The years go by, through highs and lows, True Love travels on a Lonely Road.
My heart was beating fast, very fast. I could feel it, something was amiss and the guilty accompanying my perceived actions were making hot tears trickle down my cheeks. It felt like something was choking me, I could feel a lump in my throat which prevented my outcry but there was nothing; I was in the room all alone. I tip toed out to the balcony, looked down and saw people in groups talking, eating, drinking and doing slapdash things.
“What was I doing here? How did I get here?” I blurted out, but no one seemed to have heard me.
I took a quick glance around; my location was still unfamiliar to me. Just then I heard loud noises like drunken people laughing and my senses could pick out a familiar laughter, it was him. I could tell but since I wanted to be sure I grabbed the red jacket I could see faintly hanging off the door of the wardrobe, put it on, zipped it fully even though my skin began to blaze that very moment due to the hot weather, and wore the oversized Adidas slides I saw near the door. I opened the door quietly and stepped out. There was no light anywhere so I had to rely on the walls and partly on the railings for direction. As I moved downstairs it became clearer and clearer that it was his voice I heard; it was Obiajulu.
“Calm down Davy” I told myself repeatedly
“Surely it can’t be that bad. You probably slept off here and he wanted to wait until the wee hours were passed so he could walk you home”.
On a second thought I was wearing a blue beach dress I knew I had never owned, without any underwear on as opposed to the black jeans and red hello kitty top I last remembered putting on. Something was wrong and whether it was paranoia or not, I didn’t have a good feeling about it. The air of mystery was hanging thick in all that heat, the open sky was bright, and I could finally make out some faces I saw.
“You are awake?” he asked with so much concern, stepping out of the group towards me.
“How did you see me in this darkness?” I retorted
“Come on I knew when you looked downstairs from the balcony but its okay. Do you have a headache? Are you fine?”
“I am fine” I said with skepticism, taking a step backward as I realized he was standing too close to me.
“Everything is well but how did I get here?”
“You don’t know!” He replied with a rather clueless countenance
“I don’t” I said calmly, picking my words, “Please tell me”
Then he went “Chairman, Davy doesn’t seem to remember anything oh”
“Omo how I go take explain?”
My eyes bolted to the circle as they frantically searched for where chairman could be. Chairman turned and gave a reply to Obiajulu’s question my brain didn’t quite catch as it was engrossed in unraveling his identity in the darkness. Obiajulu said something again that caused Chairman to look up from his phone, and as soon as my eyes met his, I felt dizzy instantly and I passed out.
I knew the noise I was hearing was familiar and its familiarity is probably one of the things that woke me up─ a rusty spiraling sound. Everyone, especially clinic regulars like me, knew that the clinic had rusty fans that were desperate for maintenance but like every other thing in Nigeria, someone had probably utilized the funds allotted for its servicing to sort out personal needs while students with migraines hoping to recovery or get treatment, stayed in rooms where the sounds from the fan escalated their condition.
“Ma, she is awake! She is awake!” he said dashing out of the room.
Apparently he was seated by my bedside with his laptop on the top of the bedside drawer so when my fingers flicked a bit, he ran off shouting. When he left, I sat up fast and looked around. I could see some guys I knew lived at Dasilva lodge and two girls in Economics department but there wasn’t a friendly face in sight.
I asked one of the girls how I got here and she replied in a highly unpleasant manner, making and breaking bubbles with her bubble gum as if she was struggling for a prize with the goats at the school farm “You fainted at your boyfriends house so he and his friends rushed you here”
I was taken aback. Me!!!! Boyfriend!!!!
I had always heard of strange things happening to girls would eventually wake up and have no recollection whatsoever of what happened and in this moment I was frightened because it felt like those Whatsapp broadcasts had just happened to me.
“Sir, will she be fine?” I heard his voice echo from outside the room before he walked in with the Doctor.
“Well, that depends on how fast she remembers. We need her medical history and from all you said, she hasn’t been able to remember the last two days” the Doctor said calmly, hands in the pockets of his it-was-white coat.
“Personally I would suggest you get her parents involved or better still take her to a bigger hospital since you are well aware that we are constrained by facilities here”
“Two days” I screamed!
“Somebody please explain to me what is going on?”
My heart started to beat faster; I was hyperventilating.
“Don’t let her faint” the doctor screamed as I watched so many unfamiliar faces dash towards me.
My head started to pound badly so I closed my eyes.
Months later at the Doctors Appointment:
“Miss Davina Ebubechi Okoro, everything you have narrated so far, is that all you can remember?”
“Yes sir, I promise you that’s all. I have tried so hard for months now as you know and the incidents surrounding that period seem so unclear to me”
“Okay, let’s go over this again. Start from the day you left your hostel to spend the weekend with Henrietta.”
“I had lectures for 2pm that Friday” I started
My only class for that day and Etta came to my room excited that her parents had sent some money which meant she could pay me back and since Valentine’s Day was the next day, I could sleep at her house that night and tag along for a Movie night event the next day.
Usually I resist hangouts that take me away from my comfort zone but to her request, I just said yes, packed a few things in a bag and set out for class. We are in the same department so after class I followed her home.
“Now skip to the part where you met the tutorial board chairman at the movie event” he asked with searching eyes, monitoring my every body language.
“Uhmmm okay sir.”
“Etta and I were not really enjoying the movie so we decided to stroll around for a bit then come back. She asked the girl beside us to keep our seats telling her we’d be back shortly and we left. The door was crowded and as I was stepping out after Etta, someone dragged me back”
“Hi Davy, what’s up? I have never seen you at any social event before. What made you decide to attend this one?”
I laughed and expressed my surprise at seeing him here as well. He wasn’t only the chairman which meant he was first class material, but also the media director of my fellowship. I was a beneficiary of his explosive tutorials so we were well, you could say acquaintances or friends.
“Well, I had better leave you so you can meet up with you friend, she doesn’t seem excited to be waiting outside. But I have to say this. Days like today are usually dangerous for girls in this school and you know it. I mean almost two years should’ve taught you that so make sure you get home early okay?”
I nodded like a reprimanded toddler, smiled and went off to stroll with my friend.
Time went by quickly as we strolled around watching lovers, those professing love and those unashamed to display intimate acts in public. We laughed so much, expressed our disgust at the ones we found excessive, and not until we saw people leaving the hall did we know that time was up and we had to head home.
“Davy please let’s just go to the hostel at shopblock area, I need to get my charger” Etta pleaded.
I told her it wasn’t safe, that chairman who knew all the good and bad things in this school said so, that my Spirit was restless and somewhat frightened by the thought, but she insisted. I guess her headiness is why events have led me up till this point.
After waiting for what seemed to be almost an hour as we watched the number of students decrease slowly from Shopblock, Livinus one dude she claimed to know from Onitsha when she spent time with her grandma, emerged smiling sheepishly with her charger. His pleasantries were worthless to me so I didn’t try to camouflage my sore displeasure at his delay. The moment Henrietta collected her charger from him; I started walking off fast to give her a clue that we were far behind time. She knew the drill so we headed home straight and of course there were no bikes by that time so we had to trek.
While we trekked, heard loud noises from behind and before I could make out what the sounds were, someone hit my head and…
“That’s okay Davina. My diagnosis is right. You have selective amnesia most likely caused by the traumatic experience of that night. Moving forward, we can at best administer drugs we know can help since your parents are against hypnosis and other psychic treatments, and cross our fingers that this treatment process offers us the best. If you ever experience flashes of your memory or anything pertaining to the events of that night, let us know without hesitation.”
“Okay sir” I replied standing up to adjust my skirt and take my leave.
Back at school two months later:
Stories had gone round and trust me it was so many versions. Human beings had a knack for rumor peddling and my experience firsthand convinced me that people literally stay in their rooms, think up strange things, throw in a bit of real names and believable descriptions, whisper it to the itching ears of other shameless gossips’ and boom! You wouldn’t even know the source of a false story. People said all sorts of things.
They said I was pregnant then I aborted, some said I was not but one of my former roommates said she watched me go through the vomiting nausea stage and as someone who “knew these things well”, she could attest to the fact that I was bringing new life into the world however the nonexistent child’s paternity is what remained a mystery to her seeing that I spent all my time either at fellowship or at the library. I had always know Ngozi was a halfwit I mean look at how she packs her hair like Ngele dancers, brushes her teeth after making up and chews raw stockfish while she watches movies, but no! Her unintelligence and lack of ability to refrain from being miserable just had to intertwine themselves with the affairs of my life.
I heard talks about me being mentally ill, possessed, spiritually attacked, and what made it laughable was how fellowship people were the ones circulating the Spiritual attack story. Let’s take for instance if I was indeed under the influence of ungodly powers, why had no one come to invite me for Friday power night held every two weeks? The stories were just tiring and wow! They were baffling.
Another shocker for me was that no one had heard from Henrietta since the incident and when my uncle sent by parents, tried to locate the address she gave the school management; I mean her grandma’s address, they said that building had been turned into a pharmacy six years ago. No form of contact, she just disappeared after it all. I heard from my Course adviser that Chairman was suspended for two semesters and knowing the current body of executives, my guess was that the fellowship probably excommunicated him as well although I wasn’t sure.
Each time I heard anything relating to the incidents surrounding that day, I felt faint.
The most painful part of it all was that everyone believed without a shadow of doubt that I was lying about not being able to remember what happened. The Doctor said some people deal with trauma by blocking it out completely, so what really happened to me that was so traumatic my brain didn’t want to be reminded of it in the slightest.
This is the part where I say that I stopped going to church, fellowship, programs, religious activities or anything God related. If such a loving Father could let this happen and would punish me to the point where I have no recollection of the past, then what was I doing in his presence anyway.
Months went by, so did two semesters. I was about to begin final year if that tells you anything. When Chairman resumed I was shattered. It was like I had to go through everything I believed I had conquered, again.
I wasn’t traumatized or hurt (at least I thought so), I was angry! So angry that I met him at the cafeteria one day and shouted in front of everyone “What brought you back here? Was ruining my future not enough? I was doing fine till you decided to show your face around!”
“Chairman! Chairman! Chairman! How many times did I call you?”
“I beg you with whatever you believe in, stop haunting me!”
Then I stormed out feeling like Roman Reigns. As I stormed out, I heard loud whispers affirming the believed state of my mental health. Did I care? No! I just wanted to finish my final year peacefully and move on with my life.
Exactly a week after the cafeteria incident, I went to Aunty Chi’s restaurant opposite my faculty to eat. When I walked up to the lady I was supposed to pay to, she pointed at a guy wearing a blue shirt on black ripped jeans and smiling awkwardly she went “Aunty no worry o! That uncle don already pay for you”
I had absolutely time for this sort of rubbish so my intentions were clear; walk up to the guy, give him his money back or drop it on the table and leave quietly.
On getting there, I realized that the guy who paid was chairman. There was a battled in my spirit on whether causing a scene would be the best or not, the later won so I tapped him on the shoulder and whispered “Meet me outside NOW!” in a stern voice.
He smiled and I was angrier he was smiling like dude I am trying to practice self control here and you want me to destroy my control panel, wow!
“Davy how are...”
“Chairman!” I screamed
“Chairman” this time I reduced the pitch of my voice knowing that the first had steered up attention.
“Chairman what have I done to you?”
“You made me lose two semesters in school for helping you, that’s what you have done and as a child of God I am trying so hard to forgive you put you are so hung up on being the victim that you actually expect me to tend apologies for “ruining” you life.” The ruining he said with mocking quotations in the air.
I was numb. Far away from reality and the only thing that jolted me back was when he shouted “Davina, there is a program at the fellowship on Sunday, I think you should come. Maybe we can meet up after that to speak, God bless you.”
The information was a lot because he left immediately after his last sentence and my over thinking self had to process everything alone. I couldn’t go to my next class in this state so I went to the library under the guise of academic investments just so I could utilize the serenity there to think properly. The program was certain to be themed on Love since Valentine’s Day was around the corner in like a week or so and they’d probably be doing a series on love or related matters. It was particularly a topic that made me sad so why should I attend? Unless if I really wanted to hear what Chairman had to say.
Sunday came sooner than I expected and with a lot of mixed feelings. You know the way Apostle Paul said the glory we will receive cannot be compared to our present sufferings, I could borrow his words to say that the soul piercing stares I got when I stepped into church were worse than however I must have been feeling prior to that time.
As a circumstance recruited hard guy, I stood my ground in the face of intense worship and quivered not at mere tears of Speaking in tongues. Now that I think about it, I am sure the Holy Spirit was laughing because if he truly desired to have me on my knees in tears then, rolling like a fellow who stole goat at Onitsha Main market, he would in the blink of an eye. Well, I kept my cool during worship which made it easier to pass by praise like one who stood under the rain but didn’t get wet.
It was the after worship, the one after the praise session that got to me. The minstrel sang just one song. In fact it wasn’t even a song, just some lines off one of Theophilus Sunday’s chants and I was captivated.
Oh oh oh my Yahweh
Oh oh oh my Yahweh
Oh oh oh my Yahweh.
Oh oh oh my lover
Oh oh oh my lover
Oh oh oh my lover”
The song went on and on with people crying, singing in the Holy Ghost, shaking violently, praying and falling under the anointing.
Quite suddenly, I saw myself at the entrance of another realm. I could feel it but I was still, standing in the very same spot at church. I looked around and saw everyone in their different spaces worshiping while the lead singer stood eyes closed, microphone clenched by both hands lifted up rather too close to his mouth and he continued singing. Then I went blank.
I saw myself on the street where my head got hit being carried by a huge guy with Henrietta leaning romantically on the other guy a few steps behind us. It felt like I was behind all of them, watching the events of my past unfold.
“Shey this is your friend, the one you have been talking about?” the guy carrying me asked.
“Yes” Henrietta replied with a loud burst of her bubble gum created bubble.
“Na she. Make una just keep am for room so after I’ve gotten her account details and all, I can clear the account and put everything in order”
They took me a Lodge I didn’t know existed in that area. It was a long trek from the main road but they were talking all the way. I had never seen any of them in my life which made me wonder how my quiet friend Henrietta knew them. When they were entering the building, Chairman ran up to them and asked what happened.
“Oga Chairman relax. She got drunk so her friend talk say make she crash for my side till morning” the guy carrying me said.
Just as I could sense the sinister motives in his voice, Chairman could too and it was evident on his face that he didn’t buy their story. He wanted to say something but Henrietta shot him a look that made him back off but alerted him that I was possibly in danger. I stood, watching my friend undress me completely after the guy carrying me laid me on the bed and she put the loose beach dress on my body. It was her dress ─It was part of those clothes relationship folk kept permanently at each other’s house which explains why I had never seen it before.
When they stepped out to smoke downstairs by the way I never knew she smoked since we mockingly called smokers exhaust pipes, they left me all alone and that’s when chairman ran in and carried me out through the small gate behind their tank to his friend Obiajulu’s house. He lived in the school hostel so he couldn’t take me anywhere else but there. It was at Obi’s house I woke up, asked strange questions, fainted again and realized at the hospital that while Henrietta and I trekked back, the fanta I drank that she bought while we waited for Livinus at ShopBlock, contained something.
Parents forward creepy messages like this all the time to us on Whatsapp so never in a gazillion years did I think it could be me next. My emphasis was on broadcast because they unabashedly forward both fake and real news, 80% fake making it hard to discern between what really happens and what people formulated to scary a generation of old people pressing their phones.
I saw every tiny detail of the incident and it broke me.
Chairman and Obi reporting to the Police after it all, the two guys arrested and Henrietta taking a night bus without any specific location, the Senate framing Chairman because one of the two boys was the son of Prof Nwogu the Dean of Engineering faculty, the fellowship announcing on a Sunday like this that they have nothing to do with Chairman and everyone should pray he is delivered from the Spirit of rape, hmmmm it was all blood-and-guts to me.
The noise of loud hallelujahs brought me back to reality and I saw myself on the floor flat out. The sermon was going on but of course people were either sensitive in the Spirit to let me be or scared I was possessed to touch me.
I stood up, looked around and left. Walking back to my hostel I stopped near a shady tree to cry. It was a rush of so many emotions I couldn’t explain and I was doing a bad job at handling my revelation well. I felt a lot of things and fine was not one of them.
I dropped my bag on the floor, took of my shoes, took a squat position with my head in between my laps and I cried. Remembering it all made me shudder at my own insensitivity and inattention to details. Yes I had taken a substance but no one talked about rape meaning it never happened. I just went on to become like the people who hurt me by telling everyone who cared to listen that Chairman raped me that day. I didn’t even know how to feel.
I was broken, feeling eerie, and my head was pounding. This time I was not fainting, I was getting my reward in abundance. I was supercilious towards him, showing only contempt and loathing his very existence when all he tried to do which he succeeded at, was help.
I couldn’t stay there feeling sorry for myself and some fellowships had closed so before I drew the attention of the pathetic lot at this school, I got up with my things and began to trek back to the hostel. As I was walking, the one scene that never left my peripheral vision was when Chairman was carrying me and running at the same time. He was trying to lose those guys and Henrietta so he was running swiftly.
Henrietta was throwing stones and I watched painfully as they hit his head, his feet which made him stumble a couple of times and impeded his speed, his spine that made him scream in agony then drop but he gathered momentum to run again and he kept going. There was a determination in his heart not to let this girl die. He purposed in his heart that with or without my adherence to his advice earlier on, it wouldn’t be on his watch that my life would end or my future get ruined. Chairman ran until he reached the gate of Obiajulu’s lodge and the guys there rallied around him to take me upstairs while some tended to his wounds. Someone who had all those gory injuries wasn’t even concerned about himself, he kept asking after me till they told him I was breathing normally which meant calm sleep had come. Then and only then did he relax. His talking outside was with the lodge guys on how to take the matter to the authorities and get justice. Never for once did he think of himself even up till the final verdict by the Senate.
That explained everything, the love of God.
In my ignorance, my disobedience and callousness, he fought long and hard to save me─ to save you, to save us.
He paid the price in bruises, cuts, shame, reproach and everything heart wrenching just like Chairman did yet he always reached out and is still reaching out. We would throw tantrums, shove his kindness back into his face and want nothing to do with him; still he kept fighting hard to win our love.
He is the lover that never left ─The true love that took the loneliest route to the cross to save me all alone. He did everything to make sure I was reconciled to the Father and there I was thinking he was the bad guy.
Today is Valentine’s Day and most of us have stories that somehow resonate with Davina’s story. We struggle for worldly validation and lust camouflaged as love yet with impunity we have rejected the love of Christ that has never left us even for a nanosecond. Jesus Christ took the shame, reproach and bore it all for us, the lonely road to salvation through crucifixion like a common criminal with no one to turn to and every other day we throw his sacrifice back at him blatantly refusing to reciprocate his love.
Turn back to the lonely road that offered you true love today. Your friends, family and everyone might feel your decision is weird or unnecessary but still examine the amount of sacrifice one human made for another. It is a lonely road since people don’t honestly love to take that route in navigating life. Everyone wants the easy way, the stress free non sacrificial road but if you feel indebted to his benevolence and amazing grace, you wouldn’t think about the costs whatever they may be before you choose love this day forsaking everything that seeks to guise itself as it.
True Love comes across as an abused word these days considering how many “True Loves” ended up a charade. The Love of God is nothing like that.
Letting his love into your heart today is everything this story talks about.
It’s okay if loving him hasn’t come easy for you so you’ve chosen toxicity over making it work with him. It’s also fine if you don’t know how to work out your relationship with him. I hope you understand that even if you have fallen too many times, he will never stop reaching out to you, his mercies didn’t cut you off and today is a great time to realize that there is no greater love than this that a man will give his life for his friends (John 15:13).
If you want to reach out our email is open firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Valentine’s Day Friend,
Over here I love you so much.
Blessings, love and light,
For Lumiere de Dieu