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“Mommy Eji, I don’t think I can forgive myself for being so foolish and gullible,” Aunty Obehi said in tears. “I was such a fool to have trusted his stupid lies.” 

Ha🙆🏽‍♀️! What is this one again? I didn’t mean to eavesdrop o. I was only just going to get a drink of water from the kitchen when I overheard the conversation between Mom and Aunt Obehi. How can she say she is a fool? Didn’t the Bible tell us not to call anyone fool🤔? 

Sorry, my friends. I guess you are lost so let me start this gist afresh. Just before the Covid-19 lock down in March, Mom had planned our next weekend family vacation for Ikogosi Warm Spring Resort😁 in Ekiti State. This has been a regular occurrence since the beginning of year 2020. 

Each month, Mom and Dad plan a weekend outing so that we can all just take a breather from the house and have family bonding time👨‍👩‍👦 without the distractions of phones, their jobs or our schoolwork. Exciting, right😁😎? Another reason for this outing is to give us a firsthand experience of historical locations in Nigeria🇳🇬. 

My parents are well travelled and so quite big on culture. For them, it’s not just about telling the stories but visiting these places is just as important. In January we visited the Obudu Cattle ranch🐄 and in February, we were at Idanre Hills⛰️ and both experiences were amazing. You can imagine the excitement as we looked forward to seeing Ikogosi Spring. 

We were to leave on Friday, March 6th but we couldn’t go because Dad had an emergency meeting at work so the trip was shifted to Friday, March 13th. However, on the evening of Wednesday March 11th, while we were watching the movie, Sugar Rush, Mom got a worrisome call from Aunt Obehi. It seemed she wasn’t okay. I heard the panic in her voice as she told Dad. I became worried too. What could have happened? 

Dad helped to brush Mom’s fears away and they both planned to pay Aunt Obehi a visit the next day. Now, Mom normally comes to pick us from school except something came up and then Daddy’s driver, Mr. Kayode, will come and that was what happened that Thursday. On getting home, Onowo and Tubu ran upstairs to change out of their uniforms before dashing to the kitchen for lunch but I was more concerned with where Mom was. 

Arele wasn’t home and Ailende was in his room, busy with his software project, which he was determined to finish before the weekend trip.

“Good afternoon, Ailende. Please, is mom at home?” 

“Yes, she is,” he replied. “Isn’t she in the parlour?” 

“I can’t find her.” 

“Check the guest room. Perhaps she’s with Aunt Obehi.” 

The way Ailende responded, there was no hint of any trouble or cause for alarm. In fact, for all he knew, there was no problem but still, I couldn’t shake off the fear inside me. Aunty Obehi is here! I quietly approached the guest room but the door was shut and I could hear voices. I decided to go change from my uniform and have lunch. My growling stomach wasn’t cooperating with my private investigation🙄. 

I took my food upstairs so I could watch the Lion Guard cartoon in the small parlor with Onowo and Tubu, while I ate. Mom would have had my head if she had caught me eating there. She had severally warned us to always eat on the dining table but that day, I couldn’t be bothered. I needed to distract my mind from that unnamed fear lodging there. 

The cartoon was just about done when I decided to go get a drink of water from the kitchen. That was when I overheard the conversation. Apparently, the door was slightly opened because I could hear them clearly. 

“Your ability to forgive those who carved those hideous scars in your heart, enables you to forgive yourself too, especially for believing whatever opinion they had of you. Unsubscribe from it. ” I heard Mom tell her. 

“Their opinion was what they felt. It was their truth and not yours. You didn’t have to be in agreement with them but you did and that is what hurts you the most,” Mom continued. 

“I have been so stupid and plagued with such low self-esteem that I became a people pleaser,” Aunt Obehi cried. 

“You became a people pleaser because you allowed yourself to be defined by the impression other people have about you. By wanting to make everyone happy, you lost your ability to say NO, lost sight of who you really are and became a pushover. However, you don’t have to beat yourself up” Mom consoled her. 

“A lot of people go through this stage while trying to figure out who they are. Now, you detest yourself for being so weak and giving others power over you; for being so naive to not believe your own truth or God’s truth about you.”

“Mommy Eji, I hate myself. I can’t even look at the mirror because I am so disgusted with who I see there,” Aunt Obehi said, still crying. 

“You shouldn’t hate but forgive yourself, my dear. You made a mistake and now you have learnt from it. You have to move on. How long do you intend to keep brooding? We can’t undo the past but we can make the present and future better by taking better decisions.” Mom told her. 

“Who knows? Perhaps this was a necessary mistake for you to make now so that you can become wiser and better trust yourself. Enough with the regrets. Make your peace and put this past behind you. Each day comes with a new promise of a new beginning. Take it.”

“How can I let it all go?” Aunt Obehi couldn’t stop crying. “How can I forgive myself? What if I had died? What if he had died?” 

“Enough with the ‘what ifs’. We would never know the answers to them because they didn’t happen. All we can do now is to be grateful that none of these ‘what ifs’ happened. The story would be different now. Focus on what you have now and how you can build again.” Mom encouraged her. 

“It’s not that easy.” 

“Of course not. Do you think all the people whom you admire and think they have great lives, found it easy at every point? Sometimes, growth is painful. Sometimes we have to die so that we can be reborn. Refuse to be tied to the past. Forgive everyone including yourself and move on. Change the narrative.” Mom said. 

It appeared Aunt Obehi had stopped crying because she wasn’t sniffing anymore. 

“While certain situations in themselves may be ugly, they bring out a better understanding of ourselves and our true beauty which can only blossom in its fullness when we forgive totally and completely. Now, you have cried enough. You have dwelt on your regrets enough. It’s time to let go and allow God’s mercies flow through your heart and heal you completely. Let’s pray together.”

At this point, I ran upstairs because I could hear a door open and close. It seemed Ailende was out of his room. I didn’t want to be the next to shed tears if he had caught me eavesdropping🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️. 

I lay on my bed, trying to figure out what the story was. So Aunt Obehi could have died😢? It was too scary to imagine. A death in the family is never a good thing and it always comes with too much sadness and unbearable pain. Thank God she didn’t die. Thank God no one died, I prayed silently. 

However, I did learn something from that conversation. Forgiveness breaks the chains to the past, makes our wings stronger to rise above every pain and cause us to exist in our own beautiful world where everything is paradise. 

Does this mean I have to forgive Nkem for that lie she told Obinna and Esele against me last week🤔? Let me still think about it😉😁. 

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