Written by: Itunuoluwa Ajayi-Albert
I looked up at the clock.
It was 10pm.
As I wiped my face with a face towel, her countenance was sorrowful. She was pallid.
“Dayo, is everything alright?” I managed to mutter as I laid my wet toothbrush on the bed-side table and moved closer to her with my towel wrapped around my body and night wear hung around my right shoulder.
The bed was littered with unfolded clothes, so I moved some away to form heaps while some fell on bare floor as I adjusted myself and sat at a close range to my bosom friend, Dayo.
“Dayo, what is it?” My impatience was getting the best of me.
She sniffed as hot tears flowed down through her perfectly smooth face…
“Here, take it” she almost could not stop the pain in her heart and burst out in loud cries.
I could barely open the ‘sealed but already opened’ envelope when she yelled!
“They said I have Leukemia!”
It was as if a heavy stone was suddenly thrown on my head. I couldn’t feel any blood flowing through my veins. I was numb and at the same time, electrified with wild fear.
I am Dunni. I am everybody’s friend. But Dayo’s only friend.
Earlier this month, being flat-mates with Dayo, I had noticed some irregularities with her. I had forced her to see a doctor…
But we weren’t prepared for this..
Dayo and I are Children of God. Dayo and I are Christians!
“I reject it for you in Jesus name!” I almost sprung out of my skin as I jumped on my feet while tucking in the edge of the towel wrapped around my body.
“It is written that the plague of the ‘Egyptian’ shall not be put upon you Dayo! I decree that you are whole!” I fired on in tongues…
She cuts in to take a phone call.
“Dayo! Ma pa mi o! Ibo lo wa lataaro?
Ki lo de ti o ti e fi kuro lodo woli bayen losan yi nigbati won ba e soro lowo?
Atipe ki lo sele si phone e gan?
Se o fe ku ni???”
I could already tell it was her mother.
“Maami… I can’t do what the woli(prophet) said. I am a child of God.” She responded, wiping her nose and face with a clothing on the bed.
“Temidayo! Leukemia! Child of God! Haaa…”
Dayo ends the call and I quickly cut in.
“Please be strong my dear friend. Your help is in the name of the Lord.” I sat back on the bed.
“Dunni. I’ll be 30 by next month. I’m not even married. Now. Leukemiaaaa. She leaned softly on my shoulders and Continued sobbing.
“Everything in me wants to give in to the prophet’s instruction. But God has been silent. I even asked for God’s approval before heading to his church. But He was silent. I don’t want to die yet…”
“What were his instructions?” I asked
“… That I should come with him on a 3 day and 3 night fasting and prayers by an undisclosed river side”
“And everything in you wants to give in? Dayo! Please don’t”
“I’ve been pushed to wall! Why would God be silent at such a time in my life?”
“But why did you leave if you wanted to give in? I guess you already know that’s not the right thing to do.”
“But I’m pushed to the wall already Dunni”
She began to sob and I could only feel sorry for my best friend.
Looking into Woli Ade’s face,
I couldn’t decipher what was running through his mind. He was starring at me too.
I felt really uncomfortable.
“Is he a true prophet?” I tried to decode from his facial expression, but this Sturdy, dark complexion middle-aged man gave me no clue.
Of course, I already knew. He was one of those who wore the pastor robe during the day, but dined with devils at night.
“Are you really ready for this?” His husky voice broke the silence.
“Well, I’m here”. I muttered face down, counting my fingers. I tried to be confident but my wits were failing me.
I felt the strong urge to run away.
“Isn’t this what Paul in the Bible did? How am I different?” My conscience was almost becoming audible.
“The last time you came here, you left immediately I listed the procedures. I concluded it made you uncomfortable, so I have decided to perform the procedures on your behalf”
I heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank you” I said almost not opening my mouth.
“Two bottles of dry gin, dried leaves, a white cock, a rock picked by the Sea side, 3 white eggs are the items. All you have to do is pay.” he explained carefully.
“Okay sir”. I reached into my bag to fetch some naira notes.
Suddenly, I remembered a scripture passage I had read in the morning. It was so fresh in my head.
It was from Isaiah 31:1. Woe to them that go to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy one of Israel neither seek the Lord!
Hmm hmm! Woli Ade coughed to gain my attention back with his hands stretched out to receive the money.
I was already in tears and guilt. I handed over a bundle of cash and dashed out without saying a word.
As I went through the passage, I could perceive the unwelcoming smell of incense and concoctions. I took off my shoes and hastened my steps.
I looked right and left to be sure no familiar face was watching as I stepped out of the building.
“Temidayo, stop this and wait on God. Those who wait on him will not be ashamed” I heard my spirit clearly.
“No! I can’t waste more time. The doctor even said I don’t have much time” I argued.
I couldn’t get the tiniest courage to ask God for help. I felt so unqualified.
I started weeping.
“Who fends for my mother if I eventually die?” I muttered and tears flowed into my mouth. It was so salty.
After few minutes, I wiped my tears, and was pulling up my seat belt when I heard screams. I looked around and saw people running away.
Praaam! I clutched on the car handle to open the car.
In a moment, I beheld a big tree plunging downwards.
It fell on me with a loud bang as my spirit left my body.
Pacing to and fro the sitting room.
Dunni couldn’t stop looking at the wall clock, like it was going to disappear.
“It’s already 7pm. She didn’t tell me she would be staying this long. Ehn? O God have mercy. I should have gone with her.”
She kept talking as she continued to Pace about the room.
It was the door bell.
“Dunni!” A voice called from the door.
“That should be mama. Ah!” She jumped grabbing her skirts by her thighs.
“Hello!” Another voice called from the door. It was a man’s voice.
“Please hold on” she said as she rushed to get the door.
“Good evening madam. I am Detective Olakunle Akesan and this is my colleague officer Monday Areo.” The man in Black uniform said holding up an ID card.
“We have some information for you and have tried locating your house in the area. Fortunately, she led us here.” He continued pointing to Iya Michael who fries and sells akara in the neighborhood (Iya alakara).
“Alright sir. Please how can I help you”.
“We would like you to come identify the bodies of one Miss Temidayo Ola who died in a tree crash and Mrs Bimpe Ola who died in a car accident on her way to the scene while she was contacted.”
“Aaaaahhhh! Dayo? Mummy dayo? Died?”
“No! It’s not possible officer!” She burst into tears.
“Both bodies, have been deposited at St. Maron’s memorial cemetery and your contact was the last dialled on the deceased’s cell phone…”
Before Detective Akesan could say Jack, Dunni had collapsed.
“Where am I?” Dunni asked the stranger sitted beside her.
“This is Salmonda Clinic and you were brought here last night by two policemen.” The nurse explained.
“Eeeeeeehhhhh”. She burst into tears.
“I would be just across the counter,” the nurse excused herself pointing towards the nurses lounge.
Dunni stared into the ceiling with tears rolling down.
“If only she had listened to me, and held on to the promises of God, she would not have died. Mama would not have died too. She claimed God was silent but there were promises in the scriptures we read together. God cannot be silent when the Bible is opened”