“Neither do I”, chorused Miriam. “What I found interesting, was his explanation on besetting sins”
“Yeah”, Ndidi agreed. “Our failure to forgive ourselves is actually an excuse to hold on to those sins”
“I never saw it that way” Ekene added. “Negative behaviour patterns may come from guilt about sin”
“Well, the bible says the sting of the law is sin”, Miriam stated
“I think refusing to receive grace, that is unmerited favor, causes the law of sin and death to go into operation. That is why it is wrong to punish yourself for sins God has forgiven. It opens the door to satanic manipulation” Ekene preached.
“This sister is deep”, Ijeoma joked.
“You can say that again”, Ndidi agreed.
She and Ndidi left shortly after, to shop for groceries. Miriam and Ekene hung back to wait for Fred
“Do you think Regina ever forgave herself for aborting that pregnancy? ” Miriam asked thoughtfully.
“I doubt it. That may be why she keeps having those nightmares. I don’t believe a christian can be possessed by demons but she can be oppressed”
“Certainly! There is nowhere she has not gone for deliverance. How come none of those people told her the truth?”
“You can’t give what you don’t have”
They were silent for a long while, each busy with her own thoughts.
“Why do we feel it is prideful to forgive ourselves? “,Miriam asked suddenly.
“We want to punish ouselves again. Since Jesus’ death was not enough to pay for those sins, we want to wear our own crown of thorns and receive our own spear in the side”, Ekene postulated.
“Horrible!” Miriam snapped her fingers.
“We have to decide. Did Jesus pay in full or do I have to pay some more?” Ekene murmured.
Miriam rubbed her chin pensively. “Mmmmmmm”
Magnus was having a very bad day. He had lost 3 cases consecutively over the course of some months. Now, his firm was thinking of downsizing and he feared he would lose his job. He had confided in Justin, who advised him to plead with Echejile, based on their relationship. The man was non-committal. He said it did not lie in his hands as the partners would all have a say. Magnus approached a man who was the son-in-law of Spike, one of the senior partners. That one said he had already gone to plead on behalf of another associate in the firm.
It seemed the road was closed. He developed a horrid pain in his chest as the rumours abounded of who would be let go. It felt like a tightening band around his heart. He often woke up at night to go and throw up in the bathroom. Sometimes, he could barely sleep, clutching at his chest in pain. He visited the pharmacy and was given some pain relievers, but they aggravated the pain. Another friend recommended some bitter herbs, which he took dilligently with no relief.
That night, he woke up at 2 am and went to the bathroom to retch. Ijeoma roused but pretended to still be sleeping when he came back. He sat up in bed, rubbing his chest in pain. After a while, he turned and tapped her back to wake her.
“Ij, Ij”, he shook her gently.
She ignored him.
“Nne, biko, wake up. I’m dying”, he pleaded.
“Call your girlfriend to come and take you to hospital”, she snapped and threw the covers over her head.
Another paroxysm of pain hit him and he doubled over in agony. She sprang out of bed. Rushing to his side, she held him, rubbing his back till it passed. He knelt by the bed, head down, trying to catch a breath.
“What kind of sickness is this?”, he groaned.
“Sorry”, Ij said
“It’s as though my heart wants to burst out of my chest. I can heart it beating loudly. How can I have heart disease at this age?”
“Sometimes, I feel a sharp pain at my back, then something crawls down my chest, into my stomach, then all over my body”, he lamented.
“Sorry. It is well”
“Nne, it is not well. A na m anwu anwu!”
“Hapu onye with the kids? No, O!”, Ij snapped her fingers to ward off bad luck. “God forbid!”
“What do I do? I don’t have money to go to the hospital”
“I have some. Early in the morning, we’ll go to the general hospital. It should be cheaper”
“Thank you, Nne. What would I do without you?”
“You should have thought of that before cheating on me”, she snapped, rising to go to bed.
“I’m not, baby. I swear!”, he raised tear-filled eyes.
“I was not born yesterday” Ij was settling into bed as she spoke.
He bit his tongue.
Regina was on her way to visit Magnus where he was admitted. He had called her to say his wife left because she had to go to work, so she bought some fruits and made for the general hospital. She had to bribe her way in, as it was not yet visiting time. He smiled as she made her way into the crowded male ward.
“My love!”, she cried at the sight of him hooked to IVs and sprawled on the bed.
“Honey”, he turned carefully to avoid aggravating the pain.
“Sorry, O! Kai!”, she set down her bag and sat by his side, holding his hand gingerly. “What is the matter?”
“Ulcer, they say I have ulcer”, he moaned.
“Ulcer? Where did you get that one from?”, she had to lean closer to hear him over the noise.
It was a room of about 20 men, in various stages of recovery from all manner of illnesses. The strong smell of antiseptics, mingled with the odour of wounds, disease, and unwashed bodies. Regina frowned.
“We have to get you out of here”, she picked her phone and punched in a number.
“What will my wife say?”
“Who cares? If she loved you, would she allow you to spend even 1 minute in this place? Even my dog would refuse to be admitted here”, she snapped angrily.
He kept mute.
“Hello, Dr. Jubril, I’m bringing someone to see you. Are you available?”, she paused for a response. “Right. We’ll see you in 1 hour, max” Ending the call, she said to Magnus “Let me go and see about your bill”
At the reception, she was referred to the doctor on duty.
“Good evening. I want to request the discharge of one of your patients”, she said as she was ushered into his office.
He was a young man in his late thirties, dressed in black pants and blue shirt with rolled up sleeves. It was evident he had been hard at work all day, from the tousled hair, to the sweaty brow.
“Good evening to you too. Do sit down”, he motioned to the chair.
Regina took one look at the ragged chair and shook her head. “No, thanks”
“Afraid a mouse might creep out?”, he winked.
“You have mice here?”, she shrieked.
“Relax. I am here. Even if one jumps out, I will handle it”, he laughed.
“That’s not even remotely funny. This is supposed to be the cleanest place on earth. How can you treat human beings in such a place?” she snapped.
“Pardon us. The attendants went on a warning strike. We are doing our best” he apologized humbly.
“Then the place should have been shut down! Wait a minute. Strike? Didn’t doctors just call off theirs? Now, another set of staff goes on strike? How pathetic! “, she spat.
“You have not told me your name”, he smiled, leaning back in his chair to admire her lovely form.
“Miss Momah. I want you to discharge Magnus so I can take him elsewhere”
“You know him?”
“I work for him occasionally”
“I’m Dr. Kola. Maybe I’ll see you there? I hope to pop in at the close of work”, he had pulled out Magnus’ folder which the nurse dropped on his desk earlier. He began to write in it.
“Maybe” she answered vaguely.
“Are you his relative or something? “, Dr. Kola looked up.
“He manages the legal affairs for my firm” she explained.
“May I have your card?”, he asked.
“I don’t have it on me”
“How about your number?”
“Maybe some other time. I really want to move him quickly” she evaded.
He rang for the nurse. “Please discharge the patient to her care”, he instructed and turned back to her. “So, you were about to give me your number? ”
“No, I was about to walk away. Take care”, she spun on her heel.
“Bye then”, he grinned at her retreating form.
TO BE CONTINUED. To leave a comment, click on the title
*Biko : Please
*A na m anwu anwu : I’m dying
*Hapu onye with the kids? : Leaving who with the kids?
*Kai: Exclamation of shock or wonder