BEHIND THE VEIL- 1
What!? Abeiku exclaimed almost too loudly as his eyes widened and his jaw dropped.
That cold thursday evening, sitting on the short brique wall besides the pavement, his ears were tingling and almost buzzing.
He couldn’t believe what Nana had just told him.
Nana pursed her lisp and bit her tongue. Now that she had started and seen the dancing flame of avid curiosity in his eyes, the pit in her tommy deepened, for she knew that there was now no way out. She had to tell him more; pull all of the curtain aside and let him in on some of her most well guarded and embarrassing secrets. She didn’t like to talk about her family and her past. In fact, « not like » was an understatement. She hated having to. It brought back and revived all the painful realities and memories. This was her way to go: the less you think about it, the less it will hurt. So when it came to her family, she lived as though, being totally oblivious to all the drama ragging daily around her. In slow motion, her mind went back to yesterday evening. Mum was complaining about dad and his incomprehensible behaviours again. How could he not care about his own children, while feeding other people’s progenitures outside? The whole time, she kept staring at her little nephew who was now asleep in her arms. She smiled broadly at the child. Mum’s words sounded like distant echoes in her back. No, she wouldn’t join her for a swim in her favourite pool of complaints and negativity. She’d rather keep contemplating the sweetness and beauty of this little angel, innocently dreaming in her embrace.
It was Abeiku’s tap on her shoulder that brought her back to reality.
Ehem, I’m listening. This evening has turned out to be more interesting than I expected, he said in an attempt to signal his impatience to hearing the rest of Nana’s apparently gloomy story. A thousand and one questions and scenarios were running through his mind.
Nana and Abeiku had this habit of meeting at that same junction almost every evening. They were area neighbours and they spent the night talking about just anything and had grown fond of each other’s company. Abeiku liked how smart and pretty she was and was always in awe, every time she opened her mouth. There was something about the way she carried herself…. Something intimidating and yet so irresistibly attractive at the same time. This girl had brains. But not just brains. Brains with a passion for God he had rarely observed among young ladies, if not a fake copy of it. As for Nana, she appreciated the fact that Abeiku could be a genuine friend to her. Not one of those church brothers who are always trying to hit on you every opportunity they get. No, she could just sit with him and talk for hours unend, without the fear of things “getting complicated” between them. He was such a sugar bear and a protector.
Nana sighed heavily while mentally searching for her next word. She finally continued:
Yes my dear friend, I’ve not always been this always-on-fire sister that you came to know. And I’m certainly not from the kind of background you are imagining. I was not born into a christian family with a pastor for a father and a diaconess for a mother like most people seem to think. I came from the lowest, if not to say the darkest place. Both my parents were animists, though my mother was not an active idol worshipper, she never really seemed uncomfortable with the evil practices of her husband.
Every time, we had to travel to the village, dad made us go through all kinds of rituals before we left. He had this belief that we would fall sick or die otherwise. On some occasions we had to lick some thick palm oil that had previously been kept on top of/or in a bowl used for the worship of one of his multiple idols. Other times, we had to stand still while he blew on some cigarette he had lighted , to get the smoke all around our heads and into our faces. For those of you who think that smoking has nothing demonic to it, now you know.
The part she hated was when his marabout gave him some stinky water to sprinkle on himself and on us the kids. You would be sleeping at night and by the time you realise it, your cover cloth and face would be wet with water. Most of the time, I only woke up to see my father’s back as he quickly walked out of our room. Oh, how she hated this! Even after she had started going to church and decided to follow Christ, she’d wake up at night and find such stinky water on her body. She protested severally, but her dad would only smile, thinking “these are only child complaints”.
Reflecting over this, she now realised that this must have been one of the reasons, demons attached themselves to her and tormented her so much in her sleep any time of the day. From witchcraft manifestations to evil water spirits’ attacks, she had seen it all. Her father had no idea the harm he was causing her. She had to go through so many deliverance sessions after she became born again and aware of what was going on in her life. Such spirits don’t leave easily, especially if they’ve been anchored in the family for ages, and hold a title-deed to your life, from your parents or grand-parents who ignorantly gave you away while you were just an innocent little child. Demonic covenants are real. And she knew it just too well.
Nana was now speaking in a very low and somewhat sad tone:
I am so glad that Christ found me. And I was honoured to be chosen from among my family to get to know the Lover of my soul who died for me, so that I could be the light and salt to my family .
Hallelujah! Abeiku jubilated, now attracting the curious on-look of passers-by. She laughed heartily while responding with an amen.
Yes, she said, but the story does not end there:
When I became a teenager. I relapsed but on another side; went back into the world. And you know what got me there? Laziness and procrastination. They are two of the devil’s most powerful tools. I kept postponing attending church service, till I found myself being the girl who wore very skimpy clothes while dancing her life out in night clubs… . Abeiku’s eyes widened again.
Nana unconsciously looked at her silver wrist watch. It was now 10:30 0’clock and she had early morning lectures the following day. So, she had to ignore Abeiku’s plea not to leave. She giggled and said: « Heeehr! Wo p3 sa dodo! Tomorrow wai?* God willing»
As he absent-mindedly crossed the tarred and now free road, the questions in Abeiku’s head, were raging like an angry giant toilet fly trapped in a locked closet. He turned around to see Nana waving him from her gate. She was now getting inside her house. Who would have believed it? Sanctimonious, prayer warrior and always on fire Nana! The girl he respects and admires so much. God indeed has the sense of humour. He could sense that this was just the beginning and that there was so much more he was going to discover and learn from Nana’s story. He taught to himself: Devil! You got your butt kicked! You tought you had this one, but look now, God has obviously allowed her to get to know many of your tricks and the ways you operate, and now the weapon has turned against you. JOKE’S ON YOU DEVIL! He laughed out loud and pushed their gate. He couldn’t wait for tomorrow evening.
To be continued… 😉
*Heeehr! Wo p3 sa dodo! Tomorrow wai? : hey, you are too found of such stories! We’ll continue tomorrow, ok?