Fiction=Stumbling Faith

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It was on those curtains that I saw it; it was on them that I saw the fury of Mamas anger as it lay gorily bared at each dawn. It was here she normally stood and listened to their noisy hums, with her eyes keenly following, searching to seek them out from their hideouts, and her palms spread, just wide enough, with a measured force that would gather each of the unlucky ones into its threshing floor and crush them to death.

Their blood would leave tiny dots of red bloodstains smeared faintly on Mamas palms. Then Mama would give a swift hurting long sigh, that would  crease her forehead with the crinkles on it clearly stating that the little creatures  weren’t  worth the labors put in  killing them .

Here Mama stands again, before these white curtains, with her ears arched and her swift eyes keenly following each hum, to see where these nuisances would perch. She watches as they holed themselves in between the ruffles of our white curtain. Her palms like always, were already poised for the kill, getting ready to cruelly sandwich the noisy creatures in the   illusive asylum they had found in between her palms, after they had wreaked havoc a night before. It was the hour of retribution that always made Mama get somewhat even with these gatecrashers. Because they never seem to have enjoyed their plunder, before Mamas retributive palms strike.

Kpam!!, was the loud clap that cracked the lull that had enveloped our room that morning and we knew Mama was up close again against her little foes. we heard successive rolls of claps, and we knew, some of Mamas foes were bolting and she was determined to contain them, so they pay for the sins of yesterdays night. But like always , she didn’t always succeed, their flight were often faster than her palms and some do escape through the narrow breathing space left by the not so well closed alumaco glass window, while others unknown to mama bottle themselves up behind the flowery cape of our curtain. I knew they took refuge there, but I oddly felt pity for them, I knew that was the way they knew best to survive, that we’ll forever be their host ..

When the mild shimmering yellow rays of sunlight began trickling into our parlor, we saw it .We saw all the blood that could be  squirted by their puny, small frames, as they painfully glued to our curtains like a dull red mosaic. Mama won’t always be bothered it ,it seems the sight of them has a soothing effect on her, reminding her that she did take her revenge ..But the funny thing is , that just before dusk today I know,and mama does too, they will waddle in  in their numbers accompanied by their sonorous humming into our house.

And even if they  did see the blood of their comrades shed by Mama  ,they wouldn’t in fear pass over us, rather they would fight us this night again ,that the blood of their comrades would not be in vain .

The same energy Mama had hated those little devils, is the same with which she loved Fr. Ifechukwu. So even as she stays awake at night to ward off mosquitoes, she could even stay longer to watch Fr. Ifechukwu speak for hours unending in his adoration ground. Fr. Ifechukwu was what an inhaler is to an asthmatic patient to mama. She would load his recharge cards, buy his music, drank only the sachet water his company produced and more.

So even on days she saw me and Izuchukwu arguing about Fr. Ifechukwu and Fr. Okunerere who was more powerful, though she had thrown an exasperating look at us, as children who have nothing better to do with their lives. “Common shut up both of you, both are priests, they are men of God”. But her eyes had betrayed her for we actually knew whom she sided, she was just careful not to bias our minds.

So, no one was surprised when Mama swallowed line and sinker Fr. Ifechukwus controversial prophecy prior to the 2015 presidential elections. Papa was also an ardent follower of Fr. Ifechukwu, but that particular prophecy had turned him cold towards Fr. Ifechukwu. It was that year that the fame of eunuchs who stood behind the pulpits bolstered. God seem to have given many contradictory revelations to most of his enrobed men that year for the men from Aso rock. The people’s faith splintered among some of these men who downplay reason with the help of the Jesus.

Then that night came, when God decided to give a prophecy from the oracle of the Holy Spirit. People abandoned their seats, that particular prophecy churned their hearts and in anger they left for their homes. In their homes effigies were ripped off from walls, tea mugs and bible covers. They detested that particular holy spirit of doom.

Then the ambience became tense. Adherents suffered sleepless nights and Mama wasn’t left out, even Papa was scared, he like many other well-meaning Catholics feared for what would become the faith of the catholic church in Nigeria if the prophecy didn’t come through, he really doubted the veracity of the words that came from the “oracle of the holy spirit”, as Fr. Ifechukwu had said it.

Mama prayed more, she booked masses, even though it was announced as anonymous, we knew who requested such. She prayed for Fr. Ifechukwu is vindicated. The opposition churches barbed their words and assaults and laid in wait for a proof of the authenticity of the prophecy. Cheap, hungry singers made fortune in adjudicating for or against the veracity of the prophecy.

Then months after the prophecy from the oracle of the Holy Spirit prevailed. Peoples jaws fell and their shoulders sagged, they began to recant and attack the prophecy and the prophet that brought about the costly mistake that encumbered their lives these years.

With each staggering step of the octogenarian with an infected ear, they see their hopes and aspirations trudge into the doldrums. They never said had we known, because they knew who he was beforehand. The only thing they knew they did wrong was trusting too much the herald of the message from the oracle of the Holy Spirit. Mama, now with two closed shops clothed in reds became lip tied; and with Papa out of work, she regretted ever praying for the prophecy to come true.

Papa believed the newly elected president wouldn’t last. That the hardship in the country would soon end, that was his consolation. He said his case would be just like that of the late sickly president, Umaru Musa Yar’adua, who was unable even to complete tenure in office. He would always tell anyone who cared to listen, how we all knew that Yar’adua was sick. How his party members knew, but when questioned on how he would cope as the president, funnily enough, they swept it under the name of Jesus.

They said God is the author of life. We all kept mute and watched, knowing full well that he was but a bird of passage. He stopped putting up appearance in public as days aged. He had lived on life support batteries abroad and his health kept drying him up. But what did the members of his party say. They had told us that all was well, that he was just on a routine medical checkup.

The day his party finally accepted he was dead, Nigerians didn’t cry, everyone had gone about their businesses, no one talked about it, it was stale news already. Even before he appeared on TV screens, Nigerians already knew he was dead. No one mourned; people only felt pity for a frail dying man, who was manipulated into the weighty job of shouldering a stumbling giant. This was Papas now overly rehearsed tale.

But maybe Papa was equally wrong with his prediction; the president doesn’t actually look like someone to die any moment. Maybe we should all just pray we stay alive and remain in one piece until he lives. Death wish doesn’t kill a man if his time hasn’t come.

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