I have two news- one good news and one bad news. Which one would you love to listen to first?
That was the first question Dr. James from South Africa Specialist Hospital asked after conducting series of tests on our boy.
My husband pulled at my skirt as we watched on.
I was unexpectedly composed although all the bolts holding my jaws had been loose as I could only look on with a façade smile
My husband was really shaken by the incidence even more than I
Whoever says medical doctors have had their feelings and emotions mauled by their years of experience should come and see my husband and be convinced that they are also human beings having blood flowing through their veins.
He was really hit!
Well, Jean was the only child we had!
It was quite understandable then that we had to send for a specialist so that there wouldn’t be any interference of any kind
Good news and bad news?
“Erm…the good news first” I said and my husband, who was shaking seriously, placed his head on my shoulder.
Dr. James was not smiling though
“The good news is that the spinal cord of our child is still very intact. There is no injury of any kind” he said and my eyes shone
My husband almost jumped up
“For real?” he exclaimed
My eyes didn’t leave Dr. James for a moment.
The expression was not consoling!
“Dr. James, what’s the bad news?” I asked and he looked into my face penetratingly.
“Mrs. Douglas” he called out and I held my breath, praying as I did
“Dr. James” I replied as my husband reversed back to the seat beside me, his hands on my laps, tugging at my flesh as if it was a dough.
I looked into his face and though he gave me a smile, I knew he was very anxious- his lower lip was pursed
“Does any of you have a history of cancer or any kind of tumor?” he asked and I had a sudden migraine
“Cancer?” I asked in a shaky voice, jumping as though I had learnt that a bomb was planted on the bench on which I was seated
“You can’t be serious my doc” my husband said as he laughed in a way that made me very scared.
I went close to him and held him to myself as I looked into Dr. James’ eyes
“Check again my Doctor James. There could be a mistake somewhere please. Never has anyone in my family or his been diagnosed of cancer or lumps or tumor” I explained
“Never!” my husband exclaimed too, vibrating against my chest
“Well, I am so sorry but some cancerous cells were found in his bone marrow. I am afraid he is in the early stage of Leukemia” he said and my head jumped off from body.
My husband disengaged from me as he heard and staggered to the window panes.
I could see it on his face- mist
Were those sweat or tears?
I had only been hearing of it but never had I imagined that I could have a close relative who would have it
I didn’t even know what it meant.
Dr. James came close to me, sensing my confusion.
He placed his hand on my shoulders and smiled
“Mrs. Douglas. Please you have to be strong. It’s not so serious. It’s been detected early so we can fight it successfully” he said and I sat down on the bench and stared into space.
I was emotionless.
Even I didn’t know what to think about at that point.
My husband was beside the window panes, shaking his head in a regrettable way.
Though I didn’t know what it meant, whatever leukemia meant must be serious then.
Dr. James held my hand
“Leukemias are cancers that affect bone marrow.” He said and I just looked into his face, still confused
Couldn’t he realize that I was just a layman?
“Let me make it simpler for you..” he said. He must have seen that I remained confused
“As cells divide into different divisions to produce red and white blood cells, they could become cancerous. Do you get me?” he asked and I just looked on, tears already calling themselves together to form in my eyes
“If a progenitor cell becomes cancerous at the beginning of a series of cell divisions, the leukemia is termed acute. But if it is in the later stages of division, we have chronic leukemia” he explained further, patting my shoulders
“Hmmmm” I said eventually as the tears ran down my face- very hot against my skin
“We thank God that Jeans’ case is still acute. Though it is serious as well, we can still have 60% success” he said and I shook my head as I beat my laps in repeated successions
“Ah! Jesu oooo” I screamed aloud
I had never even imagined that such a bad thing like that existed in my handsome looking boy
“Oh my God! Why? Why?” my husband screamed aloud and I looked towards him
He looked totally shaken
He dug his fingers into his hair, crying like a baby
“I hate chemo, I hate radiotherapy. I hate them with passion!” he cried with such passion that I knew the extent to which the problem was
I looked in Dr. James’ face and he was quite disappointed in his friend
“Dr. Douglas, please pull yourself together. This is not a hopeless situation as you are posing it to be. It will be well.” He said and my husband nodded as tears ran down his face the more
“Mrs. Douglas. The only thing now is to get a matching bone marrow donor. I have sent his blood sample to the lab. The result should be out anytime soon so that we would know his blood type in order to determine if it is you or his dad that would donate” he said and my face shone
“We can donate? Isn’t one bone marrow everyone has?” I asked,
He smiled, relieved at seeing my shining face
“No dear sister. Bone Marrow is that soft, pulpy tissue that fills the cavities of bones” he said and I became hopeful again
I had thought that it was a bone or something
“We will suction the red bone marrow from the pelvic bone of the donor with a long needle attached to a syringe. That’s all we need. It would be treated so that the white blood cell in it would be removed”
“The white blood cells are removed so that they wouldn’t attack the recipient” he explained on, making the subject more interesting to me
“It would be done through an intravenous infusion and immature, but healthy cells would be introduced into the bloodstream. That would be all” He explained, little by little
As he explained, I felt a whole new ray of hope for our son
“You forgot to mention that it’s not as easy as you have said it Dr. James. You didn’t mention that yes, bone marrow transplants are helpful but they cannot always cure a blood or bone marrow disease because the match between donor and recipient is seldom perfect. Where do we get a perfect match? Have you found any before? Since you started practicing this…” My husband started talking and I found such unbelief irritating to me
“Dear, could you be positive for once? Are you still a Christian at all? Let’s hope in God please” I spoke so loudly that our boy stirred.
Dr. James ran to his bed. He was there on the bed with a lot of tubes inserted into his body intravenously and with bandages holding his lower limbs and neck
“He is coming back to consciousness soon. We would have to find a donor soon so that we can start chemo in other to get rid of those cancerous cells” Dr. James looked into my face hopefully
I smiled as I wiped my tears from my face
I refused to be daunted by the expression on my husband’s face and his words
Where is Doctor Jesus?
He can heal everything
He did not tell me that such a thing would happen
He didn’t tell me that I would suffer the loss of my child- my only child for that matter.
I relaxed at that point.
We shall await the result and my boy would be well again- very soon
“That is impossible!” My husband exclaimed loudly and I moved close to both doctors
“What is the matter again?” I asked
Immediately Jean’s blood type result was brought, his dad and I were asked to have our blood type checked too.
The result have been brought now and I wondered what the problem was again
“How can his mum and I be A and then he is O? How? How is that possible?” my husband asked on and I was confused as well
“You are sure he is your son?” Dr. James asked and I shot him a very serious look
Seyi shook his head
“What does that mean Dr. James? Does that mean you can’t recognize Jean again? You knew when we gave birth to Jean and before you travelled to South Africa, he had always been in and out of your house. What are you saying?” My husband said, almost screaming
“I am sorry. I am just so confused. Probably we should re-run the tests then or what could the problem be?” he said
And we did!
The results were still the same!
The silence in our house that night could be touched!
My husband had been extra-ordinarily quiet as our driver drove us back home and I had just a lot to ruminate over too
How could our blood type be different?
What could have happened?
I stood up to go to the kitchen.
I was extremely tired and famished.
As I opened the fridge to pick some apples, I heard my phone ringing.
When I expected my husband to call me so I come and pick the phone up or bring it to me and none was forthcoming, I went into the room and saw him, his back against the pillow, looking at the phone as it rang
I picked the phone and as I was about to press the receiver, my husband spoke
“Who is that?” he asked, his forehead hewn into a slight frown
“It’s elder” I said and picked the call.
I moved out of the room in order to close the fridge that I had left open
“Hello Mrs. Douglas”
“Good evening sir” I said
I had sworn not to ever pick his call when he did call but I decided to change my mind
“We have not seen Mercy for three days now.” he said and I was tempted to his although I didn’t yield
He was still my spiritual leader anyways
“And you are just calling today Elder?” I asked
“Nooo…We thought she angrily left because her mother corrected and would soon come back but no, we waited long until someone told us that she was rushed to the hospital from school day before yesterday”
“Well, she is” I replied curtly as I sorted the apples too choose
“Please, I am in the hospital right now where I have been directed to that my daughter is. But I am not allowed into the ICU where she is” he said and I smiled a bit
I had instructed the nurses not to allow anyone in no matter the relationship they claim they had with the patient
“Sir, she is in the intensive care unit. Just no one is allowed to enter in there” I said
“What! I am her father. Don’t you get? This is Mercy’s father. I want to see my daughter” he said with authority
“Sir, when we move her into a ward, you might be able to see her but definitely not now. She is in a critical situation and she is being monitored” I said and he sighed deeply
I shook my head as I washed the apples under the tap
“What exactly could the problem be Mrs. Douglas? What happened to my daughter?” he asked and I sighed too
“She had a very critical miscarriage” I said as I cut the apples into small cubes inside two salad bowls
“What! Miscarriage?…Mrs Douglas, see, erm…let me call you back…” he stammered in whispers
I dropped the call, shook my head, carried a tray with the salad bowls and two bottles of water and moved to the room
As I got to the room, my husband looked up at me.
I was not comfortable with the look
“Dearie, what is the problem?” I asked as I dropped the tray on the table.
I carried a bowl of salad and was walking to him when he shouted suddenly
“If you can eat at this point, I am a man of conscience and I won’t be able to swallow a tiny bit”
I was shaken
Since our seventeen years of marriage, Seyi had never raised his voice at me before.
I was shocked
He saw it and was guilt-stricken as he scratched his head
“Come over here” he said and I dropped the salad bowl on the table as I obeyed the last command
I sat on the bed and he held my hand
“Sorry for shouting at you” he said and I nodded, yet to be out of my shock
“But dear, why? Why would you do like this to me? Why?” he asked and I was confused the more
What had I done to him?
“Since our marriage almost two decades now, I had never seen any other woman. I had drawn water from my cistern and I had been contented with you. So, why would you do this to me?” he asked and my throat became clogged up immediately
What was he saying?
“Never have I seen any other man too dear. What did I do to you?” I asked, very confused
He shook his head as if he was sorry for me
“Even if you don’t pity your son, I pity him a lot. You can see that I am not a match for his transplant; I would have done it for him. But you have to confess now so that your only son would be saved” he said further and everything became lumped up in my head
What was he saying?
Why is he saying ‘Your son’ instead of ‘Our son’?
I couldn’t comprehend anything at all!
“Seyi, I don’t get you” I said and he held my hand, fixing his eyes upon mine
“Who is Jean’s father?” he asked and my walls came crashing down
“What!” I exclaimed as tears ran down my face, unrestrained.
Seyi just accused me of extra-marital affairs?
I tore at my hair as I stood up and danced mournfully as I cried.
“Ah! Impossible! I just heard wrongly! Seyi can’t say such to me…I am…” I was saying when he shouted suddenly
“Would you shut up my friend!” he screamed and I fell into a chair, very shocked
I should shut up?
“How is it possible for an A blood group couple give birth to an O blood group child? Impossible! Produce the father of the child now” he screamed as he approached me
“Who is it? One of the parents of your students? Or is it elder?” he asked as he came closer and I started crying
“The devil is a liar. My marriage is covered with the blood of Jesus” I said and he looked so dangerous as he came closer. He slapped my face hard
“Would you stop pretending, you hypocrite!” he screamed
“Jesus” I screamed in a high-pitch as the pain entered into the innermost part of my body
“I should not have trusted you at all. I should not have placed my life into your hands. I should never have believed you. Now wonder she smiles so seductively with men…ah…I should have known!” he said as tears ran down his face
Oh my God!
I was really shaken
Shaken that Seyi could even think that I could do this to him!
Really shaken that my husband could distrust me this much
“Seyi, I can’t believe this” I cried hard and he shook his head
“You are a liar. Even today, you have proven to be a bastard, a whore, a filthy adulteress” he cried again as he sat on the bed, holding his head with his two hands
“How?” I asked
I was sure this was the devil’s handiwork
Was I not watchful enough as a wife?
Was I not wise enough?
“Why couldn’t you pick Elder’s call in my presence? Why did you have to take so much time that you left for hours in the pretense that you went to get apples?” he asked and I shook my head
What a strategy the devil wants to use!
I refuse to let go!
I refuse to allow bitterness against my husband
The devil wants to create a huge problem for me but that is not what I need right now.
Bitterness would make me prayerless and angry and I might let curses run out of my mouth against Seyi
I would not allow those roots of bitterness to spring at all
“Seyi, I was out to get apples for us. We haven’t eaten since morning when it is not like we are fasting. My phone rang and I waited to see if you would bring it to me. When you didn’t, I had to run to the room before the ringing stops. I had left the fridge opened. I went out to close it immediately after getting my phone so the gas won’t all escape.” I explained and he nodded as if he was convinced
Then, he stood up from the bed, went close to the mirror and picked a bottle of perfume. He threw it at the mirror and it came crashing down
I stood up, mouth agape
He screamed loudly and knelt down on the broken pieces with a thud
“You ruined me Bola! You ruined me yet you said you loved me. Bola!” he cried so loudly that I was confused
There was a knock at the door but my husband continued weeping
“Omobolanle, Oluwaseyi, please someone should open the door”
I had even forgotten that Seyi’s old grandmother was around.
She was already so old and bent and I wondered how she got to the door so quickly
Seyi stood up, wiped his tears and walked to the door, still heaving with violent sobs
He pushed me off the way as he opened the door
Mama, with face full of wrinkles was at the door, a cane in her hand, her long grey hair fallingover her shoulder.
She looked not too happy as she entered the room slowly.
She sat on the bed and looked at both of us- her sight was almost gone.
Seyi lost his mother to an accident when he was a child and his grandmother had been his strong support.
He loved her as he loved his eyes
“Oluwaseyi” he called out and he went close to her and fell before her, burying his face in her laps, resuming his crying session
She rubbed his head soothingly
“Omobolanle” she called out to me as I went close to her, Seyi pushed me back and I almost fell
“Mama, she can’t come close. I don’t ever want to see her close me again!” he cried out
Mama looked shocked as she looked from her grandson to me
“Oluwaloseyi! Ah ah…why? What could have happened between both of you that you don’t have respect for me? What?” she asked and Seyi started crying again
“Mama, our marriage has been a deceit. Could you believe that she has been deceiving me ever since” he cried and mama looked at me
“How?” she asked
“Mama, I told her my greatest pain in life when we wanted to get married. I told her all about it but she said she loved me and would marry me just like that” he said and that was when I realized what he had been talking about.
I shook my head because he had taken it too far!
During courtship, he had told me that he was impotent but I really loved him that I believed there was nothing impossible for God. I told him God will perform wonders before we even get married and for real, about two months to our marriage, he started seeing and feeling changes in his body.
We went for some tests when after five months of marriage, I was not pregnant and that was when we were told that he was infertile. It was difficult for him to bear but I believed in the Lord for him and prayers started fully.
The third month after that, I conceived!
“So, what happened?” Grandma asked.
“I couldn’t make babies quite alright and we were ready to go all the way to adopt. But she went outside marriage, got pregnant and came back to me saying a miracle had happened…such a woman can kill…ah ah!…ah …oluwa oooo” he cried violently the more
Mama cleared her throat
“How did you know that my son?” She asked
“Mama, all i know is Bola cheated on me. I loved her and I thought she loved me too but no mama. Bola cheated on me” he said and Mama shook her head repeatedly
“Impossible! Not my own Bola” Mama exclaimed and I started crying
It was so touching that I could still have someone to believe in me at that point.
“Jean is not my son.” He blurted out and Mama covered her mouth, shocked
“You are shocked too Mama?” He said and I sat up, crying heartily
“Mama, that’s not true.” I cried as I watched Mama clearly and realized that tears had started gathering in her eyes
“Ahhhh!” Mama cried as she slid from the bed and her grandson quickly held her as she went on her knees
“Mama, I have never cheated on Seyi. Jean is his son” I cried on when all of a sudden, Seyi came close to me, strangling me and tightening his grip on my neck.
I wheezed on when I heard the frail voice
“Leave her alone!” Mama screamed weakly and he stopped almost immediately
It all looked like a dream to me.
Strangling me like this?
After almost two decades of living together, Oluwaseyi!
I was battered!
I was crushed!
I was yet to come out of the sad news that I read from Mercy’s diary three days back but here I was in almost the same shoes as hers- exactly the title of her diary- Crushed!
After reading clearly over and over the writings in her diary, I had seen the title of the diary.
Written boldly was the word ‘Crushed!’
I felt like I might need to get a diary too and start writing how crushed I was at that point
“Jean is not your son Oluwaloseyi” Mama said and I jumped up
“Mama, that’s not true. You won’t believe Seyi over me, would you?” I asked, my voice shaking vigorously
“My daughter, I know my end must be very near and then truth must come out” she said the more and I was more confused.
Seyi held her hand
“Mama, you know about it all?” he asked and she shook her head
“Jean is not your son but it’s not Bola’s fault” she said in a shaky voice
“What!” Seyi and I exclaimed
Mama cried the more again
“I have a confession to make” she said and we exchanged looks with our swollen faces
What could have happened?
It was just impossible for mama to do wrong!
‘I did it for your good’ Mama said, tears running down her face
I would have gone to hold her shoulders and asked her to please stop breaking my point but at that very point, an outburst of emotion was just welcomed.
What did you do?
Mama should just please talk!
And louder please!
The Holy Spirit never mentioned anything like this in whatever way to me at all since about seventeen years that I had given birth that Jean wasn’t my son
How possible could that be?
“Bola, could you travel down memory lane to the time when you were pregnant? Can you remember at all?” Mama asked and I nodded in the affirmative
I sure remembered!
How would I forget something like that in a jiffy?
I spent about six months in the intensive care unit of the hospital because the pregnancy was not just easy at all.
I had waited long for about 7 years before eventually getting pregnant but immediately I got pregnant, severe life-threatening illnesses followed!
In most cases I was in a comma with different tubes attached to almost all parts of my body
Sometimes, I would actually wake up with a start until after a few minutes of excitement; I would relapse into unconsciousness again!
On one occasion, I woke up to see Seyi beside me holding my hands firmly, tears strolling down his face
“Bola, can you see me? Are you awake?” he asked excitedly as he saw me stir
I nodded slowly and he came close, held my face close and kissed me firmly
“What exactly is wrong with me?” I asked almost immediately
He rubbed my forehead with a weak smile etched on his face, tears still strolling down his face
“Mama refused to disclose it to me. She said that you would be fine” he said and I nodded
Mama had an international repute of being a standard Gynecologist and mid-wife
Despite being in her late 70s at that time, she was still allowed to practice since it was her hospital
“I miss you love! Please never should you relapse into unconsciousness. Mama complained that it is dangerous to the brain of the baby.” He said and I could only nod
He dug his hand in a big brown envelope and brought out a CT scan result
“My love, we would be having a baby girl!” he smiled happily, pecking me from my forehead to my tummy with care.
Seyi had always dreamt of having a baby girl as his first child. Since courtship, he had lamented that it was not to nice leaving amongst five boys with no girl while I lamented that I grew up amongst 7 girls and I needed a boy.
We had laughed over it then that we would see who the winner would be
“You have won?” I asked, smiling, the pain from inside held me tightly again and I pulled on Seyi’s arms in serious pains
“Bola, wait now. Bola, please…Oh Jesus! Doctor!” he called out loudly, shivering with fears
He didn’t want to just interfere in my case since the most experienced mama was involved. He had just always been a fearful doctor!
…and I didn’t know what happened afterwards
“Since you can remember, you can relate to the fact that the first scan said you would have a baby girl right?” Mama asked and I sat inside a cushion, my knees hitting each other
Seyi looked so worn out.
His mouth was just suspended as we both watched out where this was actually going to lead to.
“Mama, I asked you then when after the second trimester, you said that scan was reading something else but you said it was normal! That it does happen” Seyi burst out, tears rushing into his eyes.
Mama placed her hands on her head
“Yes it actually does happen. But it didn’t happen in your case. I lied” Mama blurted out and my bladder practically opened an di had to rush into the loo to ease myself before joining the duo
“Mama, you lied? How? I don’t understand Mama. Talk in clear terms please” Seyi said, his voice shaking vehemently and I could only nod like agama lizard in agreement with him
I was practically going crazy!- like virtually!
“Bola had cancer of the womb since the inception of the pregnancy” Mama broke the news and my eyes shone in utter shock!
“What!” my husband screamed as he slapped his laps in shock too
“Cancer?” I asked and started crying as if my death day had actually been declared
Mama wiped her face
“I actually did a biopsy and the laboratory helped to confirm that it was cancer. Yet the baby was growing- surprisingly! I found it weird but I knew it was just too dangerous for the baby. The constant coma and fatigue made my fear worse. That was why I placed her under close observation and I disallowed you from attending to her personally. I just didn’t want her to lose the pregnancy she struggled to get because there might not be hope for another” Mama continued and I could only pull at my skirt in desperation and despair.
“So, mama, what did you do? Did you actually perform an hysterectomy on Bola? Did you?” Seyi asked, his voice raised
Mama started sobbing
“I had to save her life. Keep her through the nine months itself was a risk but I just believed that I could manage it till then and it was so” Mama said and I still wasn’t getting it at all
What exactly was hyste-whatever it was they both said now?
“What’s the meaning of that?” I asked naively and Seyi looked into my face, his anger had gone. He was looking at me with pity
“Hysterectomy is the process of removing the womb and the tubes in a woman’s body” he explained and my eyes shone so brightly that I felt the heat deep in my skull
“So, I don’t actually have a womb? And I was trusting God that I would have another child? Oh God!” I started crying
Mama faced me, holding her wobbling knees with her feeble hands
“Bola, what could I have done? Exactly what my daughter? I needed to save the baby and save you too” she explained tearfully
“So, where is the baby? Who is Jean then?” Seyi asked, somewhat agitated
That was the exact point where I was going!
I needed a very strong explanation to believe this story at all!
Mama coughed so loudly that it shook her whole frail body and I was forced to move near her and hold her shoulders
I left her when she had got back to normalcy
“A young girl actually worked into my hospital and I realized that you were in the same trimester. She had her scan done and I could see her baby was doing fine in her. But she was so dejected and was planning on aborting the pregnancy because according to her, her pastor had impregnated her and he didn’t want to accept responsibility” she continued and I shook my head as Mama’s pace was just too slow for me
“And?” I asked so she could be faster
She looked into my face bleakly, her face forming into a pitiable curve
“I am sorry Bola…you…” she was saying when her grandson cut in
“Mama, continue” he said firmly and I pitied Mama at that instant.
I didn’t think she had ever had to be questioned like that all her life
“I begged her not to. I admitted her and started taking care of you both. I knew that since your daughter did not have a nice stay in the womb, a lot of damage would have been done to its internal organs and I was afraid that your only seed would be handicapped. So immediately the Bola’s labor started, I quickly induced the lady to labor too and I switched the babies” she explained and my head seemed empty at that point
“Jesus!” Seyi exclaimed as he banged the window panes so hard
“Unbelievable!” I exclaimed too, slapping my thighs to be sure that it was reality
“So, where is the lady?” Seyi asked and I nodded again
“I actually asked her for the pastor who impregnated her and she said it was an elder. I ensured she delivered the baby to the Pastor’s doorstep before I paid her to go far away”
“So, who is this pastor?” I asked so emphatically
The havoc these pastors are wrecking these days were actually becoming too unbearable for me
“It’s your elder. The one that pastors your church” Mama dropped the bomb and I slumped to the ground
The realization dawned on me so greatly!
“Wait mama. You mean the witch daughter of the Browns is my daughter? Our daughter?” Seyi asked, shining his face so forcefully as if he wanted to release about 5kg of faeces
“Her name is Mercy. I named her Mercy. We dropped the baby in a basket and set it at the entrance of his house. He had just got married at that time” She concluded her story and I really didn’t know exactly what to do
Should I shout and slap myself to reality?
Should I shake Mama and pinch her hard for not telling us this earlier?
Elder was Jean’s father and Mercy was my real child from the beginning, hah!
I started rolling on the ground and banging my head on the cold tiles
“Now baby, this is not the time to be sentimental. It’s time to take action. We have to save Jean’s life. Let’s approach the father right away” he said and I quickly sat up, wiping the tears in my eyes so I could see clearly
“Impossible! We are telling nobody the truth about this o…we can’t say this to anybody” I started
What would people say?
What great stir were we actually going to cause in the church is we actually go and say something like that?
“Let’s put our egos aside and save this precious boy’s life. He is still my son and I love him” he said
“This isn’t any ego thing Seyi! We can’t tell anybody about it. If we probably find a donor from anywhere on this planet earth, oh yes! But not Elder! Oh no!” I was saying when he went to the large trolley, picked his car key and stormed out of the room
“Yeh! I need to stop this guy o!” I cried to myself as I stood of from the floor where I had been
“I am sorry. I am so sorry” Mama kept on repeating and I simply nodded as I ran after Seyi
“Seyi, don’t do anything nasty. Put the children’s feelings to mind too. They wouldn’t like this kind of situation” I started
“The earlier they know, the better for them” he said as he opened the car door and entered into the car, banging the door.
I quickly opened the other side too and jumped in as he zoomed off with speed
“Seyi, drive moderately please. You are not as crushed as I am right now, are you?” I asked but the man I was talking to was just so focused on where he was going and wasn’t even going to pay attention to me
“Things done rashly out of anger often result into disaster. One needs to think more on issues before taking action Seyi. These ego and pride of yours sha! Once your mind is made up, not even the wife of your youth do you listen to. Oga o” I exclaimed and the car came to a sudden halt!
I was scared!
Was he going to hit me?
He had never done so to me since we got married until earlier that day and I was unsure if he was going to do the same again. The tip of my tongue clung to the roof of my mouth in fear
Then, he hugged the steering and started crying profusely
I was confused
“I am sorry Bola. I am sorry” he continued until I had to clear my throat so he could raise his head and confirm if it was my own Bola he was talking about but it was as he raised his head, stretched his hands towards me and held my hands in his
“Bola, I should never have disbelieved you. I always knew that you are the real definition of a virtuous woman. I should never have doubted your integrity. It wasn’t you that did it. It was mama! Mama sold my child out and now the child is bewitched and needs deliverance while someone else’s child is actually who we thought was ours.” He started lamenting and I looked on as tears ran down my face
It had just been a sudden turnaround in my family since the past five days!
“It’s not Mama’s fault entirely. She was just touched as any mother would have felt” I tried to support Mama because I believed she couldn’t be blamed for what happened entirely. She wasn’t even born again at that point and you can expect anything from anybody who isn’t born again”
“Gosh! So you mean we would have to start contending with the witch and send our precious Jean to …but wait…Elder Brown couldn’t even be as bad as they are all painting him to be. He had been a very great source of blessing to me in my entire life that he wouldn’t do all these….i don’t seem to understand. What kind of machination of the enemy is this?” he lamented and I looked around in the car and luckily, Mercy’s bag was there.
I picked it up, unzipped and brought out the diary.
I unlocked it and gave it to him
“Read it!” I said as he collected it from me
“What’s this?” he asked and just placed my elder on the window and supported my chin with my palm.
“Crushed!” he read aloud – he must have seen the first page of the diary and when I realized he was engulfed in what he was reading, I used the opportunity to talk to God as way
“But why Holy Spirit? Why did you hide this salient truth from me? Why oh Lord?” I asked, deeply in my heart and I felt the sign
He was actually near
He was going to speak!
“There is time for everything!” that was the answer and I gasped
“Yes dearie. Jesus waited till Lazarus died before he actually stepped into the situation. You remember what he said? He said, Lazarus is dead and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe, but let us go to him” he explained to me and I was confused
“I don’t understand” I muttered
“If you can remember the story of the Shunnamite woman whose son died- after she had met Elisha to narrate her ordeal, the prophet said something. Do you know?”
“Oh, when Gehazi was trying to push her away from his master?” I asked to be sure
“Yes” the Holy Spirit replied me
“He said Gehazi should leave her alone because her soul was vexed in her and that the Lord had hid it from him and had not told him what had happened”
“Good! He was saying anything he knows or did was not by any of his own virtue or power but only from God who reveal to him only what and when he pleases”
“Wow! So it pleased the Lord that this was hid from us?”
“It is just for His glory and pleasure. He doesn’t do anything without any reason”
“Really! But the transplant and surgery and Mercy too…how do we go about that? How?” I was almost crying
“All will be well” it was so reassuring that I just smiled
“Really!” I exclaimed until the sniffing of my husband called me back to reality.
I looked towards his side and his eyes were soaked form serious weeping.
“I can’t believe this!” he exclaimed
“I couldn’t believe at first too” I replied, shaking my head
“Ah! This world is wicked o…that young girl has really suffered…Oh my God!”
“Yes, our daughter…” I corrected and looking up at me with his teary eyes, he nodded
“Yes, our daughter!” he agreed for the first time and we smiled together
“We really have a lot to do. Would you still be able to drive or should I take over?” I asked and just could nod
As he turned the ignition key, his phone rang and I checked the name
“Dr. James” I announced as my heart started racing uncontrollably.
“Huh?” my husband asked too, so afraid too
“Pick it” I said, giving the phone to him
“No, you pick it” he pushed it back at me and I picked the call with my shaky hands
“Hello, please I need your attention at the hospital now” he said
“I hope there is no….” I was saying when he dropped the call
My husband looked into my eyes expectantly
“What?” he asked
“That we should come to the hospital quickly” I replied turning the ignition as he sped off with full speed, I held my breath as I prayed that we would arrive our destination safely
We jumped into the intensive care unit where Jean was and we were so shocked!
“Jean!” we chorused almost together
We were both panting from ear to ear as we had ran breathlessly to the ward earlier.
“Mum!” he called out, giving a sick but enthralling smile
“Dad!” he called out too, his dimples, resurfacing on his face
“Oh my God!” I screamed as we ran towards him and held on to him in a very warm and peaceful embrace while Doctor James watched on, a deep smile on his face
“My baby!” I cried
“My son!” Seyi cried out as well as we tried to disengage from him
“What happened?” Seyi asked the doctor and he smiled
“Miracle!” he exclaimed
I looked up at him, not sure I heard him well
“He wouldn’t need the surgery again?” I asked almost excitedly
My husband looked at the doctor expectantly too
“Well, funny enough, after running some tests on him immediately after you left, I found out that his bone marrow still function normally. All leukemia is gone! In fact, all is well with him. No qualms at all” he said and I jumped up
“The Holy spirit said all is well! Wow!”
Could it just be a test?
Oh not a test…
A way of letting the secret that Mama had hidden for years to be revealed?
“But for his broken neck and some cracked ribs, he is fine!” he said and I hugged my baby once again
“Mum, where is Mercy?” he asked all of a sudden and I paused
“Mercy?” Seyi asked, looking into his face, intently
“Yes. She was been operated on the last time I was here. Where is she? Did she survive it? Tell me!” he just bombarded us with the questions that I just had to say something
“She should be fine already. The surgery was successful” I said and he smiled broadly, obviously relieved
“Can I see her please?” he asked and I shook my head
“You have several fractures Jean. You possibly can’t move now.” Seyi said and he frowned
“But I want to see her. She is my best friend”
“Oh yes I know son. Let’s go and check her first and then we would get back to you. Okay?” I asked and he nodded.
“Congrats” Dr. James said as we went towards him at the door. He hugged his friend and shook my hands happily
“I am so happy for you my people” he said and we couldn’t but just blush
Just then, there was a knock at the door
“Who is there?” Seyi asked, almost angrily
“There is an issue sir. You need to come out” someone said from outside and we opened the door.
The nurse was sweating profusely
“I just saw your car and knew that you are around. Doctor, we have a serious case” she said, breathing so heavily and I was shocked
“How is Mercy? The girl in the female ward?” I quickly asked
She nodded wearily
“It’s her parents o” she said and started running towards the lobby
We followed right behind her and the sight was gruesome!
“Mrs Brown!” my husband and I screamed as we arrived at the lobby
Mrs Brown had actually attacked her husband with a very sharp knife, cutting deeply into his arms.
He was busy screaming ‘Help!’
“Security, what are you doing? How could you be watching when this kind of a thing is happening? For what reason have you been employed? So all you could do was stand by and watch, ehn?” My husband fumed and shouted at the four security men who had actually left the gate for sightseeing inside
It was so annoying that they would behave like that when the reputation of the hospital would be at stake
“Where is everyone? Why would you allow this people in here?” he asked on angrily.
I had to pacifyingly pat his back before he calmed down eventually
Mrs Brown had fallen to the ground, the knife still in her hands
“Doctor!” She cried out while her husband just sat like a mauled cow, holding his bloodily battered arms and wriggling in pain
“Mrs. Brown, what is the meaning of all these?” I asked and she smiled, tears running down her face
“I have brought him here for a test. It is either he does the test like this, in my presence and let me know what my fate is, or I kill myself right here in front of everybody!” She cried and my husband looked me in the eyes
I smiled a bit
“Yes o mummy. That was how some ladies from the opposite neighborhood came around to the house today, saying that they had been infected on the HIV from Baba Mercy. I said it was not possible. He actually denied knowing the ladies but you would know when your husband is lying nah! I begged him to lets come here and get tested but he refused. I pestered him till he started beating me, planning to take life out of me. I was left with no option than to hold a knife too and that was why I was able to drag him here”
“Really! But he is an elder!” My husband said, obviously teasing him
“I don’t care. He should just get tested and not put my future at stake” she cried further
“Get the Procedure ready and get both of them tested right away.” My husband ordered the nurse and they wheeled the necessary materials into the lobby in a few minutes
“I don’t want to do any test. I am not doing any test at all” He said and started running out of the lobby
His wife brought the knife close to her neck
“Stop him or I kill myself. Better stop him now” she cried in a very loud voice
“Just leave him since he doesn’t want to do it. Just give us the knife so we could get the sample of his blood from it” A nurse said and Mrs. Brown calmed down a little as she surrendered the knife
As we awaited the result which I believed would determine the HIV status of my beautiful Mercy too, Mrs. Brown couldn’t just be calm.
She kept on hitting her knee against the other and slapping her thigh
“My life is ruined” she cried aloud and even my heart started to race
“Make it negative oh Lord! Please have mercy” I prayed silently as my husband gave me a knowing look and pressed my hand gently
“The result is ready sir” a nurse said after a while
We all looked up in expectation as we expected an answer.
Just then, my husband’s phone rang aloud and it was grandma
“What’s the result abeg?” Mrs. Brown asked on, so anxious to know the outcome
“Hello Oga, this is Joe sir”
“Ok Joe. Is anything the matter?”
“I saw Granny on the staircase o- she has died oo” he said and my husband and I screamed so loudly
“Dead?” we asked together.
“Impossible!” I cried as I paced up and down for the umpteenth time before my husband pulled me and led me towards the exit
“Nurses, do the needful. We would get the result soon. Organize an ambulance and let it meet us at home immediately too” Seyi ordered as we jumped out of the lobby
Mama must have followed me immediately I followed Seyi!
She must have!
Oh my God!
Now, an HIV issue had come up again and I wondered what the result was.
Whatever the result was would define Mercy’s life afterwards o
This is really crushing!
“Tell your nurses to tell me the result o” Mrs Brown shouted after us even as we drove away
“Come back at night” My husband shouted back at her as he sped up
…closely followed behind by a fully loaded ambulance!
Watch out for the last episode!
Sorry for the delay
I love you all
CRUSHED (Final Episode)
I thought, and really did thought!
“I thought I was really crushed but I found out that that was the deepest lie of the enemy!…” Mercy’s voice ran through the mic and spread on top of my eardrums like rich chocolate butter on a slice of bread.
“Oluwapemisire, would you come out of the car now? We are late” I shouted at my first granddaughter who was still holding on to her bar of chocolate and biting another chunk into her mouth
I was dazed!
What sort of a girl eats chocolate so late at night!
“Mummy, you are spoiling these children already” Mercy had told me one day when at around 10am, she called to talk to them and I told her that they were still tucked in their blankets, sleeping peacefully while I did the house chores
Well, what was I supposed to do?
It is the joy of every grandmother to see her grandchildren, hale and hearty and enjoying God’s grace right?
That was why when Mercy and their father decided to have a six month retreat in the United States, I gladly accepted to take care of the wonderful three children they had- Oluwapemisire, Oluwandabira and Iranlowooluwa
The 6 months summer retreat was over but they had been invited as the couple of the year to a National Christian Youth Fellowship Summit for the Cross Over night at the Eagles’ Square, Abuja.
Seyi had paused the Mount Zion’s ‘Fiwajomi’ movie that we were watching the night before and I looked into his face
“What?” I asked, because the look on his face could be very scary sometimes
“My baby, I beg you because of Christ that we are serving. Should I kneel down?” he kept on dramatizing- or that was how I saw it.
I was just so confused as to what he was talking about
“See, the children just called that they are already in Sheraton Hotel”
“And you know the programme is slated for 10pm right?”
“I am leaving the house by 7pm” he said and I opened my mouth wide
“7pm because of what? Are you the gate keeper there or something? Why would you want to leave so early?” I asked and he shook his head, smiling so happily
“You don’t understand the glee and the joy. But by 7pm, if you are not ready with your grandchildren, it means you would have to come in your car. The traffic jam at Nyanyan could be very maddening this festive season” he said and played the movie again, looking as though it wasn’t him that just spoke
And true to his word, he left us behind and I had to struggle with two wonderful boys and a lovely girl because as usual, I felt it was too early to wake them by 6pm when they were having their nap and I had to bath and feed and also pack some food for them.
But it was already some minutes past 11pm and Mercy had started her speech.
The three children held unto me even as I struggled with the food packs and my handbag in my hands.
I was just a proud grandma.
“My baby” That was Seyi’s voice
He must have been looking out for me because the look on his face was that of anxiety and worry
“They have started since, ehn!” He said as he helped collect the bags and we tried to make it to the front seat
“Sir, you can’t go to the front again. Its occupied” an usher tried to stop us.
My husband turned to meet him and patted his shoulder
“We are the parents of the guest speaker. We have reservations in front” he said proudly and I exposed my teeth as my smile was so pure with no kind of pretense whatsoever
“Oh! God bless your womb ma. Wow” the usher said she led us gallantly to the front seats.
“My keyboardist, you would have to be at alert with me today even as I deliver my speech. You get me?” Mercy faced the instrumentalist who nodded
I smiled softly
“See mummy” The children said almost together and I tried to shush them quietly
“I said that I thought that I was really crushed but oh no my people! I was not!” she said again, looking lovely in her long, turquoise turtle necked gown and beautiful glassy shoes
She picked something from the pulpit and raised it- her diary!
“This diary contains everything about my life and everything that I have ever gone through in life but guess what? The title is boldly written down in here-Crushed!”
There was a thick silence even as she spoke and I nodded accordingly
“You know, I felt I was really crushed when I thought I had a kind of mystery surrounding my birth and that I was abandoned and forsaken. I felt I was really crushed when my foster mother maltreated me and did all sort to me but I was still consoled by my foster father’s kind of love” she went on and I listened with rapt attention, shaking my head as those times reverberated back in my memory
“I felt irreparably crushed however when my trusted, foster father started to molest me sexually and there was nobody to talk to…hmmm” she sighed deeply and it had effect on the sand of people seated
“I felt I was so crushed when friends in school called me Messy Mercy and wee-wee girl because I was still bedwetting at my old age and I could do the shameful thing anywhere, anytime!” she looked over the crowd and smiled
“I also felt that I was so so much crushed when my foster father so instigated some speculations about me in order to cover his dirty acts that I was demonic and possessed and everyone around me believed. I felt so crushed because no one could see the good in me” I looked at Seyi’s side and he shook his head as he hissed regrettably, wiping the beads of sweat on his forehead
“I felt so crushed when I realized that I had missed my period and I feared that the worst might have happened to me- I could tell nobody, nobody how I felt” she continued and she smiled again
“I felt really crushed when in my state of nausea, my crush, whose name is Jean came up with a ‘friendship-proposal’ and I had to refuse because I felt some kind of betrayal and unworthiness to be friends with him. I felt too crushed when he said some hurtful words to me after my decline. It felt like that was the worst thing that could have been said to me” she said and I picked Iranlowooluwa’s hands and squeezed them tightly as tears gathered in my eyes
“Then, from losing the pregnancy in a life-threatening way, to having to be taught how to walk again…and also to be…” Her voice had become shaky and the tears in my eyes strolled down as I tried to swallow my feelings
Then, I looked up and saw her husband walking up the stage to meet her.
She dropped the mic and ran into his embrace and I was really touched
It was the most touching thing that I had ever seen before that I didn’t even know when I stood up to start clapping and shouting
Almost everyone present joined me as we celebrated the duo
“He is my hero! My husband!” she was both laughing and crying into the mic
I knew that feeling right!
“You are my love, my everything!” he said in the mic too and many people oohed and wowed as they displayed public their undying affection for each other
“The one who made me believe that I was never really crushed” she said again
“Because you never really were” he said sweetly, looking deep into her eyes
I had goose bumps at that point as my husband came close to me and pulled me near lovingly. He was shaking excitedly!
I smiled at him and patted his shoulders
“Thank you for loving me…..sir!” she said as she saluted him like a soldier would. There was a cry of excitement from the crowd as they clapped and whistled at intervals
Jean stood behind her as she continued her speech while we took our seats
“The feeling of being crushed was heightened when I was ushered into a counseling session that I never asked for and the news of being HIV positive was disclosed to me!” she broke it out and I just held my breath
What the Holy Spirit can do!
“I cried! I felt it was all over! What good could ever possibly happen to me? Exactly what?” she paused again and I sulked in my tears as the silence congealed
“But, while I felt that it was all over, there was a ray of light again! God started his work from the very beginning of my life- he made it clear to me that there was no way I could run away from the precious name of Jesus which I had grown to really hate!”
I nodded continuously as I wiped the tears which had decided not to stop falling down my face.
“2Corinthians 4:8-9 says and I quote ‘we are pressed on all sides, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed! Those verses became my confession daily as Christ started the reconstruction process of my life”
She walked to her husband, whispered something to him and he walked to the keyboardist
A tune started playing
I am pressed but not crushed
Persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I am blessed beyond the curse
For his promise will endure
That His joy’s gonna be my strength
Though the sorrow may last for a night; His joy comes in the morning
The whole house joined in the ‘I’m trading my sorrow’ chorus and it was a real revival in the square as I looked around and found different kinds of expressions
Some were on their feet, singing happily; some were on their feet with their hands stretched high to the sky, with tears on their faces; some were on their knees, praising God; some were looking around and surveying all as I was too
I quickly called myself to order as I lifted my hands up to God.
God, please don’t make me an onlooker even when others are being blessed because of overfamiliarity and overexcitement
I quickly prayed
“Halleluyah!” she called us back to order and we all started to sit down again
“Listen up, keyboardist…God kept me!”
I almost let go
I felt like I just couldn’t take life anymore
My problems held me bound
Depression weighed me down
But God kept me close,
So I wouldn’t let go
God’s mercy kept me,
So I wouldn’t let go
She sang again and the song started making sense to me anew.
I never realized the song could be so blessing that way.
The song was just the definition of Mercy my child!
It was just the perfect expression of what was going on at the very moment
A force took me off my seat and down on my knees and I started crying heavily
I didn’t know if it was in regret of the pain she and gone through in life or because I was just being grateful to God for the sudden turnaround
“Are you planning on giving up already friend?” she asked as the square had become fierily surged wit spiritual current of worship and reflection
“Oh yes, by this time tomorrow, we would have been ushered into a new year. We would have screamed and danced ‘Happy new year’ but are you really happy?”
There was silence
“When we were contacted to be the couple of the year that would be delivering this speech to Great Nigeria on this New Year eve, the Lord spoke to me explicitly that it should be about my life because just as my name depicts, my life is an expression of His mercy!” she paused again, went on her knees and raised her hands up high
“My fellow Nigerians, you are not alone! I can imagine how you feel. I know the feeling you have that it seems you have so large a burden on my head that has made you bent underneath! The weight is so much that your tongue is lashed out of your mouth as your throat seems clogged up with thick phlegm. It seems the end is near you. Well, I have been there…”
I almost gave up
I was right at the edge of a breakthrough but I couldn’t see it
The devil really held me
But Jesus came and grabbed me,
And he held me close
So I wouldn’t let go
God’s mercy kept me,
So I wouldn’t let go.
“We have just thirty minutes left to the New Year and is it the same way you are clogged up and choked up and frustrated that you would be ushered into the new year?”
“No!” There was a thunderous answer
“Please let’s sit down and quickly listen as I finish up within the limited time I have left” she said and the whole congregation sat down obediently.
“Granny, I want to wee-wee” Iranlowooluwa said and I opened my eyes in shock
What sort of a thing is this?
“Me too” Oluwandabira told me too, clutching at my cloth
“Me too” Oluwapemisire said, licking her chocolatey hands
“Wait please dearies. Let us finish listening to what mummy is saying” I told them pacifyingly and they nodded sheepishly like they were being controlled.
“My family was restored to me fully as loneliness and feeling or abandonment disappeared after having waited for about seventeen years. I pray that concerning everything you have lost and you have bent down to search, looked up to look for, checked inside to reach out to but have been difficult, there would be a restoration. There would be a cause for celebration and jubilation in the mighty name of Jesus!”
“Amen!” People thundered with joy and affirmation
“Every form of maltreatment and wounds that I had gotten from my foster mother were forgotten as sudden care was shed upon me. It was like a dream. I command concerning you that the scripture which says that ‘When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream’ would be fulfilled in your life in the name of Jesus!”
“Amen” We all chorused again with outstretched arms
“By the time I was exposed to the word of God which the Lord Himself described in Jeremiah 23:29 as such that ‘burns like fire’ and ‘like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces’, I tell you that all my bedwetting and those reproaching nicknames stopped!”
“Halleluyah” they chorused, accompanying the shout with claps and all
“I tell you all that the word of God is the key! Jesus is the Word of God. Once Jesus is missing in your life, you are an impending sorrow!”
There was silence again
“Hmmmm…” I nodded
“For us, immediately we heard that our foster parents were in such an unpalatable situation, we had to be sent abroad. Jean, to Australia with Daddy and I to Europe with Mummy. We went to start a new life together though separately.” She swallowed before going on
“The atmosphere you are exposed to would determine how well your life would be shaped” she said and we watched on to explain what she meant
“If you use a circular cup for moin-moin, you should expect a circularly shaped moin-moin. If you use a flat surface for the moin-moin anyways, you would have a flat moin-moin”
I nodded so well as it sunk into my skull.
“What I am saying in essence is that you can’t expose your children to cartoon and Nickelodeon, Disney Junior, terrible computer games, Keeping up with the Kardashians, domestic violence between husband and wife, insults and abusive words and all those at their tender ages and expect children whose thoughts are heaven-bound! I tell you the truth!”
“While those things are not essentially bad because my kids too do watch some of them, exposure to the things of God really does matter first! Train up your child in the way they should go and when they are old, they would not depart from it.”
There was a round of applause
“You buy your child a whole galaxy tab while she doesn’t even have a small pocket bible in the least? You do not well parents because the best legacy you can give your child is Christ alone!”
I remembered those times while in Paris where I had to make her go through rehab.
She was so depressed that she was always moody!
She was so touchy to the name of Jesus that I had to start rebuking such spirit that had convinced her that Jesus wasn’t fair to her.
Gradually, I started from the scratch- I got her the Children’s bible stories and she started reading again while I talked to her in the spirit
I knew it was not an ordinary issue but a spiritual warfare!
Then, she grew to independently read the Bible and all and then and there, she was right in front of me, preaching to the whole wide world
I had won a soul for Christ!
Not just the soul of anybody at all but that of my daughter!
Oh what Joy!
Oh what Joy!
“Then, still dependent on my retroviral drugs, I started to pick up the pieces of my life again and finished studying Petrochemical Engineering from The American University of Paris before having some other degrees and post graduate studies. It was the Lord’s doing…”
“And it is marvelous in our eyes” we replied in a chorus
“Then, one day, the best thing that had happened to me, really did happen! Something that I had never experienced in my life; an experience that no other experience can beat in my life again except the salvation of my soul- my husband proposed to me!” she said emotionally and there was a whew sound in the square.
That was really a great day!
Immediately she moved to Miami, Florida for a job opportunity, I moved to Australia to meet with my husband.
I was tending to my periwinkles one day when Seyi came out through the yard into the garden to give me my beeping phone
“Who is it?” I asked
“Your baby o…Mercy” he said and I straighten up with determination
She had not called for like three days and Jean had been in touch.
I was going to lambast her
“Hello, you are not serious o baby mie. You just left us alone like that and didn’t check back. Is that how a child should treat her parents? Huh?” I started as if the words had been clogged down the pipes of my throat and there is a sudden flush down the latrine.
“Mummy ….mum…mummy….” Mercy gasped for air as she called me on and on and I wondered what it was that was the problem
“Mercy love, what is the matter with you? Talk to me please” I was agitated
My husband looked into my eyes too, sensing trouble
“Mum, Jean…it’s Jean” she cried into the phone again
My eyes widened in shock
“What happened to him? Exactly what?” I asked, resting against the pole holding my pumpkin, my heart beating really hard
“Jean?” my husband whispered, his back arched as his bent to see my face like a real gossip
I nodded and he held my hands in expectation as if he could hear what it was
“Jean says he wants to marry me mum. Like, he practically came over to my office so shockingly and popped the question.” She said over the phone, panting heavily
“Really!” my heart started racing- I was excited!
“Why would he do such? Has he come to really embarrass me and disgrace me and remind me of my reproach and past? Is that it?” she had started crying and I realized what the matter must have been
“Because of your health?” I asked and she sobbed
“I had to leave him and run up this terrace to talk to you mum. I had always been crushed all my life and I have accepted my fate like that. I must confess that this is like a bad opening of a fresh wound. It’s so bleeding!”
I really didn’t know what to say again!
How was I supposed to come into the situation?
“Mummy, aren’t you going to say something? Aren’t you going to call him to order and discipline him for such a prank?” she blurted out again
We were silent from our own side again
“Are you…” she was asking when we heard a male voice over the phone
“Would you leave our dear parents alone and let’s focus on ourselves? Would you?” he asked and Mercy broke down into tears the more
“But you know I can’t marry Jean. You know it. There is nothing about me that you don’t know. So why? Like why would this kind of a thing happen? Why? Why would you come to ridicule me like this?” she asked in tears and I placed the phone on loudspeaker, placed on the veranda stool as tears ran down my face
“Why can’t you marry? Exactly why can’t you?” he asked and I looked at my husband in shock
Had he forgotten that she was diagnosed of the deadly virus?
“See, as long as a man would see a lady that has epilepsy and decide to marry her because of deep love; as long as someone could decide to marry another who has severe ulcer, asthma, sickle cell anemia and all, I don’t see why that same deep love wouldn’t cover me when I marry an HIV positive individual who has so suppressed the effects of the virus through the drugs usage and is looking healthier than someone who really doesn’t have it” he explained and my husband and I held close to each other so tightly that as the goose bumps appeared on my hands and I shivered!
“What?” She asked, obviously shocked
“It is you I have always loved and it is you the Lord is pointing at. I love you and I want you to marry me”
“Leave all buts Mercy. Let’s forget everything about HIV and let’s talk about me. Do you still love me? Do you have a space in my heart to accept my proposal please” he pleaded, coolly
“Jean, I ….ah…oh my God!” she cried again
I stamped my feet on the ground as I was so confused myself!
“Mercy, you are a pure, beautiful virgin, unstained, untouched for the glory of God. If God has wiped your past away, who am I to bring it up again? I love you from my heart and it’s difficult to let you out of my Spirit!” he said again and closed my heart as if soothing oil had been poured on a wound on my heart!
“Jean! Why Jean?” she cried on and on and the remaining had become history now!
“He made me understand that he saw me as a brand new lady, whole untouched and unstained. I was so touched that day that I could not sleep throughout although I didn’t give him his answer at the spot!”
“Wow” almost everyone said that or related exclamations
“I pray concerning everyone under the influence of my voice today that something glorious, something flabbergasting that would throw you off your feet and give you happy, sleepless night, God would cause it to happen in the name of Jesus Christ!”
“Amen” we all chorused as the instrumentalists accompanied our shout with their rhythmical ensemble
“Few weeks to our wedding, we were to do some premarital tests in the church prescribed hospital and I was so sad and scared that now, the whole church would know about what my life entailed” she said, shook her head and thereafter looked up
I remembered so well!
“Miss Mercy” the nurse called us and we were ushered into the doctor’s office
He was smiling at us as we entered- such consoling smile!
We were not smiling though!
“Why are your faces this gloomy? Why?” he asked lovingly and I looked into Mercy’s face- so hopeless and frustrated
“Aren’t you happy about getting married?” he asked and Mercy stood up
“Sir, there is no need for any counseling session. I have had enough counseling sessions and I take my drugs daily. I only wanted to do this because the church demanded for it- just for formality” she blurted out and the smile on the doctor’s face melted
“I don’t get. What drugs? What counseling sessions? What I have here is HIV negative. What are you talking about lady?”
I sounded like a joke that I had to sit straight and Mercy fell right back into her seat
“Negative as how, sir? Like, could you kindly have a re-run? Please check again” I said, panting heavily
“We tried over seven different hospitals and the test result was the same thing.” She continued from where my imagination stopped and the whole square was in a joyful and prayerful disarray
“I command concerning you that all the complete and incomplete works of the enemy in your life would disappear like the early morning dew!”
“Amen!” we screamed
“I command that you mountain of sickness, addiction, terminal diseases and all kind of problems before Zerubabel, become plain in the name of Jesus!”
“Amen!” we shouted loud and clear
“I want you to repeat after me my people.”
I looked down at my grandchildren and they had fallen asleep peacefully on top of one another.
“I am pressed on all sides” she started and we repeated so loudly
“But I am not crushed”
“And I won’t be crushed…I can’t just be crushed!” she said firmly again and we repeated in like manners
“I am perplexed” she said again and we repeated loudly
“But I am not in despair”
“I am persecuted” that came again and we said likewise
“But I am not forsaken”
“I am struck down”
“But I am not destroyed…and cannot be destroyed!” we repeated after her as we put our hands together in a joyful applause.
“We have just two more minutes to the new year. I want my husband to say one or two things to us. Please clap for my hero” she said and there was a round of applause
“Well, thank you so much my love. Please come over here. I want to give you a peck on your forehead to really show that this year is over.” He said and there was excitement in the square as people expressed themselves in different ways.
My husband looked at me and we held our hands tightly
“These children are just so wonderful!” my husband said as he wiped his tears
Chai! My so emotional husband!
“With this peck, I seal our marital bliss for the year 2015 and hope for greater bliss in the coming year.” He said as he pecked her forehead and people clapped with such thrill and delight
“To the best parents in the world- the ones I had grown up to call mum and dad, who would continue to be and who are now my in laws, it sounds weird right? Mum and Dad, you know it’s you I am talking about right? Please raise your hands for recognition” he announced in his sonorous voice into the mic and I looked into my husband’s face- my eyes wet with tears as we stood up and all eyes turn around us to see us
We felt just so proud of ourselves!
“Thanks for bringing me up in the most holy faith. Thank you for giving to me, one of the most virtuous angels on earth to wife. It’s been bliss all along” he smiled
“God bless you on and on and everyday” I screamed and I was shocked when everyone said amen!
I never knew they would hear me
“I am really speechless because Mercy has said it all. But, I would like to enjoin you to rise up quickly when you fall! Don’t stay down! Don’t stay grounded! If you fall as is likely unavoidable for human beings, quickly rise up! If you remain there and different trailers and tractors and big vehicles press you down…that is when you are really crushed!”
I nodded as it sunk!
“Mercy, through God’s grace stood up when she fell and God visited her with things she never even planned for to the extent that he healed her of a terminal disease but her foster parents especially the dad who is my own biological father fell and didn’t think it to rise up again until he met his final doom! His wife killed him and thereafter killed herself! So painful!” he said, shaking his head in regret
I sighed deeply too as I remembered how I saw the news plainly printed in one of the Nigerian Dailies when we were in Paris.
Mercy moved to the mic and held her husband by the waist
“Well, glory be to the Lord!”
“Amen!” we replied
“Let’s teach us a new song before we all go…”
The keyboardist started the lead and the duo joined as they sang beautifully
It is finished
The battle is over
It is finished
There’ll be no more war
It is finished
The end of the conflict
It is finished
And Jesus is Lord
We kept on repeating the song in a harmonious way until after about two minutes later, we heard from the podium in front of us
“It’s 12am, 1st January, 2016 and it’s definitely a new year. Happy new year” Mercy announced over the mic and there was uproar as people started exchanging pleasantries.
Fireworks flew up in the air, forming different celebrative images.
The noise of the bangers and firecrackers filled the whole house that I had to quickly sit down to pull my sleepingchu grandchildren to myself.
As I pulled Iranlowooluwa close to herself, I felt someone so hot and wet against my skin
“Jesus! Urine!” I exclaimed to myself and my husband gave me a knowing look
I smiled and shook my head
“It’s not what you think my dear.” I laughed and pulled my children to my chest
“I didn’t say anything. Did i?” he asked, smiling in a funny way
“My baby is not a wee-wee boy o. he told me he wanted to use the loo. I was the one that delayed him. So, don’t even think about that at all” I continued
He clapped his hands together and twitched his mouth in a funny way
“I kuku didn’t say anything still” he said and we both laughed together gladly
“The devil has had his head…” I said, looking into my husband’s face for the response
“…crushed!” he replied but as his response was landing, two other voices joined and we had to turn back to see them- the hero and heroine of the day!
“Sure! The devil has had his head crushed dear parents. Happy new year!” they said almost together.
We laughed at the harmony of their just concluded sentence and I pulled them near, held their hands as we formed a small circle as we sung happily the song we had just been taught!
It is finished
The battle is over
It is finished
There’ll be no more war
It is finished
The end of the conflict
It is finished and Jesus is Lord!
Glory be to God!
I hope you have been blessed greatly.
Remain victorious with the devil under your feet.
Note: Crushed is half fictional/half non-fictional