GENRE: Romantic Thriller
Chioma uses warm water for her bath daily by mixing the hot and cold water together, dipping her hand into the mixture until it is lukewarm but today the water is hot. Her bath water is very hot.
The steam from the hot water is now on the glass Bathroom door blurring the view from the outside. She has a bucket and a bowl to help pour the water on her body. So wearing a shower cap on her head and a lathered sponge in hand, Chioma is ready to scrub her body after more than 12hours since the last ordeal.
Chioma let her mind wander into the day’s activity as she pours the first bowl of hot water on her body. The girl did not feel it burn.
The clinic’s location is on the Island according to the pamphlet, so Kunle asks his mother for directions to find out what route is best for them from the mainland. His mother advises taking the BRT bus through Ikorodu Road after series of questioning and Chioma answers most of the questions because she knew Kunle won’t lie to his mother.
Chioma tells Kunle’s mother they are going to her family doctor because she is experiencing severe menstrual pain. She finishes off by saying she called the doctor and he suggested she comes over to his clinic for him to administer pain-killing injections.
Chioma tells Kunle’s mum she has never been to the clinic herself so she has no idea where the clinic is located and she doesn’t want to go alone because the pain is just too much and her kind-hearted son- Kunle- offered to be her chaperone.
Kunle’s mother believes every word.
In complete awe, Kunle looks at Chioma. She will need to renew her life to Christ and he will make sure it happens to redeem her from her sins because Chioma’s sins were piling but who was he to judge. He probably would have lied to his mother too.
Minutes after, he leads Chioma to the BRT bus terminal and buys two tickets from Ketu bus station on the mainland to CMS bus station on the Island in Lagos. Afterwards, Kunle joins Chioma on a queue and not long after, they are sitting side by side in a blue air-conditioned public bus heading for the Island.
They spend the journey in silence.
Chioma sitting by the window on the bus is having thoughts in her head enough to blow up a whole continent. Her greatest fear is getting pregnant because Jude had not used a condom. What will she do with the baby? She can’t mother a child now because she still has school. Besides, why will she want to have Jude’s baby? She will opt for an abortion if pregnant but where will she have the abortion and who will pay for the whole procedure?
Chioma turns to Kunle and smiles, he smiles back. She knew dragging Kunle into this trauma is a selfish move and asking him to pay for an abortion if pregnant will be completely irresponsible of her but what other choice does she have? She remembers the facilitators advised that the victims confide in a friend but they were specific; tell a pastor, Imam or lawyer they said. Those people are restricted from judgements because of their faith and profession but she tells Kunle instead. Now sitting beside him, she is convinced she made the right decision.
Religious men or lawyers won’t follow you to the clinic and they were no guarantee that your secret won’t come out. Chioma trusts Kunle with her life because over the years, he has proven himself worthy. She calls him “Mr Goody-Goody-two-shoes” to tease him. Honest, humble and always never in trouble. Kunle fears God so much that in his defence he always says he wasn’t good, he is just fearful of God’s wrath. She in turn will roll her eyes and wonder why God’s wrath had not gotten to her because she is always in trouble and lied so easily.
“My goodness, is God now punishing me?” Chioma wonders. “Why will God let such an awful thing happen to me?”
These thoughts make her angry so she vows in her thoughts never to sing in church again or volunteer in an outreach. If she had her way and her mother minds her business, she will never step into a church again.
The bus stops at the CMS bus station and Kunle signals Chioma it’s their stop and they should alight from the bus.
Chioma snaps back to reality and in less than 30 minutes, they arrive at the clinic. With the pamphlet in hand, Kunle leads Chioma to the reception. Chioma sits at the waiting area while Kunle talks to the receptionist.
A moment later, he walks towards Chioma and tells her they will have to wait a while. He sits beside Chioma and holds on tight to her shaking hands.
Waiting in the reception and holding hands, Kunle sees fear in Chioma’s eyes. He has never seen her this way and it makes him so sad this happened to her. He held on tight to her hands and prays while Chioma says Amen to his prayers. It is the only thing at the moment he could think of doing to help her.
Kunle sees Chioma for the first time 3years back in Sunday school when he is 13 years old but he looked 10 and she is 12 years old but Chioma looked and acted 15.
So, the first impression he has of Chioma is rude, bossy and annoying. For these reasons, Kunle tries avoiding her in Church and likes that she never stayed till the end of any service but one day, Chioma’s mother drags her daughter into Kunle’s choir rehearsals and demands she joins the unit.
Kunle assumes the world ended. It is okay to be in Sunday school with her and sit in the same class but far away as possible but not choir practice.
The choir is his place of solace; he loves to sing and plays several instruments but now he will no longer know peace because Chioma’s mother thinks her daughter should join the choir unit. He overhears Chioma’s mother tell the choir master that her friends had their daughters there so it is paramount her daughter joins.
But to his surprise when Chioma’s mother leaves, the choir leader gives Chioma a verse to sing to place her voice and avoid misclassification in soprano, Mezzo-soprano or contralto.
Contralto is the lowest female voice between F3 to F5; it wasn’t Chioma’s singing voice. The Mezzo-soprano is the middle range voice, it lies between A3 to A5, between soprano and contralto but it wasn’t Chioma’s voice either. Chioma opens her mouth and everyone marvels at the voice, including Kunle. Hers is not just soprano but soprano tessitura; high and very sweet.
This makes Kunle inquisitive, eager to find out why such a troublesome girl is so gifted and if knowledge of her talent is the reason for her bad behaviour.
So a week after at the next rehearsals, Kunle walks up to Chioma and says hi but she doesn’t respond. He looks stupid but let go.
Then one day, they are grouped together by their Sunday school teacher for a Bible quiz. Kunle concludes his group has lost before the contest starts because Chioma is placed in his group.
With four participants in each group, Kunle can vouch for two out of the four in his group; himself and Kola. Kola is his friend and a guru with the word and He; well, he is a master of the Bible but Chioma and the last participant have never been attentive in class, especially Chioma. Too bad, answers to the quiz need to be correct for a group to win.
But as the quiz comes to end, something amazing happens. Chioma gets all her questions right, but he was right about last participant. No correct answer. She could not even recite John 3:16. It was terrible.
Therefore, Kunle’s pessimism becomes a reality, and they lose the quiz but Kunle doesn’t care. He is amazed at Chioma’s intelligence.
So, after the Sunday school that day, Kunle is surprised to see Chioma around. She stayed till the end of service.
Kunle is taken further back when he sees Chioma walking towards him.
His heart starts pounding.
She comes over to shake him for a job well done and apologises for her past behaviour of not responding when he said hi.
Kunle tells her she had rights to be rude to him because he didn’t like her at first either. They laugh, Kunle’s heart starts beating normally and Chioma requests they walk home together. Kunle’s heart doubles its beat once more but his mouth says yes to the request.
So, Kunle and Chioma walk home and speak about everything. It feels as if they had known each other forever because they had so much in common and since that day, they have been best friends and Chioma always stays to the end of each service.
Story by DADA DUPEOLA.
Watch out for TILL IT HAPPENS TO YOU chapter 4 next week Saturday and don’t forget to drop your comments below>
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