“Your infection looks like the stubborn type,” the doctor said after I complained about the inefficacy of the drugs he prescribed.
“Really?” I asked looking worried.
“Yes,” the doctor replied. “Hope you took the drugs as prescribed?”
“Yes I did but the symptoms didn’t disappear,” I replied.
The doctor cringed his face in thought.
If only I could tell him that my problem wasn’t physical but supernatural.
I sat back and stared on.
The doctor conducted a second pelvic examination and noticed that the area had grown worse.
“This is unbelievable,” he muttered to himself while I wore back my clothes.
This time he gave me an injection and wrote another set of drugs for me and I thanked him and left.
It wasn’t until I came back the third time a week later with more severe symptoms that he recommended that I go for HIV test.
It must have skipped his memory the first and the second time but not the third time.
Reluctantly, I collected the form for the test and headed for the lab. I didn’t know initially that the form was for HIV test till I got to the lab and some nurses started counselling us.
I felt like turning back and postponing the test till a later date.
After the counselling, we went in one after the other to have our blood samples collected and tested.
My legs trembled as I sat on the bench waiting for the result to come out.
I was seated on the bench deep in thought when someone tapped me from behind and I turned and saw Stella, my former roommate, seating behind me and waiting for her own result.
She had so much emaciated and her cheek and collar bones stood out.
“What are you doing here?” I stupidly asked raising my brow.
“The same thing you’re doing here,” she retorted looking away.
The atmosphere was tense and we didn’t know what to discuss.
“Hope everything is fine?” I asked.
“Yes it is,” she replied. “And you?”
“Fine too,” I replied and faced my front afterwards.
Thirty minutes later, the results came out and one of the nurses called me to come inside and collect mine. My heart thumped about recklessly within my chest as I went in to collect the result.
The nurse’s face had this blank expression on it that betrayed no emotion. I was visibly trembling as the nurse handed the white piece of paper to me.
It took me 20minutes to gather courage and look at the result.
Many things ran through my mind:
my family, my mother, my academics, my unspent cash in the bank, my properties and on and on.
How would I explain to my mum that I ended up HIV positive? My legs wobbled as the thought ran through my mind.
At long last, I peered into the white piece of paper and behold, I was HIV negative…
I went back to the doctor with the result beaming with smiles and looking relieved.
“It came out negative right?” The doctor asked smiling back at me.
“Yes doc it did,” I replied still smiling. I handed the white sheet of paper to him and he looked at it and nodded happily.
The doctor then wrote a third set of drugs for me and I thanked him so much.
For two weeks I took the doctor’s drugs as prescribed but there wasn’t any improvement in my symptoms. The itching refused to stop, the rashes refused to disappear and the genital sores refused to heal. I was greatly disturbed and uncomfortable and I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t go to the babalawo because of known reasons not to talk of the spiritualist I once visited.
So my next line of action was to start going for crusades and deliverance in different churches.
I hadn’t heard from senator Clifford since that day; maybe he was busy, I didn’t know.
The woman who had been tormenting me hadn’t appeared for sometime but I still had the fear that she could appear anytime. If only returning her money would make her leave me alone, I didn’t mind returning it.
No new job had come my way.
The few that came I turned them down because there was no way I could go and service a client with the disease I was carrying.
I hadn’t heard from my mum since my last visit home and I wasn’t even planning to cos I didn’t want to throw her into panic.
The first church I attended their deliverance service was one pentecostal church close to my school whose name I wouldn’t want to mention.
I had come very early about one hour before the service started and sat in the centre row waiting for the prayers to begin.
The prayers soon began in earnest and everybody started to fire. The entire congregation began to bind and cast and I joined.
I needed solution to my ailment and I was willing to do anything even giving up my runs girl business.
All the money I made from the business was gradually being drained by hospital bills so I needed a cure and needed it fast.
I had made God a promise that I would never go back to runs girl business if he cured me but I guess he was yet to answer and I was ready to continue begging till he answered.
I had grown so thin like someone with HIV even though I didn’t have it. I looked like bamboo stick and was now a shadow of my former self.
In fact if I had happened to turn up before a client in my present condition, the client would have jumped from the window and run for dear life.
I needed divine intervention and I needed it quick and was willing to seek it from anywhere including the church.
So as the prayers went on, I fired on.
During the altar call I went to the front and presented myself to Christ in repentance. I was willing to accept him in my life so far I got well.
And so I jumped from one church to the other in search of a cure.
I met the pastor of the church after the service and told him my predicament of which he asked me whether I had accepted Jesus into my life to be my lord and personal saviour to which I responded yes and he prayed for me and gave me some bible-psalms to read.
All the while Mirabel continued to be of great help to me.
The sickness had so much changed me to the extent that all the beauty I once radiated all faded away.
Í continued to hope and pray.
That God would have mercy on me and save me. And it was asif God wasn’t listening. So I continued to jump from one church to another till something remarkable happened one faithful Sunday.
That morning I woke up very late unlike me.
I looked at the time and it was some minutes after 10.
I hurriedly went to the bathroom to have my bath and prepare for church.
I didn’t know the particular church to attend but I decided to leave everything in the hands of the holy spirit to direct me.
The other day, some group of people on evangelism had given me their pamphlet and invited me to worship with them in their church.
It was from such pamphlets that I learnt about some pastors and selected the church I attended each sunday.
I had attended lots of crusades and deliverance sessions hoping for a miracle but none seemed to be forthcoming.
On this particular Sunday I had woken up very late and went to bath. By the time I was through, the time was fifteen minutes to eleven.
The Sunday services of most churches began by 9 so I was already late. I hurried my preparation and hopped into my jeep and off to church.
I had barely entered the door to the church when the pastor stopped abruptly in the middle of his sermon and closed his eyes. He mumbled some inaudible words and stopped again.
“Stop there!” He shouted with eyes still closed. I stopped with fear as I wasn’t sure whether I was the person he was talking to or not. I was the only person walking in at that time so I was most likely the one. But then the pastor’s eyes were still closed so I couldn’t tell for sure.
All eyes turned on me and I felt very uncomfortable. In the bid to avoid the prying eyes of the congregation, I continued my walk into the church.
“I said you should stop there!” The pastor repeated making it obvious that I was the person he was talking to. “You’re walking in with legions of demons so stop!”
I stood still in obedience even though my heart had left my chest long ago from shock.
“Confess!” The pastor directed opening his eyes.
He was standing on the pulpit while I stood far off at the back of the church.
I stood still staring at the pastor.
“Come forward,” the pastor directed swinging his hand in a peculiar way. “Come forward and confess.”
There was intense murmuring from the congregation as everybody wanted to understand what was happening. I was too terrified to move not to talk of confessing before this huge congregation.
But then something strange happened when the pastor shouted in a loud voice: “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth to come forward and confess!”
Instantly an unseen force started pushing me from behind towards the pulpit. I was greatly terrified and tried to resist but could not.
Like an obedient servant I succumbed to the push and was soon standing face to face with the pastor.
“Linda,” the pastor called me.
I looked up with shock. I had never met the pastor before so I wondered how he knew my name.
“confess and be free!” He prodded on.
I opened my mouth to talk but no sound came out. I was totally blank and confused and was sweating profusely. I was like someone whose tongues were tied and try as I may, I couldn’t utter any word.
Then the pastor tapped my forehead with his right hand and I fell backwards to the ground. I would have hit my head on the slab if not for the timely intervention of his orderly who caught me in mid air and gently lay me on the floor.
The fall untied my tongue and my confessions began. I felt like a boiling kettle erupting as I confessed.
I confessed that I was a runs girl and that everything I owned was a product of runs. I confessed that I once killed a man in the process of runs. I confessed that I had dealings with one babalawo which backfired and caught up with me. I confessed to having s€x with a fellow woman even though it was just once. I confessed everything.
When I was done, I felt this peculiar calmness inside and I knew at once that my miracle had come
I got up from the floor and dusted my clothes which were covered with dust.
The pastor looked on at me with happiness and fulfilment.
“Praise the lord!” He shouted at the top of his voice.
“Allelluyah!!” The congregation chorused.
I felt so light and free as though a very big burden had been lifted off my shoulders. My energy was back and the itch in my private part which I was contemplating how to conceal while in church had disappeared.
“Praise the lord,” I shouted out of excitement.
“Alleluyah,” the congregation echoed.
A chair was brought for me in the front row and I sat. I was no longer feeling sick or sore in my private part. That was how I confirmed that the miracle was complete.
The pastor directed that I dispose all the wealth and property I accumulated through runs and start a new and God-fearing life.
I was so grateful to God and to the pastor and accepted to do as he directed.
I emptied my bank accounts and gave the proceeds to the motherless babies home.
I returned five hundred thousand to the woman who was tormenting me via the hotel that linked us up.
I gave out my jeep to a company which displayed cars for hire and I didn’t collect any dime from them.
By the time I disposed off all the wealth I accumulated, I was back to square one if not worse than square one.
But then my happiness was that I was free at last and had my life in front to live.
I didn’t know that one of the policemen who was involved in the investigation of the murder of Ray was in church that sunday I confessed and it wasn’t until the police came two days later to my apartment to arrest me that it dawned on me that I still had a long standing case to answer…
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