I woke up to the pungent smell of hospital disinfectant, invading my nostrils. I slowly opened my eyes, squinting in an attempt to sharpen the blurred images before me. How long have I been here? I shut my eyes, trying to remember what had exactly happened. Then it all hit me with a bang. The memory of it all starts to occupy my thoughts. I did fall off the bed. The cold air hit my face as I landed on the tiled floor. Biola was panicking, and I remembered she was without clothes. I overheard my Aunt scream from her bedroom and I recalled she rushed into my room. I knew the pain jolted throughout my body, and I was bleeding. I was still alive. I knew one or two neighbors surrounded me. Some were dialing numbers of bike men and car owners within the neighborhood. It was midnight and it was raining. A man was telling me, “Femi, you’ll be fine.” I think he covered my head with a white cloth. I felt my head breathing as blood flooded my entire face.
Who brought me here? I looked around the hospital ward—and there was nobody by my side. No hospital staff too. Out of impulse, my hand traveled to my face, pressing the throbbing area by my forehead. I felt a scar and flinched at the pain. I tried to get up. Once I stepped on the cold, white tiles, I instantly fell back onto the bed. My body was engulfed in pain as if objecting to my decision to stand up. I lay there pathetically waiting for the pain to wash away. Staring at the ceiling, illuminated with white fluorescent light. I still didn’t know how I got here, who took me here, and how long I’ve been here. My series of questions was interrupted as my Aunt emerged from the door of the room with her mobile phone close to her ear. From the look of things, she was talking to my father. “Femi, are you better now?” She simpered, putting a hand out to pet my head. I told her I was fine, even when it was a complete lie.
“So shall we go back tomorrow morning? Or would you like to leave in the evening?” She asked. Leave? No. “I haven’t recovered. I need to stay here for some time,” I answered. My Aunt later gave me the phone. I spoke with my Dad. And he began with, “Femi, are you still a kid that you still roll around while sleeping,” he asked. It was then I knew Biola had cooked up lies in our favor. If she hadn’t, I knew it would have been a different case. How was she able to convince my Aunt? Was she able to put on her clothes before she came in? The thoughts that rushed through my head.
My father later prayed with me over the phone. He assured me God’s healing hands would come upon me and I’d be fine in no time. I replied simply with “Amen”.
When I fell asleep later in the night, in my dream, I saw myself taken up by a hand of unseen forces. I couldn’t see the face, but It held me by my left hand. We were both walking in an unknown direction. We soon got to a tall building and the unknown being wanted us to jump down from such height, and that was when I woke up. My heart was pounding faster. It then occurred to me I have been sleeping on my back, facing the ceiling. Each time I slept in that position, it had always been one nightmare or the other. “Femi, this isn’t one of your regular nightmares. Make your ways right with your maker, or except tribulations soon,” I heard a voice from inner me. I tried shutting it off but it kept on and on and was quite disturbing. My mind wasn’t at rest until when finally I decided I’d change my ways.
The following morning, I rose from the hospital bed and my Aunt was sitting next to me. “Femi, hope you’re getting better?” she said. “Yes, I’m better now. I have decided I’ll be staying back here in Ibadan rather than going back to Ondo. “What happened? Why have you chosen to stay back?” she asked?
“Nothing is interesting about there,” I stuttered.
“Hmm, hope it’s not because of your broken head,” she giggled.
“No, Aunty, I prefer Ibadan to Ondo. Just these few days have proven to be better than the life over there.”
“Well, I don’t know what else to say. Have you called your father and informed him about it?”
“No. I’ll call them later.”
Later in the day, I was finally discharged from the hospital, but I still had bandages around my head like someone coming from a war zone. Biola came to me when I was in my room and for some seconds nobody said anything to each other. She had her eyes fixed on my bandaged head. “I’m sorry Femi, she broke the short silence. She then moved and sat closer to me on the bed. “How do you feel now?” she asked in Yoruba.
“I’m okay. What did you tell them happened? I can’t remember all that happened that night.” I finally spoke. Biola giggled and smirked. “Hmm, you needed to see how fast I quickly tied myself with a wrapper. Aunt Bose would have met me without clothes,” she paused. “And it would have been worse if you had no clothes on then,” she was referring to me. I was only imagining the pictures of how things would have turned out. Biola later apologized for what happened. She said we allowed our emotions to rule over us and we got carried away, too.
After we ate dinner that evening, I pulled out my cell phone and dialed Dad’s number. He answered and said, “Hold on, let me put the phone on speaker, your mom is here,” I heard him call mom over, then he said, “Femi, how are you? Hope you’re getting better? How’s your Aunt? He uttered in one breath. I told them I was doing well, and so was my Aunt. I then proceeded to tell them why I called, “Dad, mom, I don’t want to come back to Ondo again. I want to stay here and process my school stuff, since the University of Ibadan is here,” I said.
Dad said, “Femi, I don’t understand this your sudden decision of staying back? Is there something you’re not telling us?”
My mom then chimed in with, “Are you sure that’s what you want?”
“Yes, mom, I’m absolutely sure,” I answered.
“Well, if that’s the best decision you think for yourself, no problem, we’ll send some of your clothes and belongings along,” said Dad.
“Thank you, Dad. That’ll be nice and I’d appreciate knowing when you’re about to send them.”
“How about your Aunt? Is she handy?” Dad asked.
“Yes, she’s been listening to our whole conversation,” I said.
“Hello, Bose,” he began, “Has Femi been behaving himself?”
“Yea, he has always been a good boy. Good evening, sir,” she said, then continued, “He’s hardworking, just like her younger sister, Aramide. He told me about his decision this morning. Although I’m surprised but that’s not a bad idea if you ask me.”
“Good to hear he’s been amazing,” replied my father in Yoruba.
“Okay,” said Dad, “Do take care of them and yourself too, everything will be fine.”
“Alright, I’ll.” My Aunt handed the phone to me.
“Goodnight Dad, goodnight, Mom,” I replied and disconnected.
This happened to be one of the best decisions I made in my quest to return to my maker. I heard that same voice again and it said, “Good one Femi, you’re gradually making progress in returning to your maker. Going back to Ondo would keep you in bondage while you keep soiling yourself with either Agatha or Bukola.”
I wasn’t sure of what I was doing, I was only going by the instructions from the strange voice. I knew my Biola had this look that justify, “Hope this thing hasn’t affected Femi mentally?” She had noticed my calmness and how suddenly I decided to stay back in Ibadan.
The following day was Friday, and Biola started getting her stuff ready. It was time to return to school. She planned to leave around noon. Ibadan to Lagos is about two hours trip.
When she was finally ready to go, I couldn’t see her off because I was feeling so tired. She came to my room, and for some seconds we both looked at each other without uttering a word.
“Femi, please, do take care of yourself,” she broke the short silence.
“Thank you,” I uttered without looking her in the face.
“We will talk on the phone,” she added.
“Alright, no wahala,” I sounded so cold. Biola quietly left the room. My Aunty gave her some money before she finally zoomed off.
What next? I had pondered. Then I heard that same voice again, “Femi, I’ll direct your steps.” There was another voice countering the previous voice and it was louder, “Femi, this is not the right time to return to your maker. You’d still go back to your vomit. Do you know why? You haven’t had sex yet and once you have such an opportunity, you’d still fall,” There seemed to be a peal of laughter that followed the voice. I was troubled.
Later in the night, I got woken by a voice to pray. It was that same calm voice, “Femi, wake up. It’s time to pray; get your Bible and read first.” I realized I didn’t come to Ibadan with my Bible, so I used the one on my phone. There weren’t particular chapters and verses I heard, so I scrolled through my phone until I paused at first Corinthians 6:18 and I read, “Flee from sexual sin. No other sin so clearly affects the body like this one. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.” I continued to verse 9, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself.” I paused.
I felt my conscience pricking me. And before I knew it, I started praying; I prayed for God’s mercies and forgiveness for everything I had done in time past. I didn’t know how come about the strength to pray. It was unusual.
After the prayers, I went to bed. And that night, I slept like a baby.
The following day, I began my day with prayers. It was so unlike me. I’d always wake up and start with my phone, but that morning was unique. It was then I realized something was working in me. I then remembered my father’s daily quote, “No man can do the things of God, except He is with him.” It seemed God was finally with me. I smiled at the realization that my life had taken a new turn. I had always wanted to do the right thing but I kept falling.
Then, I heard the same voice again, and this time it said, “Femi, you’re making progress. The next thing to do now is to confess all your sins.” My heart suddenly missed a beat. Damn! Confess all my sins? To who? My father?
To be continued…
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