Th e first time it happened, I was eight and it was two weeks after the elaborate eighth birthday party I had. He came into my room while I was doing my assignment and asked me to lie down. It hurt, like the way it hurts when my mother hits the iron spoon on my head for misbehaving. It was hurting after he was done, even when he asked me to clean up, even when my mother came home and I told her I fell down because brother Paul had told me not to tell her, that I would go to hell if I did. And I didn’t want to go to hell. The thought of fire burning my skin was too horrifying.
I still think about that day and the aftermath. Even when I realised that I was not going to hell if I told my mother. I told her and she took me to Church instead so they could cast out the demonic spirit making me blasphemy against a man of God. Brother Paul was among those praying he said the devil was powerful using an innocent little girl to try to bring down a man of God, and the other prayer warriors agreed. Shouting, jumping, shaking their heads as they cast out the demon. At a point, brother Paul held my head and pushed me down before exclaiming “It’s leaving! Hallelujah!” And the chorus of Hallelujah was said and the demon left but everything else remained.
I remember that day, in the bathtub waiting for Kunle my fifth lover to leave, hoping he won’t send me a breakup text calling me frigid as Harry did. I pressed the sponge harder on my body, trying to wash off Brother Paul.