...AND EMEKA LEFT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH...
Sequel to the serious criticism and reprehension against the Catholic Church and their Doctrines in the late 90s, there was a somewhat massive exodus of members from the Church. The church though, had an enviable population that even with the massive exodus, their numbers were not decimated; it seemed the church was born to have the numbers.
It was the era when the JEHOVA WITNESS was emerging with burgeoning popularity:: a popularity deeply rooted in the fact that they detested everything the Catholic church believed in. The other denominations did not entirely love the Jehova Witness for they (J.W) abhorred many christian beliefs...; but all these churches stood together in one love, because they had a common goal:: To Bring The Catholic Church Down. IT WAS A MAD ERA!!!!
By 1998, Emeka was already 20, and had transformed into a reticent handsome young man. He was good looking but not the tallest guy around. All he lost in height he made up in intelligence with his pretty face, albeit the indellible memory of Kaycee's demise still cleaved unto his brains like a tapeworm in the intestines; and hovered over him like a Saint's halo. He had turned taciturn and seriously introvertish. SIX YEARS NOW BUT KAYCEE'S LAST WORDS TO EMEKA STILL RE-ECHOES IN HIS HEAD like that imaginary "Trumpet Sound of The Last Day". He only replied to conversation or answered questions when asked the second time... sometimes the third time. He was always in pensive cogitative mood.
Three years after Kaycee's demise, Emeka had gotten a part-time job in a Scientific Instrument Manufacturing Factory (SIMF). It was a large factory that manufactured different kinds of scientific instruments used in schools. He had just graduated from High school and was waiting for his JAMB results. Emeka worked in the glassware department where the pippets, beakers, funnels, tubes, glass jugs, and all sorts of laboratory glasswares were produced. The glassware department had three sub-departments:: The Batch-house; The Hot End; and The Cold End. The raw materials were processed in the Batch House, the Hot End was where the molten glass was formed. The final touches were given at the Cold end.
Emeka worked at the Hot End; it was a poorly ventilated department, complicated by the presence of furnaces which were natural gas or fuel-oil fired. The weaker furnaces were fueled by coal, which was the exact spot Emeka worked. He worked there for one full year before the health hazard first hit him. He would ocassionally have shortness of breath and would cough with sputum production.
A couple of months later, Emeka was diagnosed of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), complicated with Asthma. He had stopped the God-forsaken work and become even more withdrawn... and viewed life from a very solitary perspective.
In his fragile and reserved lifestyle, Emeka had heard all sorts of condemnation from other churches: Some had said the Catholics worshipped images, others said they worshipped a woman called Mary; many other critics had insisted that Catholics did not read Bibles in the Church; Several others were entirely against the practice of Confessing your sins to your fellow human: the priest. A great many other churches just envied the Catholic church because of their numbers. Emeka was always at the receiving end of the critical attacks.
One could tell Emeka was a catholic by a mere glance at him: Apart from the aura of catholicism which he always wore like a robe, he also wore a chaplet like a necklace, plus his "scapula" which he believed had supernatural powers. His "finger rosary" was almost permanently on the the right ring finger and he would always say atleast 15 decades of the rosary everyday. HOLY BRO EMMY!!!
Emeka had just gained admission to study Philosophy in UNN and the new life also dealt a great deal with his morality and religious beliefs. He met people with different perceptions of life, met Muslims and Christians alike; Atheists, Heathens, and Free thinkers. After the first semester of his First year in school, Emeka gradually started growing ashamed of wearing his chaplets and finger rosary. He didn't and had never removed the scapula since he first put it round his neck... and he vowed he would never. His catholic faith, though, gradually deteriorated.
By the second Semester, Emeka knew he was begining to lose it. Some of the reprehensions had made sense to him... He had met a priest:: the Chaplain to Saint Peters chaplaincy; he had aired his doubts about his catholic faith, and had demanded for clarifications... but the priest had scowled at him and simply said: "Son, if you leave the Church, you'll lose your essence..." Emeka had gaped at the priest in utter confusion as the Clergy man walked out on him.
By the middle of the second semester, Emeka spontaneously missed a Sunday mass for the first time in his life.
Of all the churches that criticized the Catholic church then, Emeka hated to admit that it was only the JEHOVA WITNESS that made some sort of sense... though the contempt with which they condemned the Catholics made Emeka wonder if being a Catholic was an abomination!!! The J.W preachers shared free flyers, pamphlets, brochures... all in the form of written reprimand to the catholic faith.
Emeka was getting tired of arguing with them; he was getting tired of hearing obscenities being showered on the catholics by the J.W faithfuls; So on that very sunday he missed mass, he also decided to stay away from the J.W brethren... but they didn't stay away from him.
They normally split themselves into groups as they dispersed into the UNN campus searching for targets, who mainly were catholic students.
This very sunday, it was just a single preacher that knocked on Emeka's door. He lived in a BQ at ODENIGWE.
He opened the door... first he felt a hot wave of disappointment wash over him... gradually replaced by a gentle wave of excitement:: the disappointment was because it was J.W preacher; the excitement was... because it was a pretty charming lady with a one in million smile revealing nice white perfect dentition!!!
He had never seen her before.
"I'm a Witness, and I've come to share some word of God with you", She said in a well-mannered and learned way... as if she had rehearsed that line all her life.
What swept Emeka off his feet were not the smart way she spoke, but the world class smile that followed...
Emeka smiled back and said, "You mean you have come to insult and condemn the Catholics, 'cuz it seems that's the only thing you guys at the Kingdom hall do", He tried to look mean... but the smartly dressed pretty lady before him kept smiling.
She ignored Emeka's sacarsm and said, "So is this fine man gonna keep me standing all day... or...? She gestured with her right hand pointing South as if to say 'should I get going?'
Emeka smiled to that. He had been standing at the doorway, but now he stepped aside so the Jehova Witness angel could enter his room. As she walked pass Emeka, her left bre@st brushed against Emeka's right arm in close contact... and Emeka's heart stopped for 7seconds. Blood in his system was moving in the cephalo-caudal direction:: from top-down; he felt a momentary dizziness and his mouth seemed to have gone dry. There was some sort of tightness in his trouser around his pelvis... he didn't like that.
That was not all... he also felt something that always portends an imminent attack:: he was having shortness of breath... It had been SIX months since his last attack.
The angel was saying something but Emeka was too distracted to catch her words, so he apologized..."Sorry i didn't get that, you were saying...?"
She smiled again and repeated..."I was like...'by the way, my name is Kaycee' and i would like to know yours before we start". She was studying Emeka as she waited for a reply.
Emeka stood still, obviously processing the info she just got from this strange girl.
There was a momentary silence which seemed to linger to an awkward extent before Emeka broke it and asked...
"Sorry, you said your name is...??"
Kaycee was looking confused... "I said my name is Kaycee", she repeated... "Is everything alright?" She asked. But the person that was supposed to answer was gasping for air... choking to death. Kaycee jumped up to her feet, utterly terrified and frightened. She had come here to preach; not to give CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation). Emeka was struggling to voice out a word... as his right hand pointed towards a locker beside his wardrobe, and his left hand held his throat. Kaycee stopped jumping up and listened closely... the voice sounded muffled and Emeka's eyes were now very red. He struggled more and more to voice out the word... but the only thing Kaycee could hear was "in...ler"...... "my in..ler"..... "my ...haler". He was dying and Kaycee still had no idea what he was struggling to say.
To be continued soon. Read and share with friends.
Written By FONCY OSITA NNODIM
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