Drifted [Chapter 5]

Annah woke up to screams. She was sure she heard her name but then, there was no one else in the house with her. She immediately turned on the bed lamp and reached for her phone.

“It’s still mid night. Who could be calling my name at this time of the night?” She soliloquized.

“Annah! Can you hear me? What is this mess you have turned my house into?” the voice was drawing closer to her room.

“Oh crap! Mum is back” she crawled out of bed, rushed on her flip flops and made for the stairs.

“What have you turned my house into? I was gone for less than one day, less than twenty four hours for crying out loud!” her mum raked the moment she saw her.

“And what was it with the loud music? I had to turn it off myself. Are you trying to bring this house down?” she added before Annah got the chance to say anything.

Annah stood speechless for a while. She wasn’t sure where to start. Her mum was already angry. Explaining herself will only be pouring petrol into fire.

“I’m so sorry mum, I didn’t think you will be back before noon. I will clean up immediately.” She finally said and scurried off before her mum could start up another phase of scolding.

She knew it was against the law to beat a child. Even though she could tell that was the only reason her parents never beat her, she sometimes felt it would be better if they did. The rate at which they scolded her was  rising higher every single day and their choice of words sometimes hurt more a lash of the cane.

The breaking Dawn the next day didn’t meet her well. She had spent almost the entire night washing up in the kitchen and putting the house in order that she barely caught enough sleep before her mum’s voice again, woke her up. As expected, it was time for their usual long morning devotion.

She rubbed her eyes as she made her way downstairs. Church service was my 7:30am, just 30 minutes after their devotion. She was certain she wasn’t getting another round of sleep till afternoon.

Sunday ought to be her best day of the week, at least it used to be until she became overwhelmed with the excessive activities. She sighed as she remembered they would still go for fellowship in the evening.

She was beginning to wish her parents, especially her mum, would embark on another trip. The loneliness couldn’t be overemphasized but she was certain she would prefer it to the tension she experienced whenever her parents were home.

“Is this how toxic a Christian home should be? Is this how they all treat their children?” Lots of thoughts ran through her mind as their devotion went on.

As Annah sat in church that day, she couldn’t help but look around the church. The congregation wasn’t different. Same faces, same personalities, in different dresses. But something was different, Annah saw them differently. 

For the first time since she started attending the church, nothing the pastor said caught her attention. She critically scrutinized the members, her focus on the parents.

She was looking for answers, she wanted answers. Were other Christian homes as lovely, peaceful and accommodating as the pastor preaches every Sunday or were they also as hostile as hers?

Did the rest of the children have the same questions as herself, did they feel the way she felt, do they have peace in their homes?

Questions upon questions went through her mind.

Her mum was always quick to suggest the parsonage whenever she needed someone to babysit her. A situation she always managed to wriggle her way out of.

“Was the parsonage habitable? Was the pastor nice? Was his wife accommodating?” 

Lots of questions she needed answers to. 

The sound from the congregation as they stood to their feet distracted Annah, jerking her to the present.

The service had come to an end. She looked at her mum and found her smiling. Majority of the congregation, especially the women had a smile on their faces.

“It must have been a wonderful service” Annah muttered to herself as they headed for the door.

Her mum, as usual, went to greet the pastor and some other key members of the church, keeping Annah and her dad waiting in the car for another ten minutes.

Annah felt her anger rise but there was nothing she could do. Home wasn’t a place she longed for but it was better than staying at the church.

The church, to her was a place filled with pretenders, people accustomed to hiding their wickedness under the carpet of religion.

If she had her way, she wouldn’t want to have anything to do with these people. She had no business going to church in the first place.

She felt drained, angry and exhausted by the time they got home. She ignored her mother’s call for breakfast and went straight to her room, locking the door right behind her.

The little pancake from Saturday morning was her saving grace. She was surprised it hadn’t spoilt. She rushed over it and went straight to bed.

She woke right in time to witness the usual Sunday evening chattery. The view from her window was splendid. It was spring break and everyone went about their various activities, enjoying the marvelous feel of the sun on their skin.

She watched as parents passed with their kids and couples walked to and fro. Some held hands while others made out right in front of her.

“How nice it will be to enjoy the cool evening breeze on a walk like this” she smiled at her window.

She grabbed her camera and took some shots. Within minutes she was out of the house. The view was just too beautiful that she didn’t want to miss any. Her pictures were beginning to tell a story and she didn’t want to miss any part of it.

She knew it was time for fellowship, the very reason she hadn’t been opportuned to grace this beautiful view. She was ready to miss today’s own for something that actually made her happy.

Her mum would be screaming on top of her voice by now but she didn’t care. She had never learned anything useful in her three years of attending “His seeds fellowship” anyways.

She strolled from street to street, taking shots of both people and structures. Everything seemed more beautiful now that people were out on walks. The view of one particular parent with her kid got her drooling.

She couldn’t remember ever having an alone time with her parents not to mention hanging out together. 

For some reason, everyone at home assumed that everyone else was alright. No one ever asks anyone how they were doing nor how they felt, except the usual courtesy in the mornings and when one is sick, respectively.