As Lola continued with her litanies, her voice began to change. It took on a velvety effect and he found himself soaking up in her words.
‘Lord, listen to your son. Put laughter in his mouth again, take away every spirit of heaviness…and lead him…’
When she burst into the unknown language; tongues, as they called it, he didn’t snicker, he didn’t laugh like he was wont to do. Maybe because he was preoccupied by the sudden charge that coursed through his body, starting from his leg.
He jerked away, his eyes wide.
She didn’t break a beat or even look up.
He watched her as she prayed, wondering what kind of sick joke he was in, why he was even here. He took a step back, ready to run.
‘What happened?’ she asked, in a soft voice. She had finished praying and was looking at him. Something about her was different, he thought.
She looked…soft. And she was glowing. Not a bright glow or halo, just…an effect. Something that he was sure hadn’t been there before. He blinked to be sure he was seeing well.
‘No…it can’t be.’ He shook his head.
‘What is it? Are you okay?’ she touched his arm.
‘You…’ he couldn’t say it. It would mean affirming what he didn’t believe. God was not powerful, God was a joke. He might exist but He certainly had no control over the world, or over him. He wasn’t all-seeing or all-knowing.
‘Tell me,’ she urged, her eyes shining.
‘I…I have to go. Thank you for…everything.’
She looked at him then, with a knowing smile.
‘Why…are you smiling that way?’ he was uncomfortable. This night was getting stranger by the minute. He had never envisioned the date ending on this note, with him outside her house asking for her prayers.
‘I think God’s working in and on you, Gen. Just watch out.’ She leaned forward and squeezed his shoulder affectionately. ‘Thank you for a wonderful evening. And see you on Friday.’
He nodded, unable to speak.
‘So, how did it go?’ Chris asked.
‘The date. With Lola.’
‘Oh…that.’ Genesis, took a gulp of his Smirnoff Ice drink, in a bid to gather his thoughts.
They were alone today. Sly and Tango had opted for a birthday party being thrown by a client of Tango’s on the Island. He had invited them all, but only Sly had agreed to attend.
Genesis wasn’t feeling up to it, especially since he had boycotted his Salvation Class with Lola that evening. He had not yet recovered from their date, in fact he’d done all he could to put it out of his mind.
‘Go well?’ Chris probed, his fingers wrapped around a Fayrouz bottle.
Chris leaned forward, ‘Just…okay? C’mon man, we need more than that. You know the guys are gonna wanna know if you scored.’
Genesis looked away, his eyes scanning the dimly lit bar. Suddenly, he felt awkward. He had lied to Lola, texting her with an excuse that he wasn’t feeling well.
‘I don’t know man. Things are just…weird.’ He replied. Even though of all his friends, Chris was probably the only one he could talk to about this, Genesis felt like talking about it would give validation to what he was trying hard to not believe.
‘Nothing happened, right?’ Chris asked.
Genesis nodded. ‘I don’t even know what I’m doing anymore. This…game is…I guess I think it’s childish.’
Chris laughed then. ‘Finally. Someone who’s thinking like me.’
Genesis cocked an eyebrow at him, ‘What do you mean?’
‘I’m out, man.’
‘Yeah. I met this girl and she’s…she’s amazing. She didn’t deserve what I was about to do to her.’
Genesis sat up, ‘why didn’t you say something since? How long have you…tapped out?’
‘A couple of weeks. I wanted to say something but…every time I saw how serious the rest of you were taking it, I just shut my mouth. I didn’t want to sound…holy.’
‘Who’s she? Did you meet her in church?’
Chris smiled, popping a piece of peppered meat in his mouth and chewing methodically. As Genesis watched him, it dawned on him that Chris was more than the others were to him. He wasn’t just a friend; in a way, he was a kindred spirit and he loved him.
‘Yes, we met in church. She’s in the choir and she’s trying to get me to join,’ Chris replied finally.
‘The choir, seriously? Dude, are you that deep in?’
Chris shrugged, ‘Not yet but…I’m thinking about it. I’ve been spending a lot of time in church lately and it’s been refreshing.’
‘You? Church?’ Genesis snorted. Chris’ hatred for God ran deeper than his because he had lost his mother as a teenager. The first time Chris had told him the story, he had wept even though it was ten years after her demise. Chris and his mother had shared a deep connection, with him being the only son among five girls. She’d been a strong believer in God, and because of that, Chris had been too. As a young boy, he’d sung in the choir and had been a diligent churchgoer. Until the fatal accident that put her in a coma and subsequently killed her.
As a teenager, Chris had been by his mother’s side more than the rest of his family, praying fervently for a miracle. At sixteen, he wholeheartedly believed in miracles and he believed in God. But God had not shown up, as he put it. God hadn’t bothered to listen to his prayers or consider the years his mother had spent serving him.
He’d been in church for choir rehearsal, when his father came to get him.
His father didn’t need to say anything before he knew that his mother was gone. He’d never told anyone but he’d felt a gloomy cloud settle over his heart while he sang that evening and ten minutes later his father had come wearing the look of a lost man.
‘She’s gone,’ he’d said just as his father opened his mouth to speak.
‘Yes. The doctor said it was painless,’ his father responded.
Chris had walked out of the church that day and never looked back. As he put it when he told the story, God had broken his heart.
So it was a surprise to Genesis to hear him say he was considering returning to the church.
‘Anything for a woman, huh?’ Genesis asked, trying to lighten the situation.
‘No. It’s more than that. I just think…I’ve hidden from God enough. Maybe this is His way of getting my attention.’
‘With a woman? Well, come to think of it, women always have a way of getting their men’s attention. See Eve, for example.’ Genesis winked.
Chris punched him playfully. ‘I’m serious sha. I’m not saying I’ve totally forgiven God but…maybe it’s time.’
Genesis nodded. Ordinarily, he should have laughed at Chris but he found that he understood him.
Once again, he wondered what was going on in him these days. Was Lola right? Was God working in and on him, whatever that meant?
The better question, he thought, was whether he appreciated this change. This intrusion on his personality and his mind.
Suddenly he missed his mother.
He stood, making a signal at Chris. ‘Let me make a call. Be right back.’
To Be Continued…
Written by Mimi Adebayo.
Mimi Adebayo is a young lady with an incurable passion for writing. She has her eyes firmly set on the top ranks of the New York Times Bestsellers List and believes that she will make it someday by the grace of God who is her main source of inspiration. She blogs at www.mimiadebayo.com.
Words Are Work … and fun too!