Hey, sweetheart! I got tea for you.
Once upon a time, I was in my room trying to finish up some work.
“My baby,” my ma did not even knock. Nigerian mothers do not knock -they enter your room. Ma did not let me vent before she continued, “Father says he wants to see you?”
I be like,
She mentioned his name.
The fuck! I don’t even know the priest! Jesus!
“Mba, mba,” I shook my head while training my gaze on my laptop screen. “I don’t want to see anyone.”
“Ah! Bia, nu,” she stressed. When I was younger, she would have bribed, lured me with recharge card. “Just kele fada, then ya bia de me-me laptop” (This is Ika dialect. It literally means, ‘Just greet Father, then you come and do laptop’.)
After much entreaties, I acquiesced and went to the sitting room to find two men. My folks returned from morning mass avec un Catholic priest and a deacon. They had probably talked about having a daughter they don’t know about.
I got to the parlour and said, “hi”.
“How come I don’t know you?” Father asked.
My wicked laughter came out. “Haha! It’s because I don’t know you.”
Father was taken aback, “Don’t you come to this church?”
“No,” I replied.
“What church do you attend?”
“I don’t go to church.”
“Aren’t you a Christian?”
“No, I am not a Christian,” I stated emphatically. My pa smiled. My ma had gone to get teacups.
And that was how Cisi’s Conversion began.
Then, I asked, “How do you debunk evolution while believing two Middle-Easterners mutated into four races?”
The reverend brother ran off spewing points that did not in any way answer my question. He talked about Darwinian Evolution – pointed out the loopholes. Bla-di-da-di-da. What sorta Fuckery?
I told them, “I am spiritual, not religious. I believe something brought about everything we can see. I look at nature and I understand this. I feel every living thing is a manifestation of god. Religion is a society’s perception of the divine, the supernatural…”
This gal gave speech and I felt like St. Perpetua talking to her dad, convincing him why she was a Christian. “Dad, do you see this vase on the ground? Could you call it by any name other than what it is? It is the same with me. I can’t call myself anything other than what I am –a Christian.”
Long story short, pa said I could go to the church and talk more with the priest and the deacon. Internally, I was shocked like, “Whoa!” But on the outside, I calmly smiled,
Next day, your gal went to Father’s house and I was talking with the deacon as Father was not around.
We talked and talked. I maintained my stance, “Religion and spirituality are separate ideas. This religion is too illogical for me. I don’t understand the contradictions. How do you guys understand something beyond your comprehension? God gave me a mind, not religion.”
Bro was still insisting I go to church.
But I can’t pretend to feel, to love what I don’t love.
At a point I asked him, “What is the first religion on earth?”
“Judaism,” bro replied.
That was the end of that conversation. He went on to make other blunders. Your gal be like, “This one thinks I am part of the sheeple – the people that accept stuff without filtering.”
Eventually, Father came and we talked and talked and talked and had lunch.
After lunch, we still talked and talked. When I got tired of the back and forth, I said, “My not being religious doesn’t hurt anyone. Why won’t anyone respect my harmless choices? Would you want me to grow resentful of my folks for making me do what I don’t want to do?”
That was how he let me be.
We talked some more – politics, geography, economics, etc. We established religiosity doesn’t guarantee morality. He became honest at the end and admitted more honest things, too. He was not judgemental. We found a common ground.
But as a sweetheart that I am, he said he would love us to see again.
Alarms went off in my head. But I kept it together like nothing
I suggested we visited Badagry – we’d go and see the slavery site. He was delighted! Oh! I got home and asked my ma to tag along. My dad asked his driver to take us there.
Oh! What fun we had!
We returned and he wanted me to stay a little while after my ma had left.
I told him I had work to do, which was not a lie. I left and that was the last time I went to visit.
After reading rape stories, it would be stupid of me to go visiting. What would I say I was searching for in his house if shit goes down? The Cup of Christ?
If he rapes me, people would say I seduced him. “He is a Man of God. You seduced him with the trousers you wore to his place.”
I would be Mary Magdalene.
Mary Magdalene was one of the closest people to Jesus, so close that he appeared to her first. But see how men-written history cast her? They call whore the woman they can’t tame. If you read the Gnostic scriptures, you’ll get.
Gal, stay in your fucking house. You can’t trust anyone. This is not victim-blaming, because right now, you are not a victim. Save yourself from trouble and stay on your own. Men have not understood consent. You could tell a woman, no, and she’d understand. But you can’t trust these men.
Look out for yourself and understand you don’t have to visit anyone in clandestine places. Remember, if shit gets fucked up, everyone would blame yo ass! Gal, protect yo’sef! I protected myself and I have no regrets. Not saying he was going to rape me or anything, but prevention is better than cure. Protect yourself!
You are responsible for yourself.
P.S. There is a second part to this story.