THE RIPPLE EFFECT
Toju left the church with a broken heart.
He could not believe that the church would be so ignorant as to accuse him for what he did not even know.
When he got to his house, his neighbor, Ahmed met him.
“Ahhhhhh…TJ, wetin happen na? You close early today?” Ahmed asked. He was surprised to see Toju coming very early from church. Toju normally comes back late in the evening every Sunday due to his counseling and visitations of people after the church service as well as going to homes to pray for members who had issues.
Toju couldn’t reply Ahmed. He knew he (Ahmed) would not understand.
“TJ…see ehn, I nor just get joy right now…” Ahmed said frowning.
Toju stopped to hear what he has to say.
“But, guy, nor be you tell me say that fine babe wey come here that time na your sister? Both of you even resemble sef. Wetin come be all this nonsense wey I dey see for Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp na? The way all people dey comment and talk rubbish for the post con dey vess me. TJ, abeg na wetin dey happen?” Ahmed said. He was looking very sad with anger.
“Ahmed, I don’t even know. It was your house I slept that night. That lady in question is my sister, same father and mother! I don’t know who snapped that picture. I don’t know, seriously…” Toju said. He tried to control his emotion, just to avoid crying.
“Na wa oooo. Me, I know say you dey innocent. I don dey this area for 10yrs now. Since the time wey you come this place, 5yrs ago, I never see any lady come look for you. Even all those fine fine babes for your church wey dey come check you out, na outside you and them for dey talk…” Ahmed said.
“It is well, Ahmed…” Toju said
“TJ, nor worry, I dey your back….” Ahmed said and left him.
Toju went inside his house and was really thinking deeply about his life. He cried and prayed and then slept off.
The next day, his journey to work via public transport wasn’t easy.
There were lots of murmurings within the bus.
“Hmmm, na wa oooo… All these church people of today sef, na only God nai know who go enter this Heaven ooo…” One of the passengers said as he turned to his friends sitting with him in the bus.
“Na true ooo, my brother. Dem go just dey pretend as if say na them holy pass, but for secret, dem dey do pass us….” Another responded and they all laughed.
“Me, I know say na only bear and three packets of cigar I dey take every morning to warm the system. I know say me I nor dey holy, but all these holy holy people, na dem sin pass. After, dem go dey shout ‘repent or perish’…. Nonsense…” One of the men added.
“Many of us beta pass them oooo….” Another added.
Toju just bowed his head. He couldn’t say anything until he got to his job location.
There was an emergency meeting.
“I’m very sorry for disrupting your activities today, gentlemen and ladies, but we have a tight issue on ground that is threatening to close this business firm..” the manager sir.
“What type of issue is that?” Everyone was asking.
“Just this morning, four good deals worth about a 100 million has been cancelled by our clients. I tried to plead with them not to cancel it, but they didn’t bother to hear my plea….” He said as he stood up from his chair and paced around a little.
“The condition given to us to maintain our stand in the business market is to relieve one of our staffs of his duty…” He continued…
“Ahhhh….Jesus… This is not good. Who will that be?” They were all asking and looking at themselves.
“How many of you have seen this?” The manager turned his laptop and showed everyone the picture circulating online about Toju.
“Whaaaat! Oh, my God! Sir, this is not true. It was an error, sir. I can explain…” Toju went down on his knees pleading.
The other staffs were just looking with pity. They had seen it before but never thought it would affect his job in the company.
“Whatever your explanation is will not solve the issue. Our big clients are embarrassed that a very trusted employee of ours would descend so low as to fall into this mess. The integrity of this company is at stake because of this message and picture. You occupy a very sensitive position as the Sales Manager overseeing about 7 sales branches of this company. I’m sorry, we have to relieve you of your duty in this company. Submit all necessary documents in my office immediately….” The manager said and dismissed the workers.
“Please, sir, have mercy. There’s a huge misunderstanding somewhere. That lady is my sister….” Toju wanted to continue his defense, but the manager refused to listen.
“Leave my office now!” He ordered him.
Toju was greatly distressed by that. He just got this job about 5months ago and was doing well, now he’s been sacked.
He left the office and went back home.
“Oh God, what’s the meaning of all these? What have I done wrong? Who did I offend?” He kept speaking to himself and then gave out a loud cry.
He cried and slept off.
When he woke up, he went out to get something to eat. The way he was treated at the restaurant was strange. He left there and went home.
He met one of his converts whom by God’s grace was delivered from immoral behaviors through his preaching.
He met him in a brothel that was closed by.
“Daniel, what are you doing in that ungodly place…?” Toju asked him.
“TJ, the bad guy….abeg leave me alone. Nor dey pretend for me again. We be one…. TJ, the baaaaad guy….” Daniel said and went his way.
“Oh Jesus, this is not happening! Ahhhh…this boy that I fasted and prayed for, has gone back to his vomit? Oh Lord, I can’t withstand all these embarrassment…. I don’t have a face again in the society….” Toju said as he walked home.
He decided to commit suicide. He was fed up with everything.
“Let me go to the nearby church today. Maybe someone may care enough to help me out….” He said to himself.
When it was time for the service, he went to the church.
When he entered the Church, he sat at the back.
All he was hearing from the message preached that evening was even compounding his problem and giving him more excuse to end his own life.
After the service, most of the members that saw him were giving him space and wouldn’t want to associate with him. He went home feeling lonely, abandoned and forsaken.
“Oh God, please, have mercy on my soul. I can’t bear this shame anymore. No one cares for me. Nobody wants to hear my defense. Please, just forgive me for what I’m about to do…” Toju cried as he went to get a thick rope. He planned to hang himself that night.
“Ooooooooo…. No onions! Me too dey forget sef. I for don buy this onions for that aboki man wey dey for junction this afternoon, but time don go. Join us on our tel Where I go fit get onions this night?” Ahmed said when he discovered that there was no onions in his house for the stew he planned to cook that evening.
He checked his pocket…. “Ahhhh… No money oooo. Kai! Wetin I go do now?” He said with his hands akimbo.
“Make I go beg TJ. That guy go get foodstuffs, he no go gree cook. He go dey go buka go eat….” He said as he went to meet Toju.
Toju had already tied the rope and his neck was on it. He kicked the chair and it gave way leaving him hanging between the ceiling and the ground.
Ahmed was already knocking. He didn’t hear anything.
“Shwuuuuuuuu, I see this guy enter house this evening na….” He said and knock again, still no answer.
He heard a loud sound coming from inside.
Toju’s weight was more than the fan can take, thus, it broke and he fell, but he was already choked and was struggling for his life.
Ahmed, upon hearing that sound, pushed the door with force and met Toju gasping for air.
“Ahhhhhh .. TJ…TJ….” He shouted and hurriedly carried him out. Other neighbors quickly came and assisted him to get Toju to the hospital.
Toju was placed on oxygen and went into a coma.
“What is this?” Mrs. Jones exclaimed.
“Linda! Linda!!” She called out.
“Yes, mum…. What’s the matter?” Linda replied.
“Just look at what your disgusting brother has been doing…” She gave Linda her phone to read the message she just received from her friend on WhatsApp.
“Jesus….! Mummy this is not true!” Linda said.
“What do you mean? Is it not clear to you that he is an hypocrite!” Mrs. Jones shouted.
“No, he is not! Mum, it’s been 5yrs he went out of this house and not you or Dad ever asked of him. You abandoned your son, your only son!” Linda defended Toju.
“He chose his own ways and we have no choice than to chase him out. Now look….look at what he has been doing outside, sleeping with girls. Is that what his Christianity is all about?” Mrs Jones responded.
“Mum, bring the phone and let me look at it again…” Linda said and took the phone from her.
“Mummy, this was me! I am the one here. Can’t you see it? I know I have changed and removed all those things I used to put on, but I was with Toju some days ago. I don’t know who took this picture, but that person has laid a false accusation on Toju….” Linda said.
Mrs Jones observed the picture critically again and discovered that it was Linda.
“But, who must have done this against him?” She asked rhetorically
“By the way, where is Toju, my son? Where is he? This picture and story has gone far. He must be in a very tight corner now and needs someone to help him…..” Mrs Jones said and shouted…. ” Linda, please, take me to my son…. I want to see Toju….” She said.
“It’s late already now, mum. Calm down, let me call him….” Linda said.
She tried his number, but it was switched off.
She and her mum decided to see him first thing the next day.