Maya continued driving without paying heed to her phone that was endlessly ringing in her bag. She knew that it was her mother calling but she was not willing to take the call. She was tired of having to remain strong for her mother and herself, it was energy sapping and the felt drained of the zeal to hold on. Her mother was talking about dying and joining her husband and daughter and she would not wait till then to join them so that were they are she could be also. She drove to Nasarawa state, a state that shared boundary with Abuja and one of the closest state to the federal capital territory. On the way to Akwanga, shortly before Lafia, the state capital was a bridge. She got down and parked her car a distance away and walked down. It was a guise for her not to attract the attention of motorists and passer bye. When she got to the railing of the bridge, she looked down and saw the flowing water, it was appealing and she felt a force pulling her into the water. She stared deep from where she was standing and saw a reflection in the water, at first she thought it was her image reflecting in the water but taking a closer look, she saw that it was actually Naya there. “What is Naya doing in the water?” she thought aloud.
“Come in and we will live our lives like we used to. It’s so peaceful in here and we are having a swell time with dad, come in and together we shall be one big family again. Mum will soon be on her way to this world and trust me you don’t wanna be left in the world alone”. She heard the reflection say.
Maya: “No, this is not my sister talking. My mind must be playing a fast one on me. Naya is dead and buried and the dead don’t talk to the living”. Then he began to hear two different voices speaking in her mind.
Voice 1: “what are you still waiting for? You better jump in and go and meet your sister in a place where there is no sorrow. If you don’t do it fast, someone will come here and convince you not to jump in and before you know it, when you get home, your mother would have taken her life because that is what she plans to do. Then you will be left all alone in the world to mourn and grieve for the remaining days of your life. Jump now!”
Voice 2: “No, don’t listen to him, that is the voice of the devil. He wants you to jump so that you will go to hell for committing suicide. There he will taunt and torment you for eternity. You cannot take your own life, it is a sin against God the creator who gave you his own breathe of life. Your mother needs you, you have to stay alive for her”.
Voice 1: “oh please, just ignore the damn voice and jump, why do you need to live for your mother when she is planning to take her own life this minute?”
Voice 2: “he is lying, that is what he is good at. Your mother is at home crying her eyes out and hoping that you return in peace. She has promised never to push you to the wall with her grieve again and she is willing to give life a chance for your sake. The darkest part of the night is nearest the morning, do not end your life”.
Maya: “Oh, just shut up you two”, she covered her ears with her palms and screamed at the top of her voice. Listening to the two contradicting voices was to say the least confusing and she felt like she was running mad. She raised one leg and climbed up the rail, ready to jump and end it all.
Mrs Lanre was pacing up and down in her room. She had been calling Maya’s number since she left the house but she had refused to pick her call. She wondered what she was up to and fear gripped her, the fear of losing the only daughter she had in the world. She went to her dressing mirror and stood there, unable to believe the reflection of herself that the mirror was projecting. “No, this is not me, I can’t look this old”, she thought. That was the first time she was staring at the dressing mirror after the death of her husband and daughter. After learning about the death of her husband when she came out of the accident induced coma, she had given up on life and on God. Since then, she had refused to live, take care of herself and even believe in God. She had vowed never to attend any Church again since God could afford to stay back and watch her daughter and husband die despite the years of fruitful service that they had put into his vineyard. The result of her neglecting her beauty routine was the old, haggard, unkept and shattered woman staring at her in the mirror. She thought of the pain her attitude after the death of her husband and daughter had caused Maya and she felt sad. “Poor girl, she must have been shattered by the death of her loved ones but my attitude and prolonged grieve and insensitivity must have crushed her. Probably she even thinks that I am out of my mind”, she soliloquized.
The realization that she could do nothing without the help of God dawned on her and she observed albeit with dismay how she had felt empty after she gave up on God. She knelt down there beside her bed and decided to pray to God, she knew Him to be forgiving and that gave her the courage she needed to go back to him.
Mrs Lanre: “Lord, I am so sorry. It is with a heavy heart that I retrace my steps back to you like the prodigal son, hoping that you will be gracious enough to accept me back like the merciful father that you are. I had no right to question you about the death of my husband and my daughter, you gave them to me and it pleased you to call them to yourself and so I accept it as Your will knowing that some day, where they are I will also go. Please, I beg you to help me protect Maya wherever she is and I will live the remaining days of my life glorifying your holy name”. She felt better after the prayer and he got up and began to brush her dishevelled hair.
Florence was having a swell time as the Miss Campus of her institution, it came with so many attendant privileges and soon enough she began to skip lectures as she was busy going on one date or one party or the other. She became one of the most popular girls on campus and this elated her because it has always been what she wanted. Soon enough, her friends began to introduce her to top politicians, wealthy men and she began to warm their bed one after the other, the more she serviced them, the bigger her bank account swelled to her delight. That weekend, she decided to pay her parents a visit, she bought provisions and foodstuff and clothes for her parents and younger ones, she withdrew N100, 000 naira from her account, which she intended to share between her father and mother and siblings. She hired a taxi who charged her exorbitantly to take her home. She didn’t mind, she had the money and she was already above the class of sharing public transportation with other people. She was already gunning for her own car, and an alhaji which she had met in Instagram had promised her a brand new car upon his return from Canada the next weekend. She was already looking forward to his return as she had never met him before. As soon as they arrived her compound, her siblings ran out to hug her, they noticed their big sister looking big and glamorous but they dared not say a thing. The taxi driver helped her off load her things from the booth, into her parent’s sitting room, collected his money and left, thanking her for the extra tip that she had given him. Her father was reading his Bible and preparing his preaching notes when she got in and greeted him respectfully.
Baba Florence: “God bless you my dear, how are you and how is your studies?”
Florence: “Fine, sir. God has been faithful to me. Where is mummy?” her mother was busy turning yam floor in the kitchen came out when she heard her daughter’s voice. “My mother is even looking older than her age because of poverty”, Florence observed. “I will make sure I upgrade this family, it is all about using what you have to get what you want, she thought”.
Mama Florence: “is that my daughter’s voice I heard from the kitchen? How are you? I have missed you so much”.
Florence: “I missed you too, mum. I couldn’t come home during the last break because I had to remain in school and prepare assignments and presentations against this semester, she lied.
Baba Florence: “and what is all these you brought from school? Where did you get the money from?”she asked, looking at her intently from his glasses, it was a serious look that sent signals to Florence who knew that her father was not one to be toyed with.
Florence: “daddy, I….I…”, the word refused to form to her parent’s surprise.
Baba Florence: “I am listening to you, go ahead and tell me where you got all these from”.
“Ah ah baba Florence”, her mother came to her rescue. Won’t you allow our daughter rest before you start asking her questions? Wherever she got this from, I am sure it is for our own good. Remember how we are finding it difficult to feed because of the high costs of foodstuff in the market now”.
Baba Florence: “I will not allow her rest until she tells me where she got all these from, I sent her to study and bring home a good degree certificate and not to bring home food stuff”.
Mama Florence: “Maybe she bought them with the pocket money you sent to her, now”.
Baba Florence: “You of all people know that all the money we have sent to her since the day she got admission to this day put together is not enough to buy all these. You said it yourself that the cost of foodstuff is expensive in the market these days so don’t give me that excuse on her behalf. Florence, I am waiting for you to talk”.
Florence: “daddy, I…we…Like, I mean…”she trailed off.
Question: “Which of the two voices do you think Maya would listen to? What would Florence tell her parents?
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