NB: THIS IS A SEQUEL. To access the previous episode, click here.


Nonso’s family is a Christian one — the kind of family that is recognised and respected in the local church. Few years ago, he was appointed a deacon and his wife, a deaconess. The children were always elegantly dressed, while he and Ronke wore identical outfits. They were never late to church services.

On March 29, the Lagos government put a 50-person limit on religious gatherings. The local church also announced that the gates would be shut against “late comers” once the attendance reaches fifty. The announcement came with a clear warning, “God is not a respecter of persons.”

“Woman, we should be on our way by now,” bellowed Nonso.

Ronke wasn’t done with the morning preparations. She had to cook a light breakfast for the twins, bathe them, and dress them up, before taking care of her self. Ronke wasn’t a novice at multi-tasking — her mother, Mrs Tifase, bombarded her with home chores when she was just thirteen. However, there was an anomaly about today. Ronke just couldn’t get a hold on time.

Amidst all the multi-tasking and Nonso’s insensitive yelling, Ronke forgot to check the kitchen. She had finished attending to the children and quickly ran into the bathroom to have her bath. She pleaded with Nonso to give her “ten more minutes.”

Nonso sat grudgingly in the sitting room waiting for his wife. The children were also in the room with him. No one realised that there was smoke oozing from the kitchen. Ronke had unknowingly left the napkin too close to the burner, and a fire had started. When Vincent saw the smoke, he went to the kitchen to have a better look.

Vincent wasn’t the smartest of kids. He was asthmatic too. He stared at the smoky kitchen trying to figure out what to do, until he started coughing. Coming out from the bathroom, Ronke saw him slump to the ground.

“Vincent!” she yelled.

Nonso ran to the kitchen to see his first son breathless on the floor. Ronke extinguished the fire while he carried out CPR. After series of push ups, Nonso was able to resuscitate him.

This was the second asthma attack Vincent had ever undergone. Nonso sank to the chair reprehensive, while Ronke pampered the boy. The family didn’t go to church on that day.

©Jonathan Ukor 2020

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