longer safe for him.”
Why was that difficult for her to believe? She felt somewhat strange like Papa was close to the house. “What if he comes?”
Mama sat upright. “He cannot…”
A loud knock on the window shut Mama up. The next was louder. Then there was a loud, whisper. “Open the door for me.” The voice was unmistakably Papa’s “Mama Faith, go and open the door for me now.” He sounded desperate. “I know you can hear me. Open quickly now!”
Mama jumped up and ran towards the door. She shook so much that it took her some time to be able to get the right key for the lock.
Faith ran to the door and blocked it. “Mama, Nooooo… we cannot open for him.”
“Get out of my way.” Mama was frantic. “My husband is outside.”
Faith started crying. “Mama, noooooooo… we cannot.”
Mama held her daughter by the shoulders. “Stop crying and listen to me. The man they call a thief is your father too. As much as I want him to be punished, my heart cannot bear it. Let us open for him and hear what he has to say, okay?”
Faith stepped aside slowly to a corner of the room and awaited the next line of action. Mama quietly opened the door and walked towards the main entrance into the house. With the least noise, she opened the main door to let her husband in.
When Papa entered the room, a foul smell accompanied him. He looked unkempt, drunk and tired. He sat on the chair and buried his head into his hands. When Mama closed the door behind her, he looked up. “Lock it.” He commanded. Then he stood up and peeped through the window as if to make sure no one had seen him.
Mama turned the lock and walked towards where Faith was. She held her daughter as they looked at Papa.
“Why are you staring at me like that?”
“You come home in the night and the first thing you do is to accuse us.” Mama countered.
“Are you talking to me like that? So you now have the guts to talk to me anyhow you like?” Papa’s voice was filled with sarcasm. “Make yourself useful and get me some food.”
“There is no food in the house.” Faith endured a pinch from Mama for talking.
“Ha!” Papa turned to her. “You are like your foolish mother now, talking like a fool.” He walked to the food cupboard. He searched all the pots and found nothing. “I come home to my house and I cannot get anything to eat. What kind of mad family do I have?” He turned red, bloody eyes on Mama. “Is this what I get for taking care of you all through the years?”
Faith wondered why her mother had not brought up the incident with the policemen. She wanted her mother to tell him they knew everything he had been up to, but it appeared her mother was tight-lipped.
“You are drunk. You should sleep and tomorrow you would feel better.” Mama advised and pushed Faith to her back when she saw Papa pick up a soup spoon.
Papa staggered on his feet and Mama walked towards him to assist. When she placed her hand on his shoulder, he thrust it aside. “Don’t touch me.” Then his eyes rested on her stomach before they rose to her eyes. “Where is my child?”
“Your child? Do you mean the one standing there or the one you killed?” Mama answered sarcastically.
“Oh! Now I am a murderer.”
“Add that to a thief!”
Papa stood still suddenly. “What did you just say?”
“The Police were here yesterday to accuse you of robbery. Did you do it?”
Papa’s mouth opened and closed. Then he began to ransack his house like he was looking for something.
Mother touched his shoulder and Papa turned to give her a hard slap. “Don’t ask me stupid questions, woman.”
Mama fell on the floor and Faith ran towards Papa and bit him on the leg. “LEAVE US ALONE!” She cried repeatedly over and over.
Papa angrily pushed her away and she fell on top of her mother.
Mama threatened bitterly. “I have their number. I will call them and they will find you.”
That stopped Papa. He turned and his hands went to his waist, unloosening the belt. “What did you just say? You have their number?” His eyes were red and he looked uncontrollable. “So you are cooperating with them? My own family has turned against me.”
The first whip caught Faith on her back as they managed to escape. The second landed on Mama’s head and that was how it went non-stop. Their screams rang out into the night. When he saw that he was not satisfied, Papa picked up the rolling stick and as he was about to hit his first target, the door suddenly opened and two men walked in, holding guns.
“You are under arrest.” One shouted at the top of his voice, pointing his gun directly at Papa. Papa looked lost and quickly dropped the object before placing his hands above his head.
The second policemen assisted Faith and Mama, who had sustained an open wound on her head. “Well done!” He lifted Mama and gently helped her on a chair.
Faith lifted her teary eyes to her mother’s. “What did you do, Mama? He just said well done.”
Mama closed her eyes and held the next set of tears from falling.
“You had planned with them. You didn’t lock the doors.” Faith realized suddenly. “You did what was good for everyone, just like the policeman said.”
Mama spoke weakly. “I did what was good for your father. That was what God wanted me to do after I prayed about it.”
Faith remembered a prayer she made days before. She had asked God to take her father away and it amazed her that had happened so quickly and unexpectedly. God really answered her prayers. If HE had been just a minute late, she wondered what would have become of her and Mama. She closed her eyes and muttered another prayer. God, thank you for listening to me.