Tuesday, 5 July 2016

GOOD CHRISTIAN PEOPLE


All the events in this story are true; only the names have been changed.

Tolulope Brainard sat in front of Dr. Kikelomo with bated breaths. Everything seemed to be going in slow motion. She was sure that the result in that envelope would change her life forever, yet she dreaded what it would say. She wanted to pray but knew that whatever prayer she sent now was too late anyway. It was either positive or negative.

You are pregnant Tolulope’ Dr. Kikelomo said. She didn’t just say it with finality; that would have been nice. Dr. Kikelomo said that with cynicism, seemingly mocking her predicament.

Tolulope got up to leave. Dr. Kikelomo stopped her in her tracks.

‘I must say that I am ashamed of you. How could you have been fornicating all this while? What a shame you are to the church! You do know I am sending the report to the pastor so you can be disciplined right?’

Tolulope looked back at her and turned the door knob. She walked out of the consulting room and out of the hospital.

Tolulope wandered the streets in a state of confusion as she watched her life flash before her.

***

Tolulope was born into a strong Christian family. She had four siblings; one brother and three sisters. She was the youngest girl.

Her father died when she was five and her mother took up the responsibility of taking care of them. They were poor; not piss poor but poor. Her mother, if anything, became more religious. She spent all her time reading her Bible, attending church services and doing evangelism.

Tolulope grew up on nothing but the Bible, its edicts and its teachings. Her mother drummed morality into all her children, chief of which was staying away from fornication. Tolulope knew by heart all the bible verses about sexual sins.

Her oldest sister - Shayo – was married off to the church choirmaster, Aderopo Bolaji, when she was 17. He was a middle class man who worked in the government. He took the load off Tolulope’s mother by paying most of her bills. As he got promoted, his burden increased; he became the chief financier of Tolulope’s family. He trained Tolulope’s siblings until only Tolulope was left.

When Tolulope got into the university, she maintained her Christian life. She studied hard, prayed a lot, never missed campus fellowships and completely stayed off boys. She did all that until she met Femi.

Femi was handsome, intelligent and dedicated to the things of GOD. He was, in her definition, the perfect man.

No one taught her to understand her body and its urges so when she started feeling things for Femi, she chucked it up to being ‘sinful’. She prayed to GOD to deliver her from her feelings and when that didn’t happen, blamed HIM for them. She found out later that Femi also shared same feelings and they started dating…or more appropriately, courting.

They never spent any time alone together. They always had a chaperone or a friend. They didn’t want to tempt the devil to cause them to sin.

When they had dated for 2 years, Femi proposed and Tolulope said yes. She was elated! She couldn’t wait to share the happy news. She called her mother and sister Shayo and they seemed genuinely pleased. GOD had sent them a good man.

When Shayo told Aderopo, he flew into a rage. How dare Tolulope date someone? Who gave her the right to date anyone he had not first approved off? Shayo was surprised at the anger but since the Bible urged her to submit to her husband, she soon began to see things in his light.

Aderopo began to make life harder for Tolulope. He told her to choose between Femi and continuing her education. When she didn’t listen, he threatened to stop sending money to their sick mother. Tolulope told Femi everything and they decided to keep their relationship secret until Shayo’s husband was more cooperative.

Well, she couldn’t hide it any more.

***

Carrying the pregnancy was the hardest thing Tolulope had to do.

Aderopo beat her every day, maybe hoping she would lose the pregnancy. Shayo joined her husband in the beatings. When they were weren’t beating her, they were piling house chores on her. They prevented her from going to church because she was, in their words, a disgrace to her family.

The only time Tolulope was happy was when she returned to school but even that was a drag. Her course mates gave her that How-can-you-be-born-again-and-pregnant look. She couldn’t explain that she had had sex with Femi in a moment of weakness and the result had been the baby. She couldn’t explain that she had prayed to GOD, begged for HIS forgiveness and felt that she DESERVED the suffering she was facing at the moment.

Femi’s mother, who had been so loving when they were introduced, suddenly became a monster when Femi told her about the pregnancy. She swore that Tolulope was the corrupting influence on her very CHRISTIAN son. She swore that when Tolulope gave birth, she would take ‘their baby’ and be done with her.

Tolulope was afraid she would lose her child. So every day, she prayed, hoped and begged GOD to let the child be okay and to be able to keep it.

Maybe GOD finally took pity on her.

***

Tolulope had not seen her sister’s family in two years. Since that day when she took out the IV line from her hand, took her baby and walked out of the hospital, she had not even thought of them. She was happy with her beautiful child and even though she had to hide the effects of Femi’s physical abuse from the inquisitive eyes (and hands) of her daughter, she was happy.

Oh! She didn’t tell you? Femi was abusive. From the moment she turned up at his door, he took every opportunity to beat her. And he had many excuses; she was a temptress, she MADE him sleep with her, she nearly destroyed his relationship with CHRIST, she brought disgrace to him and his family, the baby cried too loudly, she cooked vegetable soup with goat meat instead of beef or whatever was his pet peeve that day.

Anyone looking at how much he loved his daughter would never believe he beat the crap out of her mother.

But Tolulope took it all. GOD was punishing her for fornicating and when HE was done with her, HE would forgive her and allow her enjoy her life.

***

Tolulope’s mother convinced her to go see her sister and her husband. Good Christians were supposed to be forgiving after all.

Tolulope went with just the clothes on her back so she wouldn’t have to stay with her sister’s family.

When she arrived Shayo’s house, she was welcomed like a long lost family member. Shayo cooked chicken stew just for Tolulope. Whenever Tolulope wanted to leave, Shayo and Aderopo would bring up something to keep her. Soon enough, it was dinner time and Tolulope could not leave that day. She resigned herself to enjoying this new and accepting front they displayed. Maybe GOD had really changed them!

They talked and laughed and as soon as her nieces were put to bed, her brother in-law asked to speak to her.

They retired to the living room, still excited from the reunion. Shayo sat by her husband, with Tolulope sitting opposite them. Aderopo took his Bible and opened to Exodus 20:12.

‘Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your GOD is giving you’

A sense of fear gripped Tolulope. She tried to brush it aside but it wouldn’t budge. Aderopo looked at her and she could swear she saw that mean streak again.

‘Since your father died, I have been feeding you, clothing you, paying your bills, and giving you everything you wanted. I have been a father to you and you had the effrontery to have a boyfriend, fornicate with that boyfriend, get pregnant and give birth to a bastard child. You even ran away from my house and made me look like a fool. Now, take this Bible and swear that you will never see that boy again or your child again and you will never leave this house’.

Tolulope’s pensiveness increased as he spoke. She thought of dashing out of the house but knew that Shayo had locked the door just as they sat.

‘Take it and swear!’ Aderopo screamed. Tolulope shook her head in the negative. As he lunged at her, she made a quick dash, heading for her room. Her sister chased her up the stairs, followed closely by her husband.

Tolulope had barely made it to her room when her sister caught her shirt. She shook her off and slammed the door in her face. She used her body to hold the door until she could properly lock it. After that, Tolulope ran to the windows and noticed that a new feature had been placed there; burglary proof rods shaped like a wire mesh. She was willing to risk the jump down but knowing that she could not use that option made her heart sink in her chest. To escape, she had to go through THEM!

The thought had not finished forming in her head when she heard a heavy thud on the door. Aderopo was trying to break it down! She looked around and seeing nothing to barricade the door further, knew her fate was inevitable. Her sister was screaming and raining curses on her. Aderopo kept pushing and pushing and pushing.

Tolulope stood facing the door. She closed her eyes.

The door gave in.

***


The story doesn't end here. What happens to Tolulope after that door breaks open? Find out by clicking here.

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