11:30 PM, 30 minutes to cross over into the new year. A year full of great expectations, so much hope, so many dreams, so many restitution. Nkem’s mind traveled to the lands of possibilities and map of accomplishment the moment she looked at the wall clock in the 700 capacity auditorium of The New Covenant Baptist Church located at Akute. Pastor Philip has mounted the pulpit since 11pm and all Nkem’s heart was waiting to hear was him saying “we have crossed over into the new year, celebrate and congratulate your brother for making it into the new year”. The outgoing one wasn’t so much of a success, she couldn’t afford to call it a total failure even though she wished she could but that would be negative thinking she told herself. By the time we cross over the Pastor will tell us the message and promises God gave him for us or rather me this year. Let me speak for myself.
Simon, you are a badoo, skilled in all your tricks. You are such genius, no girl can ever peep into your house and you will not scatter. His friends were praising him as they five of them sat at bar in Victoria Island popularly called VI which was their usual hanging spots at such time of the year celebrating their conquest for the cross over. Simon, you ended the year well, Tade said to him. Being able to get that girl into your bed is the highlight of the year. Men, being able to convince a 22 year old virgin is no joke but Simon did it. Let’s toast to it. Bar man, Wale called out, give us any drink in the range of 250 to 300 hundred thousand Naira, we’ve got to pop some wine. What Simon didn’t tell his friends was that he turned a rapist to win that conquest. What he didn’t tell his friends, was that the girl was currently in the hospital and it was likely police would soon be on his backs.
It was 11:59, Nkem’s heart was exceptionally heavy and full of anticipation she couldn’t explain. She got wondering if it was because of the eagerness to get out of this year or it was something else but she tried to find peace. Lord if it’s because I haven’t being paying much attention to Pastor’s prayers forgive me and intercede for me. Congratulations, we have crossed over, praise the Lord, celebrate him in the beauty of His Holiness, the Lord is faithful, He is the ultimate good, ever loving, all giving and forgiving, she seemed to hear the pastor’s voice from a faraway land. Congratulations, Mr Nelson, the church secretary took her hand and went by to others bringing her back to the land of reality. She instinctively looked at the time, 12:05am. The time she had monitored for a long time and just less than a minute to her mark she was distracted, God hope this is not what is going to happen this year to me, I can’t stand another distressing, unfulfilled year. Then she remembered greet someone and she started her journey of happy new year round the over packed auditorium…
Nkem woke up by 6am, the time her body was already accustomed to. This year is a year of forgiveness, the sermon pastor Philip gave for the year’s theme greeted her as she woke. I don’t have anyone I haven’t forgiven that I know of. When I have time I will take a walk back and forgive all… then her phone rang. Happy New Year wishes from everyone, they won’t allow me wake up.
Yes, it’s Tosin, Mercy’s friend
Tosin, how are you?
Happy new year, dear
Same to you
I’m calling you because of your sister, Mercy. She is on admission in the hospital.
What happened to her? She asked a little distressed, since Mercy just finished her training as a physiotherapist and she is doing her internship, she would understand her body better. Then she noticed Tosin was hesitant on the other side of the phone and then she really started panicking.
What happened to her? She was raped by someone who was supposed to be a friend and colleague.
When did this happen? Yesterday evening around 6pm. I went out to buy groceries for cooking and by the time I was back by 7:15pm she was on the floor battered and kind of unconscious.
Is she in the hospital where she is doing her internship? Yes. We got here last night. And since then I have been trying to reach you but your number was not reachable.
Has she woken up now? As all she ask amid the thoughts rushing into her. Was that why God sent a message on forgiveness? Why did He let it happen? So He can test my obedience on forgiveness? After I had looked forward to this year and then on the first day this is what greets me good morning. She didn’t even hear the response of Tosin to her question that she had woken earlier but had been put back to sleep by the doctor after giving them the information they required of her and had started treatment on her neither was she aware that Tosin had gone off after shouting so many hellos into her phone.