Nothing has changed in Grandmother’s home; one still risks slipping on the oil-smeared tiled floors and the curtains still drip with slimy water. These are amongst the many reasons why I never got along with Grandmother all the years I lived with her, that I was already tagged a rebel and an unbeliever before she finally threw me out and then, warned me never to step a foot of mine into her home again.
God is the reason why she was always at my throat; we never shared the same views and beliefs about Him. I don’t understand her beliefs or her god, or how could I understand a god that came down to earth, all the way from heaven, to point Satan out to Grandmother, and she saw Satan so clearly that she could recognize him in bloodshot eyes, loud voices, side shaved heads, and even, black clothed bodies?
I used to say ‘God’ until Grandmother started to claim that I worshipped a different God and this birthed the phrase ‘My God’.
‘Pray with your mouth, heart, and the whole of your body, it will make my God know how deep your pain is, and that is what He wants,’ she would say whenever she saw me pray quietly.
‘My God is not a drama fan,’ I would reply.
Grandmother acted rather than prayed; each action depended on how deep her pains were. She would start from crying, then stomping her feet hard, wailing her prayers, to rolling on the ground. At times, she paced about, showering everything in sight with her prayer water. When I was very much younger, she would ask my cousins and me to join her in prayers, and it was usually fun because it was like we were in a drama class and she was our instructor, teaching us how to act out a grief scene.
Grandmother’s prayers were more like nagging at God; she belabored the same prayer points at all times. Every week, she would bring a bottle of water or oil from church and sprinkle it in everywhere in the house, to protect it from Satan. Sometimes, she would force us to drink the water or rub the oils on our skins. The day I told her that the oil was bad for my skin, and the water was contaminated, she had prayed, cried bitterly, stomped her feet more than ever, and cursed Satan with so much fury for winning her granddaughter’s soul.
Those years have passed, and here I am in Grandmother’s home despite her warning that I should never enter her house again for the rest of my life. I was informed by one of my cousins that her health has been failing terribly, so, I decided that I should see her before she breathes her last, even if she’ll bounce me out of her house.
‘Good day Grandmother,’ I greet and hesitantly walk up to her as she emerges from her bedroom. Her face turns cold like it does whenever she sees Satan in anyone which I’m sure she sees in my black, off-shoulder jumpsuit and gold-coloured mohawk hairstyle.
‘What are you doing here?’ she asks. I can see anger cooking up in her face.
‘I came to see you, I miss you.’ I reply in a breath.
She keeps silent for what seem like ages. I close my eyes, expecting to be thrown out the next second.
‘Uh!’ I gasp as I open my eyes to see Grandmother’s arms spread open. I run into them and envelope her frail body in a tight hug.
‘I knew you’d come back, but not like this,’ she says softly, patting my back, ‘you haven’t repented, you still friend Satan,’ she breaks into tears.
‘I’m sorry Grandmother,’ I say, leading her to a chair as her body shakes with sobs. I kneel before her, and place my head on her laps in sorrow, for her deteriorated health more than repentance.
‘Come back to my God, my God is forgiving and merciful’
‘Yes, Grandmother, I will.’
‘Shall we pray?’
‘Thank you my God for bringing the lost lamb back to the sheepfold, she starts, sniffing, heal her heart and save her from Satan’, she continues, crying.
Although, Grandmother is praying quietly and differently for the first time in my presence, I realize, as her tears keep raining on my bare shoulders, that our one God still has different faces, therefore, we will never get to agree that ‘my God’ is no different from ‘Grandmother’s God.