This is the kind of story you never tell anyone. The very kind you take to your grave. I’m telling you for reasons that delude me. So listen carefully and interrupt…. well never.
It had been another exhausting day on campus even though it was a Saturday. Being a 500 level Agric. Student in Uniben was no joke. You could look up the phrase “no time to say no time” and you would be staring right at my picture. Thin, shabbily dressed, book and bible laden.
So this eventful night I had just crawled home from a very long day longing for nothing else but sleep when I heard this loud crash. It is imperative to state here that I lived off campus, in Ekosodin, an off-campus community behind the University, the territory of Ninja man. The self acclaimed Ninja turtle, or rather, Ninja man, famously infamous for shooting people in the posterior had robbed the hostel opposite mine two days earlier, leaving a number of victims shot in the butt.
I held my breath and listened while my eyes darted to the wall clock. It was 12:30 am, pretty late for anyone to be fooling around. The sounds that followed confirmed my suspicions: the shattering of a window, a high pitched scream, running feet, banging on doors and yes, pitch darkness.
Fear crawled slowly but surely into my heart. In the darkness I stretched out my hand and shook my roommate awake. That was the biggest mistake I made that night. I whispered to her that there were thieves in our hostel, on the floor above us. She must have presumed I was trying to play tricks on her as she simply turned over and resumed sleeping.
The next high pitched scream from upstairs had her sitting upright and jumping out of bed in seconds. “Ndi ohi ano na hostel a?” (Are there thieves in this hostel?) She yelled. I used my torchlight to locate the general position of her mouth and clamped my hand over it.
There and then I sent up a silent prayer and vow to God “See us through this night sweet Jesus and I will testify in church tomorrow.” “I won’t scream again.” My roomie promised as she shook all over like a leaf in the full blast of Enugu harmattan. We sat side by side in the darkness as we listened to the sound of things breaking.
“How much do you have at home?” She whispered.
“150 Naira….I was planning to use the ATM tomorrow”, I explained, feeling a bit guilty for not having enough for the thieves to steal.
“Nothing” she replied.
“Nothing” I repeated, in disbelief as I stared at my Visafone and her Nokia 3310. This was a very good time to ask for divine intervention, I decided. “Judith, let’s pray.” We held hands and I led the prayer or tried to. The banging on doors made us jump and jolt, adding greater fervor to the prayers.
We finally gave up and sat still, anticipating when the thieves would come knocking. “We should turn off our phones and ….put on trousers” Judith whispered to me again. We got up on shaky legs and changed clothing. I continued sending up solemn vows to God. “See us through this night and I’m testifying in church tomorrow.” Judith had another bright idea that night. We emptied our water drum and tried to hide inside. It was a tight fit and after spending two hours inside the drum we finally drifted off into a very fretful sleep. At 6:55 am I was marching off to church, cramps and all, to keep my side of the bargain since God had kept his. Judith was in bed, and still very much in shock.
Let’s skip the part were I stood in front of the whole church and gave a heart wrenching testimony of how thieves robbed my hostel but skipped my room.
…..back from church, I decide to go upstairs to see how many of my neighbours were still alive. I know I should have gone before attending service but I had a promise to keep. So, first person I see sitting on the stairs is this 100 level chemistry student called Gabriel. I didn’t like him very much; he was loud, loved partying, girls and drinking. But I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him that afternoon. His eyes were bloodshot and he had a huge cut on his lips. Before I could say anything Gabriel looked up and said “I’m so sorry.” When I continued to stare at him not following he launched into further explanation. “Yesterday I came home very drunk and…
– Wanted to have sex with my girlfriend. She refused and…..the rest of what happened you know about.” I stood there not comprehending. What was this fool talking about. “Huh?” I responded. “There were thieves in the hostel yesterday.” I explained taking the tone I would use when talking to a confused child. He shook his head. “We heard screaming and things breaking.” “That was my girlfriend screaming when I threw the standing mirror at her.” “What about the people running around banging on doors and breaking stuff?” “That was Mercy again trying to hide in people’s room and me basically thrashing my room. I even broke my TV.” “You don’t say.” I replied sarcastically, eyeing his swollen lip. He noticed my gaze and said “Some of the guys had to hit me because I was really getting out of hand. Look I’m truly sorry and….”
But I had stopped listening my mind flashed back to me and my roomie huddled in the dark on the floor, holding hands saying our “last prayer”, shivering in the tight water drum and OMG my testimony in church. My first testimony ever in church and it was a lie? If this was a joke it wasn’t funny at all. “But I just gave a testimony in church that….” and I related everything to him. I couldn’t decide if I was livid or relieved until he gave his brilliant idea. “I think you should have ended the testimony by asking do you think this testimony is true or false. I stared at him for a long time and finally walked away. It took me all my will power to do that. A moment longer and I would have given him another whopper right on the lip again.
…..2 weeks later, with the continuous visits of my church members, praying and thanking God for delivering me from armed robbers, I was beginning to think true or false wasn’t so bad.. Abi?
Tell me what you think.