Spending short breaks with my uncle and his family in Enugu is something I enjoy, seeing as they are a very accommodating people. Most times, my school allows a two-or-three-week interlude between the end of the first semester and the beginning of the second, and due to the unbearable distance from where I school to my residence in Lagos, I usually spend those vacations the relatives I have around here.
Although staying at my uncle’s isn’t all that fun (I don’t go out except the whole family is), I still enjoy the serenity of the environment which is a landslide different from what I’m used to in Lagos. For a number of reasons, his place is home away from home.
On one of such stays at my uncle’s, I had the weirdest experience, one I recently decided I was ready to share after keeping it with me for some reasonable period of time.
It was already dark and the day was retiring when my aunt came back from work. Being highly religious people, Catholics specifically, they are usually prone to saying five decades of the rosary before retiring to bed every SINGLE NIGHT! That night, after she was showered and had eaten, I was called to the sitting room to join in the prayer (a session I almost always sleep off at some point before it ends, that’s how long it takes). Like most nights, I was putting on a really short shorts and one very flimsy top due to the hot weather. Moreover, I feel more comfortable sleeping with some parts of my body exposed to the universe (*takes a sip of pink lemonade*).
Now, I didn’t know this particular prayer session would be a peculiar one.
Normally, we pray amongst ourselves, by ourselves, but on this evening, my uncle had invited one man over to come pray ‘for’ us (not ‘with’ us), an arrangement even my aunt wasn’t aware of. Apparently, my uncle met the man in a monastery where he had gone for prayers (like I said, they are really religious people but my uncle carry am for head), and invited over this very awkward-looking individual with his pot-belly, unattractive features, oblong-shaped head, terrible dentition and the height only an Eskimo would be proud to have.
We were already in full prayer mode when they both arrived. My uncle went upstairs to quickly freshen up, leaving the man in the sitting room with us. I observed the man, watched the way he was staring at us while we were busily reciting our memorised holy doctrine. He continued observing us like we were a bunch of forgotten artifacts and he was here to put us out of our misery by purchasing us. After about five minutes of his gawking, he rudely, yes, rudely interrupted us, startling me when he abruptly jumped into the centre of the living room whilst shouting one song of worship.
Right before our collectively startled stares, this man began rolling and gyrating about, apparently under the guise of some spiritual influence (why some men of God do this, even when they are not white garment prophets, baffles me). By then, my uncle had already joined us and was probably patting himself on the back for bringing in such a spirit-filled man of God. In so far as you are a man with a bible and you give prophetic ministrations, you’ve earned my uncle’s respect. The pastor commanded us all to stand, saying something about how we were about to undergo a ‘whole-soul cleansing’. He stopped singing and cautioned that we shouldn’t utter even a single morpheme. “It’s time for the Lord to perform another heavenly miracle here on earth,” he said solemnly.
Then he pulled my uncle aside and murmured some words into his ear, causing my uncle leave for the kitchen, only to return momentarily with a bowl of water and an egg (many pastors are just native doctors with the King James Bible in hand). He took the items from my uncle and gave directions on how the prayer would take place. He was going to point at us, starting from the head of the family down to me, and whosoever he pin-points was to approach him and wrap their arms around his waist. That was the only way he could sufficiently cast out whatever demons we had in us, he said. I saw the million-dollar look of incredulity that suffused my aunt’s face at this direction. I couldn’t believe the man either. In fact, I wondered why picked me to be the last for this renaissance, seeing as there were two house-helps, both female, who I felt should come after me, if he was going by hierarchy. But oh well.
The session was soon underway. The pastor energetically began his ministrations. He grunted a lot of gibberish about my uncle and his business. The egg was cracked at this juncture; the significance of that, I couldn’t tell. As he prayed for us, per his instructions, the supplicant would wrap his/her arms around his waist, never mind the expansive paunch getting in the way, and hold on tight as he prayed. My aunt was so thoroughly irritated by this procedure that she stalked out of the living room, mid-prayer, and went up to her room. As I watched her go, I wished I had the prerogative to follow suit; I just couldn’t deal with this man of God.
It was soon the turn of my uncle’s children – two boys aged 13 and 11. When they had their arms around him, he did this odd, prolonged up-and-down maneuver with his body against theirs as he prayed. With the house-helps, the deliverance in comparison was brief and straight-forward. (Maybe their demons fled without resistance at his condemnation?) I just couldn’t wait to get this whole charade over with.
When it was finally my turn, I approached him with an air of nonchalance. He paused, looked me up and down like I was a carrier of some very recent flu that had defied all the laws of science, or in this case, religion. He took my hands, opened my palms, stopped and looked me up and down again. Then he yanked me forward to me, crushing me to him with his stubby arms. (I thought I was supposed to put my arms around him; were my demons that terrible that protocol had to be changed?) I stood there, helplessly held in place against his pot-belly, and enduring his horrible breath as he unleashed the forces of heaven on my inner darkness.
When he was done, he turned to my uncle to tell him I had a special case (he didn’t say of what, but I assumed I’d reached Legion status). He told my uncle he would like to have a small chit-chat with me, if my uncle would permit. Of course my uncle agreed; after all to him, pastors know best.
We were to have the discussion in the study. The room is located in between the living room downstairs and the dining room. Truthfully, I had an inkling as to the kind of questions he intended to ask me. Even then, I was surprised by the directness of his assault.
“Tell me the truth, boy. Are you a homo?”
I blinked at him. “Huh? Why would you ask that? How could you think I am one?” I queried, letting my shock and slight anger colour my tone.
“Well, I am a man of God and as such, the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of me ensures things like this do not skip me. Are you one? Like, do you have feelings for boys like you?”
I wondered why he felt the need to explain his question, like I didn’t know what it means to be a homosexual. Besides, I felt like shutting that hole in his face with a blood-stained tampon when he mentioned he had the Holy Spirit in him. Honey, it’s my appearance and ‘extravaganza’ that’s ministering to you, I wanted to snap at him. The Holy Spirit wouldn’t dwell inside you if your body was the last temple available.
I promptly denied being gay to him. I had no idea as to what he intended to do with whatever answer I gave him, and the last thing I wanted was word of our chat getting back to my uncle, and subsequently my parents. So yes, I replied, “No, pastor. I’m not a homosexual.”
He nodded and asked that we have another round of prayer, just the two of us. I assumed this meant that I had to hug him again. We soon became wrapped close to each other, and then he ordered, “Close your legs! Tighten them!”
I did as instructed. He squeezed me closer to him and proceeded to wedge his crotch in between my closed thighs. Once this was done, he exhaled slowly, the aah of someone who had achieved a small orgasm, and then began that his up-and-down movement again.
I could not believe what was happening. I was so astounded – and strained, because of the discomfort of standing with my legs that closed – that I unclenched and spread my thighs apart. He grunted his dissatisfaction and commanded me to close my legs again. I was starting to feel sickened, as I shut my thighs again and endured his maneuvering of his body tightly pressed against mine. At this stage, he wasn’t even praying, not in any language I could understand anyway. He was making these guttural noises from the back of his throat, the sounds of one clearly mindless with mounting ecstasy. His breathing had gotten faster than normal, and I could have sworn I felt something poking my thigh.
And all this was happening right there in the study!
At some point, frustrated by the fact that because of my apparent discomfort, my legs kept spreading apart intermittently from the makeshift vagina he wanted, he drew back from me and decided that our prayer would have to continue in my room. I almost choked on my saliva when he said that, and before I could protest, he was out of the room in search of my uncle.
Of course, my uncle unbelievably consented to the pastor’s request. “No problem, pastor,” he said. “Take your time. After all, with the clog of vices operating within our youths nowadays, it’s needed.”
Dear God of Mercy!
Dreading what was coming next, I led this pastor to my bedroom. I had gone to sit on my bed when he turned and bolted the door.
“Is that necessary pastor?” I asked, my nervousness escalating.
“Do you want your uncle to know exactly what it is we are praying about?” he rejoined.
Then he switched off the light. Immediately, I got up, walked towards the position of the socket and turned the light back on. “Please pastor,” I said in a firm tone, “this light doesn’t amplify the sound of our voices. Could you not turn it off?”
“We are going to do a binding and casting exercise and these demons will be cast away tonight,” he replied. “With the light on, there’s a huge possibility you would see one or at worse, they may not even leave your body because demons hate light, and we can’t have that, can we?”
I had to laugh at the incredulity of his response. Did this idiot think I was 12?
“Why are you laughing?” he asked, looking offended. “Do you think I’m lying? Trust me, many of my congregants have had such experience and ended up dead or hospitalized. If you want to be in such list, then we’ll leave the lights on. If not, just trust the Holy Spirit and all will be well.”
I sighed and gave in, not because he’d said anything to convince me, but because I was just tired of his bullshit and whatever it was that would happen should happen, so that I could get on with my life already. I’d had enough of the man of God.
He turned off the light again, and in the darkness, I could make him out as he advanced toward me. He told me to hold his outstretched hands and pray along with him. After about two sentences, this man suddenly shoved me to the bed and clambered on top of me.
I was shocked, and without thinking, I made a mistake of saying what I said. “Pastor, I am going to shout o!”
The moment the words left my mouth, he reached forward his meaty and coarse palm over my mouth, holding me down with his bulbous weight and began dry-humping me, his clothed crotch grinding against the front of my boxers.
At first, I writhed and wriggled, furious with myself for letting me get into this situation. Then I stopped struggling and simply lay there, tears quietly leaking through my eyes as I endured his sexual assault. I couldn’t overpower him, because he was heavier and stronger than I was. And especially because we were not unclothed, I just let him carry on and finish already.
After about 15 minutes, the longest 15 minutes of my life, he started jerking like a catfish that happened on land, stopped after another five seconds and then climbed off me. He had apparently ejaculated. He was heading to the bathroom to clean himself up when he turned and said to me, “For your own good, this was done to remove demons. Without this exercise, you wouldn’t be saved. Now, no matter what happens, no guy will come close to you with any homosexual activity in mind.”
I stared incredulously at hi, feeling a gamut of emotions course through me. I felt belittled, insulted, violated! Who did this fool think he is? And how dim did he think I was? Did he really believe in these lies he was spinning? Or was he that psychopathic that he’d know this evil and still maintain a lie to justify it?
While he was putting himself to order in the bathroom, I rushed out of the room to my uncle who was sipping coffee in the dining room. And I promptly told him everything that had happened. I even begged him to go to my bathroom at once and see for himself that I wasn’t lying.
My uncle reacted with hesitation at first. I mean, it was a pastor that I was accusing of molestation. His wife was present during my narration and insisted that he go and confirm what I’d just told him. She hadn’t been impressed by the pastor, and now, her disdain for the man was very apparent.
My uncle walked out of the room upstairs to my bedroom. I expected to hear shouts in no time, and the sound of a struggle, of men fighting. I was even braced to join my uncle in beating up the pastor if it came to that. But boy, was I disappointed.
My uncle returned moments later to ask me, “Did he pull off your clothes when this thing you said happened happened?”
This thing I said happened? Feeling my heart beginning to sink, I shook my head.
“Did he, you know, try to put his fingers inside you or something?” He looked very uncomfortable with his inquiry.
“No,” I answered with another shake of my head.
He heaved a sigh, before saying, “Look, it’s 11 o’clock in the night and I don’t want something like this to cause commotion. Tomorrow, I’ll dispose of him and we’ll act like nothing happened, okay? I’m very sorry, my son. Go to your cousins’ room and sleep there for the night. I’ll lock him up in your room and tomorrow I’ll take him out of here. Let’s be grateful it all happened with clothes on, at least no serious damage was done.” Then he then shook his head and Tufiakwa-ed his way upstairs.
His wife was very angry as she took me upstairs with her. She didn’t talk to her husband all through that night over his resolution of the matter with the pervert he himself had brought into their house. But frankly speaking, I agreed with my uncle on the need to avoid any commotion from this. I didn’t want a police case or my parents knowing about it, so the decision to let it go was just fine by me. I only wished my uncle had given the pervert a knock-out punch, just one.
The next day, the man was disposed off, hurried out of the house by my uncle under the scorching glare of my aunt. Life continued. My cousins kind of made me feel like a rape victim with the incessant sorrys and commiseration they extended toward me. The house-helps were perplexed. Shouldn’t it have been one of them that this would ordinarily happen to? Were they not the females here? Lol, the looks on their faces when I was narrating the ordeal to them the next day though!
With this incidence, I realised just how much Nigeria is killing herself, slowly turning individuals like this pastor – who obviously do not know how to express and explore their sexuality – to sexual predators, who would go through the most devious means to satisfy their innate urges.
Written by Delle