I wake up with an urge to pee, and rush to do so. As I sit on the toilet, my eyes are closed in sleep. I quickly finish my business and head back to my hole.
I decide to check the time and I am shocked to see that it is exactly 3:00am. The talks about the potency of praying at such hours flash through my mind, and I get a bit more alert.
What if I need more prayers?
What if the reason I woke up at this exact time is so that I could pray my way into greatness?
These questions pass through my mind, then a scary one follows.
What if this is my last opportunity to deliver myself?
With the fear in my heart, I quickly kneel down and lean on my bed.
I can feel the disappointment of the voices; they know that my reason for praying is fear.
I have a long relationship with a kind of fear, the special fear that I may need prayers because I may be possessed.
My early years were spent in a neighbourhood where tales of children being initiated into witchcraft by their parents flew all around, especially after we moved, and our former neighbours saw it as their duty to tell my mother of the happenings.
It was after we moved that I heard that my best friends, Kelechi and Ada, who were siblings, had been initiated by their mother.
I remember the fear which coursed me. My friends whom I played with in the sand and ran round poles with were possessed? I began to think that somehow their being possessed had rubbed off on me. This belief got strengthen each time my parents said that something was wrong with me.
They might have said it as a scolding remark, but I took it more serious, and so somewhere in my subconscious is the belief that I might be possessed.
So as I kneel to pray wondering if I don’t need more prayers, and afraid this might be the determining point of my life and so it should be spent in prayer, I feel the voices look at me with a gaze of sufferance.
They know where my fear stems from.
So I am kneeling, battling with sleep and murmuring instead of singing and somehow, the sleep overcomes me and I drift off in slumber.
I am startled awake by my knees which are tired from kneeling. I check for the time on my phone, and it’s 3:33am.
I get up, murmur a thank you prayer and fall back into bed. As sleep takes me away again, a bible verse sounds in my ear: ‘Perfect love casts out fear.’
And just before I fall completely unconscious, I let go my fear of being possessed; God will deliver me if I am.
I am startled awake again by my ringing phone.
“This has to stop,” I grumble as I reach for the phone, prepared to ignore the caller, whoever it was.
As I look at my screen, I see that the time is 10:57am, and the caller is my best friend.
Why is he calling me again? Is he missing me so much?
Clearing my throat to purge out the grogginess of sleep, I don’t pick up on time and the call drops.
I don’t want my best friend to know I am still on the bed by 11am. I know he knows I don’t have a job I have to rush to, and that I am not a morning person, but somehow I still see the importance of protecting my respect.
We’ve been best friends for about eight years, but I believe one should still be able to retain respect in the eyes of family members talk more of friends.
He calls back, and by this time, I am ready.
I let it ring for a while, then I pick.
“Where you drop your phone?” he asks. No greeting, no pleasantries, just straight to the reason why I didn’t pick earlier.
“Nowhere,” I reply.
“Why you no pick before?”
“Nothing. Before I pick the call cut,”
“Abi you still dey sleep?”
I don’t want to lie, so I change the topic. “How you dey? Good morning.”
He realises he didn’t greet me before attacking and so he corrects himself. My best friend has good manners.
“Good morning. How you dey?” he asks after a slight pause.
“I dey o. How you?”
“Fine. Wetin you say be your favourite colour again?”
“Hian. Wetin happen, you wan buy something for me?” I joke. I am happy he has stopped asking whether I was still in bed.
“You no go answer question wey I ask you now?”
“No vex. Na red, but when I was younger, it was yellow.”
I mix broken and correct English when speaking with my best friend, sometimes even throwing in a little igbo into the mix. I can’t seem to be able to help it.
“The colour dey change every year, bah?” he jokes
“E concern you? Is it your colour?” I clap back
He laughs and after asking if my soup remained from yesterday, to be sure I had something to eat, he went off after telling me sorry for my injured calf.
After the call, I kneel down and pray. Then I rush to the kitchen to warm the soup before it goes bad.
The travails of egusi soup.
I get there to see that the soup has already been warmed. Obviously my mother who had already gone out warmed it. Happy, I go back to my hole.
I sit on the bed trying to decide what to do so as to make my remaining days in my twenties fun. I think of nothing, so I go back to the kitchen put some water to boil for eba and go to my laptop.
There’s no power, but my laptop is charged.
I absentmindedly write an article about fear and its force. I wrote on how weak fear was as a motivation, using my experience during the night as an example. Even though I was afraid that I was possessed, and was afraid that that was my last chance of deliverance, I still slept off.
Fear was not a good motivator for anything great.
I am so engrossed in my writing that I don’t realise the water was boiling.
A single glance towards the kitchen reminds me and I rush to make the eba.
Feeling a little productive because of my writing, I smile as I eat.
Thinking of more things to add to the article I hurry through my meal and go back to the writing.
I am done writing, and I decide to do a makeover when I get a call.
A friend wants me to write for him.
I listen in awe as he tells me what I am to do, and how I will be paid.
The payment is not much, but it is far from what I currently get.
The rest of the day, I walk on air, gratitude in my heart. I realise that the moment I let go of my fear of being possessed and hence cursed, that’s when God allowed something good come my way.
I decide last minute to make my hair.
I still have some change left from the money from the day before, and though I may go hungry again for a while, at least I’d look good on my birthday.
I am making my hair when I hear my phone ring.
When I checked the phone, I am pleasantly shocked.
It is Ayomikun calling.
Want to know who Ayomikun is?
I will tell you tomorrow.
Your comments bring out the beauty in our stories. Have your say in the comment box below. To share our story, click on the Facebook share button or on the twitter button.
Follow our twitter handle @lagosconvo