Disclaimer: The story you are about to read is the story of my twin and not me.
That year, nineteen ninety something, daddy had just been transferred to a northern state. It was going to be my first time in the north and It hit me hard. I was leaving the almighty ‘Eko’. ‘Eko’ was all I knew. Daddy moved to ’Eko’ when I was 2. So you can understand why I resisted the change. Well my protest was in vain because one fateful morning, a truck drove into my beautiful home at Egbeda and moved all our belongings.
It was my first day in church after the transfer. It was a Sunday service. “Praisey, I will come and pick you people after service and make sure you keep an eye on your baby brother.”
“Okay mummy”, I responded as mummy dropped baby brother and I at the children section of the church. Children were everywhere. It looked like they were having some sort of assembly and they sang enthusiastically, “if you do good kingdom, o o, o o kingdom…waiting for you.” We were ushered into a large auditorium with smiles from a woman (maybe in her early forties). She was all bubbly and lively. I didn’t know the song so I just stood behind and held baby brother tightly.
After the singing, dancing and exhortation by one of the ‘uncles’, we were asked to take our seats for the choir ministration and any other special ministration. I later got to discover that this was the routine before the children were sent to their various classes.
We all sat down while another ‘Aunty’ invited the choir. A group of young boys and girls smartly mounted the stage. Their behavior didn’t in any way give them out as kids. They acted so matured and I was impressed.
Then I saw him. In that instant I saw him. I saw him take the lead mic, you could see that he was no novice. This was his ‘thing’, it was routine for him and with a smile on his face, he spoke with a little stammer that seemed to fit just right. He introduced the song, waited for the musicians to play the intro, then he sang…
The song was titled, “The hand of the Lord”, Even if I wanted to I just couldn’t. 😀I was totally transfixed! For a minute I absolutely forgot about baby brother by my side. Infact, I forgot about the whole world. I couldn’t explain the feeling. This guy was damn special. He looked special, he spoke special, he sang special, he smiled special, of course he had to be special!
Sincerely, I didn’t want the ministration to end. This was not my first time of hearing a child sing. Infact, in my former church, I was one of the privileged children selected to join the ‘big church’ choir for rehearsals and ministrations.
At the age of 6, I was even given the opportunity to conduct the full choir on a Sunday service. I can never forget the song – “You are love, You are life, You are Lord, over everything…”, and I did awesomely well, although they had to put me on a special high stool so I could be visible.
I had the experience, I wasn’t a novice but this ‘He’ brought a special topping for the ice cream. His flavour was unique and he topped it with a cheery that had the colour of the rainbow.
Well the song finally ended and we had to go to our various classes.. Unfortunately, he wasn’t in my class, that proved he was older than me. I decided to forget about him for the time I spent in class and focus on my ‘Aunty’
I cannot remember the topic of the lesson. All I can remember is that the class ended and I had to go pick baby brother from his class while we waited for mummy outside.
For an instant I felt lonely as I held baby brother. We were in a strange land, no friends, or playmates. I couldn’t even go to daddy’s office (the Church office) yet because I didn’t know where it was located. So we stood like and abandoned children while I wondered why it was taking mummy forever to come.
Suddenly it happened! Out of the corner of my eye I saw someone galloping towards me. “How did he know we were lonely? Is he the Head boy of this place? He is even smiling like he has seen me before? “Torrents of questions were pouring from my head”
“Hello, are you waiting for your mummy?”,
“Yes we are”
“Why not come and sit down under the tree, she may delay because of the crowd, especially if she didn’t leave immediately after service.” Wow! he already know we were new.
I replied him admist the dryness I felt in my throat. All of a sudden, my voice had became a whisper and I stood there looking dumb.
I think he observed I was hesitant because he immediately held my hand like an overprotective elder while I held baby brother with the other hand as he walked us swiftly to a seat under the tree.
I finally found the voice to thank him.
His smile – that smile, I couldn’t and cannot explain it. He was so bubbly and full of life. He was quite famous too. Just few seconds after we got to the tree and sat on the sit he secured for us, I saw them, GIRLS especially, they came, calling him, seeking his attention, one girl in particular (the jealous one), looked at me like I was an imposter, but he didn’t leave my side. It was as if he was sent to be our guardian angel.
I didn’t feel lonely anymore. How do I explain the way I felt? I felt, ‘shyly-blushy-lovey-dovey’. I couldn’t even look him in the eye.
In the midst of all the chemical reactions, mummy came, I just waved him goodbye, and left like nothing happened. Actually, nothing happened. Lol.
Do I need to tell you how my day ended that day? All I can tell you is that I had a ‘kinda’ permanent-new-bride smile on my face, and as I laid down on my bed to sleep that night, I could hear the voice, I could see the face of the one I thought had the smile of the cutest baby and the touch of softest teddy.
I thought of the next church day, I didn’t even know his name, and he hadn’t asked for mine.
What school did he attend? What school would I attend? Could we be friends, or was it just his nature to be kind and helpful? Who were his parents and where did he come from? He looked like a good boy, he acted good and he looked good, but how good was he? He looked as though he liked me.
As I drifted off to dream land, I didn’t know what the rest days held for me in that faraway land in Northern Nigeria, but one thing I was sure of, I could see the stallion of adventure beckoning for a ride, and with sweaty palms and and throbbing heart, I let go of my dearly treasured past memories. In that instant, I bade goodbye to my life from before, ready to enjoy this new ride of life to the fullest.
Little did I know that this adventure was nothing compared in magnitude and impact to anything I have ever experienced before.
So join me audience, as I take you through this diary, one page after another. Be still and know that this is just the beginning!😀😀