“O salutaris Hostia, Quae caeli pandis ostium: Bella premunt hostilia, Da robur, fer auxilium…”
On her way from hospital, Kemi had decided to stop at a Catholic Church – St Martin. It was not many poles away from Johnson & Jones. As it was almost sunset, she thought she could sit down somewhere, in a spiritual environment and attempt prayer, after some years of being totally unable to hold conversations with God.
She was in luck.
Benediction was about beginning, and a priest carrying a huge monstrance, raised high, climbed onto the sanctuary, and set the monstrance on the altar, amidst lighted candles. The huge circular star-shaped golden thing fascinated her a lot as a kid. It had been the reason she always followed her Mom to Church on Sunday evenings.
But it was the hymn that completely captivated her now. She couldn’t remember when last she heard it. The rendering sent warm chills down her spine. Thoughts of boarding school, Reverend Sisters, and passionate choristers, rushed through her mind. As the organist beautifully ran the chords at the interlude, tears found their way down her cheeks.
“Uni trinoque Domino. Sit sempiterna gloria, Qui vitam sine termino Nobis…”
As the second stanza progressed, Kemi’s eyelids embraced themselves as she was catapulted to a realm she had no words to describe.
“Let us take a moment dear friends, and empty ourselves before God’s throne of mercy. I know many of us here are tired of life. I know we’re weary, battered and frustrated. But we serve a mighty God. He says to come to him when we are overburdened and heavy-laden . He says to exchange our worries, our sorrows, our trials and tribulations for his yoke. For his yoke is easy, and his burden is light. He is ready to heal us completely…
Kemi could no longer hear the priest’s voice. She could hear her own voice instead. In the overwhelming spirit-filled aura of the Church, she had somehow found her praying voice…
Bisola’s worry had graduated to a raging panic. Where was Ivy? It had been three whole days and yet, not a word from her flatmate. Everyone was calling her to ask Ivy’s whereabouts. Ivy had missed all her appointments, and was not returning any of her calls. Their next logical line of action was to direct all her calls to her best friend – Bisola.
Bisola had even gone to the Police Station close to their house to file a report for a missing person. The policeman on duty had made her pay a thousand naira for the paper and biro with which she had made the statement, and promised to get back to her. She was still waiting…
Bisola was a larger than life, noisy fellow. She had extremely dark skin, eyes like an owl, and the build of an athlete – an imperfect combination. She was so confident, no one noticed she wasn’t pretty. Bisola had known Ivy since she came to Lagos, which was many years ago…
“Able God, shower your blessings, we want this money…” Bisola picked up her phone, “Hello?”
“Hello? Who be dis?” Bisola could hardly hear the voice on the other end. The caller had to speak up. She was getting tired of picking calls.
“It’s me… Bisola.”
“Oluwaseun o, I’m Bisola. Not you.” Bisola took the phone off her ear and read the numbers out in a whisper, “09085295485.” It didn’t sound familiar.
“Ooo nah. It’s me… Ivy.”
“Egbami o. Ivy? Girlfriend, where have you been? My heart don cut for your matter. For three days now I never chop because of you. I been dey think say one of these Alhaji dem don use you add money join money.” Bisola dropped the glass of whisky she was drinking on the center table. “Na so so high I dey high I nor fit chop. What happened? Where are you Madam?”
There was a pause at the other end. “It’s a long story. Come to Johnson & Jones Medical Centre. Na there I dey.”
“Johnson & Jones for Island?”
“Kai. I dey come now.”
Mangodo took the phone from the young lady, who still looked very weak. “I’m glad you were finally able to reach someone, Miss?”
“Ivy. Ivy Odigie. My friend is on her way here.”
“That’s very good Ivy.” Mangodo wrote down her name on his pad. So far she hadn’t shown any signs of memory loss. ” You were out for a day, woke up, and went out again. This is the third day.”
“Third day? Jesus Christ!” Ivy exclaimed.
Mangodo nodded. “Don’t worry. You’re in good hands. Our scans revealed that you had a concussion, due to the severe blow you received to your head during the accident. Apart from a few broken ribs, and two broken femurs, you also developed hematoma, which is a collection of blood inside your brain. Our neurologist has dealt with that. But you can see we’ve wrapped your head very well to avoid bumps, no matter how mild. We’re still keeping you here in the ICU because we need to keep you under close monitoring. Can you remember what happened?”
Ivy was not about to tell the young doctor that she had been going for a ‘night appointment’ when someone ran her over. “I was run over by an idiot, I guess…” She winced in pain. Talking was proving to be more difficult than she remembered. “It came from nowhere.”
“I’ll let you rest now. Don’t worry at all. The young lady who brought you in has settled all your bills. She will be here to see you tomorrow.”
Ivy sighed. She was having a bad week. But she was very lucky to be alive.
To be continued…
© Oselumhense ANETOR, 2019.