Waiting By Joy-Episode 11


Chidi stared at the television screen, long after the news had ended, with his mind racing through all the possibilities. Laura was H.I.V. positive? He couldn’t sit at a place, he stood up and paced. ‘God please. God please!’ He murmured, running his hand through his hair. The newscaster had explained how she had gone around sleeping with men, hoping to infect them with the disease, because a man had raped her and she had contracted the virus. Chidi sat down, stood up, and sat down again. He suddenly felt very hot. He decided to have a cold bath. After the bath, he didn’t feel better. He wished someone could tell him that things will be alright, even if it will be a lie. He had no close friend, the only one who was kind of close was Obinna, and he was a newlywed, it was too late to call him. Chidi couldn’t remember the last time he felt so afraid. The fear he felt broke him, and he knelt down in the sitting room, and shook with his sobbing ‘Father please forgive me, and save me. Please. I know I ignored Your voice, but I ask for mercy because of Jesus Christ.’ After a while, he stood up. He knew he couldn’t sleep a wink. Fear, guilt and sadness made him alert. He picked up his ignored Bible, sometimes studying it, sometimes imagining the worst scenario, him testing positive for the H.I.V. test. It was the beginning of many a sleepless night. Olanma was ecstatic, she was visiting Lagos for the first time. Chidinma had secured a one time job for her, a big one at that. Her plan was obviously coming to life. She was to travel tomorrow, but she was a bit worried about her mother. ‘Mama, once I am done, I will try and return immediately. I would have taken you along, but you are still mourning.’ She said as she packed., she tried to assuage her guilt. ‘Olanma, I’m happy you are traveling, at least you are not tied down in this village. I will be fine, don’t worry about me. Just do a good job, so you will get more opportunities, and maybe start up your own business there in Lagos.’ ‘Hmmm, Mama you have dreams o. But I can’t leave you here alone.’ ‘Just put in your best, God will fill in the gap.’ ‘Ok, Ma. Don’t worry, I will buy you something from Lagos.’ Her mother smiled, silently thanking God for her child, and praying that God blesses the work of her hands. ‘Hurry up with your packing so we can pray and sleep early. Your journey tomorrow is long.’ Olanma hurried up, and soon was lying down to sleep, when she remembered her latest decision. To pray for her future husband each night. She had read a book, by a foreign author, about praying for your husband from head to toe. Though she was not married yet, she started praying for her future husband a week ago, and though it was not easy losing her sleep over a man she didn’t know yet, she knew it was still for her own good. She knelt down on her mattress and prayed again, this time for her future husband. Asking God to bless him, body, mind and spirit. Asking God to attend to his prayers. And in a last minute decision, she prayed for God to bring him to her. That was the first time Olanma ever prayed about getting married. As she laid back down to sleep, she smiled. Life without her father was not easy, she still missed him, and she still wondered when she will be able to sponsor herself through school, but God has been with her, of that she could testify, she will remain grateful. Hopefully tomorrow will be the beginning of greater things as her mother hope. She smiled into her sleep. Uchenna woke up to the sound of his mother in law waking up his children for school. He looked at his wrist watch on the table close to the bed, and jumped up. He had to hurry if he wanted to make good sales today. He said his prayers and did his devotion, he couldn’t miss it, it was his back bone. He washed his face and teeth, and hurried out of the house with his utensils. He had taken over the business from his wife who was still in the hospital. There had been another operation after the first, and the doctor said there might be more. The bills were piling up and he had had no where to turn to. The robbers had succeeded in transferring all the money by the time the weekend was over. The police seemed to be both confused and unserious, Uchenna didn’t want to get worked up over spilled milk. He’d rather turn to God, which was what he did. He had promised himself to stick with God who was obviously the only constant “thing” in his life. While asking God what he was to do about raising the money for the hospital bills, he heard two Bible passages resound in his mind. They were so clear, he looked back to see if anyone had spoken to him. What is that in thine hand? Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all thy might… Using his Bible concordance, he searched for the Bible passages, and found them in Exodus 4:2 and Ecclesiastes 9:10 respectively. After studying them, he decided he was going to continue with what his wife had been doing, selling akara.