Through the Eye of FAITH (12)
Good morning dear friends. REDigion is back with your favorite series “Through The Eye Of Faith” I sincerely apologize for the silence over the past weeks. They were a period of exams and an extremely-tight work schedule. It feels good to be back and to be with you. I am grateful for your patience and loyalty. A BIG THANK YOU to all who checked on me. This is the 12th episode and to refresh your memory, click here and here for 10 and 11 respectively. Please feel free to leave your opinions here. Best regards.
Dapo leaped out of bed with his hands clamped in two tight fists. Every muscle in his six-foot body was tensed as his eyes did a quick survey of his room with his ears alert to pick up the slightest movement. He was not alone and the hairs on his skin stood straight as he waited for his ‘attacker’.
A sharp, brilliant light suddenly lightened up the room and he covered his face. Not again! “Leave me alone!” He screamed. “I do not want to have anything to do with you anymore.” He turned his back against the light, facing the wall. He could deal with anything but this. He could not count how many times he had been paid a visit by this ‘man’ since he was a child.
“I am sorry, my son.” The Visitor’s voice was soft and gentle. “I cannot leave you until you give me what I ask.”
Dapo saw the shadow on the wall. He had always thought he was tall, but this ‘man’ dwarfed him. He replied stubbornly. “I cannot give you what you ask because you have not been there for me.”
“Oh! But that’s not true. I knew you well even before you were born. I carried you in my arms and nurtured you.”
“No, you did not. You left me a destitute on the streets with no one to turn to. I was alone and hungry, naked and sick. I am who I am today because of my determination, my hard work! You did absolutely nothing, you hear me. NOTHING!”
There was quietness and the light dimmed a bit. Dapo let out a sigh of relief. He had won this time, he thought. Then the voice spoke so loudly that Dapo nearly jumped out of his skin.
“Who preserved your life when all you were fed with in the womb was marijuana? Who protected you when your mother tried several times to abort you? Who gave you the chance to live again when you were picked on the roadside almost dead?”
“That was providence!” Dapo shouted back.
“And where do you think providence comes from? Does it fall like rain that you can gather in a bucket or grow like a plant that you pluck to eat?”
Dapo had no answer for that.
His visitor continued. “You do not understand many things, my child. You think everything you have achieved is of your own might. No. You are wrong. From the day you were conceived, I watched over you every second. I created your destiny and that is why you are still alive today; and until you give me full control of your life, you will never make much meaning of it.”
“I DON’T NEED YOU!” Dapo blurted out, blocking the light with his hands. “I can take care of myself.” He felt a burning sensation on his skin and he looked up to see the ‘man’ place a finger on his chest.
“I want to be in there. Right where I belong. Do not linger anymore.”
Dapo pushed the hand away. “Leave me alone.” He kept repeating over and over… until he felt a tingling sound on his face.
“Wake up, guy! You are scaring me.”
Dapo rubbed his face and struggled to focus his gaze on his best friend who was spending the night.
Kunle shifted away from him. “Who was trying to hold you in the dream?”
Dapo sat up at the edge of the bed and rubbed his head while he tried to recollect every part of the encounter. “I’m sorry. Was I talking in my sleep?”
“Yes. You obviously had a nightmare.”
“More than a nightmare. I’m sorry I disturbed your study time.” He stood up and dragged himself into the bathroom. Few seconds later, he walked back into the room and Kunle’s voice startled him.
“What is that?” Kunle pointed at Dapo’s body. “That mark on your chest.”
Dapo stared at his body in unbelief. Right there in the left corner of his chest was a dark mark that he had not noticed before. “Oh my God!”
“What is it?” Kunle closed his books.
Dapo looked up with scared eyes. “Do you know a very good pastor? I need to see one urgently.”
Kunle glanced at the table clock. “It’s almost 4am and thankfully, today is Sunday. So we’ll go to your church.”
Dapo replied shamefully. “I … I don’t really have a church I attend.”
“You mean you have not been attending church at all? Now, that’s bad.”
“Do you know a pastor or not?”
“We can go to mine. It is not a popular church. Just a small church located somewhere.”
“Good. I do not need the church. All I need is the pastor. Let me know when you are ready.” Dapo walked out of the room with his hands over the mark on his chest. This was the strangest thing that ever happened to him and until he found the answer he needed, he knew he would never find rest.
Three hours later, Patience cleaned the last seat in the row and congratulated herself for a job well done. She had timed herself and was glad she finished just on schedule before anyone could enter the church. Today would be a good day; she could feel that in her heart and could not stop the smile that crossed her lips. Today, she expected two special visitors whom she had invited to church and she could not wait to take them to the pastor after the service. The doors opened and the pastor and his wife walked in, looking radiant.
“Good morning, Sister Patience. What an early bird you are.” Pastor Mark boisterous voice filled the small church. He was a stout, short man and he held his wife, who was equally short but petite.
“Good morning. I have to be sure everything is ready before service.” Patience replied with a broad smile.
“That is very commendable. You are an inspiration to our upcoming sisters.” His wife praised sweetly.
“Thank you, ma. It is you that have been a major source of encouragement to me.” Then she turned to her husband. “Sir, about the visitors I spoke to you about, I shall bring them to you after church.”
“No problem. I will be happy to see them. Let’s not disturb you further. Please carry on with your work.” Pastor Mark nodded approvingly and walked towards the pulpit, followed closely by his wife.
Patience watched them walk away and dreamed of the day when she would walk down the aisle with her husband. The smile quickly disappeared. That day would never come because she would never get married. Why put a man into a misery she would cause?
She closed her eyes against the images that had haunted her for many years, but just like usual, she lost the battle.
“I am sorry.”
“What do you mean, doctor?” A sixteen year old Patience asked weakly on the hospital bed. “Didn’t you get it out?”
“Of course, the abortion was successful. But in the process, your womb was damaged.”
“What!” She tried to stand up, but the pains were too much. “You mean I do not have a womb anymore? I cannot have a child again?”
“No, you cannot. It is one of the risks that come with the job. We thought we could save your womb, but unfortunately, we couldn’t. The baby had stayed longer than it should.”
She burst into tears. “I didn’t know this would happen, doctor. Please, is there something you can do to give me back my womb?”
The doctor shook his head. “Too late. Go to sleep now. It has been a long day for you. When you wake up, you will feel a whole lot better.”
She never felt ‘better’ after that. Her whole life had shattered and it took many years for her to bring parts of it together, but one piece could never be replaced. She had no capacity to have her own biological children and that had aroused the desire to have an orphanage when she was old enough. These past weeks had proven it was time she brought that dream to reality. She had resigned from her teaching job and had begun preparations to set up the child-care centre, but she knew she could not do it alone. So she had walked up to the person her mind was fixed on – Faith’s mother- and was glad she did. Mama’s response had been positive and she had agreed to meet with the pastor today for prayers. Patience’s smile returned. Everything would end well after all.
In the next hour, Patience stood at the entrance of the church and ushered people in into the right seats. When she saw Faith and her mother, her heart leaped with joy. Faith was very happy to see her teacher and she nearly jumped into her arms. Patience whispered into her ears and she giggled. She loved Miss Patience and would miss her at school.
Patience could recognize that voice anywhere. She looked up to see her friend’s twinkling eyes. “Hello, Kunle. You are a bit late today.”
“Yes, I got a bit delayed by my friend.” He looked back and called at a man who was taking his time to get out of his car. “Dapo, what’s delaying again?”
Patience froze when she saw the man beside the car. What was he doing here?
When Dapo saw Patience from the distance, he didn’t know if he wanted to attend church anymore. It had been a while they had seen each other. From the day she informed him of her resignation, he had deliberately avoided her. Slowly, he walked towards his friend, making sure he had no eye contact with Patience.
“Meet Dapo, my best friend. Dapo, meet Patience, our most dedicated worker.” Kunle did the introductions and walked into the church almost immediately.
Dapo followed his friend without an acknowledgement of Patience’s presence and Patience tried to control the hurt that was raging in her. He was still angry at her, no doubt, and there was nothing she could do about it.
Dapo quickly found a seat at a corner and tried to calm his nerves. What was he doing here again? To see the pastor or to face the woman he never thought he would see again? The way she looked at him had put him on the edge. She was looking so beautiful that he nearly forgot himself staring at her. He looked at his wristwatch. This service had better finished on time. He came here just for one business. He adjusted his tie and took a quick look at the exit. Did he just say he was here for just one business?