Mum sprayed the holy water that was given to us by Pastor Ken on my bedside; she did it with her eyes tightly shot while praying inaudibly to herself. For the past three days I had been sick with high temperature and headache, my class teacher brought me home from school on seeing my condition.
Mum gave me the healing anointing oil we bought from the church and laid me on the bed. As her only child without a husband, she took care of me as she could; she had a kiosk at the road side which served as a provision store, where she earned little money that we fed on.
After she sprayed the holy water, she lifted my little body to her chest, “receive healing in the name of Jesus, every enemy projecting sickness to my son, die by fire, God of Pastor Ken heal my Son.” She spoke in command, laid me back on the bed and continued praying, she jumped chanting the name of Jesus, and she hit the bed like she was scaring the sickness away.
Mum continued the intense prayer for 20mins. She felt relaxed like her prayers had been answered; her eyes were red like she fought with the devil.
While singing testimony praises, she picked her phone and called Pastor Ken inviting him to the house, after some series of Amen, she dropped the phone and held my hands, “Nna,the pastor said you will be fine, ndo.” she smiled putting her hand on my forehead.
“The pastor said” had become a cliché in the house.
I recalled two days ago, we were woken up by the banging at our door, I watched Mum walk reluctantly to the door, and she sighed after peeping through the door hole.
Immediately she opened the door, our land lord fondly called “afo beer” because of his protruded stomach barged into our room in rage.
“Mummy Ebube, I have told you Several times to settle me, your rent is due and you know that, pay me or pack out, I have given you enough time already, since onwana abo that I gave you the opportunity to pay up your rent and you still felt less concerned” he spoke furiously.
“Nnaa, bikonu calm down, I will pay you just give me a little time” mum begged in a mild voice. I could see the helplessness on her face.
“I am giving you today and tomorrow, I have tried for you” he said and left.
Mum got back to the bed soliloquizing bitterly.
She picked her purse from the bed side, searched blindly with her hands inside; she brought out a wad of money, dropped it on the bed and walked to the sitting room. She came back with nylon that she held firmly to her chest, sat down on the couch, opened the bag and brought out another wad of money smiling to herself.
She looked towards me and I shot my eyes like I was sleeping.
“Thank you Jesus, this is #200,000 I will give it to Pastor Ken for prayers” she said loudly in excitement
“For family prayers, you give God #200,000” Pastor Ken would always say in the church during announcement
She put the money together and hid it under the bed.
I felt my head pounding; I couldn’t feel my body, my lips shivered. I opened my mouth to talk but my tongue got stuck to my mouth.
Mum rushed into the room looking so tensed up with pastor Ken following her closely clinging his bible to his chest
“Unu a ma kporonwa gawa uloogwu” I overheard mama Obi our neighbor talking from the back.
Pastor Ken closed his eyes tightly reciting psalm 23.
My body was becoming too weak; I lay on the bed like vegetable, my eyeballs big like it is going to pop out from the socket. I looked from Mum to Pastor as they both prayed loudly while I groaned.
Pastor Ken finished praying and asked mum to follow him for ‘prayer mixing’ mum followed him taking the wrap under the bed with her.
Mama Obi entered through the front door, she was holding a box that contained medicine and locozade boost. She looked at me with a concerned face.
She sat on the bed and raised my head to her arms.
“Nnaa, swallow this before your mum comes back, she has gone to church,”she said with pity in her voice.
Mama Obi was our neighbor closest to my mother; she had two kids, Obinna and his younger sister, Oge. They were both in boarding school. Mama Obi had a boutique at the junction. I admired how Mama Obi lived her life. She went to church when necessary and faced her business the rest of the times. I never saw her visit prayer houses like Mum.
Mum came back and found me doing my assignment; she broke down into a song we normally sang in the church
“God of Pastor Ken, you are so good…..
Praise the Lord, God of Pastor Ken has healed my son,” she spoke too many words holding my hands, I kept staring at her in astonishment
“This woman thinks that I am joking with him” landlord’s voice echoed in the whole building as he approached our door with anger. He was pointing his walking stick at Mum, the smile he always had in his face wasn’t there, the blue shirt that lay loosely on his body was faded, lines of sweat visibly showing on the armpit.
“Mama Ebube, I am giving you two days to vacate from here” he spoke and stormed out of the door without listening to what Mum had to say.
Two days later, we got to the church premises and found many worshipers but no Pastor.
“The Pastor is nowhere to be found” the announcement came more like thunder strike.
Mum collapsed still holding the quit notice.
“He asked me to give #600,000 to God so he will heal me of cancer, he showed me a woman that he healed and the woman gave me her testimony, I sold all I have, borrowed money from everyone I can and this is it, no pastor, the cancer is still there…” a woman sitting next to us cried bitterly explaining to anyone that cared to listen.