Oil of Gladness

“Oh yeah,” Tonia says tiredly, twirling her index finger in a circular motion in the air. Sitting down and doing nothing wasn’t her hobby but it seems that it’s the only thing she has been consistent at in the past few days.

“Hmmmn, arrgh, hmm.” The deep groans did not sound as if they were from her. The only audible words which found their place in between the groans sounded like an admission of guilt.

The words “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa” saturated the little prison she recently furnished with a bed and reading chair.

“It was my fault.” she sobs. The hysteria heightened all of a sudden as she pounded the bed furiously with her fists. Tonia stopped on hearing approaching footsteps outside the room.

She sighed with relief on realizing that the approaching male or female wasn’t coming to knock on her door.

Tonia had been all alone in the room for the past three days, refusing to pick her calls, stabbing all classes, eating only garri and milk until yesterday when her stomach had started protesting.

The footsteps were approaching again and Tonia held her breath once more. Whatever was bothering her must be connected to humans.

Relief went through her as the footsteps faded away. She only hoped that the one-man march past won’t be conducted near her room again.

The Small paint bucket she improvised as chamber pot needed to be emptied but her joints needed to be oiled for her to get off the bed.

“Oil of gladness in the times of pain.” Someone sang from a Bluetooth speaker. The one-man march-past had resumed again but this time with a Bluetooth speaker booming a song at a moderately loud volume.

It was 7 pm alright. So, the fear of being silenced was little in the heart of Sade who was doing the marching.

“Oil of gladness in the times of pain.” Tonia, out of the blue remembered that her dad had told her these exact words during her last birthday.

It had happened that someone stole the wristwatch gifted to her. Her dad had bought her another one more fancy than the stolen one.

She had brightened up after that. The new wristwatch was the so called ‘oil of gladness’.
Two weeks ago, her dad passed away but she was just informed by her brother. Her self-imposed prison term started the same day she was informed.

She felt awfully condemned because her dad had asked to see her severe her friendship with some of her friends who were leading her astray but she had refused.

She, now sorrowful, guessed that must have triggered the heart attack that led to his death. She’d miss her father so much and she dreaded facing life without him. Her mum would also be in such destabilized state.

On the other hand, Sade, the one-month Christian had felt a nudge to walk down the verandah of the ground floor of the three-storey apartment she lived in. Her room being on the topmost floor.

“Is this how this Holy Spirit will be telling me unreasonable things to do?” Sade muttered to herself. She was slightly annoyed at the second walk as nothing happened. No encounter with an angel, No flashes of light.

“Na wa oh”. She said as she clapped her hands together.

Another instruction came, this time, she was to play the song titled “Oil of gladness” during the walk and linger especially near the third room to the left. Despite not understanding, she did it anyway.

Sade then left for her room upstairs after that. There was this inner peace she felt. She didn’t know what had been going on in the third room to the left of the ground floor.

Tonia broke down after that. She cried out her heart to God. God told her then that her father had died so that she could know him as a father.

She had to lose her earthly father to know the eternal Father. Her joy knew no bounds as realization dawned.

“Stolen wristwatch, new fancier wristwatch, dead father, ever-living father, oil of gladness” These words played around in Tonia’s head.

“Hahaha.” Tonia’s laughter echoed through the whole storey building. She was getting drunk in God’s presence already.

The intimacy she had had with God was refueled again. But this left the neighbours perplexed, Sade inclusive, wondering which of their neighbours was running mad!

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