He watched as she walked into the room, ready to accost her husband and shook his head, weary, tired of his feisty, little Segi. She was so impatient, and never took time to rationalise her actions or emotions. He watched as she crossed over to the room, unsure of whether to intervene or not, sure that if he did not, things could get very explosive. He shook his head and wondered again if she ever really listened.
He recalled telling her that the best thing she and Derin could do for each other was to stay strong and remain as a team. If only she was aware of what was further down the road, she would know the import of staying together as a team. He looked at her, his tiny Segi, and smiled.
To be honest, she really was no longer that tiny girl he had known for she had blossomed into a lovely woman, it was interesting to see how fast she had grown. Gone was the little girl who had been so in tune with the ‘other’ side. He recalled how her family had tried to shush ‘the voice’ and her voice.
The old man smiled, as he recalled that first day, many years ago when He had appeared to her in a dream and had told her some secrets about her father’s parish. They were age long secrets that her father had never told anyone and so when she had woken up and walked to his room to tell him everything, he had been shocked.
‘Segi! Shhh! Who told you all these?’ he had asked
‘One old man’ she had responded innocently
‘Where did you see him?’ her father had asked, looking over his shoulder in consternation, his confusion apparent on his face.
‘In my dreams. He told me to tell you everything I’ve just said, and to tell you how to resolve the issues’ she had said, not understanding why her father had seemed so worried.
Her father had looked around in fear
‘Did you tell any one else?’ he’d asked
‘No sir’ she’d responded truthfully
‘You must never tell this to anyone’ said her father.
‘But what about the old man?’ the young Segi had asked
‘Tell him I’ve heard and will make my peace with God, he should mind his business’ her father had responded
And that had been it. Segi had not thought about Him again until two weeks later when he had appeared again. This time, to tell her that she would soon lose her ‘Iya Agba’, her maternal grandmother whom Segi loved very much. He remembered now that it was the first time he’s seen traces of her feisty character. For one so young, she had fought him and had even struck him in anger. It was not until he had shown her a vision of Iya Agba in royal robes and sitting amongst kings, freed from the terrible pains of arthritis and her bad back that Segi had acknowledged that indeed, His was a better plan for Iya Agba.
However, Segi’s delivery of the news to her mother had gone horribly wrong. He recalled now how she had broken the news to her mum. The two of them had been in the kitchen preparing supper and Segi who had been had been picking ewedu leaves, when she’d suddenly stopped and broke the horrible news to her mother.
‘Iya Agba will soon die’ she’d said out of the blues and without any preamble.
‘What kind of rubbish talk is that?’ her mother had asked, angry and irritated
‘I’m saying what I know’ Segi had responded stubbornly
‘You are talking rubbish. Mama will not die. She is in better health than she has been in the past five years, her chest is now clear, her bones don’t hurt and she now sleeps though the night without aches or pains’ responded her mother vehemently, very angry that her daughter could wish her own grandmother harm.
‘Well, I have said what I know and she will be gone in ten days’ Segi had said before she fell silent.
Her mother, upset, had called all her sisters, and had reported ‘the evil’ Segi to them and they in turn, created such a fuss that Iya Agba heard what had happened and had sent for her.
It had been an interesting conversation Segi had with her grandmother that dry December morning. One the old man had watched in silence, while He stayed back and allowed Segi, full of youthful innocence to navigate the waters. He had been testing, hoping that she would succeed.
Being a child, Segi had been quick to tell the old lady that she would soon die.
‘Segilola, do you want me to die?’ the old lady had asked
‘No Iya Agba, but it is what I was shown’ responded Segi gently, tired of all the questions. She hadn’t chosen to see the vision. Why did everyone think that she suddenly hated her granny?
‘And you say it will be soon?’ asked Iya Agba
‘Yes. But you are going to a better place.
When I saw you, there were no wrinkles and you had no aches or pains, you looked so young and fresh’ said Segi
‘Who showed it to you and how come it was you this was shown to?’ asked the old lady
‘One man, a very old man came to me in my dreams. I have seen him once before’ said Segi, who went into details, telling her grandma what the old man had worn and how he’d looked.
Segi had been very surprised when her grandmother broke into a smile, and began to shower her with her oriki, the praise poetry from their lineage, after which the old woman she jumped up and broke into a traditional song, accompanied by dancing in surprisingly very deft moves.
Segi had been confused by her grandmother.
He recalled the thoughts that had passed through the young Segi’s mind. She’s wondered if perhaps Iya Agba had been looking forward to her grave all this time.
‘Ekaabo, Iya mi, ekaabo, welcome’ she’d said as she made Segilola sit comfortably on the solitary sofa that had been in the room.
Segi had watched as her grandmother’s body language had suddenly changed from censure to deference. In the few minutes passed thereafter, her grandmother told Segi that the ‘gift’ had come from her side own of the family and it was actually grandma’s mother who had possessed the gift. They had waited for one of the many girls in their family to show signs of the gift and had even given up on Segi, until this sudden awakening of the gift in her.
Her grandmother told Segi’s parents and cautioned them to allow her nurture the gift, but when Segi seemed to suddenly become an expert in delivering only negative prophesies, she’d quickly acquired a reputation for being evil and had begun to teach herself to startle awake mid-dream, so that she did not receive any more messages from the old man.
He knew Segi had been pleased when He had stopped visiting, and although He’d been unhappy that she had refused to grow the gift to such an extent that He would visit her in her waking moments, He had left her, but was back now. Segilola had a mission and even He knew that it would not be an easy one. This mission involved Derin and He knew He had to intervene somehow before everything was messed up.
He looked at her as she walked into the room, pleased that He had foreseen this. Somehow this could be quelled, if only she would allow Him to do His work.