Creative writing,  Faith

“Tick,” Says the Clock (a short story)

Three humans with different heights were seated staring fixedly at the door in front of them.

“But mummy, please let’s start packing now.” This was the third time the second tallest amongst the bunch was repeating the exact sentence.

Bolu looked at the owner of the voice without seeing him. She had thought the day she lost her husband would be the worse day of her life. Today was actively competing with that one.

The words of two weeks ago replayed in her head. “I am not running a Charity organization here. This is the 5th month since you’ve been feeding me excuses. I too have children like yours. If ‘please’ could fill the stomach, I’d never be hungry again!”

She and her children sat facing the door to their 2-bedroom flat. They had three hours to the deadline the landlord had given them.

He had gone ahead to staunchly advise that by 2 pm on January 18th, if she could still not meet up with the payment she must not be found in this house. Today was January 18th.

“Mummy, sitting here cannot help us, let’s start going before he comes.” Her boy again.

“Femi, go where?” She asked trying to keep her voice strong and neutral. The boy was only 12. He did not understand what being homeless meant. She had exactly four hundred naira in her purse.

“Let’s…”

“No, we’re still waiting on God. There’s nothing he can not do.”

Her statement succeeded in accomplishing its exact purpose. “That’s what you’ve been doing since Mr Mustapha said we must leave and even before that. How has it helped us?! Mummy, God is not listening to you. Let’s pack na.”

“Oh God,” her heart ached in prayer “don’t let my son grow up like this. Help us. Since his father died his heart has been hardening towards you.”

“Mummy, let’s listen to brother Femi,” the head on her lap muttered. When she heard her last boy’s words the tears she had been holding off since this morning began to fall.

She could not hold it in anymore. “God! God!” She did not know when she started chanting.

“My boys may not believe you but they’re still young. I’ve seen your goodness and your power. There’s nothing you want to do that you cannot do. You don’t need a man’s permission to help him.

You help both the rich and poor, great and small. Baba, come for me and my house.”

She felt the vibrations on her lap and knew her 5year old was crying. Without opening her eyes, she put her hands on his head, “Say Amen with me, Ayo.”

“Amen” came the small reply.

“Lord, if it’s your will that we lose this house then so be it. But I and my children will not take a step from here until you come to send us out yourself.”

“Amen.”

“And no matter what, we will still praise you because you are worthy and your will is perfect!”

When she finally opened her eyes it was to meet Femi’s dead stare. She had the inkling that if he could he’d flog her and God with the same belt. She matched his gaze boldly until he looked away but his shoulder did not lose its stiffness.

They sat in darkness, two pairs of eyes revolving from the clock to the door. Femi had stubbornly put their clothes in different bags. She had not commented. He needed to have an outlet for his frustrations and excess energy.

As 2 pm drew closer, she strangely felt her anxiety leave gradually. Soon, she felt nothing but…waiting. Whatever happens, happens.

When they heard the crunching of gravel outside, everyone sat up. “Mummy, we should have left since!” Femi exclaimed. Her strong head-of-the-family had finally lost his cool.

She felt sorry for what he must be going through but this was not the time. She was not looking at home when she said, “Femi, go and open the door.”

When the landlord put his head through the door, he was smiling. “Ha, Mrs Oladele, how are you doing? How is the family?”

Bolu’s eyebrows squeezed themselves into identical bows of confusion. “Good afternoon sir, as you can see, God has been faithful.”

“Ha! Indeed, yes, yes. When I received the alert an hour ago, I was so surprised, I had to come to see you immediately. You should not have gone so far as to pay 2 years in advance too. Thank you for thinking of my childr…”

“What alert?”

The landlord laughed hard at her joke. “The rent you sent me just now.”

“I sent you our rent with a year’s advance about an hour ago?”

“Ahahn, Mrs Oladele, are you rehearsing for your church drama?” He brought out his phone, “Look at it.”

Truthfully, the credit alert showed that the 310,000 naira had been sent to his account clearly came from a Mrs Boluwatife Oladele.

“I will be leaving now. I’ll forward the time for the next tenants meeting. Please, try to come. Really, Mrs Oladele, thank you so much.”

Bolu’s mouth was still open when she heard the sound of crunching gravel the second time. Thankfully, Ayo had no qualms about breaking through the silence. “Mummy, what does this mean?” He asked his eyes wide and hopeful.

“It means that God has paid our rent.”

“Woah!” Ayo was jumping around like a horse, throwing his cloth out of the bag Femi packed earlier like confetti. He wore his mum’s hat, screaming and hopping.

“Mummy, what happened?” Femi asked. Her son was shaking.

“God has paid our rent.”

“But how?” Her man-of-house was crying.

This time when she beckoned, he brought his quivering self closer. “God can do whatever he wants to do, whenever he wants, HOWEVER he wants.”

“But why?”

“Because he loves us, he does not want us to be put to shame and he wants us to stay longer in this house.”

“Mummy I’m sorry,” he wept on her shoulders.

“It’s okay. There’s nothing to be sorry about. This is a time to thank God. Why am I crying…I can’t stop crying…Thank you, Jesus.

Thank you so much. Thank you,” she murmured into the air.

Ayo ran to her then. “You can’t stop crying because you’re happy mummy. Shout! You must shout. ShouHurray!” He poked her legs then ran off.

This time she really did burst out laughing and did not stop anytime soon.

Psalm 27:14 – “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

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Hi, I'm Chioma Jeremiah. I'm passionate about helping my community see the beautiful light that each day brings. My goal is to inspire you with everything that will make each read the best for you.

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