Three years later, eleven months to elections;
The clock struck 3.45 pm. Wind blew to and fro, caressing his body gently, stimulating his hair follicles so as they all stood at an attention, like a subordinate, paying respect to a superior command. From the currant bushes beside emanated sweet smelling fragrance filtering the air, reaching his nostrils which his nose couldn’t help but inhale more and more of it. Sitting on an iron bench near an evergreen tree, he went back in retrospect, reminiscing the catastrophic events that had happened to him in ephemeral chronologically. Everything had gone south in his life, so much had happened, so much that he began to have a little doubt about his faith, his existence and purpose on earth. But he continued to hold on to his undying faith in God like he had always done, believing he is perfect control.
He buried his head in his palms, closed his eyes and meditated on where to go from there. The act was stopped when a lady dressed courteously, her hair wrapped in a brown headscarf around her forehead, in her right hand was a king James version of her Bible tapped him on his shoulders. That was the person he had been waiting for under the tree.
“Tafa”, she called out slowly when she saw he wasn’t responding to her touch. His mind wasn’t with him that moment. The call of his name seemed to have brought him back to reality from his cloud of immersing in thoughts.
“oh, Rita you are here finally “he responded.
” what are you thinking about? Don’t tell me it’s still the same old thinking of yours”, she asked and sat beside him on the other side of the empty seat with Tafa adjusting slightly to accommodate her sitting position.
“Hmmmm. What would you have me doing in my position?”
“Pray of course and leave God to do the rest” she replied him
“ I don’t think you understand. I don’t think my ever growing problems will ever go away. They keep coming, coming and coming, most times even re-occurring ”
“ Don’t talk like an unbeliever. Your position as a child of God cannot be compromised. Have you forgotten what the scriptures say?”
” I haven’t but it seems all is vacuity, I feel empty, overwhelmed with so much confusion and rage within me. When am I going to get my reward for my consistent work am doing for the church, for Christ? When my bones will be too weak to lift me up and carry me about or what? ”
” I don’t know Tafa, it isn’t in my position to answer that but there is hope for anyone who is still existing on earth. He knows your tribulations. Don’t sound so defeated yet”, stretching towards his shoulders with her soft hands, patting him calmly like a crying turbulent baby in need of his mother’s presence.
“I have done everything practically within my power to get out of my predicament, this reproach that is eating me up but it seems I never tried at all. Am losing hope every moment of the day “.
” Don’t you see you have done your best as a man, leave the rest to God. All things work for good for those that ultimately believe in Him. I know you to be a strong willed believer. ”
He breathed heavily, at each interval, releasing a big amount of air. Her soothing words once again has given him a glimpse of hope to hold on. Dimples began to appear on his cheeks, glimpse of smile appeared on his face. He had known for only a short time, when they met at a matriculation ceremony few months back, during their first year. Now, they were both in their second year, a troublesome and hectic year for Tafa. From their subsequent meetings, he grew to become so familiar with her that he learnt they both had the same principles, objectives and built on the same Christian background. He was raised in a staunch Catholic home, by disciplined parents whereas she was in an Anglican home. Grew to have a strong bond so that they took turns in going into each other’s church every Sunday till one Sunday, Tafa decided to be a permanent member of hers, eventually becoming a choir master. Things began to go south in his first semester of his second year, losing his distant brother in an accident, his father duped of his invested money, was a real shock to him. His mother was the breadwinner with her trading business, a source of livelihood for everything done at home or outside.
“Thank you Rita for always been there for me at the right moment. ”
” It’s ok. What are church members and friends for? Let’s bow our heads and pray”.
University campus students seemed to be in their busiest night, clothed in all white uniform matching outfits and attires. It was a day set aside by students to have an awards night to honour final year students, like a sent forth party, the most eventful activity on campus. Security officials were roaming to ensure tranquility and order, the hall which was the host venue were filled like the Sands of the earth, breaking space was minimum. It was 8.14 pm, the white sumptuous agbadas began to flood in one after the other, the deans of various departments, vice chancellor, provosts and registrars, driven by their skinny drivers in their luxurious cars while they themselves had a protuberance of their stomachs like expectant mothers. Invitations extended to other respected figures in the state also which was one of the factors that made the event so grand.
In a pea-sized room, the decor nothing in comparable with a newly renovated building, quite furnished with a Music player set, two beds placed on a red carpet and a love seat cushion which added supple to the room. Tafa sat on his bed, clad in his spotted pyjamas and meditated on his Bible reading. His roommate, Rogers who sang melodiously to the walls of his enclosure in a wrapped towel, proceeded out of the bathroom. A look of surprise appeared on his face when his gaze met Tafa still not dressed up. He reached for his vests and boxers.
“ Don’t tell me you are not going “, he asked.
“ You are right, am not” he replied not looking up at him.
“ Oh, I thought as much, your religion and unbelievable staunch beliefs wouldn’t let you betray them. ”
Tafa said no word neither did the muscular figure beside him say nothing, graduating into a long silence. Rogers who was intelligently unreligious, and quite the opposite of Tafa had been his roommate since the first year, rarely talked about his background and reserve about his personal life. Tafa found it strange at first but had to forgo his questions about him and decided to be his friend. Barely went for lectures but never stays in his room. No one knew how Rogers survives or his source of livelihood which many described as a mystery or any of his history. He lived quite an exquisite life and had few friends. He didn’t care about anything said about him and never felt squeamish, he had that notion that he was too protected to be a victim of circumstance.
He compounded himself in the usual white outfit with silhouette, a pair of suede shoes he picked from his wide range of shoe selection in his wardrobe to compliment it.
“ Rogers, what do you think about my proposal yesterday? He asked, breaking the long silence.
“ What proposal? ” he asked, surprisingly.
“coming to church this Sunday with me. I will really be glad if you come and……..”
“No, am not considering that. I have told you numerous times am never interested and will never be. “he cuts in, dressing himself in front of the mirror and talking to his reflection.
“ I don’t believe in Heaven or hell as you already know”
“ No, don’t act like you don’t care, you have an iota of goodness and a purpose of why you are sent to this earth. You can’t achieve that unless you come to Him and………. ”
“ Spare me your Hula Baloo” Rogers cut in.
“ Am in no mood for your sermon this night. Let’s do the mathematics, seeing us both, who do you think has a better life, rich, I don’t need to answer that. Your faith should have made you well, your beliefs should have uplifted you but the reverse is the case. You dwell in poverty. Aren’t you a fool for preaching what isn’t working for you? I guess not because you still go out and blab about Him.”
“ Don’t talk about my faith in a dishonouring way like that. He’s a God of mercy. And am sure my time is coming. ”
“ Why do you keep deceiving yourself, denying the infallible truth that you serve some sort of an invincible non-existent spirit? I have a way out of this misery your passing through, only if you can open your eyes to see. Let me in Tafa.”
“ I reject your offer in any way. He never forsakes His own people.”
“ Am your friend, I can never deceive you. Do you think am happy to see you in shambles? You would be probably dead when you realize you have made a mistake in a time you could have reversed it, made a change. ”
“ No, it will be fine. I assure you”
“ Enough ok, don’t try to embellish my night with your grievous hopes and beliefs. Don’t know why I have wasted so much of time telling you what am not supposed to. ” He was completely dressed now and headed for the door but stopped and turned back again. He had forgotten something of importance as he searched about till he found it in the bathroom, it was his mobile phone he had been looking for. He took it and left, bided a bye to Tafa who angrily closed his Bible and slept off, after switching off the lights.