Friday, 25th May, 2012
She was finding it difficult to concentrate on the meal she was preparing and Adeyinka would be home soon. After nine years of being married to him, she still found joy in cooking his meals. With all the church work they were both involved in, she didn’t get to do it as often as she liked, but whenever she could, she did. She sighed as she stirred the contents of the pot for the umpteenth time, trying to figure out what was missing. The sauce didn’t just taste right and she’d added everything she would normally add. Perhaps it wasn’t the sauce but her taste buds. Kechi. This was Kechi’s fault. Her sister was known to panic at the slightest thing, but there was something different about this particular phone call. Nnedi stopped stirring and just stared; as if she hoped that she’d figure it out just by looking into the pot. Her mind went back to the phone call. She had pretended not to hear the tears Kechi was trying hard to hide.
“I had a dream sister.”
Kechi always had dreams.
“Sister I’m scared.”
Kechi had never been the strong one.
“It wasn’t good. It wasn’t goo…good. At all. Ah sister it wasn’t good.”
Nightmares weren’t supposed to be good. Nothing ever came out of them.
“You held me and were telling me to look after the children.”
It didn’t mean anything. Kechi looked after the kids whenever she and Yinka had to travel.
“You started moving back slowly, repeating the words ‘take care of the children’. And then you disappeared.”
Salt! That was it. She hadn’t added salt.
Sunday, 3rd June, 2012
It was a good sermon. He knew it in his head. He hadn’t stumbled on any bible verses and his delivery had been perfect. He’d even felt the anointing. The congregation’s applause confirmed it as well. But he wasn’t satisfied. He felt that there was something he should be doing that he wasn’t. He sat in his chair in the front of the church and looked on as his wife Nnedi read out the announcements. There was this feeling. Fear? He could count on one hand the number of times he’d felt fear in ten years. But there it was. This feeling of dread. Before he could process it fully, he heard his name being called and saw Nnedi smiling at him. It was time for him to close the service. As he walked up to receive the microphone form her, he started sweating.
What was that Lord?
He stood at the pulpit and looked over his congregation. This group of people had come to mean a lot to him over the years. They were family. His family. He looked over at Nnedi with her gap-toothed grin. Nnedi. His pillar. Through antagonistic in-laws, frequent relocations and long absences, she’d stood by him.
“Church, we’re going to pray. And I want everyone to take this prayer very seriously. We’re going to pray against violent death.
Sunday, 03 June, 2012
Adeyinka & Nnedi
As they settled into the their seats in the plane, he by the window and Nnedi in the middle seat beside him, Reverend Adeyinka Craig noted that the feeling of fear he’d had from earlier had gone. Good. There was nothing prayer couldn’t do. He turned off his phones and got out his notes to go over the sermon he was on his way to give at the pastors’ conference. Nnedi, on the other hand, still held on to her blackberry. She never turned it off till the last minute. Currently, she was leaving instructions with Kechi who was house sitting and watching the children till she and Ade got back on Wednesday. She didn’t particularly like to travel on Sundays but duty called and they had to respond.
It had been a smooth flight so far. Ade checked his watch. They probably had about ten minutes to go, when the plane dipped the first time. He adjusted slightly in his seat and glanced over at Nnedi; she was sleeping soundly. He was about to go back to his notes when the plane shook again, this time a bit more forcefully. A collective murmur swept through the plane and everyone started to look around uncomfortably. Nnedi opened her eyes just as the plane swayed violently. People began screaming obscenities and calling out ‘Jesus’ in the same breath. One of the female hostesses who’d been up front walked hurriedly towards the back. Ade did not like the look he saw on her face. It was time to pray.
I will never leave you nor forsake you.
By this time, the plane was heading straight to the ground and there was full blown panic everywhere. Some people were running up and down the aisle aimlessly, while others clutched their arm-rests pleading the blood of Jesus and calling for their mothers. The air smelled of burning rubber and urine. The smell of fear. The smell of death.
You promised us protection.
I will never leave you nor forsake you.
YOU PROMISED ME PROTECTION!
I am with you always.
You can’t do this to me!
Who are you to darken my counsel by words without knowledge?
I have served you faithfully!
Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
All my life I have served you.
Shall he that contends with the Almighty instruct HIM? He that reproves God, let him answer it.
You promised me long life! You said that I would not die but live to declare YOUR goodness! Was all that a lie??
Will you also disannul my judgment? Will you condemn me, that you may be righteous?
Ade opened his eyes and looked out of the window. He wanted to reach out and touch the roof of one of the houses. He felt Nnedi beside him and he turned and looked at her. Tears flowed freely down her face and she was shaking terribly. But she didn’t say a word, bless her gap-toothed soul. She knew. He stretched out his hand and she grabbed him and clutched tightly as if hanging on for dear life.
Life. They were going to die. Was it their time? Had they been warned? Nnedi’s sister’s dream? Violent death? Had they finished their work here? Was it going to hurt? What would happen to Junior, Kemi and Banke?
He undid his seat belt, reached across and took his wife fully in his arms. He closed his eyes just as they made impact with the building.
Always, I am with you. Even now, I am with you.