A story by Chichi
“There is no one without a past and there is no pass without a future people of God” I heard the pastor says as I walked into the church holding Rejoice’s hand and took a seat behind for coming late.
“The most important thing is what do you make of your past,how do you react to it? do you allow it to control you or connect you?
Do you allow it to mock you or give you access to victory?
Do you continuously dwell on it or you move on and forgive?” He continued
“Mommy we are late” Rejoice said to me
“Shhhh” I motioned her to keep quiet as I listened carefully to the pastor.
The congregation applauded the pastor for his wonderful sermon as he got through and took his seat.
Altar call followed and later offering,after then, we shared the grace and service was over.
I held Rejoice’s hand and we walked to where I parked my car,got in and drove out heading for home.
My mind was thinking about the pastor’s message today.
Something he said touched my inner being and I felt pain.
A feeling and a memory that I have been trying to let go of since 10 years ago.
I fell something w€t fell out of my eyes and I realized I was crying.
“Mommy,won’t you buy me ice cream?” Rejoice asked bringing me back to reality.
“No I won’t” I replied as I wiped my tears
“You were the reason I was late for church today”
“Am sorry mommy,I wanted to stay with Daddy”
“Even when you knew he wasn’t feeling well”
“I am sorry please”
“Shut up,I am not buying anything” I told her almost shouting.
I heard some sniffing sound and I knew she was crying but I didn’t mind as i continued driving.
The gate man opened the gate immediately he heard the horn of the car and I drove in.
I parked and off the engine.
“If you like, don’t come out”I said to Rejoice as I opened the door and took my bag.
She opened the other side,came out and ran into the house.
I knew she was going to report me to her daddy as she always does whenever I scolded her.
I followed her in too.
As I opened the door and walked in,I could see some people sitting along with my hubby.
I was surprised
Was hubby expecting some visitors today?
“Here she comes” my husband said and they turned towarded me.
Rejoice was already sitting in the arms of her daddy.
I moved closer and greeted them.
I saw two elderly men,an elderly woman and a young man sitting in a wheel chair.
I greeted them and they responded as I sat down near my husband.
“Honey, these people are here to see you” he said to me.
I was a little bit surprised.
I don’t know them so how come they are here to see me.
“Jessica how are you?” The elderly woman asked me.
I was shocked!!
I remember that voice.
Of course I do.
That voice that drove a pregnant girl out into the street at age 17.
Then I looked at her
“Aunt Abigail” I screamed
Hubby and Rejoice looked at me wondering why I shouted.
I looked at the two elderly men.
I recognized one
“Pastor Eric?” I asked more than an exclaim.
Then I looked at the young man on the wheelchair.
My head began to spin.
I stood up in uttermost surprise
Life they say, is full of many twists and turns and you never can tell what will be the outcome of every journey you take except to hope for the best.
My name is Jessica Vincent and this is my story.
From childhood in the village,life has never favoured me.
I lost my dad immediately I came into this world as a result, people referred to me as a bad luck child.
I grew up with my mom taking care of me.
I had no siblings nor external families neither friends because no family allowed their child or children to befriend a witch like me.
School was out of it because we didn’t even have enough to eat not to talk of pursuing education.
At age five,I was already known as the Pure water hawker in the village though most people are afraid of buying from me because of rumours that I killed my dad nevertheless I didn’t mind them as I continued to sell my water.
When business got tough,I trekked to the neighboring villages to sell since no one knew me there.
Rags were my best clothes.
Mother would go to the tailor shop and gather all the pieces together and sew me clothes.
My shoes were peeling and opened under yet I still managed.
Garri was our dialy food and we never tasted anything like meat or fish till I left there.
We had no bed.
At night, mother spread her old smelling wrapper on the cold floor and we sleep, that is if we are lucky with mosquitoes.
During dawn, our bodies ached with pains as a result of sleeping on the floor yet we don’t mind.
We washed our mouths with charcoal since toothpaste and toothbrush were for the rich and I go about selling my water.
It was really hard for a teenager like me.
Seeing other young children smartly dressed in new and expensive clothes.
Seeing other families eating and throwing away.
Seeing my friends going to school and gisting on what they learned in school.
Mine was nothing to write about except sorrows and pains.
Most times,I sat behind the house and cried my eyes and heart out.
You may think I didn’t understand anything because I was a small girl but I did.
Mother cried too but she never showed it instead she encouraged me to focus on God and pray always.
She assured me that God understands everything and it was just a matter of time.
She told me never to leave God’s hands and never to stop trusting him
“He knows the Best Jessy and he will make everything beautiful in his time.” She would often say to me.
But when is that time ever going to come??
Mother never stopped praying everyday.
We had a old torn Bible which we found in the dustbin.
Few chapters and verses were missing but we still used it to pray and study everyday.
Mother taught me how to say the psalm 23 and the Lord’s prayer too and I recited them before going to sell and during selling too.
Mother didn’t go to school but how she knew how to read remained a mystery to me.
Did I mention we picked things from the dumpsite?
Oh yes we did!
We went to find things others have thrown away even down to food and we make used of them.
Imagine, people waste product!
Sometimes we go to the neighbors to beg whenever we were hungry and had no food.
And if we were lucky,they gave us the leftovers of one week ago that have gone sour.
Once I attempted stealing but I was caught.
Mother flogged the living hell out of me when she got to know about it.
She was so angry and warned me never to repeat it again.
She told me that God is our source of provisions and he will never forsake us.
Whenever food was little,. Mother would give me to eat and go to bed on empty stomach.
Sometimes, when i woke up to pee in the middle of the night,I saw mother awake sitting by the corner weeping in sorrows.
I saw everything.
I understood everything.
I felt everything even though I was little.
I knew we were suffering beyond words but mother still continued to smile and pray.
I really admired her courage.
At times,I wonder if God is truly seeing our predicaments.
I wonder when he will turn things around.
I wonder why he allowed those who served him diligently to suffer like this.
I doubt if he will ever heard our sorrowful hearts cried out.
In all these, mother never gave up.
Every Sunday,we wore the same clothes and go to church.
We weren’t allowed in because of the way we dressed and smelled so we stand outside and listened.
We were mistaken for mad people due to the rags we were that were so precious to us.
We had no offering to give but we gave our hearts to God.
Once a church member had blessed us with a little amount of money.
We were so happy but mother took all of it to church and donated to the project of building another church.
I was so angry.
For Christ’s sake, we had absolutely nothing.
Why will mother ever do that?
She smiled and hugged me saying
“Nothing is impossible with God and he make everything beautiful in his own time.”
Year to Year, the suffering continued.
We had no option than to hope on God and pray for better things.
We were able to save a little so mother suggested we change our water business to something else.
So I began selling fufu.
Every day,I carried fufu to the markets in neighboring towns and villages to sell.
I make sure that I sold everything even if it meant going home late.
Sometimes, whenever I reached home late,I met mother sitting outside looking worry,crying and praying that nothing should happened to me.
I have told her countless times that I can take care of myself but she refused to buy that idea because she believed that I am still a little girl.
It was really stressful,but I had no option.
Oneday,when I was 15 years, luckily for me, I sold all my fufu earlier than the usual time, so I hurriedly went home to carry more to sell.
On getting home,I met Mother lying on a wrapper,on the floor, outside the house shivering while holding our torn bible.
Immediately,I dropped the empty tray on the ground and rushed to her.
She was trembling, unable to speak as tears rolled down her eyes.
I guess she was praying as only her lips could be seen moving but words couldn’t be heard.
I felt her temperature and is was like a hot oven.
“Mother what’s wrong with you, answer me” I called to her but she didn’t answer.
With the strength of Lion,I ran to the village local herbalist, asking him to follow me to help my mom.
At first,he refused, reminding us how poor we are and won’t be able to pay for medication,but after much pleading and crying from me,he followed me home.
On reaching home,we met Mother still lying outside but she had stopped shivering.
The Herbalist moved over to her,bent a little and placed his hand on her head for some minutes,after he held her hand and carried it up.
I stood looking at him though I didn’t understand what he was doing.
I was crying and praying in my heart that nothing should happen to her.
I had stopped believing in God but I prayed to him that day.
If he could grant my one wish and heal my mother,I will be the most happiest person.
The herbalist repeated the same act for three times.
I was getting angry.
I didn’t call him here to do exercise with her.
Couldn’t he see she needed drugs not exercise, however I just watched him.
After the third time,he stood er£ct and shook his head and looked at me.
“Do something now” I said to him crying
“Is late” he replied me
I didn’t understand him
Late for what?
“Please if it is about the money, I will pay” I told him
“Am sorry,she is dead”. He said and walked away.
I didn’t think I heard him right.
I moved over to mother and began to shake her but she didn’t move.
“Mother, Mother” I called her yet she didn’t replied
I refused to believe it.
“Mother please wake up” I cried as the tears poured out
Mother can’t go.
Leaving me with who? With what? How will I survive?
I shouted and cried and plead till I lost my voice and my eyes were swollen and blurred.
Oh Dead,I hate you!!!
Mother was buried at the back of our house with me and a village drunkard who heard what has befallen us and came to help me dug her grave to bury her.
The others never mind to sympathize with me, not that, they liked us anyway.
Every day and night,I wept my eyes out.
I have lost my voice but I continued to cry.
For three days, I didn’t taste anything called food or water
I became a shadow of myself and it was like I was preparing myself for death.
Imagine,we were suffering when mother was alive, so what about now that she is dead leaving me alone?
I cursed God in my heart.
Mother had claimed that he cares and understands so why wasn’t he compassionate enough to just grant my desire and save my mother?
She told me that he sees everything, hears our cries and understands our pains,so where was him when she was dying?
Where was he when I cried for just a favour?
Where was him when death snatched her away right before my eyes and I couldn’t do anything?
Probably,he had travelled or he was very busy.
Yes,so busy that he didn’t want to be disturbed with our complains.
She once told me that he is going to make everything beautiful in his own time but when is that time going to come?
Is it now that she is dead?
Is it now that I have completely become a orphan,a poor one for that matter.
He refused to give us money,food, happiness,peace and other good things that other humans had.
what kind of God is he?
What did we do to him that is so difficult to forgive and forget?
What happen to his hands that he has refused to reach out to us in times of our greatest needs?
Seems like,he derives joy in seeing his subjects suffering in abject poverty.
Of course,the cries of the poor were like music to his ears.
I will never worship him again.
Infact I am done with church for life that’s if I will make it out of this world alive.
What am I going to do?
Who on Earth will I turn to?
Already, people saw me as a witch so who’s gonna be so merciful towards a witch that kill her parents?
And I think they were absolutely right.
I have heard stories of children that brought good luck, wealth and happiness to their parents at birth but as for me,I brought death and sorrows.
How can my daddy died at my birth if I am not a witch?
And now,my only hope that gave me the strength to cope with this unbearable and heart forsaken life gone.
“Oh! Death where are you” I lamented in sorrows.
Just complete the entire process and kill me too.
What am I still living for?
What is life for?
Is it just to be counted among the living?
I wished to die and just end all this once and for all.
A girl of fifteen is suffering like this.
Do I still have hope for the future?
Do I even have a future at all?
I cried uncontrollable till I had no tears to pour any longer..
That night,I had a dream where mother appeared to me and told me never to allow pressures of life change my faith in God.
She apologized for leaving me so early but assured me that she is in a better place where there is no pains nor sorrows.
I told her to take me with her and she promised that I will come stay with her one day when I am ripe in old age and have lived a fulfill life.
She told me that God is alive and he is still planning the best for us and I should never gave up.
I should never stopped praying and believing that everything will be alright very soon.
She warned me about the dangers of sin and told me never to allow it into my heart no matter where I find myself.
Infact,this was the time I need to pray more clinging unto God as the lifter of my head,the author and finisher of my faith.
I listened as she went on explaining and quoting scriptures to me emphasizing on the everlasting love and fulfilling promises of God.
She told me to continue with the fufu business so I can survived.
She showed me a box where she had been able to save a little money from our business and told me to spend it wisely.
Lastly she promised never to leave me nor allowed anything to hurt me and assured that God and her will be with me till t he end then she disappeared and I woke up sweating.