It’s him again,” my elder brother complained. We all peered through the window to see the man from our church approaching our front door.
Mum hurriedly called the four of us – my brothers, my sister and I – and instructed us to sit beside her and listen carefully. We all knew Dad was on his way home so the man spoke briskly as Mum frantically flipped through her black King James Bible. They listened. I observed him.
Just days before, the man had sat on our new couch and talked about saints and sinners, heaven and hell. He prophesied about the end of the world and said a big trumpet would be blown on the last day for everyone to be judged before the Maker. I imagined how mighty the trumpet would look, and pictured the muscular Angels chosen to carry it. I was sure the Angel selected to sound the trumpet would have a mouth as wide as a hippopotamus.
He said no one knew when the world would end. This worried me the most. I worried because the trumpet could sound as I was filling Five Alive juice cartons with water after stealing sips from tiny holes pierced at the side. It could sound when I was in the kitchen at night, pocketing assorted meat from the soup pot; an act that mum had always blamed on the ‘witch’ next door. It could even sound immediately after I’d added more salt to Dad’s food to punish Mum for flogging me each time I wet the bed.
“…if you truly want to walk with Christ, you must pick up your cross and follow Him. Let us pray,” I examined him as he quickly concluded, prayed and left.
Thursday passed, so did Friday and Saturday. Sunday came. We were ready for church.
“Where are you going with that?” Mum asked me in bewilderment.
My posture was slanted and imbalanced. Inspired by the calendar of Jesus on our living room wall, I repentantly carried a construction of uneven pieces of wood stolen from a nearby carpenter’s shop.
I didn’t understand Mum’s reaction. I thought she had heard what the man from the church said the other day.
“Mum, this is my cross. I want to follow Christ.”
Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto (@) studied English Language and Literature at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State. He is a lover of literature and his works have won Association Of Nigerian Author’s (Literary Award For Mazariyya Ana Teen Poetry Prize, 2009), National Association Of Students Of English Language and Literary Studies (Certificate of Honour as the Best Student Poet, 2012, Delsu Chapter).
Related country: Nigeria