“Jaelyn, stay back with your sister in the inner room and finish the work. The flood will not last long. We are going to stop it” Dad said.
I wanted to believe his words. But, the situation seemed impossible.
The entire room got filled with water that could drown a little child. I walked to where my sister and other ladies worked, I begged her to come with me but she was adamant. So, I kissed her on the left cheek and said my good bye.
My heart trembled as I ran down the stairs with my friend ‘Amaka’. I hoped deep within to see my family again when the storm was calm.
When we got outside, we got mixed up with a bad crowd. It pushed us forward no matter how hard we struggled to go in the opposite direction. I grasped on to my friends hand which was slippery from sweat. The next I knew was we got separated to different groups in an uncompleted building.
The group I fell into was the worse. All the boys in both groups held torches of fire. A riot broke out like ‘Lord of the Flies’.
“Is there a leader?” one of the young men shouted at the far end of the building.
Another boy came forward and volunteered to be the leader. I, , had no idea of what was going on. In a sudden, it began to rain and everywhere felt cold. The new leader started a borne fire and dance around it with a group of other boys.
Standing there, I remembered my sister’s face, how emotionless and pale it was with a feeling of joy in her eyes. And Papa, who seemed bent on making sure I survived. I knew I had lost my way. It made death flow in my veins.
The day got darker and scarier. My friend standing last on the line at the right corner of the room. She wore a white t-shirt and a brown ticket. Lost in the world as myself. But, appeared as though without a soul as she moved from the same spot all through the time of the riot. I went to join her.
“Please, let us stick together. This place is scary; I am very scared” I said to my friend as I held unto her arm.
An old man appeared beside the both of us. He told her to meet a certain person that would get her out of there. Gave her a tip of green butter mint sweet nylon and 20 naira.
There I waited for my turn. But, the old man turned his back on me. So, I broke into tears, got down on my knees and said “Lord have mercy”.
Everything and everyone stopped. It felt like it was the three of us in the entire building.
Finally, my friend gained life. And held on to the old man’s clothes.
“Please forgive my friend” she said.
The Lord answered “she’s forgiven but we will still be leaving her behind.”
Then, I grabbed his feet and began to sing worship songs. He said NO. My friend joined me.
He bent down where I laid flat and held my face in His palms. He looked into my eyes and asked in a loud voice “look into my eyes and tell me what humility has taught you”.
My lips trembled and fear grasped my heart. I was far from home…
In a confused state, I tried to say the answer but could not. Until, He was about to stand up. I said in a weak voice “faith and forgiveness”. He stood up and handed me my 20 naira and a tip of green butter mint sweet nylon.
“Keep it very well. It is your only way out”.
I gave them to my friend to keep for me because my dress had no pocket.
Once the old man disappeared, the world came back to play. For days, myself, my friend and about three others ran back to our homes and lives. My mind reminisced on my lack of service to the Lord, stubbornness and desire to cling to life. Judgment had come. And, I slipped into the Book of Life through the tiny gate of heaven like a camel galloped through the needle’s eye.
Photo Credit: Sebastian Voortman