“Mfon, get up! The pastor would soon be here.” My mother gently shook me awake.
I dreaded the visit of the pastor for whatever reason and could never be enthusiastic even for my mother’s sake.
Standing up grudgingly, I stretched and yawned as my mother bustled around our small room. For reasons I cannot readily explain, she seemed to perk up whenever there was a visit from the pastor. I had initially thought she had ulterior motives regarding the pastor but it seems mother was just happy and excited whenever anyone came to visit and that’s to say how very few our visitors were.
“Mummy good morning,” I greeted, trying to fold my mat and put it away.
“Mmesierende,” she replied trying to push our cooking pot under the bed properly.
“What’s the pastor coming for? I thought we had finished all the assignments that were required from us?”
“What kind of question is that? Can the pastor not visit again?”
I disliked the pastor especially when he looked at me. I didn’t like him coming to our house because I didn’t see any good the numerous assignments had done to us. We still owed the house rent and I have had to stop schooling because there was no money. We, my brother and I, were chipping in to help mother but there didn’t seem to be any improvement. Ever since my father died, we’ve all done crazy things to survive and that included begging, hawking, menial jobs and recently working as a maid.
I stretched again. The previous day had been terrible; the woman who I worked for had nearly scorched me with boiling water just because I kept her child waiting for breakfast. I had held my peace even though I had nearly tossed down the spoon I was holding in anger and disgust. The only thing that kept me mute was the image of my mother kneeling and pleading with the woman that I’ll be good if she’d just take me as a maid. I had told myself then that I would try to be good but then I didn’t bargain for her rotten grown kids. The first child tried to be nice and always said ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ but the rest were probably born to be brats because they always competed amongst themselves to make my task arduous. The other day I had to go and buy sanitary towels for one of the girls and still had to wash her stained underpants and trousers.
“Mummy, there’s no kerosene. Should I go and get some?”
Today was Saturday and I was usually allowed to go to work later than usual because the family I worked for always went to the gym quite early.
“Hmm…buy akamu and akara too.”
The pastor had already arrived on my return and was exchanging pleasantries with my mother.
“Sir mmesiere,” I murmured hoping he’d hurry on what he came for. Breakfast would have to wait till he had gone.
“Mfon morning, how are you?” He asked his eyes roving all over making me feel quite uncomfortable.
“Fine sir,” I replied, dropping the contents of my purchase beside the bed.
“Alright, get your scarf on and let’s be in the mood of prayer.”
Mother already had a scarf on and I quickly tied my scarf happy that the pastor wouldn’t stay long. The prayers started in earnest and I was singing with gusto when suddenly the pastor asked for silence.
“Mfon, sherikanmba… hmm…hmm. What dreams did you have last night?”
Dumbfounded I opened my eyes “No…no…nothing,” I hated being singled out and anytime it happened I usually stuttered.
“Do not lie to the man of God and do not be ashamed for God has sent me to deliver you.”
Now I was getting angry. I clearly remembered my dream for it was of me pouring very hot water on the woman I worked for and that was reasonable since I had gone to bed angry. Since I couldn’t very well tell him that, I still settled for “nothing.”
Coming menacingly towards me, he started dancing round me and held my head in a bid to push me to the ground. Laughing, he removed his hand and stopped singing.
“Your child,” he said turning to my mother “would need a big deliverance. She has a husband in the spirit world that is holding on to her destiny for she is to be the shining star in this family. You must pray for his hold on her to be broken or else you still remain in poverty. They have been meeting in her dreams that is why Mfon cannot tell us the dream she had last night.”
“That’s not true.” I spoke out, my anger harder to rein in and therein lay my mistake. For immediately, I spoke out, I wished I hadn’t since I realized that I had fallen into his trap.
“You see!” The pastor shouted with glee. “The Mfon you know would never talk this way but her spirit husband is making her to be quite stubborn.”
Laughing, he resumed dancing and singing with my mother fervently praying. Stopping again, he put his hand on my head and pushed me with his leg giving me a slight tackle from behind. I fell to my mother’s shouts of hallelujah and then the pastor asked my mother to go and get a bottle of olive oil.
Forcing me to down the whole contents of the bottle, the pastor touched my feet and shrieked at me “Where did you go to?!”
Determining not to fall into any trap, I kept mute.
“You went to the water world, didn’t you?” Beckoning to my mother, he motioned for her to touch my feet and after she agreed that they were indeed cold, he proceeded to tell her that my deliverance would take longer than expected and that the next stage required that she step outside so that the demon from my body wouldn’t enter hers.
Even though things were getting fishy, I still couldn’t lay my hands on what it was until I felt the fingers stroking my womanhood and one finger forcefully inserting itself inside me; only then did I scream and hit the pastor with the olive oil bottle…
TO BE CONTINUED