There had been signs earlier in the day that the sky was pregnant but no one would have thought that it would rain cat and dog. The heavy rain had sent the little children to bed so early. Indeed, the weather was a suitable for drinking a cup of hot tea and cuddling in bed. But it didn’t seem so for Rita, she was so lost in thought to the extent that a sound from the compound startled her. She quickly rushed outside only to discover that it the bucket she placed on the bench outside had fallen and broken. She hissed and went back inside as that didn’t seem to bother her. Sitting on the bed, she examined the room, from the little cupboard to the cooking gas to the wardrobe and back to the bed. She had been living in that one room apartment for a while now. But that asides, ever since she heard the news of Sim’s death early that morning her mind had been greatly troubled.
Earlier that day, she had gazed on the pictures she took with Sim back in campus. “What a lady with a promising future, life seems not to be fair. How possible is it that Sim is gone just like that” she thought. Although she wasn’t so close to Sim, she still knew some things about her. She was a jovial, fun-loving and a kind fellow. She had no problem having people around her because of her friendly nature. She was also a dedicated child of God full of virtue and grace. “Oh God, why” she exclaimed as tears ran down her cheek. She was more shocked about what led to Sim’s death than the news of Sim’s sudden death.
“How true could that be” Rita wondered. She was told Sim gave up the ghost roughly four hours after an abortion. She died on the way to the hospital because she was bleeding profusely. The story surrounding Sim’s death came rushing through Rita’s mind. She was practically deaf to the downpour of rain outside. ‘Wait a minute’, she said as she turned to lie on her bed. ‘Sim was a devoted child of God who attracted respect and admiration from almost everyone. She couldn’t have descended so low to have committed fornication talk more of an abortion. This can’t be true, Sim was a spiritual sister. Whenever she prays, the demons and evil spirits are always on flight. What went wrong? What was Sim thinking? “This isn’t possible” Rita thought. She however concluded that there was a higher probability for her (Rita) to have been in Sim’s shoe.
As she shut her eyes tightly to catch some sleep, she flashed back to those sermons and exhortations Sim had rendered to the Christian sisters back on campus. She said loudly “maybe she was raped and became pregnant as a result of that”. She hoped in her heart that the news was just a rumor. “Well”, she sighed, “The dead is dead, Sim is gone for good and nothing can change that. I have my own headaches to bear”. Rita muttered some prayers and slept off.
Ever since Rita finished her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Program, she had been looking for a good job to keep body and soul together. It’s been a year now, though she had fixed herself up with a private primary school in Warri where she presently lives. The company she served with as a corps member didn’t retain her, she had to go look for a job. Her current income is lower than her monthly allowance as a corps member. She had lost her father to an accident the month she graduated from the University of Port Harcourt. Ever since then, she had been supporting her handicapped mother and two siblings. Obviously, her income can’t stand the pressures she is presently facing. But Rita hasn’t resigned to fate yet, she had always comforted herself that God will work things out in His own time.
The service that Sunday was awesome. Rita had to see the pastor as she had something important to tell him. He had been like a father to her and also her pastor, hence she can’t disappear from the vicinity just like that. She thought of the ushering group she belonged, the loving and ever cheerful Head Usher; her pupils in the primary school where she teaches, oh the kids have been so wonderful; Mrs. Joy (the pastor’s wife), she had been so good to her. How would Mrs. Joy take the news? Though she wasn’t in a hurry to leave, but she had to inform the Pastor and his wife on time. That’s exactly what she is going to tell the Head Mistress the next day. The previous week, Pearl had invited Rita over to Abuja because she was sure of better job opportunities for Rita. Rita had given it a thought for some days and had finally decided to relocate to Abuja, “maybe, I could be lucky” she had thought.
Getting to the pastors office, she met other church members with the intention to see the pastor already seated on the bench. Obviously, she was late. She sat down quietly after exchanging some greetings. Her mind seems to be greatly troubled about the new life she’s about to face. Being the quiet, timid and gentle type, she doesn’t seem to appreciate changes. She was already getting worried of the uncertainties of the future she is yet to experience. She imagined herself on a suit sitting in an air conditioned office giving directions to a lady who seems to be the secretary.
She prayed in her heart that her going to Abuja will be the beginning of her long awaited testimonies. She looked up and saw it was just three people before her now. She heaved a sigh of relief because she won’t have to stay longer. She thought of her friends Pearl and Caro, it’s been already two years since she last saw them. That was after their graduation from the university of Port-Harcourt. The three friends were like love birds in school. Even though they studied different courses, their hearts were knitted together. Pearl was like a mother (always looking out for their care), Caro and Rita always refer to Pearl as “Mama”. Back then in school, they shared their personal experiences together, encouraged one another, ate together and prayed together. Oh how loving it will be to meet with them again, she thought. Just then, she was called in to see the Pastor.