It was on a Friday the 19 of October 2018 when I decided to attend my church vigil after so many nights of abscentism. I have been absent because of the multitude of people that attended the vigil. It seemed as if God used Church attendance as a prerequisite to making heaven seeing the crowd of humans in the church. As I prepared I was tensed as to the trauma I would go through. First was the occupied seats. In Nigeria, people kept seats for others or their friends who were yet to make it to Church. You see things placed on seats like handkerchief, bottled water, satchet water, jotters, Bibles and the rest to stop anyone from sitting on those seats they kept for their Friends who may not have had their baths. It doesn't matter if you came early you must see chairs occupied by objects.
That Friday, I left by 4:00pm Nigerian time and as I got close to the church and saw the sea of heads already waiting for a program that would start by 10:00pm, my heart melted. I asked why there were so much sufferings in Nigeria despite their religious fanaticism. We loved church so much in Nigeria and we virtually prayed for everything ranging from jobs, wives, husbands , accommodation and life's necessities.
Fortunately for me, I took along with me a copy of Chimamada"s book 'Americanah'. I loved her work and she was and still is my favorite Nigerian novelist after the demise of Chinua Achebe. Chimamanda's vivid descriptions of characters, her choice of words and injection of humour in stories made her my favorite author. As I got to the church I realised that it was already full to the brim. People already sat out in the overflows and I knew I was in for it. I walked and searched for an empty seat but all efforts proved futile. Then I saw one of the seat, on it was placed an empty bottle and when I decided to remove it a voice cautioned me.
'Hey' came the voice, 'someone is sitting there'.
I looked at the direction the voice came from and saw her. She was a woman in her forties who had bleached her skin leaving it in patches of black, yellow and peering green veins. She wore a very short skirt and when she sat the skirt jumped to her ties revealing much of what should have been covered. Her knuckles had the colour of black while her fingers were fair. As I scrutinized her with my eyes she stared back at me.
'So where is the person who sat here' I found my tongue.
'She went to buy something' she said.
I knew instinctively that she was lying. But it no longer surprised that people lied in the church. They hardly even knew what they were doing in the church in the first place. I looked at her again and noticed she was chewing gums and making irritating noise with it. She didn't care they were people around her who found it annoying. I left that place and decided to look for another seat.