If Love Can Defy All Odds, What Excuse Does Hatred Have?
“When mom got back that Friday night, I was expecting her to start preparations for the weekend.”
Preparations included first getting drunk, like hiccup-farting-slobbering kind of drunk. It was probably one of the reasons I pitied her. The fact that she needed to drown herself in booze to find confidence in herself.
Next up, was setting the mood. She had an assortment of lingerie. Hot, tight, sexy ones that left little to the imagination. I had once tried one on when I was about ten years, strutting about in them. The horror on her face as a parent was… Absent. She had actually looked me up and down, almost like she was appraising beef in the market.
She had scented candles, flavors of all kinds. She preferred the vanilla and scotch combination especially when she was expecting the “big ones”. That’s to mean financially big. I don’t know what you were thinking.
Then soft music, some Olufunmi kind. Not too slow, definitely not too fast.
“Lolo, remember that scarf I told you to trash? Do you still have it?”
That was when I knew something was off. Scarf? Like, sad people turban-like piece of material worn only by the widows, sufferers and those without the privilege of wigs to cover their simbi hair?
“And Bible yẹn nko? Bami fi foam yẹn nù dáadáa.” (Help me use that foam to clean it properly).
She hurriedly put away her bottles of red and white wine. Replacing them with boxes of apple and orange juice in the fridge. She had bought fruits. Like, oranges, apples, watermelon… These things never featured in our meals. Never.
“Mum, is everything alright?”
“Lolo, how many Bible verses do you know? Do you at least know how to recite John3:16? Please say yes. You should know Psalm23 too now… I need to impress this guy.”
That was another red flag. Mother never tried to impress anyone. Especially not her customers. Anything she did, she did for herself.
She looked at me, as if seeing me for the first time.
“No, we can’t let him see you in that… You need to change into something more… Presentable… ”
She waved absently at the green crop top I had put on over my ripped white jeans. My huge loop earrings dangled in sync with my chewing.
“… And get rid of that chewing gum. Listen to me, our lives are about to change for the wawu. Trust me, if we can convince this man that we love God and can be born of not just flesh and blood but of the Spirit and fire, we can get a whole new lease at life. Are you following, Lolo?”
I nodded slowly, not really following.
“You are so slow. And your father was not o. I wonder who you take after. Anyway, this guy will be here in about ten minutes. He likes me. He thinks I’m the wife God has for him. Said he saw me in a vision holding up a burning bush to light his path. He has been preaching to me, telling me to amend my ways and get right with God. Okay, the thing is, he is rich. Filthy, throw-around, burn-up, dash-people kind of rich. If I marry him… ”
I was catching her drift. We were about to fake a conversion. No, make that two. There was no way I was going to walk away from this experience without getting ‘born again’ too.
When Pastor Goke Adejobi walked in, I was struck by his height, he smelled of grapes and held a brown leather Bible under his left armpit. His smile was full and his dentition perfect.
“You must be Lolo, your mum has said so much about you. How old are you again?”
“I’m fourteen… I’ll be fourteen next month.”
“Your mum was right. You are quite honest.”
“Because the Bible said all liars will have their portion in hell…”
I sure was scoring points for mum by remembering a Bible verse other than John3:16.
“Oh, amazing! Aduke, you’ve really been following what I’ve been saying.”
My mum had come in, her long bubu wiping her sins after her.
“Pastor… I mean, Goke, welcome. I see you’ve met my princess.”
Rolling my eyes would have been the appropriate response to mum calling me her princess, but, today was our day of salvation, I had to do better. I smiled.
They sat down, sipping juice, talking, well, Pastor Goke doing most of the talking while mum nodded and hmm-ed, giving the appropriate expressions of someone being convicted of her sins.
I think I must have dozed off because the sound that woke me was… Strange.
Mother was speaking in tongues.
“Redisamaskurinanannana… Yes, Lord, yes, Lord….”
Apparently, she had answered the altar call raised in our sitting room by the pastor and was now being baptized in the Holy Ghost. I guess the water baptism was to come later. Let’s hope I remembered to pump water.
Mom was rolling on the floor, tears streaming down her face, looking…. Epileptic.
Pastor Goke was standing over her, using the Bible like some weapon to bind the spirit of whoredom from her. I could see the saliva drops shooting from his mouth as he prayed.
I glanced at mom and saw it. A wink.
That was my cue.
I joined the crusade.
“Ibadan? Doing what? Are they okay? Has there been an accident? Why are you still sitting down? Goke?”
“I don’t think I can go with you…”
“You are in shock. I understand. But, you are going with me. Why won’t you? These are OUR kids.”
“I don’t even think she’ll recognize me… Or maybe she will… Did she know? She wasn’t in the country then, was she? Or…”
“Goke, snap out of whatever this is. Who are you talking about? Talk to me.”
“The doctor that called… I think I know her.”
“She is probably one of the numerous women who fell under your other anointing. Big deal. We need to get moving.”
“No, Aduke. She is Abbey’s aunt… And I doubt she even knows.”