After getting married, it took a few years for my parents to have their first child, me. Those few years were the worst for my mother. Doctors assured her that there was nothing wrong with either her or my father, all they needed to do was keep trying. And try they did. Being the typical African woman, my mother hopped from one church to the other, praying for a child. She promised God that if he answered her prayer, she will raise the child to serve and worship him. Lo and behold, her prayers got “answered” and she conceived, and here we are.
My mother did her best to keep her promise. I grew up going to church every Sunday, participating in church activities, praying first thing in the morning and before sleep, praying before eating, praying for the world. I could even pray for God. Despite all of that, I wasn’t the perfect child. Some of the things I did at a tender age “shook” my mother, and she never hesitated to whip the living devil out of me anytime I did something “bad”. However, in all things I had faith in God, trusting that if I was really sorry for my sins he’d forgive me. And I was sorry, A LOT.
Fast forward to when I completed Senior High and breaking my virginity became my priority. My boyfriend, my first love, the guy I planned to have three babies for, wasn’t permanently stationed in the town where I lived. I had to make do with his occasional two or three-week holiday, then it was back to missing him for another five or six months. Meanwhile, in his absence, life went on. There was this guy I’d had a crush on since Junior High, and it never really went away. We had this childish chemistry. I knew he liked me and he knew I liked him, but we never did anything about it.
I was delighted when I got a job in a primary school, located right adjacent his house. I got to see him almost every day, and that was good enough for me. One day, while teaching RME, I realized most of the kids had seen a Bible, but had never seen a single Quran. And it hit me that I’d never seen one myself. So I decided to try and lay my hands on one, so I could show the kids. Rather conveniently, my crush happened to be a Muslim, and it was a perfect excuse to pay him a visit. So pay a visit I did, you know, all for the children.
That was my first time of visiting, and he was home alone. I told him why I was there and he scoffed and started acting weird, saying I shouldn’t act like I didn’t have any feelings for him because he knew I did. I admitted that I did indeed have feelings for him. He said he didn’t believe me, and asked that I should prove it. I told him I definitely would, that I’d let him know when I was home alone so he could sneak over. But first, he had to give me the Quran so I could go and show the kids.
He said no, he’d only release the holy book after I’d proved my feelings for him because there might never be another chance. He got closer and kissed me, and even though it wasn’t as intense and passionate as my boyfriend’s kisses, it was okay enough to arouse me. We ended up awkwardly in his room and one thing led to another.
Apparently, it was his first time too and he had zero experience, zero finesse. He was so overwhelmed the moment he went in, and didn’t consider that it was my first time so it’ll hurt me. It took all of two minutes, and he was perplexed to see blood on the sheets because he claimed he never expected that I’d be a virgin, and he’s sorry if he hurt me. I felt sore and disgusted, and all I wanted to do was go home. I forgot all about the Quran, closed for the day and went home in shame, feeling like everyone knew what I’d done.
That night was the worst night. I kept remembering all the sermons about how our bodies are temples of God, and I had desecrated his temple so I was definitely going to hell. I felt too dirty to pray. I felt like I’d done the worst thing in the world and could never face God again. I felt so wretched, and I was really sore. I tried to pray for forgiveness but I had no words.
That Sunday I found an excuse not to go to church. I felt too polluted to go in the midst of the “righteous” people. I kept beating myself up and kept thinking about sin and God, and why Jesus had to die for my sins if I was just going to pay for them anyway. I thought about all my unanswered prayers (mostly ridiculous but my faith was strong). Even if I could muster the courage to pray for forgiveness, how would I know I’d really been forgiven? What if my prayers went straight to spam and ended up in a joyful reunion with their predecessors? Come to think of it, he hardly answered my prayers, so why was I even bothered? I started to get pissed, and the love I felt for God dwindled to zero. He never liked me anyway. I became apathetic to him and could go to church without a pinch of shame or remorse. It was like, yeah whatever just go through the motions.
My boyfriend arrived in town a few weeks later, and this time he wasn’t going back anytime soon. We were overcome with lust the night he came, and it was mind-blowing, the sweetest thing to ever happen to me. His house was always full of people so we agreed I’d call him anytime I found myself home alone.
Sundays were the only days I could be home alone because my mother would definitely go to church with my siblings. Every Sunday I’d find any excuse to “dodge” church, and immediately my mother drove out, he would sneak in. I felt so grown, so in charge of my sexuality. I felt good and I wasn’t going to let any apparition in the sky make me feel bad. If his chosen day was the only day I could get to feel like this, then f**k I will, while the “righteous” sing and pray for all our sins.
There were some Sundays my boyfriend wasn’t available, then I’d be the first to get ready for church to “worship” with my fellow “hypocrites”. But one thing was clear. If I’m ever to choose between f**king on Sunday and going to church on Sunday, God is gonna have to f**k off every Sunday.
And every other day.