Foreword: This piece is in a way, a sequel to a piece in the Dear Diary category: Sour-prano Untamed. Many thanks to beautiful readers and contributors who instigated this delivery. They triggered the impulse that searched for this memory at the secret place it was hitherto lodged. I hope you enjoy this.
No matter how much of enjoyment the present presents me, a short mental stroll down memory lane, childhood avenue, always gives me the beams; sometimes a loud laugh LOL would understate.
The exact place it took me this time I’ll gladly regale. Before I do though, allow me to quickly go on a brief commercial of the sponsors of this programme.
I’m just kidding. Please don’t go away.
On that very cold night that was so ideal for a serious slumber, I grumbled and dragged along with my siblings, clutching a mat in my arm and raving incoherence as we trailed behind our parents. In contrast to my unhappy mien was the clear grey star-less sky which shone so effortlessly that it kindled my anger. On nights like that, we would plead with them or feign deep sleep and yawns in an attempt to avoid the vigil, but we hardly ever succeed. By the time they’re done telling us how night prayers are very effective; and how the devil, the roaring lion looking for whom to devour, comes in the night to sow weeds into lives, we would open our eyes wide and drop the antics, pick up our cover cloths and simply tag along.
I had determined to take the tonight-I-must-sleep ministry to the permanent site, but somehow along the line that changed. The pastor-in-charge was particularly so good and vibrant it became hard to slumber, not when he was lambasting witches and borrowing the sword of the God of Jacob every two minutes. Wouldn’t it be so stupid to sleep when witches are vexing and looking for escape routes?
My eyes remained shut as I dragged myself into the spirit by force, lips moving hastily, releasing words of prayer to counter any homeless wandering spirit.
Casting and binding finally stopped. As a small church, the norm during vigil was that the most qualified drummer in attendance would beat the drum. Unfortunately, the role fell on me, leaving me no room for escape at all. I grudgingly motioned to the drum-stand in full realisation of a sleep gone down the drain.
It wasn’t long before my reluctance fizzled and gave way for zeal. Engrossed in the rhythm and melodious delivery of sister Shade in the praise session, I didn’t notice I was hitting too hard. The church was in a frenzy, jubilating and twerking unto the Lord in a new song and with a loud voice. Our loyal reconstructed yamaha speakers at the corners were doing great jobs; booming at a decibel that would put Kenwood to naked shame. The tiny-but-mighty funnel shape speaker on the roof aided by air movement spread the good news more than it was sent. Satisfactory nods came from the pastor every time the drum-set rocked with effect. What better motivation did the drummer boy need?
A gentle breeze swept through the little space of the church just at the time we switched to a song of God’s miracles, reiterating how He made dry land across the Red sea, fell the wall of Jericho and raised the dead. The cold caress of the breeze reminded me of the nap, but I was already in the mood for action.
I noticed a figure from afar but I couldn’t make out the face. The usher at the side of the entrance had somehow disappeared. A man strolled in gently, squinting under the lights with his hands folded behind him as he made his way in the direction of the pulpit. It wasn’t a time for altar call so I couldn’t understand his mission. He became so familiar as he got nearer, and at that exact moment I had a full recall of him and a hint of his likely mission, he switched from melancholic to vitriolic. He dashed and hurled his sandal at the pastor, rushing him in a flash.
It wasn’t the mortal combat game on Play Station. The speed was near impossible!
I was shocked. The whole church was. We rushed to the altar to get a clear glimpse of what was happening, but the deed had gone beyond done. Sounds that managed to echo in the confusion had followed repeatedly. I knew the sounds very well; I hear them often on my way to school whenever garage boys are taking stances in pointless fisticuffs.
At the age a few years shy of 50years, the well-built and very fair Mr Giwa has had lots of health issues linked mainly to his disturbing blood pressure. He was a quiet man; a very gentle man who would do everything to stop anything that poses a threat to his health, especially unsettling loud noise in the middle of the night.
For the love of God and His anointed son, everyone rushed to the rescue and restrained Mr Giwa from dealing the fourth blow. What he lacked in melanin he gained in the strength of Mohammed Ali. Sneaky sister Shade was no more on scene. I knew as a fellow accomplice I shouldn’t be visible as well. Blows that put a grown man to the ground all-mute would surely work a deafening miracle—or anti-miracle, depending on impact intensity—on a boy of my age. I disappeared too, not because I was scared, but because, well. . . I strictly preferred God’s miracles in our last song.
Ambulance would have been too much for the occasion, first and second aid treatments wouldn’t. I remembered one of pastor’s favourite verses that talks about the devil that comes to steal, kill and destroy. As I later watched him cooling at a corner of the building (it could’ve been me), I couldn’t fight the urge to conjure up satisfied smiling witches, and the devil in a flowing black robe with a hood over his head; a familiar devil in sallow Mr Giwa’s image. Indeed, that devil had not come to steal, kill or destroy; he came to deliver a few fist sentences and nothing stopped him. Not even the usher he sentenced first by silently putting him out of service at the entrance.
If I had been told earlier that the vigil would end two hours before closing I would’ve countered in the line of “get thee behind me, satan”. Who would’ve thought that our arch-enemy, the accuser of brethren and tormentor of the beloved, had an ally close by?
Days later Mr G apologised. As you would guess, he blamed the devil and his health concern. I agreed with the latter and kicked out the former just like the rubbish that it was. The forgiveness was quick and both parties, especially the church, learnt a lesson. We all subscribed to the golden quote:
“If you do not make a noise, no class captain will put your name in the list of noise-makers let alone get you flogged—or boxed (ceteris paribus).” — Julius Ceasar
I am @jossef69 on twitter.
image credit: medicinenet.com