CONVERSATIONS IN MY HEAD by CHINELO A. ONWUBUYA

on the way home from work
 

Just woke up this morning with a scowl on my face. Yesterday one of my housemates had pissed me off and, trust me, I flipped a piss. I got her real mad; she could not speak let alone eat her dinner.
Again this morning, she came to wake me up for morning devotion.
“Funke, get up. It’s time for devotion”. She tapped me at the soles of my feet.
“Woo, Ebi, the next time you touch me with those filthy hands of yours, I’ll teach you a lesson. Have you gone bonkers?” I ended with a hiss.
I obstinately remained in bed to buttress my disapproval at the turn of events and the character of the executives.
“Funke, it’s not that bad. Try and accommodate”, said the voice.
“Accommodate what? Abeg!” I turned on my other side as I continued to speak in my head. “Imagine the likeness! These people have broken my heart. Look now, look now. We were at camp and I always led the praise and worship session. There was so much love and peace- at least it was a safe haven for me when I was depressed and did not have anyone to speak to. After those dumb robbers waylaid us at Benin (to be precise; the road the Igbinedion University is located). Miserable Sons of Belial.” I hissed out loud. They stole my leather Swatch.

“Eheh, as I was saying before I diverted. There was so much love and peace until we met reality at the Habitation. You know, this was a home where Christians from various organizations lived together if they were stranded and needed accommodation. All we needed was to be born again. I was but their rules… Oh! Their rules…!” I groaned.
“No commandment of God is grievous”, said the voice.
“But this is unbearable. We returned from camp and we were sore with tiredness. They served us Spaghetti Stir-Fry. (Very Italian).” I hissed. “When I wanted Semovita and Afang soup”, I clicked my tongue. “At night, they now tell us- the ladies, ‘You are not allowed to wear shorts or trousers in the house, except in the rooms.
I was livid with rage. I wanted to kill everyone especially the executives who tricked us into coming to live in there.
“Imagine! They were asking, ‘what was the matter with me’? I’ll give them an answer; with trouble, that is.” I said to myself and continued, “Do they expect me to give my wardrobe an overhaul? I am a trouser person. Skirts don’t permit me liberty. All that arranging of legs… I don’t have to the time. To go and buy skirts, no! If I have to, the skirts have to make a statement.
“After all their deceit, they come to wake me up for devotion.” I hissed and said, “Wa gba”.
“You are talking about deceit, are you any better? Stop judging them, look on the brighter side then learn.”
“Learn what?” I asked. “What good can come out of here?”
“The same was said of Jesus of Nazareth . Remember Nathaniel said when Philip spoke of Jesus the Messiah. Nathaniel replied saying, ‘Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth ?’ wisdom is the principal thing, get wisdom and in all thy getting get understanding.’”
I exhaled then slept until six- thirty then began to get set for work.
I would usually join my neighbour to work and he would drop me by UBA then I’ll finish the rest of the journey. This day was different. I missed him by five minutes, so I took a bus to Maryland and a dispatch rider game me a lift from there to my office. On my way to the office, I saw something that broke my heart.
On the bridge leading to CMS (I don’t know its name, though I’ve been plying that route since I was a kid). I saw this man seated on a wheel chair and half naked from waist to feet. Around him where men dressed in Nigerian colours holding green offering bags, begging for alms with regards to the afflicted man seated on the chair. Then I looked at him properly to see that his groin was diseased with cancer, perhaps tumor. I cannot tell.
“Oh! God!” I screamed. “What are you doing?” I wept with sorrow and disgust at what I saw. I was uncomfortable. I began to see him and his co-horts on subsequent days and I wondered if these people had not raised enough money to treat the man. “Abi, is he relishing his affliction?” I thought. “You know there are individuals like that. Doesn’t he know that Jesus saves and heals? Has he not heard of the Balm in Gilead or miracles Jesus has performed? Aaaah! What is he doing to himself?
“A merchandise of disease, he has made himself. In the beginning it was not so. ‘And God saw everything that he had made and behold, it was good.’” The voice I regularly had conversations with (in my head) corrected me.
“Ok my Father, I am very sorry for what I said just now and that I had said in my heart. I know it isn’t right to question You but my emotions took the best of me, causing me to react in this fashion. Wash me with the Blood of Jesus till I am clean again that I may have grace to enter into Your presence. I am very sorry.

CONVERSATIONS IN MY HEAD. PART 2

 

“Hello, good morning, girls”, a girl came in and greeted us with a smile.
“Hi”, I said.
“ Ife , Ife .” Itua greeted. “How you dey? Was it had getting here?
“No. I took a bike from my house.”
“Ok. Eheh, Funke, this is the girl I said would come to teach us how to make baskets from Bamboo.” Itua said
I was hearing this for the first time so I shook my head in negation when Itua asked me if I knew about the girl’s coming. I was interested, though, also excited by the fact that I would use my hands to create something out of Bamboo. What a gift! Some people lack certain talents, I am glad I know how to use my hands.
“Funke, she charges five thousand naira for five weekends.” Itua informed.
“Five kini?” I was baffled. “Itua, have you forgotten our status: minimum wage.
It’s too much.
“Honestly, I charge more but because of you guys I decided to charge less.” She said as she advertised her work, other girls ooed and aaed over her creativity. “Other people would pay ten for this.”
I lay back on my bed and started to speak in my head.
“Ole ni omo de yi o. Aah! How can she be charging us that kind of money? What I have now on me is seven thousand naira. If I were to give her five what’ll remain? Abeg, she should go!”
“Funke, you should give this a try”, said the voice.
“No.”
“You might not get this opportunity at another time.”
“No. I wish I were married or had a boy friend.”
“Why are you changing the subject?” the voice asked slowly. “Every time we get to talk about these things you divert in a funny manner. It’s not about marriage, it’s you. Don’t bank on the prosperity of your would be hubby but think on self-development. It is written, ‘I will bless the work of your hands…’ that God will bless and enable you to make wealth. Better get engaged. Abi, you still like the nickel and dime thing.
No response from me.
Itua did learn with the girl and began to produce wonderful stuff. I was envious.
“Go and learn. ‘Go to the ant thou sluggard. Consider thou her ways’ the ant provides for herself before the time of winter so she’ll have enough. They don’t even have a leader. They do it because of discipline. Even the bear: she would eat so much till she is larger than usual, get into a cave and begins to sleep through out the winter. The food which she had eaten before the winter sustains her through this period. If animals can do this, what about you?” the voice finished.
“Ok I will.” I gave in happily. “I will call her.”
I did give her a call and we did ten Saturdays together because my Sundays are usually busy.

**************************

************
“You are still wearing those trousers, even to night devotion?” the voice chided.
“No wonder everyone’s looking at me.”
“Will you go and take it off!”
I quickly left to change the trousers.
“Hmmm…” I wondered, “This one I am obeying, am I changing?” I asked myself.
“How can you change?” the evil voice began. “You are trash. You still have the old man.”
“I rebuke you in Jesus name. Get out now in the name of Jesus!” I said vehemently. “Oh God! I trust You. I commit myself into your Hands. Take pre-eminent control of me.”
Music was still playing at the sitting room and my fellow housemates were clapping to the beat of the Konga. I quickly rushed out of the room to join them in the praise.

 

************************************
“Funke, we get talk o!” Gwendoline said.
“Eheh, wetin happen?” I asked.
“Make we go dining.”
We walked down the corridor, past the staircase and the kitchen till we got to the dining. I pulled out two seats and sat down as well as Gwendoline.
“Ol’ girl, na this marriage thing.” Gwendoline began.
“You dey fear?” I asked with a grin on my face.
“Nooo! No be dat.” She said and shook her head. “I wan consolidate am through prayers. You know now.
I looked on waiting for the next thing and she said,
“Funkie, I no dey fear. In fact, God has assured me but I just want to pray. I wan marry this year, abi you no wan marry?” she asked.
“Omo, I do o.” I answered and continued, “Every time I pass by a nice looking guy, I look at his left hand” I laughed at myself and at the fact that a guy did the same thing to while I was standing at the Mobil filling station.
“Why you dey laugh? Na me you dey laugh?” she said softly. Gwendoline had a soft aristocratic voice. I loved it.
“No, my dear, na something I just remember.” I said and stopped laughing, leaving a grin on my face. “Wetin go happen be say…” I continued, “…me and you go join hands in prayer and fasting. I fit gi’ you one Bimbo Odukoya book make you take join the whole thing, ok? It is well.” We finished and she left while I remained at the dining.
“Oh God!” I exhaled. “Why would she meet me of all people? What can I do to help her in prayer? I am not even perfect. Look at my sins.”
“You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. You can’t try to perfect yourself by your strength. It is written, ‘By strength shall no man prevail…’ ‘…but by my Spirit saith the Lord of Hosts.”
“Oh God, I thank You. It is good that I am not angry and frustrated as before. You have changed me greatly and there is sure improvement. Everyone’s talking about it. I say thank You. I know I wouldn’t have been able to be happy without You but You have done all things well in me and would continue” I exhaled deeply and said, “’Tis good to give thanks to the Lord, to give praise to You, Most High”

The end

AUTHOR: CHINELO A. ONWUBUYA

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