GOLGOTHA HEIGHTS INTERNATIONAL CHURCH
The Reverend Brand Bawa has just delivered one of his most powerful, heart-wrenching sermons. It had been titled FORGIVENESS. It has touched and broken every heart present. He calls his wife, and his two children, and as they stand on the podium they are all crying. Many in the congregation cannot hold back tears.
I stood here, and I denounced him. You know, last-borns are supposed to enjoy the most, but I gave my last born hell. I judged him, and I blamed him, forgetting that God knows the heart, and we mere mortals just know what is outside. We stand here today, begging all of you for forgiveness, because I failed as a father, my wife failed as a mother, and my older children failed as siblings. We let Chris down, and now we cannot even share his pain. Three months my grandson, little Chris Bawa Junior, fell into a coma, and a week ago Chris ran from the hospital, and we didn’t know where he went. But just now, as I was delivering my sermon, I received a text message from Superintendent of Police Jon Fii, who is a Chaplain at the Grand Castle Prison, that my dear son Chris showed up at the prison this morning and he has been given a room in Jon Fii’s bungalow to stay. God, indeed, is wonderful.
There is sudden applause, jubilation and thanksgiving by the congregation.
There are shouts and many get to their feet and wave their hands victoriously. Mrs. Lois Bawa falls to her knees and raises both hands in supplication to God as tears course down her cheeks. Diana and Stan hug each other tightly. In the congregation Effe erupts into sudden tears, and her mother holds her. Eyram stands up and walks quickly towards the door.
This is a most difficult hour for my son. He’s indeed under a dark cloud. I am therefore pleading with you, my congregation…if you can, if you want, please join us in a one-week half-day fasting and prayers for my dearest son Chris and my grandson Junior. From morning to twelve noon, please say a word of prayer for them. Let our Dear Lord bring them back from the darkness. Please stand and let us pray.
JON FII’S RESIDENCE
Jon Fii has given one of the rooms adjacent his quarters to Chris.
It had been allocated to another top-ranking prison official who had been transferred, and now it is vacant. The door is not locked, and Jon pushes it and enters. The smell is not pleasant.
It seems Chris has not taken a bath for a week. His beard is one-week grown, and his hands are black from the untreated wounds he had sustained from punching the walls.
Please come inside, Miss Kedem.
Eyram, who had come straight here after leaving the church, stares at horror when she sees Chris. He is still wearing only the black trousers he had worn when he left the hospital. His eyes are bloodshot, and his feet are swollen. He stinks, and he is extremely dirty. He is sitting on the floor in one corner of the room which still has furniture. Eyram’s intestines knot as she looks at him, and sees his suffering. She wishes she can take his suffering away.
He looks up dully, and when he sees her his eyes narrow with sudden intense hatred, and he growls thickly.
Get the hell out before I tear you to pieces!
It’s me, CB. Eyram.
He still glares at her with no sign of recognition, and stares vacuously into empty space. She notices that he has lost weight, and knows he has not eaten well in the one week. She puts her handbag on one of the seats and kneels down in front of him.
Good Lord, Chris. You have to eat. The porridge I gave you in the morning is still untouched.
Eyram tries to touch his cheek, but he flinches from her wildly.
(in a fierce whisper)
Eyram draws her hand back, and the pain makes her eyes sting with tears.
She gets to her feet and turns towards the door.
Are you leaving? So soon?
Eyram shakes her head.
His hands. They’re infected. They must be treated, or he would lose them.
She leaves the room and goes to her car. She returns a few minutes later with a medical kit. She kneels besides him again.
No, Chris. Your hands must be attended to. You can hit me if you want, but I’m going to treat your hands.
He says nothing. She goes to the kitchen and boils some water, and takes time to cry her heart out at the sight of that handsome proud boy reduced to such a pitiful empty husk.
She sterilizes her instruments, and then she goes back to him. It takes her a long time to clean his hands and treat the bad, stinking wounds. It must have hurt like hell, but he does not flinch. He appears not to even notice, and at long last she bandages his hands.
She tries to convince him to take a bath, but he doesn’t mind her, and doesn’t budge from the floor. She tries to feed him the jollof Jon Fii had gone to purchase at JUNIOR’S for Chris. Still Chris will not even open his mouth.
Finally she gives up, and just stays with him.
There are sudden voices, and Eyram looks up as the door opens again and Effe comes in, followed by her parents and Chris’ family members.
Effe sees that Eyram is sitting quite close to Chris, and that her head is on Chris’ shoulder. Chris’ head is leaning back against the wall, his eyes closed.
The sight of him, so hideous, so lost, so much in pain, sends shafts of pain through Effe. Diana is weeping as she moves forward suddenly.
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Oh, Chris, my darling brother. Please, I can’t take this torture anymore. Come out of this darkness and forgive us, please.
Chris eyes open, and he sees them for the first time. He lets out an ear-shattering yell of wrath and gets to his feet, quite agitated.
HYPOCRITES! LIARS! EVIL HEARTS! GET OUT OF HERE! GET OUT!!
Effe whispers to him, weeping, telling him she just wants to talk, but he pays no heed. He picks up the tray of food and hurls it at them, and then he hurls the tray at Diana. The tray smashes into her forehead, opening up a cut.
Calm down, Chris! Jesus, please calm down!
Chris still rages. Sadly, Jon Fii asks them to leave the room. They all leave, and Chris seems to calm down a bit then. He sits on the floor, crosses his arms across his knees, and begins to shake pathetically. Eyram takes Diana to her car to treat the cut on her forehead. Effe wipes her tears and follows them after a while. She stands looking at Eyram with very sad eyes.
Are you really going to do this, Eyram? Are you ready to let us walk down this path? Are you going to break up our twin bond?
Eyram looks at her sister, and there is no pity in her eyes.
You brought this on yourself, Ef. You had your chance with him. I told you I’ll take him, if he will have me.
Diana looks at them with sudden shock, and her eyes narrow at Eyram.
My good gracious, Eyram! Are you talking about Chris? Are you mad? That will be a most dastardly act! Please, I beg of you, don’t even think about it!
Eyram snaps the Elastoplast in place on Diana’s forehead, and then she turns away from them.
That’s Chris’ decision to make, not yours. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have patients to attend to.
She gets into her car and drives off. Diana, still horrified, stands besides Effe and puts an arm around her shoulders.
Tell me your sister is not going after your husband.
Effe brushes tears from her cheeks.
I messed up, Di. I don’t know what came over me. I abandoned Chris, knowing very well that I cannot live without him. I’m so scared. I’ll die if I lose him. But maybe Eyram is right. I don’t deserve him.
Diana hugs her tightly.
We all don’t deserve Chris, Effe. We were all beasts towards him. But this is the time to get closer, stronger. I don’t know what kind of stupidity has entered your sister’s head, but it is you Chris fell in love with. Fight for your man.
Effe nods, and tries to smile.
Thank you, Di. You’re right on that one. I am going to fight for him if that’s the last thing I do.