Burning Coles 2

The next morning, before anyone, Mrs. Cole was up. She went first to the girls’ room to check on Seyi and Bolu. She opened the door gently and tiptoed in order not to wake them up.

Bolu was initially lying down with her back towards door, when she heard the screeching of the hinges of the door. She had already woken up but chose to still remain in bed.

“My baby, did I wake you up?” Mrs Cole asked in a low tone as she continued tiptoeing into the room.

Bolu shook her head in between mild sniffs.

“You were awake? It’s not even 5am yet. What’s the problem? Why are you crying ?” The concerned mum asked as she sat beside her.

Bolu sat up in bed, her mother’s old wrapper which doubled as her cover cloth covered her from the waist downward. She fondled with the tip of the wrapper and found it hard to look at her mum straight in the face. She did that either when she had done something wrong or was scared.

Mrs. Cole knew something was wrong “did you have a bad dream?” she asked with her eye brows furrowed as she racked her brain to find out what could possibly be wrong.

Bolu shook her head again.

“What’s is the matter?” Mrs. Cole rubbed her daughter’s cheeks.

Bolu sniffled.

“I know, it’s your dad, right?” Mrs Cole looked at Bolu’s face to try to know if that was it. Bolu burst into tears. Mrs. Cole hugged her tightly “I’m so sorry you have to see all these at such a tender age. You and your siblings are the only reason why I’m still in this marriage. You are too young to understand but one thing you must never do is marry a man like your father” she told her as she held back her own tears.

She looked at Bolu who had not stopped crying, she wiped her tears with the wrapper and sighed, “don’t cry my baby, everything will be fine, you hear?” Mrs. Cole herself wasn’t sure if that was true, she just had to remain strong for her children.

Despite all her mother did and said, Bolu still didn’t stop crying, there had to be more to her tears than her father’s hostile attitude.

“Mummy” she said sobbing.

“Yes dear” Mrs. Cole was all ears

“What of Uncle Gboyega?” Bolu asked still sobbing.

“What about your uncle?” Mrs Cole didn’t understand what her brother had to do with anything that was going on.

“Will he do it again?” Bolu asked.

“Do what again?” Mrs Cole adjusted her sitting position “do what Bolu? Ba mi soro (talk to me)” she could feel her heart racing.

Bolu uttered no word.

“Bolu, I’m your mother, you can tell me anything. What did he do to you?” she held her hand. “Did he touch you?” she asked praying the answer to that question was “no”.

Bolu burst into tears again “he said I must not tell anyone, especially you. He said what happened is normal” she said innocently.

“Ha!” Mrs Cole exclaimed not minding if her voice woke Seyi up. She threw her hands in the air, “Gboyega has killed me. He said what?!” She could not believe her ears. “Is it a crime to keep my children in the hands of my own brother?” She queried herself rhetorically.

“God, why are you so wicked to me?” She bit her index finger as she looked up to the ceiling. “That useless man that calls himself my husband is a drunkard now my brother? Ha! God why me? Bolu jo (please) tell me what happened” she begged the poor girl.

“The day you and daddy went out and left Uncle Gboyega with us” she sniffed repeatedly and tried to hold back her tears.

Beeni mo ranti (yes, I remember). Gboyega spent a week here last month” she affirmed.

“Sister Seyi went to visit her friend, Sope. Uncle Gboyega now sent Brother Bayo to buy credit for him. So, it was only me and him in the house. He now started watching something on his laptop, the boy and girl in the movie were naked. He said I should also remove my clothes. I refused and instead ran into me and Sister Seyi’s room but he chased me” she cried.

“Ha! Gboyega, is this how you repay me?” Mrs. Cole was close to tears.

 “As he was about to remove his trousers,” brother Bayo came back. Then he…”

Mrs Cole cut in “so he didn’t touch you?” she asked, hoping her brother didn’t rape her daughter.

“No, he didn’t. Brother Bayo started calling his name to inform him that he had brought the credit. That was how he ran out and left me.”

“Thank God. God is good o” she rubbed her hand on her daughter’s face and arms as one searching for scratches and bruises “thank God he didn’t do anything to you.”

Bolu continued recounting the unpleasant incident “later, he told me never to tell anybody what happened that if I should tell you, you will beat me and report me to daddy. I’m sorry mummy please forgive me,” she cried. “Don’t beat me”, she pleaded. She innocently believed him and thought what had happened was her fault.

 “Bolu none of what happened was your fault, as a matter of fact, thank you for opening up to me. It’s all my fault, I shouldn’t have left you in care of that fool, I should have taught you how you must not allow any man touch you. I thank God he didn’t rape you.” She was indeed grateful that didn’t happen.

“But mummy I am scared that if he comes again, he will do it again” Bolu expressed her fear.

“God forbid! That idiot will never step into this house again. Not him, not any man. Not when I’m alive. I will call him and tell him that if he ever comes close to this house again, he’ll sleep in the police station. You hear? Don’t cry again. Never allow any man touch your okay?” She wiped her tears. 

By this time, Seyi had woken up. Her mother was no longer whispering and so her voice woke her up. “Mummy what happened?” Seyi turned towards their direction with sleep still in her eyes.

“My dear, don’t worry. Go back to bed. I just came to check on you both. How are your thighs?” Mrs. Cole stood up and walked towards Seyi.

“It’s less painful” Seyi replied as she looked at the wound dressing on her thighs and patted it with care.

“Pele dear, when you want to have your bath, let me know so I can assist you” Mrs. Cole told her.

“Mum?” The look Seyi gave her screamed, “I’m-not-a-baby look.”

Wo (look), I know you are not a baby but this one oh, I will help you. You children are my life. Is that clear?” She couldn’t afford to allow anything happen to them. The mother hen instinct had just been heightened, she was ready to protect her young even if it was at the expense of her life.

SEE MORE:  Burning Coles 3

“Yes ma” Seyi answered reluctantly.

“Mummy, are we going to church today?” Bolu asked.

“Oh, that’s true, today is Sunday” Mrs. Cole didn’t even remember there was something called church.

“Yes mummy, it’s been like a month now. Sope even said her mum has been asking after you” Seyi informed her.

“You know it’s not my fault. Your father hasn’t allowed us to go to church all this while, let me talk to him again. Who knows what miracle God will do, he might just allow us.”

“I pray so oh. I’ll love to see Sope, it’s been a while” Seyi smiled and immediately started planning how she was going to arrange for Goke to come to her church so they will see.

“See your mouth like Sope, is Sope the reason you are going to church?” Her mum reprimanded her.

“No but…”

“No buts, don’t even but anything. God should be your reason for going to church. You hear me?” Mrs. Cole placed her hand on the tip of her right ear.

“Yes ma, I’ve heard” Seyi murmured.

“Let me get going, I’ll come back to check on you. If your father says we can go to church, I’ll come and tell you so you can get ready” she informed them and left.

Seyi picked her phone to check if Goke had sent her a message. Still nothing. She felt disappointed. “This one cannot even check on someone,” she said and flung the phone on the bed then lay back to sleep. As soon as she did, her phone rang. She was eager to check if it was Goke but was more disappointed when she realized it was just her 5:00AM alarm. She had intentionally set the same ringtone for her alarm and her incoming calls so it would trick her into waking up. She snoozed the alarm and turned to continue sleeping then it occurred to her “if the Mohammed would not go to the mountain, I can take the mountain to the Mohammed. Goke has probably not sent a message because he feels he doesn’t want to disturb me.” She decided to pick her phone and send him a message.

As she opened their chat on WhatsApp, she realized he was online. The mere sight of him being online, made butterflies rumble in her tummy. Excitement grew. She sent the message:

“Hello Goke”

She waited for a very long minute and saw he didn’t reply. She opened the chat and realized he had read her message. This made her upset “what is wrong with this guy?” She decided to call him. 

The line was busy. She waited for some minutes and tried calling again, the line was still busy.

What could be going on?” Seyi reasoned. She decided she wasn’t going to try again. She instead decided to open Instagram and check what it had to offer. Some minutes after, her phone rang. It was Goke.

Her heart missed a beat. She picked the call “hello” she said eager to hear his charming voice.

“Hi dear. How are you?” he said and waited for her response.

“I’m fine, haven’t heard from you in a while” Seyi could not hold it back, she had missed him.

“Yeah, I’m so sorry dear, I was just talking to my project supervisor. It’s been taking so much of my time” he explained to her.

“Project supervisor at 5:30am? Isn’t that pretty early?” she asked.

“Well yeah it is but he’ll be traveling out of the country today and I needed to tidy up some things before he leaves”

“Oh okay” Seyi didn’t ask any further question.

“So how have you been?” he asked.

Seyi smiled, “I’ve been okay except that I had a minor domestic accident yesterday. Hot oil poured on my thighs but I’m better now” she told him hoping to receive some comforting words from him.

“Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry about that. How are you now?”

“I’m much better, thank you” Seyi smiled.

“Please take it easy, nothing must spoil that your fresh skin” he said.

Seyi couldn’t help but smile when she heard his words “how do you know my skin is fresh?” she asked “all you’ve seen is my hands, legs and face.” She knew her words were about to provoke something she didn’t bargain for. She was heading towards an erotic dimension and she knew it.

Goke chuckled “I know, I don’t have to see it. I imagine it every time” he told her.

“Hmmmmm really? You want to see more?” she asked, not sure exactly where she was heading with that question.

“You want to show me more?” he responded. Goke wasn’t new to this but he knew Seyi was and so he decided to take things slow, didn’t want to rush her.

“I don’t know, I haven’t done this before” she opened up to him and began to feel shy.

“No pressure dear” he told her. “When next are we going to see?” He asked her.

 “It’s not likely I’ll be going out anytime soon because of my thighs but I was hoping you could come to my church so we’ll see after service”

“Hmmmmm” Goke wasn’t so comfortable with that arrangement. “How about I come pick you after you get back from church and we’ll hang out together?” he suggested. “Will your parents be okay with that?”

“They don’t have to know. I’ll tell my mum Sope’s dad’s driver will be coming to pick me to take me to Sope’s house. I’m sure she won’t have a problem with that.” She conspired.

“Cool then, sounds like a plan”

“Yeah” she smiled. She was really looking forward to seeing Goke, despite the state of her thighs. She wanted nothing more than to spend time with him.

“Alright dear, take care of yourself. See you later today” he told her as he rounded off the conversation.

“Bye” she replied and ended the call. “Yes!” she exclaimed with excitement as she dropped the phone and jumped out of bed to dance. Immediately she stood, the sharp pain she felt in her thighs brought her back from fantasy to reality. “Ouch, ouch” she groaned and gently sat back on the bed.

What I’m I going to wear, I have to look good for Goke?” She thought, searching her brain. “I’ll have to wear a skirt because to this wound. She stood up and opened her wardrobe, brought out a black and white polka dotted flare knee length skirt and a baby pink body con top.

Bolu turned towards her direction and asked “has mummy said we’ll be going to church?” She wondered why her sister was already getting set.  

“Does she have to say so before I get ready?” Seyi replied.

“Sis Seyi, who were you talking to on the phone?” Bolu was always inquisitive.

“What is your business?” Seyi ignored her.

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“Hmmmm you know mummy said we should not have boyfriend”

“Ehn, who now said I have a boyfriend? He is just my friend that is a boy. It’s not the same thing” Seyi knew that was not entirely true. What she had with Goke was definitely more that ‘just friendship’. “You are too young to understand” she told her.

Bolu, though young, was very sharp. She knew something fishy was going on but decided not to press further.

Mrs. Cole went to Bayo’s room to check up on him. He was still fast asleep. She walked closer to his bed and noticed he was sweating. The fan was off and the room was quite stuffy. She decided to remove the blanket that was covering him and adding to the heat he was experiencing. As she removed it, she noticed he had no clothes on aside his T-shirt.

“When did this boy start sleeping without his boxers?” Mrs. Cole wondered as she searched around for his boxers. “This place is just too stuffy” she walked towards the windows and opened them. “It’s bad enough that he locks himself in, does he also have to close the windows?”

The time was 5:30, usually she would still have allowed him to sleep till 6am before waking him but she decided to wake him regardless.

“Bayo… Bayo” she tapped him. “Wake up”

Bayo tossed on the bed for some seconds.

She tapped him harder “wake up Bayo. It’s morning. Where is your boxers?” she asked him.

The mention of the word ‘boxers’ rang an alarm in his head and jolted him from sleep. He immediately pulled the blanket over himself.

“Mum! Do you mind?” he asked, embarrassed.

“What is it? What are you hiding? Am I not your mother?” Mrs. Cole asked.

“Mummy now, can’t I have some privacy again” he said feeling really embarrassed.

“Sorry oh, sha put on something. When did you start sleeping naked?” she asked him.

“I’m not naked, I must have removed it when I went to urinate in the night” he told her.

Iwo lomo (suit yourself). Today is Sunday, I’ll talk to your father and ask him if we can go to church today. If he says ‘yes’, then you’ll need to get ready. You know Sunday school is 7:30am.” she informed him.

“Ok ma” he replied and turned to the other side to continue sleeping.

Mrs. Cole left the room and went back to her room which she shared with her husband. She prayed that as she asked him about their going to church, he would oblige.

She gently walked to his side of the bed and tapped him on his shoulder. “Daddy Seyi” she said in a hushed tone. ‘Daddy Seyi’ and ‘Mummy Seyi’ were the names they called each other on the best of days. When they have arguments, Mr. Cole mostly referred to her as “woman”. Gone were the days when they used pet names like ‘sweetheart’, ‘baby’ and the likes. 

After tapping him twice and calling his name once, she didn’t get any response then decided to make another attempt. “Daddy Seyi, good morning” she said still with a hushed tone.

“Yes, what is it?” he said as if he was being bothered.

“I didn’t mean to bother you, I just wanted to know if the children and I can go to church today?” Mrs. Cole said, hoping he would not flare up.

“You people should go and not disturb my life jare” he said and turned to the other side to continue sleeping.

“Thank you” Mrs. Cole was happy, she really desired to be in church. There was this warm welcome she received from the members and Pastor George, a new pastor that was recently transferred to their branch. He’d call every time he noticed she wasn’t around.

She went to her children’s rooms and told them to prepare for church because their father had given the go ahead.

Mrs. Cole prepared breakfast for her husband and served it in a warmer on the dining table. She also served small portions for the children so no one would disturb her with tales of hunger pangs during or after service. By 7:15am, everyone was set and they left for church.

Bayo sat in front, while Seyi and Bolu sat at the back.

Some minutes into the trip, Seyi spoke up “mummy, Sope’s dad’s driver will be coming to pick me in the afternoon. He’ll take me to Sope’s house and bring me back in the evening” she lied, she had already crammed her lines and delivered them effortlessly.

“What are you going to do in her house again? Aren’t you going to see her in church?” Mrs Cole asked.

Seyi definitely didn’t see that coming. “I’m just going to say hi” she lied again, hoping her mum would not suspect foul play.

Bolu whispered to Seyi “I will tell mummy, you want to go and see your boyfriend.”

“Better shut up your mouth” Seyi replied in a whisper and threatened to beat her if she said anything.

Mrs. Cole didn’t seem comfortable with the whole idea of Seyi going to visit her friend “why are you always the one going to visit, has she ever come to visit you in your house?” That was the question typically asked by African parents.

“Mummy, it’s because of daddy. I don’t want Sope to know what goes on in our house. She has offered to come many times but I always had to find an excuse for her.” That was the first thing Seyi had said that was true. In her defense, her house was in no way conducive to host any guest and they all knew it.

“Okay but don’t stay out late, you know your thighs are just healing. Ideally, you should stay home to rest” Mrs. Cole told her as she turned into the church premise.

“Mummy pleeaasseeee” she elongated her plea and hoped it would somehow convince her mum “I promise not to be late”

“We are already at the church, we’ll talk about this on our way home” Mrs. Cole told her as she parked the car.

“Do you all have offering?” she asked them

“No” they all echoed.

“Bayo pass my purse” she pointed to the silver purse she placed at the foot of the front passenger’s seat. She always kept her bag under the car seat, Lagos was notorious for theft.

Bayo brought it out and gave her. She brought out three bills of hundred naira note and handed each to the three of them. “Oya (quickly) come down and go to your different Sunday school classes. We’ll meet after church, enjoy service” she told them as they alighted from the car.

She was the last to get down. She adjusted her head tie and with the rearview mirror, gave her make up a touch up. She got down from the car, locked it and walked towards the building. She entered the building and observed the arrangement. The chairs were arranged in circles, there were about seven groups including that for the children and another for teenagers. She spotted the Sunday school group which she usually attended and walked towards it.   

SEE MORE:  Burning Coles 7

She sat down on one of the empty seats and was handed over a Sunday school outline by the group leader.

“You are welcome Mrs. Cole, we are looking at ‘A believer’s Reaction to Temptation’ with Joseph and David as our examples from the Bible” Mrs. Dedeke, the Sunday school leader for her group explained. She always did that to anyone that joined in order to help the person catch up.

Mrs. Cole nodded and smiled. “Thank you” she mouthed as she looked at the paper in her hand.

“Alright, so as we were saying, what should a believer do when faced with temptation?” Mrs. Dedeke asked.

The man sitting to Mrs Cole’s right lifted his hand.

“Alright sir”, Mrs Dedeke pointed at him.

“We are in the 21st century, we can’t compare how things are now to how they were in David or Joseph’s time. Even God, Himself, understands that body no be wood. Once a person gets saved, all his sins that is: past, present and future sins are forgiven so if something happens and the believer falls, all he needs to do is get up and keep going. After all, the Bible itself says ‘though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again’ So let’s not be hard on ourselves” he said.

“Well no one is talking about being hard on anyone,” Mrs. Dedeke responded. “It appears there a few wrong notions that need to be corrected. First, the Bible in the book of Roman chapter 6 verse 15 says ‘what then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? God forbid’, there is no excuse for sin. The fact that we are in a sinful era only means grace abounds much more to say no to sin and to shine as light in this dark age according to Romans 5 verse 20 and Isiah 60 verses 1 and 2. If Joseph was able to put his feet down and say ‘no’ to sin because he feared God, God expects no less from us”. She paused to make sure the young man was following her.

She continued “I keep hearing people say ‘God understands’, He may be a very understanding God but He is also a righteous and holy God. His standards are unbending. He says let everyone that names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity 2 Timothy 2 verse 19. Also don’t forget that the temptation that we are referring to here is not just sexual sin but it cuts across every area of our lives. Remember, Jesus too was tempted yet without sin. Do you understand?” she asked him.

He nodded.

“I hope we are all following?” she asked as she looked around at the remaining eight people in the group.

They all nodded.

“Now on the issue of our past, present and future sins been forgiven. It is true that God died for us and has cleansed us of all unrighteousness but it is not a license to sin. And if we fall, the Bible says God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us all unrighteousness when we confess our sins 1 John 1verse 9. Let’s not omit the “confession of sin” part. You just don’t sin and ‘move on’, there must first be godly sorrow first which will then lead to repentance” she explained.

The young man jotted down some of the things she said in his jotter.

“Does anyone have any objection or contribution on the issue being discussed?” Mrs. Dedeke paused to make sure they were all on the same page.

They shook their heads.

She continued teaching for another 20 minutes and allowed people ask questions.

Mrs Cole really enjoyed the class. 

Towards the end of Sunday school, Pastor George, the mounted the podium which was beautifully designed with flowers tucked into two lovely crafted vases positioned at each end. The lectern was made of glass and beside it was a 24’ flat screen TV from which the pastor or anyone who stood behind the lectern read scriptures and had access to what was projected on the other two televisions facing the congregation. He announced that the teachers should begin to round off their classes. He then asked a person from each group to share what they had learnt. When it was the turn for Mrs. Cole’s group, she saw him look at her. Just as she was about praying that he won’t call her, the young man who sat beside her who had earlier made a contribution signaled that he had something to say.

“Alright, bro Tope”, Pastor George pointed at him. He was so good with names. He knew the names of almost everyone in the church. 

Bro Tope shared with the church some of the issues Mrs. Dedeke had addressed.

Pastor George rounded off the Sunday school session with a short prayer afterwards, the chairs were rearranged and everyone took their seats.

After church ended, Bayo went to his mum and collected the car keys. His friend, Segun was with him.

“Come, I will show you. The game is in the car” Bayo told Segun as he collected the key and they left.

Seyi was with Sope. “I’m going to see Goke this afternoon” she told her.

“And your mum will allow you?” Sope asked.

“Of course not but don’t worry, my mum is not even an issue, trust me. You know I have my ways” Seyi smiled as they walked towards Sope’s mum’s car.

“I trust you, is it not the Seyi I know” Sope responded and gave her a hi-five. “Anyway sha, gist me how it goes and greet the fine boy for me o”.

As they approached the car, Seyi greeted Sope’s mum who was also just approaching the car.

“How are you, Seyi?” she responded warmly. “What of your mum?” she asked.

“She is fine ma, she should still be inside the church auditorium” Seyi told her.

“Oh really? I didn’t see her. My regards to her” she said as she entered the car.

“Alright ma, I’ll convey.” Seyi turned to Sope “I’ll call you to give you the gist”, she hugged her and waved at her as she entered the car.

As Seyi watch Sope’s mum drive off, she suddenly remembered she had a baby sister she was meant to watch over. She quickly went to the children’s church to get Bolu and afterwards they went to the car to wait for their mum.

Mrs. Cole walked towards the exit of the auditorium and as she approached the door, she heard her name being called from behind. She turned and saw Pastor George approaching.

To be continued…

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Burning Coles 3

Burning Coles 1

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Emmanuela Mike-Bamiloye
emmanuelaevb@gmail.com

Emmanuela is a trained Medical Doctor and a seasoned writer. She expresses God's love on a daily basis through the simplest situations that surround her.

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