LIGHT IN A TUNNEL
It was the 24th of December, Esther sat in her apartment feeling quite lonely, outside her apartment was buzzing with the Christmas spirit but she wondered why she felt nothing. It was the same experience she had for the past five years, after she lost her father the weight of running a family fell on her fragile shoulders so she had no choice but to leave school. She was a sex worker, that was how she trained her siblings but she didn’t go to work that evening because she knew most of her customers would be celebrating Christmas with their family some would even go to church ‘hypocrites’ she thought. Throughout the week they would visit The Sex Palace but when Sunday arrived they would hide their condoms and go to church, it was no wonder most of them were poor their prayers and supplications wouldn’t reach the church’s ceiling.
She was sitting before a television set watching a romantic movie when the doorbell rang, she looked at the time and it was 11:57pm “who is knocking at my door by this time?” she soliloquized “who is it!” she asked
“I live next door; I have some snacks here to share with you” a female’s voice came from the other side of the door. Esther slowly opened the door and noticed it was the daughter of a pastor who lived nearby, she was surprised to the core because many people avoided her and warned their children to stay away from her.
“come in” Esther said still surprised
“um…I came with a friend, is it okay?” she asked
“sure!” she said and the teenagers stepped in “by the way what are your names?” she asked
“my name is Sarah, I’m pastor Ahmed’s daughter”
“my name is Emmanuel” the teenage boy said
She led them to her sitting room where they dropped a basket of local snacks, she thanked them wholeheartedly for they had brightened up her day. It was 12:30am which meant it was Christmas it was late already so she advised them to go home “nah!” they both said “the Christmas eve party is still booming at home I need some peace and quiet” Sarah said making all of them laugh.
“it’s fine as long as your mom doesn’t get angry” Esther said
They spent time watching a movie, Sarah had fallen asleep but Emmanuel was still wide awake. It had been a while since Esther had visitors in her home, even her brother whom she works day and night for condemned her job and stopped calling her when she refused to.
“Many people don’t know the reason for the season all they do is eat and play, some people celebrate Christmas without knowing me, this is the season to celebrate my coming to the world to die” Emmanuel said
Esther was confused “what are you talking about?”
“you don’t know me anymore Esther, I called out to you but you refused to take my hands” Emmanuel said
“who are you?” she asked getting scared
“I am Jesus, Emmanuel is also my name” he said
Esther burst into laughter “if you’re Jesus then I’m Mary” she mocked.
He turned towards her direction “you had an abortion at the age of seventeen, you hid in the bathroom and took some drugs after which you flushed the child down the toilet”
Tears flowed from her eyes, she’d never mentioned it to anybody, but she found it hard to believe Jesus would visit someone like her “if you’re really Jesus show me the scars from the nails”
Jesus stretched forth his hands and she didn’t just see scars but holes, Goosebumps appeared all over her body and it wasn’t because of the hamarttan but the fact that Jesus Christ was sitting in her room a chill ran down her spine. She began to cry her heart out, she fell to his feet and cried bitterly after which she felt peace in her heart
“I have great plans for you Esther, this is not the life I planned for you to live” Jesus said
“but if you hadn’t turned deaf ears to the prayers of my family to let my dad live things wouldn’t have ended up this way, things were already bad before his death then things got worse” she cried
“your father committed suicide, he got himself addicted to a hard drug which he knew would kill him”
A soft gasp escaped Esther’s lips “that can’t be” she argued
“the debts were too much, he didn’t turn to me, he believed he could settle them on his own meanwhile he couldn’t”
“my father worked so hard, he was even a deacon in church my father served you with all his heart so how could you let him go through all that misfortune!” she yelled
Jesus stood and faced the wall with his arms crossed behind him “served me with all his heart? Oh Esther if only you knew the kind of man your father was” he shook his head
“he was a hypocrite, he only did all that for the praises, he committed many sins which made him so filthy in the sight of my father, the reason I’m here is because I don’t want you to live and die like that” he turned and faced her “I have sacrificed my life so that you can have everything, if you turn to me you’ll have everything you want all you have to do is ask and it will be granted on to you”
“but I’m too filthy to receive all these things from you, I’m a prostitute and a home wrecker” she cried “I’m even a porn actress” she whispered in tears “I’m not worthy”
“there’s no sin that I cannot forgive, for through my blood your sins are washed away”
“forgive me please! Please have mercy on me, I promise to serve you with all of my heart, I’m sorry for all the evil I’ve done, please come into my heart and be my personal lord and saviour” she cried
“your sins are forgiven” Jesus said helping her rise to her feet. He led her to the veranda and they both stood looking at the pastor’s house still booming due to the party, it was actually a charity party and the money gained would be given to the less privileged. Jesus smiled “Femi knew me at the age of eight through the bible, although he grew up in a pagan household he still gave me his whole heart, it’s no mistake that he is a pastor, Sarah his daughter officially received salvation at the age of six, she doesn’t remember though and she doesn’t know how proud I am of her”
“does she know you are Jesus?” Esther asked and he shook his head
“her spiritual eyes haven’t opened enough to see through this physical body I’m using, if I hadn’t told you, you wouldn’t have known either” he said “you would have died today if I hadn’t come, at exactly 5:00pm today you will receive a call that you have a customer waiting for you, he is a ritualist”
Esther gasped loudly “what!”
“so cut all the ties you have with the world and work for my kingdom, I’ve given you the grace to travel all over the world to preach of my love and kindness tell them that heaven is real so is hell, I want you to equip yourself with the word and prayer, put on my whole armour so you can be able to resist the arrows of the wicked” he paused for a while “it’s Christmas, what would you like to have as a gift?” he asked
“You are enough, as long as I have you I have everything” Esther answered
Jesus placed his hand on her shoulders “I will always be with you, and I look forward to the time we’ll meet again in my kingdom, there will be no pain, no sorrows but everlasting peace, joy and happiness”
Esther woke up startled, she scanned her environment like a CCTV, “Jesus!” she called but everywhere was quiet. She walked to the sitting room and saw Sarah sleeping on the couch, beside her was a note with some words on it.
I know the thoughts I have towards you, they are of good and not of evil to give you an expected end. I will always be with you.
Peace Ufedojo Haruna is a Sixteen year old who hails from Kogi State Nigeria. She was born on the 5th day of September 2003, she finished secondary school on the 20th of July 2019,her poem ‘From Freedom to Free-doom’ was short-listed in the 2019 edition of Korean-Nigerian Poetry prize student category. she loves writing poems, drama and prose.
She is an advocate for female expression, poverty eradication, anti racism, and environmental friendly culture she is also in the fight against rape and other sexual violence. Writing is a way she expresses her thoughts and views.