The Petitioners

Pride is not welcomed in this court, only humble submissions, do you dare stand before this just judge? Well, these people dared….

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When she found out she was pregnant she did not know what to feel, tears filled her eyes as she told her loving husband the wonderful news, their joy knew no bounds. Their marriage was finally going to be blessed with a child after six long years of trying and praying.

When they found out it was a girl, her husband confessed that it had been his prayer all along, “finally, another lady to collect the heart you stole from me”, he joked. She smiled. She wanted a girl too! They made plans and predictions on what their daughter would be. Wale concluded that she would be in the banking sector like him or a footballer like his younger sister, Abigail. Mofe disagreed. Her daughter would be a reporter or an editor like she was. They just joked around the topic but neither really worried about what she would become, they would support their golden girl in whatever part she chose.

Meanwhile, life was making it’s own predictions as complications came in and the unborn child’s life was threatened. They did everything they could. Her husband fasted and she prayed while the doctors did all that was in their power to do. They needed a miracle.
The day of delivery came and Leticia was born but her mother’s womb was lost. The miracle they expected did not happen, at least not how they expected.

Years rolled by and what was lost was nothing compared to what was gained. Leticia was growing up to be a wonderful young lady. She had her father’s calculative brown eyes and her mother’s glowing caramel skin. A miracle in flesh. At age ten, she was at the top of all her classes except creative art.

“The paints won’t stay on the paper mummy it always ends up on my body! Then i look like a confused rainbow”, she whined when Mofe talked to her about her dislike of the subject. The little girl hated anything that got her dirty and she constantly complained about it.

Her mother sighed, ” what do I do with you my sunshine? How do you even know what a confused rainbow looks like?”, The girl only giggled and ran off.

Little Leticia was a curious creature. She wanted to know everything. She loved nature and the one who created it. When her aunt came over one weekend to pass a night, Letticia ceased the opportunity to make her tuck her in when it was her bed time. She always said that her aunty was one of the best story tellers and it was not a lie. Abigail Damilola Johnson would do anything for her niece and the little girl knew that. They were so close that the twenty-eight year old became the sibling Leticia would never have. After aunty Dami told her the story of how Moses saw a part of God’s glory, she could not stop wishing she was there. As sleep finally began to pull her in, she whispered, “If only I could see God once, it would be so cool”. Abigail just smiled.

Whenever Leticia stared off into nothing, her mother would get worried because it was probably the begining of another round of questions. “So who gave birth to God? Who decided that i should be a girl? How do you know i am your child? Are you sure they did not switch me at the hospital? Oh! Mother we need to get a test done! Your daughter could be out there somewhere”. Her mother would be thinking of the appropriate speech to answer her questions when Letticia would suddenly laugh and say she was only joking. She enjoyed scaring her very concerned mother.

Leticia did a lot of things that many would call crazy and others would call interesting – it depends on the side of the coin you observed from. One time, she caught mosquitoes and put them in a bottle, sealed tightly. “I just want to see how long they can survive without air” She defended with an innocent smile. Her father had just discovered the bottles under her bed. He was speechless, how did she even catch it without killing it in the process? She readily explained to him.

“You just have to follow it Daddy, until it rests somewhere because it’s not easy catching it in the air. Then you cover it with your palm and make your palm into a fist then you guide it into the bottle!” Wale was awed by his little girl and also made a mental note to get insecticide, consistent spraying was necessary because Lagos mosquitoes were very stubborn. Leticia would not mind that the mosquitoes will be gone, she had the ones she needed for the ‘experiment’. Daddy promised to keep their secret away from mummy until the project was completed. She was everything daddy hoped she would be, she had his heart and she kept it all to herself.

When she turned sixteen, Leticia began to turn her mother’s sanity inside out. It started when she went for a camp and came back with red hair; red hot flaming hair. Her lovely black curls had been straightened and her mother was ready to burst into flames.
“Leticia Toluwalase Johnson, why is your head on fire?” her mother asked her in a decievingly calm voice. After reminding her mother she wanted to be called ‘Leti’ not Leticia and ‘Tolls’ instead of Toluwalase, She went further to explain how an experiment had gone wrong and the camp instructors made her come back with her battle scars as punishment.
“I was this close to making a breakthrough mummy, so close. I will not give up though, i will try it differently next time”. She said, smilling like she could already see the success of whatever experiment she was carrying out. All this while, Mofe was quiet and when she finally spoke, the happy smile disappeared from her daughter’s face.

“Come closer Leti or is it Tolls you want me to call you? Come closer so I can carry out my own experiment let’s see if I pound your head with my pestle maybe you will have more sense and stop using yourself as a lab rat!”. A few seconds of silence passed after her outburst before she sighed deeply and gave her daughter a sad smile. “You are my only child Letticia, the only one I will ever have in my life time and that doesn’t bother me because you are one in millons. Just stay alive for me okay? That’s all I ask.” Overwhelmed by her mother’s emotions, Letti nodded and squeezed her mum in a tight hug.

Mrs. Johnson constantly worried about her daughter but Tolls was daddy’s little girl and thought her mother’s worries were unnecessary. Time flew by and Leti flew to the United States of America to pursue her career in medicine. More time flew by and Leti did not fly back to Nigeria. She always had one project or experiment to complete. I’ll be back soon, she repeated every other year.
After much begging and tears from her mother, Leticia finally came back home for the Christmas holiday. Wale was happy to see his two favorite women together again. If their feminine squeals and gossips bothered him, he never said so. Devotion time became longer with Leticia’s questions; she had not changed in that aspect, in fact, the questions were more advanced. They often referred her to God for answers. Only He could deal with them.

“So who is he?” Leticia’s mother asked in-between her daughter’s speech about the coronavirus outbreak in China.
“Its not a ‘he’ mother, it’s a virus that is killing people”. She shook her head dissapprovingly like her mother was a naughty child who did not know how to listen. Mrs Johnson only scooted closer with a mishievious smile that her daughter recognised so well.

“I’m talking about the one with green eyes that calls you everyday. The one you text every time with a goofy smile on your face”. Letti face palmed at her mother’s description. “His name is Jeffery, o ye mother of mine, Stephanie’s older brother”.

Steph and Leti worked in the same hospital and they had bonded over time. Steph was like family now. And as for Jeffery, his eyes were hazel, not green, and no he did not call her everyday and she definitely did not have a goofy smile when talking to him. Mrs Johnson was silent for a few seconds trying to hold back a laugh. Then she said, ” I will just hold back my comments until after the wedding” before bursting into fits. Leticia stared at her mum with her jaw hanging open.

“What?!” She shouted in disbelief. After her mother recovered from her fits of laughter, Leti explained again that he was just a friend and nothing more.
“Why?” it was her father asking this time. Wale had a peculiar way of creeping into their conversations once in a while. Leti thought hard and when nothing smart came up, She said the first thing she could think of “ well…..he’s okay but he is a lawyer and…and….” She trailed off unsure of what to say next.

“and….” her mother mocked with a smile

“And well, you know how lawyers are, very sneaky with big words and unnecessary archaic grammar. Plus his eyes are scary like all those monsters on TV. He smiles a lot and doesn’t get angry at anything i do which is very creepy!” How can anyone be so tolerant and patient? Especially with someone as unpredictable as the young Miss Johnson?

Her mother could not stop laughing and her father could not keep his smile in as he responded. “I see what the problem is Tolu my dear, he is easy on the eyes caring and he seems to understand you well which makes him difficult to figure out unlike your crazy experiments which you can arrange under numbers and formulas. It’s okay Leti it’s okay to fear change but do not let that hold you back. Pray and think about it, don’t rule him out completely or jump in without thinking. Ask God for clarification and please don’t say monster in public, you are twenty-seven not four years old”.
Letticia sighed and responded with a resigned “okay”.

The lovebirds left Leticia to her thoughts and she was getting immersed in it before her phone rang. It was work and they needed her back there immediately. She had only spent three weeks with her parents after being gone for eight years and it was time to leave again.

“We’ll make video calls everyday mum, please stop with the tears”. She said that in January and now it’s May, mother is still crying and father is consoling her lovingly. The virus had gotten to Nigeria, the United States and many other countries in the world. The World Health Organization declared it a pandemic and Leticia was in one of the hot zones. Her video calls came in less and she always looked worn-out but happy.
“ I need to be here mom, God is using me to take care of people and I’m content. Stop worrying too much, I’ll be fine”. Her mother begged her to come and take care of people over here “God can use you anywhere” she persuaded. Leti laughed and tried to tell jokes to reduce her mother’s fears, She blew her father kisses and ended the call.

That call should have lasted longer, that was all the Johnsons could think about when the next video call came in and it was not Leticia’s face on the other side. Stephanie, her close friend had puffy eyes from crying and could barely put together the words so her brother, Jeffery; the hazel eyed monster, did the talking.
Leticia was now a patient with the others she had been helping, the virus had gotten to her, She was fighting for her life. All they could do now was pray.
Mrs. Johnson was not the first to cry this time, it was her husband. His little girl was fighting for her life at twenty-seven, She had barely lived! What is wrong with the world?

The gravity of the situation forced Mofe to go on her knees in her daughter’s room. It felt like she had just been drenched in cold water. She quoted all the Psalms she knew, reminded God of all his promises, begged Him to do something. She prayed until there was no voice left in her, her body shook from tears that had ceased and her lips quivered. Her eyes were dim, She looked just like Hannah at Shiloh begging for a child. Mr. Johnson knelt next to her and hugged her close. They were both quiet as Mofe kept shivering from life’s cold truth.

“Where is He?” She asked in almost a whisper.
“Where is God in all this Wale?” She asked with a stronger voice. A lone tear slid down her left cheek. She had not exaughsted the tears afterall. She choked back a sob as the dam broke out again.

“Shh…Mofe, don’t talk like that please” her husband hushed while in his own tears.
“I’ve not lost hope, you shouldn’t my love. We have to be strong and follow all precautions. Leticia must not find us weak when she comes back, I know she will come back. The world is falling apart, we have to do our best to hold together whatever part we can. There are a lot of affected people that need our prayers, not just our daughter. Stay strong my dear.” he sighed deeply. He did not know if he was convincing his wife or himself. At this point, he would grab unto any ray of hope. They were at court with the Just Judge and they waited for his final verdict with their heads bowed. They dared to challenge Him with his own laws and precedents.

“Leticia will beat this, my daughter is a fighter. I strongly believe that this plague will passover soon, you’ll see” Wale said with renewed strenght.
You just wait and see.

And so we wait on our knees, with our heart in our hands, hope in our eyes and mouths filled with supplications.

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. ~Matt 21:24

Have you asked?

8 thoughts on “The Petitioners

  1. Like a movie, it kept playing very visibly in my mind.

    This is a classic!

    I am very very curious to see if something happens next and hopefully read a novel from you sometime in the near future.

    Please keep this up, it’s absolutely amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I must confess that I lack a befitting adjective to qualify your write up. At first I thought the *just judge* was a human judge, but I found out later on who it was.
    Your work is a paragon of literature I must say.
    I was glad to realise that the story is *not over yet*😊😊
    More grease to your fingers best poet.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You did a wonderful job here Ms…

    I was captivated by the comic in this until life happens,,, I hope there’s more series of this. Leti_Tolls must see through this climax.


    More grace…

    Beautiful and creative. And you were wrong it’s not long, I wish it was longer. It definitely worth the time.


    Liked by 1 person

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