Christiana Gabriel 1 year ago
@Christianawrit... 5 min read Write a comment #short-stories

Arrows

"... someday people will talk about you to your face, but you won't be able to join in the discussion."

The sweet cold caused by the earlier rain did nothing to ease the sorrowful built-up tension in the backyard of the Ojo's, the newly married couple who had just arrived in the neighborhood some few months ago. Mrs. Ojo had lost her life in a terminal illness two days ago, and today, she is being laid to rest in a small ceremony led by the Methodist church down the street.

"She loved my children so much, always getting gifts for them whenever she visited," Mrs. Smith was saying when friends and family were asked to testify of her good works. "I remembered when my little girl was sick, and my husband and I were unable to raise money for her treatment; she paid all the medical bills..." Mrs. Smith could not finish her testimony; she was already weeping profusely and blowing her nose. The microphone was gently taken away from her. One of the officiating ministers ushered her to her seat.

The next testifier was called upon, and to my utmost surprise, Baba Jana, the hostile old man who lays curses on anyone who tries plucking from his fruit tree or passes in front of his house without greeting him; he once sued a pentecostal church a few months ago for "disturbing the peace of the neighborhood with their crude and godforsaken instruments" he was that despite feared. He raised a shaky hand, stood up, and walked up the slightly mounted wooden podium. I could see neighbors whispering to one another. "...who knows if he had used his juju on her..." Mara whispered to her friend, who, from the corner of my eye I noticed, looked at me before equally whispering her response back to her; maybe it was to caution Mara from making baseless accusations in public. I can not blame Mara for making such speculation.

"...man shall receive his reward whether good or bad. I encouraged everyone to live his life because..." And off he went into a boring 'sermon' that got quite a number of people stood up from their seats. One of the Ministers had to go and abruptly end him up when he started explaining how he had missed a plane crash when he had his last child.

I looked up just in time to see Mr. Ojo walk up to the stage and receive the microphone with trembling hands. The washed-blue polo shirt with faded jeans he wore hung loosely on him, his eyes had the color of scarlet, his beard was overgrown, and the handkerchief he held on to was drenched soaked with tears and with the nasal discharge. He was a miserable sight to behold.

"Loveth was a good woman who cared so much for me. When we first discovered about the terminal Illness that claimed her life, she received it strongly and never allowed herself to be weighed down by the news. She never slacked in her responsibilities even with the fact that she was sick..." A pregnant woman burst out in loud tears just behind me; a little later, she was escorted to her house when she would not be calmed.

Mr. Ojo's eulogy for his wife brought tears to well up in my eyes. I remembered when she and some of her church members came to my house, "the evangelism team," they called themselves. They preached of a Jesus whom they claimed to be the world's savior, "He is soon coming king who has promised never to leave us" even though I never understood everything that was said, my interest was piqued to the highest degree. I was enthralled by her beauty, poise, and grace. Even her oratory skill is out of the world. She left with her team that day but not before presenting a wrapped KJV translation of the Bible to me. The sleep I slept that night was the best I had in a long time because my dream brought her picture to me.

As Mrs. Loveth Ojo was being lowered into mother earth, one of her lines struck me hard, so much that it left a never-fading mark on my heart. I rewrite it with another ink to say, "Nobody's gonna escape it, the arrows of death. Someday, people will talk about it to your face, but you won't be able to join in the discussion".

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