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Episode 1
©Miriam Edem

No part of this story should be edited or copied without proper acknowledgment of the writer.

My name is Love. I grew up seeing my father distributing suspension in church to his members like a free gift. My father was a very stern pastor. Sometimes I do hear people in the village parading with his name calling him wicked. I can't count the number of times he has canceled weddings when he finds out the bride is pregnant, no amount of pleadings will change my father decision.
"I was sent to groom and prepare for the Lord a generation of decent, spotless, and godly people and not filthy beings for the next coming of our savior and that I must achieve! My father will always brag whenever his fellow pastors advises him to lessen his hands on his members.

At home he handles us with iron hands because we have to be a good example to other children in the village.
"Its not a mistake that I have only two children. I personally told your mother to stop once you were born Love so that I can open my eyes well on you and your brother. I won't be alive and see you two bring me shame and bring my hard work to nothing, no way! My father will always shout us at home with any little mistake we make.

I and my brother got very scared to make mistakes and tried our best to live our lives to the standard our father gave to us but I had a problem. I was not good at all with Physics and mathematics as a science student. Though I had no interest in science, but as I said earlier, my father gave us a standard already and the way we must go even in the choice of what we will study.
My brother who had interest in cars, and he will always be found at the mechanic shop looking at the way cars are being repaired. My father screamed out and casted the spirit of mechanism from him with enough beatings when he found out, saying the Lord said he should be a lawyer.
We were both struggling in academics and worked extra hard to meet up.

At school when I opened my book and saw the test score, I just heaved and closed the book very disappointed that I failed with my legs raised up. Because of my father stern attitude, the teachers will always separate me from the other students when its time for tests and examinations.
"Malpractice or asking your friends answers in the hall is a sin, that's what your father do preach right? They will remind me.
It was becoming tiring for me. I could not make friends nor mingle with people so that they won't influence me according to my father.

My case was more interesting because I am a female child,
"Don't let a boy come close to you so you won't get pregnant, was what my parents told me. I feared suspension and stayed off even though I had questions running in my head with what I do hear from my biology teacher.

"Love you've failed again? Cecilia asked as I covered my head on the desk crying.
"I don't know what to do, soon the mock exams will start, I replied.

"Don't you think you need a teacher? Like a home teacher I mean, she said.
"My father won't accept, I said.

"Just explain things to him and try to make him understand, don't forget no one will help you during the exams, Cecilia said and it got me more scared.
I and my brother were in the same class because we started school together. According to my mom they didn't have the money to enroll him in school when he was suppose to start, we had to start together when the money finally came.

As we strolled back home I complained to Pius about my poor grades in school and he just smiled like it was nothing,
"I don't understand, what's funny? I asked him.
"What do you want me to say? He asked back.

"You have nothing to say? I asked him.
"Love I have nothing to say, why not go tell your parents who pushed us to where we don't know where its taking us. Imagine me sitting down to read different literatures what for? Pius asked and I breathed out.

"The mock exams is coming up, if we don't pass we can't enter the next class na, I said.
'Does it concern me? No should I kill myself? The shame will surely go back to him, I wonder how he will keep his face when his two children fails with high rank, Pius said and quickly walked away from me and I could sense that he's really angry.

My mother returned from the market and I decided to talk to her, unlike my dad she has a small spot to listen to us even though we will be wasting our time because she will have to still discuss with her husband.
"Mommy please you know I am trying hard, help me talk to daddy, I need a home teacher, I told her.
"Love you know that is not going to happen, how many hours will this home teacher have with you? She asked.

"Mommy I don't know but if i want to be honest with you, my grades is very poor, I replied.
"I'll try my best anyway, she said and left the kitchen and I breathed out.

That night we left our rooms for prayers, my father just fixed his eyes on me that I began to wonder what I've done.
"What is this home teacher I am hearing? He finally asked.
"Daddy it's......... "Are you reading your book! How special is your brain that I have to pay for a home teacher and a school teacher! He shouted and I closed my eyes shaking.

"She wants to start now to have a home teacher and you're supporting her, when she gets to the university what will she ask for? This home teacher will it be free? He asked referring to my mom.
"But she's complaining her grades are low, my mother replied.

"Is it our fault? Did our parents then or did we know what is home teacher at our time? Didn't we struggled to pass the way we can? This children are too relaxed, in fact get up let's pray! He shouted and we sluggishly stood up and that was the end of a home teacher.

After a week I heard our seniors are organizing an extra class for us free. I was most excited and that morning before I left for school I told my parents about it,
"I need you back to this house before 3pm, my father said.
"But daddy the class begins after the school is over, I can't be home before 3pm, I said.

"Did I tell you to attend any class? My father asked.
"But daddy why are you doing this? This class is beneficial for me as a science student and our exams is coming up soon, is it bad for the students to gather us up and teach us what they know ahead of the exams? I asked and my mother cleared her throat.

"When will you be coming back? She asked.
"An hour late, I replied.

"Dear please let her attend, its still part of learning right? My mother asked but he was quiet.
"Please na, they are almost late for school, my mother said again looking at the time as we waited for him.

"And you Pius you have no extra class? My father asked.
"There is, but I'm not interested in it, he replied.

"Very good, She should not be interested also, my father said to my mother.
"But they are in different class, isn't the science class more difficult? My mother asked.

"That's what they make you believe. Anyway you can attend but don't dare to come back late, my father said.
"Thank you daddy, I happily said and left with Pius.

We were barely 10 of us who attended the class and it made it easy for the students to attend to us and made us understand. I felt very comfortable with my seniors teaching me, it was penetrating better especially when the senior boys prefect comes up to teach Physics.
Within a week after I started the class, I saw improvement and I was doing well with the assignments they do give after every teaching.

I saw myself interacting with my classmates which was not so, and I was so close with the boys prefect and we go home together because Pius was not waiting for me.
One day as we walked home together I saw a member of the church who I greeted very well and she responded well also and we passed.
That evening I was doing my assignment when my father got in very furious,

"Love, who is this boy you're always seen walking and smiling with on the road? My father asked.
"Hey daddy that's our boys prefect, I replied

"So what? You will have to hold hands together and walk side by side laughing? Do you know that is appearance of evil? My father asked.
"Daddy we didn't hold hands o, we just walked and talked, I replied.

"Talked about what exactly that all your forty two teeth will be showing huh? He asked.
"Daddy its thirty two, I corrected and I received a slap that fitted my face.

"Yes correct me and ignore the question I asked you. Let me not see you with that boy and Enough of the extra class! He shouted and walked out and Pius just placed his hand under his chin looking at me as I cried holding my cheek.
"Aunty Amarachi actually reported you, Pius said and I looked at him and sniffed and stormed out of the house and got to her place straight up.

"Why are you this wicked and a jobless gossiper? Can't you do something better in your life than reporting people? I asked facing her.
"What do you mean by that? She asked.

"Oh stop pretending! Because you saw me walking with a boy you reported me to my father for what exactly? I asked.
"To stop you from getting pregnant and get suspended. Oh oh oh you're even raising your shoulders high because I called your father to look at you huh? Truly you have no respect for elders, she replied.

"Mind your business woman, look after your own children and leave me alone! I shouted and left her compound while she clapped her hands behind me.
When I got home I saw my mother coming out from the kitchen,
"Where are you coming back from? She asked but I looked away still very angry.

"I am talking to you! She shouted.
"To aunty Amarachi place, I told her to stop gossiping, I replied.

"Is Aunty Amarachi your mate? She asked.
"Oh she knows like that and she can't stop being an idle gossiper? I asked back.

"Wonderful! I can see all she told me very visible now. So you even insulted someone old enough to be your mother Love? My father asked coming out and I just scoffed.
"I didn't insult her but called her to order, let her stop intruding into other people business so that the size of her nose will reduce, I replied and left to the use the other door to enter my room.

I heard my father ranting and vibrating the whole house but I didn't care. Stopping me from the extra class or talking with Solomon was something I was not planning to do, I just knew from that day I was no longer that obedient lamb that can be kicked around.



Episode 2
©Miriam Edem

My mother knocked on the door that night but I just laid in my bed without saying a word.
"Love its time for prayers, we are waiting for you, my mother said outside the door.
"I'll pray mine here, I said.

"Don't let me knock on this door again! She sternly said and left and I sluggishly left the bed to the sitting room.
"You're 10 minutes late Love, is it in my house you want to turn rebellious? My father asked but I was quiet.

"I am talking to you! He shouted and raised his hand to hit me but my mother held him as I just folded my hands looking at him and smirked,
"I'll be in my room, I said and left as my mother surprisedly looked at me while I saw Pius smiled as he quietly watched the show.

I have always been the obedient child while Pius was seen as the stubborn one. My father will sometimes invite his friends who are pastors to lay their hands on my brother to cast out stubbornness from him, and somehow he got tired and played cool with all that my father commanded him to do.
I sat on my bed so tired of the house and thought of how I can just leave. Interacting with my classmates these few weeks gave me other view of life and I came to realize that I was more than a loner all this while.

My father made life so difficult and made me reason if my religion is meant to enslave people or to safe. Despite my father trained us to quote the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, it didn't really make sense to me because I was brought up to fear God and not to love him.
The next morning I left the room to get prepared for school and my mother met me in the kitchen which I greeted her,
"Morning. What happened to you yesterday? I mean this is not you Love, my mother replied and I heaved.

"But mommy what did I do? I can't walk with human beings anymore because my father is a pastor? I asked her.
'You're walking with the opposite sex and its giving a wrong impression outside. You should be an example to others, she replied.

"Oh mommy please. Example for what? Did you bring me to this world to live my life for you and for others? I am not doing anything wrong so please let me breathe, I said.
"Love we are training you the way you should go, you'll thank us when you're grown up because you won't understand what we are doing for you now. Look the world is wicked and rotten, so don't blame us, my mother said and I just shook my head and concentrated with the dishes because whatever I will say won't change anything.

When I left the kitchen to set the dining i saw my father and greeted him but he just looked at me without saying anything and passed.
On the way to school Pius was just smiling and humming what I don't know while I looked at him and heaved,
"I saw you smiled last night and you're still smiling, I said to him.

"Did you expect me to cry? He asked.
'I didn't want to react the way I did, but then its too much, its getting too much day by day, I replied.

"Its too much? No it shouldn't be now please just hang on there okay, he said.
"Can we talk to daddy about this? We have our life to live for crying out loud and they have taken it away from us. We can't make decisions anymore and they don't care. Why should he portray us to the village to be so perfect and pure when we are nothing but humans immune to mistakes? I asked.

'Because your father is a pastor, he replied and smiled and kept humming and I just knew I wasted my time talking with him.
When we dismissed from school, I was fighting within me to go home or stay for the extra class. I didn't want to miss it and I'll be disobeying my father if I stay back.
I just breathed out and took my bag to look for Pius when someone held me by my hand,

"Where are you going to? Solomon asked.
"Ermmm to meet my brother, I replied.

"You're going home when we have something interesting to discuss today and it's even Friday? No I won't let you, you can't miss today else you'll regret it trust me, Solomon said and I scratched my head and someone cleared his throat behind me and I turned and saw Pius. I quickly took my hand away from Solomon own because he was still holding me,
"You'll stay? Pius asked but I could not say yes or no.

"Okay bye, Pius said and left.
"Is there a problem? Solomon asked and I nodded.

"Let's go, he said taking my hands again and we left to the junior class we do use for the class.
"Its my father, He's asking me to stop attending the class, I said to him when we got settled but he just nodded his head.

"Just that? I asked him.
"Well I thought you were not done, he replied and I cleaned my face very worried.

"What's his reason? He asked.
"Because someone reported to him that I am walking with you, I replied and he burst out laughing.

"Its not funny though, I said.
"Sorry I laughed, what does he think I will do with you? He asked.

"How am I suppose to know? I'm just so scared of what he will do at home if he finds out I disobeyed him, I replied.
"Then you should go home, He's your father after all, he said and his classmates walked into the class which I greeted them.

"Afternoon Love. Where are your classmates? Go call them please let's start, One said and I looked at Solomon and slowly left to call my classmates and I ended up joining them in the class.
I was there laughing cheerfully with my classmates enjoying the comedy that was played on phone. My dad didn't want us to have anything called phone, even the one that looked like a calculator. No television at home either but only a radio which he only turns it on to listen to news when its time, that's the kind of life we were forced to live and I saw the opportunity to be close to a phone and I totally forgot that I just disobeyed my father.

"LOVE! I heard a thunderous voice at the door and when I looked up and it was my father swelling up red. My eyes bulged out as I stood up looking at him and he walked in ignoring the students greeting and landed a slap that resounded twice in my ears in front of my classmates who just watched us.
'I thought I told you 3pm should not meet you in school? You dare disobey me! He shouted as I touched my cheek with my lips shaking.

"I'm so sorry sir its my fault, she wanted leaving but I convinced her today lecture is very important, Solomon said.
"Today lecture huh? And who are you a certified teacher or what? So the teaching from morning to afternoon is not enough but rather you keep people children behind feeding them with immoral scene in the name of teaching them. So Love you're even holding a phone laughing like a spoilt child from the street, is this how I trained you? Just look at you! He shouted on my face and I closed my eyes shivering.

Slowly my classmates began leaving the class with their bags and it was left with Solomon who didn't even touched his bag,
"Let's go! My father said and roughly held my hand to drag me out,
"Excuse me sir, being a strong and stern father does not stop your child to be wayward. Now I see the reason why most pastors children turns out to be the opposite, Solomon said when we were at the door and my father stopped and looked at him which he took his bag and left the class without looking back.

I got home covered with shame and filled with anger. My father has done his worst and to make it more annoying, he saw nothing wrong with what he did but shouted my name all over the house. I locked myself in the room refusing to eat or come out despite the numerous begging and knocks from my mother but I just sat on the floor asking myself questions.

I remained indoor that way and opened up on Sunday morning and my mother ran to me touching my face,
"How are you? Why do you have to lock yourself inside? My mother asked but I slowly kept her hands down from my face and walked away saying nothing.
"Love, Pius said to me at the backward where I just stood looking at the cassava farm we had.

"Starving and locking yourself up won't change anything, it will make it more difficult for you, Pius said facing me.
"Our father will have to apologize for what he did to me, I said to him and he smiled.

"And you know that's not possible, daddy never apologize and besides you disobeyed him, he said.
"Because he caused it, does he want me to fail? I asked him.

"Then just fail for him to see that you've failed, why are you bothering yourself so much? Why not be like me and everyone will be in peace, Pius said.
"I am not you, and father will apologize, I sternly said to him and went in to prepare for service.
That Sunday was children day and Children were given the chance to perform in church.

I sat at the back of the church not interested with whatever was going on until a small girl came out for bible quotations and quoted Ephesians 6:1-3 and everyone clapped for her.
I stood up from where I sat smiling and got the microphone from the leader of service and cleared my throat,
'That was a good one from that girl, it's not easy, please clap for her again, I said and everyone clapped happily.

"But I have a problem with that recitation because it's not complete. Why are we not going down to the verse 4 of the chapter which says,
"And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" I quoted and looked at my father.
"Why are we fond of quoting the children part when God knew fathers will one way or the other hurt their children and push them the wrong path? I asked him and my father smiled and took his own microphone and stepped forward to the pulpit while I returned to my seat.

"The bible did say fathers should not provoke their children to wrath, but what if your children gets provoked when you are trying to nurture and bring them up the way they should go, parents will you let them go that way? My father threw the question to the church and they screamed "NO".
"Didn't the same bible said we should train up the child the way they should go? In fact the bible even asked us to use the rod on the child, then what if a parent uses the rod to correct the child and the child gets provoked, should the parent say eh because the bible said we should not provoke the child so let me leave the child and he or she will change? Its a big lie! Parents train up your children, beat them when necessary and make sure they live in the way of the Lord because the Lord will hood you responsible. And you children, obey your parents, that is the only commandment that came with a promise okay, my father preached and the church clapped for him and I just left the church and stood outside.

I was the first to hit the house when the service was over and when everyone got home they met me with my book trying to do my assignment,
"What was the meaning of that in church? Love are you now possessed? My father asked.
"Dear please you just returned from church and you've not even prayed, my mother said.

"No no no let me talk to Love, you really think you can use the bible to belittle me? If this is what you want, I will so give you public disgrace and you know what I can do, my father said and I raised my head from my book.
'I guess you're forgetting something here. Your weakness is you not having your name stained, don't forget I can equally give you that disgrace that you won't find the strength to hold a bible again. Just don't push me, I said to him.

"Love will you shut up! My mother shouted on me and I saw my father taking off his belt from his trouser.
"Hold that girl for me! My father shouted and within seconds I jumped and fled from the house.

I had a busy day?



9 months ago