Uwa hated that the woman that sat beside her was the one commandeering for amen. She knew that the woman had said the louder and loudest amen to draw her attention away from the novel she held open in front of her to shout amen alongside the others. She recognised her kind of woman, one that bought anointing oil from her pastor and sprinkled it on the belly of her daughter in-law telling her that she has seen demons that were tying her womb from given her a male child and that the anointing oil was going to release her womb and cast the demons away into the seas. She anticipated that kind of woman to be one that gave her grand-children too much anointing oil to drink until it purged them.
The woman had started to pray, precisely in the Nigerian Pentecostal way making Uwa feel more unease. She started by covering everything with the blood of Jesus – the car, the engine, the tires, their baggage at the trunk, the driver and everyone in the car. Casted out witches and wizards into the pit of hell, bounded demons to the deepest seas, the demons that closed some people’s mouths from shouting amen, that blinded their eyes to reading novels other than the bible. She verbally fought and battled with evil spirits that would cause accident on their way. Not that Uwa never wanted to travel safely nor did she not want to reach Port Harcourt in one piece. But the earsplitting offensive screams, the loud affirmations of amen made her understand that this kind of Christianity was against her perception of worship and prayer. She wanted to tell the woman that binding Satan, battling with evil spirits and covering everything with the blood of Jesus was unnecessary if it was only mere outward affirmation of one’s belief or religion.
Christianity to her was a relationship with the Creator, a connection, a rapport in which one had meaningful conversations in a deliberate manner with God and fellow man. Instead, she kept reading from the novel she had in hand consistently trying to deafen the sounds of louder amen that the fair man behind echoed into her ears. The fair man’s amen was an impression amen that would make the elderly woman look back and nod in affirmation of him being a good Christian. His amen did not only impress the woman but painted Uwa black, the blackness of an ungodly lady who wore a clad blue jean trouser and a skimpy top. This didn’t worry her much. What worried her most was what Professor Ezeka, her thesis supervisor had asked of her – twenty thousand naira and the other thing every other lady did before their thesis was approved.
Before the fair man asked her if she resided in Port Harcourt was when she noticed the elderly woman. That was after she received the fair man’s corn and looked back; how the woman had withdrawn her sneering gaze shaking her head dismissively and speaking in a low tone to another beside her. She wanted to tell the fair man that she was running a master’s program at the university. She knew that telling him she was running a master’s program at the university was going to make him shrink, probably become speechless, feel inadequate beside her and stop making random conversations for it was obvious from the way he searched for suitable English words to properly express himself to her that he wasn’t quite learned.
While they boarded the bus, she tossed the wrapped steaming corn into her handbag, in the compartment that had her tiny cupped Vaseline and a rectangular brown envelop in which Professor Ezeka’s twenty thousand naira denominated in five hundred naira notes was fitted into. After the binding and casting had stopped her phone rang. She deepened her hand into her bag to feel instead of her phone a melted creamy substance. She withdrew her hand, drew her bag open to notice the steam that had melted the Vaseline in the loosely corked tiny plastic that greased her hand and the brown envelop. She took out the corn, the melted Vaseline, the envelope and a tissue from her bag and started to clean up.
The man that sat on her other side likewise the fair man behind him that had been expectant of another opening to strike a conversation said sorry but the elderly woman – the one that prayed, kept still, staunch faced, never saying a word.
Stay tuned for the final part 3 next week Thursday. Please like, comment, share and subscribe.