The gate is open, I’m wondering why. This is because my friend doesn’t leave the gate of her house open. I move further, taking each step as fast as I can but it seems so hard.
I hear voices- somewhat like the sound of a cry. At this point, my legs move faster than I thought they could. I’m scared, scared that maybe thieves invaded my friend’s compound but I feel relieved seeing my friend’s husband’s car. She told me on the phone a day before that he had just returned from his trip two days ago and would spend the rest of the week at home.
I get to the front door of the house, I see it open. I enter calling Cynthia’s name. On a normal day, her three year old daughter would shout “aunty oyoyo, did you bring my sweet for me?” I would give her a nod, carry her up and kiss her cheek but today, it’s different. I meet her crying in the sitting room. The sound of her cry like one who’s being giving injection intermittently. I call her name, she notices me and comes closer while her hand points upwards as she cries on. As all this is going on, I hear screams from upstairs. At this point I’m really apprehensive.
I run upstairs, moving in the direction from which the sound is coming from. I get to the door of the room. I find it somehow locked. I hear two voices crying and one shouting. At this point, I’m hoping it’s not what I’m thinking. I push the door really hard, it doesn’t open. I kick my leg against the door, it breaks. I can’t find anyone in there.
The sound is coming from an inner room- the toilet. At this juncture, I’m acting like a crazy lady, I’m shouting Cynthia’s name, I only hear a baby crying. The door seems to be locked. Every door I meet seems like a Jericho wall to me but I keep telling myself, I’ll get to that Canaan land. I just keep pushing aside whatever interrupts my movement as the room looks so scattered. My leg steps on a broken glass as I push the door forcefully. I’m bleeding but I don’t care. I’m worried about my friend. I see her on the floor crying and her little boy by her side. He’s crying profusely. She’s too weak to cry. She looks like she’s loosing breath. I turn back to see who’s oppressing my friend, I see Joe, the youth leader, Cynthia’s husband with a belt in his hand. I’m shocked.
Tears roll down my cheeks as I see Cynthia looking so helpless. I’m trying to resuscitate my friend as I see blood flowing down her face from her head. I quickly rush downstairs to get a taxi. I see Joe driving out in a reckless manner. I wonder if it’s the guilt that he feels on seeing me that makes him do that. I can’t really explain but my concern is for my friend. We get to the hospital and she’s being rushed to the ICU.
It’s Saturday, a day after the incident. Her two kids are with my elder sister. I called Jumi immediately we got to the hospital. She payed for the expenses- God bless her. Two days gone without a bath. I don’t want to leave Cynthia’s side, I want to be here till she opens her eyes. I’m praying really hard for her recovery. Joe hasn’t called to check up on his wife. I’m wondering if this is really the Joe, the “pastor Joe” as we fondly call him that gave us goose bumps as he read that love letter to Cynthia on the day of the proposal.
My phone rings, I pick up, it’s our pastor. He tells me to prepare adequately for tomorrow’s program and also tells me he’s just called Joe who says he’s getting ready for the program. I’m really surprised and I summon up courage to speak. I tell the pastor, “sorry sir, I won’t be around”. I cut the call and switch off my phone. I can only cry!
As I wipe my face with my handkerchief, my eyes meets Cynthia’s. I smile and tell her, she’ll be fine. She asks of her kids, I tell her they are in safe hands.
Sunday has passed, another week has rolled by. Cynthia gets discharged. She says to me, “Timi, I’m going back to my husband’s house, I don’t want the church to see me as a disgrace. This is not the first time it’s happening, if I die, let me die there”.
I’m really furious as I ask, “church or your life?