Short Stories, Tale Africa

Surviving on Old Prayers (07)

By Vimbai Lole, Zimbabwe:

Isaiah 55:8. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD.

2 Corinthians 12:9a. …but He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

My grandmother had always been a pillar of strength and a wise woman of note. Until last year we had lived with her when she decided she needed to be at her farm full time. Learning to live without her had been a pain, people used to refer to me as grandma's purse, we were joined at the hip, she and I. looking at her a thought that she isn't really my grandmother as much as her son isn't my father stabs at me hard and I quickly dismiss it as I run to her. She stops talking once she sees me and gives me the warmest embrace – I feel myself relax.

“Nana, why didn't you call me? Are you doing okay? Where are you coming from?”

She bombards me with all sorts of rhetorical questions before realizing they are not necessary, then she starts rocking me in her arms and telling me everything good and soothing that I had longed to hear all day. For some time we continue like this, she telling me that she is here for me and that it's all going to be okay while I desperately grab each word applying it to my wounds as if they were a kind of salve. She sends me to bed after praying for me. As I close my weary eyes I thank the heavens and fall asleep believing that all will be well.

During the days that follow, I ignore a lot of Tazzy's calls and do my best to continue with life as I had known before it blew up in my face; but it is just not the same. With my ex dad still being held up at remand prison, and my mother in hospital, unresponsive, nothing feels normal. My grandmother tries to make sure I am handling the situation as best as possible. She had even demanded I take leave from work but I flatly refused, knowing full well that staying at home twiddling my fingers would force me to think about things I did not want to think about – they would drive me crazy.

Grandma never leaves my side during the few hours that I find myself at home, praying with and reading the Bible to me. However, she leaves me with uncomfortable questions that I do not dare ask her or anyone else, because of course she would tell me God exists and loves me. She would also tell me that I don't have a right to question Him and that I should just accept His will.

As the days wear into one another, instead of feeling better, I find myself falling into a bottomless pit of depression. And so today, when I find myself sitting at my mom's hospital bed, I make a decision. Planting a kiss on her forehead, I stand up and head out. When I get home, I head straight for my room, with the excuse that I have a headache. I lock the door and take out the small white tablets; tilting my head back I sallow one after the other until all 30 are gone. Then I lie on my bed, eventually falling asleep. Two hours later, I wake up writhing in pain as my whole body burns. Groaning, I wipe blood from my nose with my bed sheets, asking for forgiveness from God and give in to the pain, realizing my story is ending…

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