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BENITA

BENITA

© Kevin Oselumhense Anetor, 2016

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

DISCLAIMER:

This ebook is purely a work of fiction, all characters, places, and situations described herein are merely figments of the author’s imagination.

Author’s Contact:

[email protected]

+234 816 425 4347

I sat in the office that afternoon as I always did at that time of day. Boredom was starting to seep into my bones. I knew the day would pass like all the others. These young students never came to the office. They would flock around you after mass and bug you with questions on end. Sometimes they would even go late to lectures – they seldom cared. But come to the office? No way! It was simply not in their nature. 

I returned the books I had brought to the office that day into my laptop bag. It was time to go home. As I moved toward the door, a young lady walked through. We almost hit each other on the doorway. I know what you’re thinking. We didn’t actually hit each other. So there were no books falling on the floor and both parties struggling to pick them up as we often see in the movies. And besides, I was not in the mood for theatrics.

I took some steps backward. The lady got over the initial shock and withdrew the same time I did. Though I was angry to the pit of my stomach, I gave her one of the best smiles I could manage. It’s called a ‘pastoral smile’. I felt like crying. Where had she been all the while? Why come now that I was just about leaving the office? When she smiled back I turned around and went back to my desk. This was a very dark and pretty lady. She was almost as tall as me, and that’s saying something. I know I am a tall man. 

It was obvious “Miss Campus” wanted to see me. There was no need asking her. She came inside and hovered about the chairs. I had not sat down yet. I was hoping she would just say whatever it was she wanted to say quickly and go out the door. She probably read my mood. Good!

“I really don’t want to waste your time padre. My name is Benita, a final year law student.” She looked around at everything except me.

“Padre. Erm… I am a Lesbian…”

I didn’t know when I sat down. The strength went out of my legs. All thoughts about going home jumped out the window.

I was out of breath. I mean, it wasn’t as if I didn’t know that some ladies had THE sexual orientation that Benita had just dropped on me. It was more of the manner in which she said it. It was not every day someone came into your office and told you point blank about this kind of sexual orientation here in Nigeria. 

Benita had obviously overcome her initial timidity. She sat there looking straight into my eyes as though daring me to condemn her or something. It was my turn to be uneasy. What kind of a lady was this anyway? I cleared my throat, collected my emotions, and looked straight back at her. 

“So Benita, huh? You certainly have a way of introducing yourself.” I removed my glasses and placed them beside the huge Bible that sat on my desk. “Okay, Benita! I am Father Bernard Ose, and I’m very pleased to meet you.” I stood up and offered my hand for a handshake. A tiny voice in my head reminded me it wasn’t gentlemanly to offer your hand first to a lady. But the hand was already out and I had no intention of withdrawing it. Benita stood up the moment I did. She took the outstretched hand and smiled again.

“You have a wonderful smile Benita. Do you know that?” I sat down again.

Benita was still smiling. She nodded. “I get that a lot. But coming from a priest, perhaps I’ll now take it much more seriously.” 

Something somersaulted inside my stomach. ‘Na joke I dey o’, a tiny voice said inside my skull. 

When we had both gotten over the initial awkward moments, I decided to probe a bit. “So, what can I do for you dear?” 

Benita hesitated. Perhaps she was trying to process her thoughts. I was looking at her face keenly. Her composure had disintegrated again, and her face was a scurry of expressions.

“Erm… Father? Do you think I need help?”

I smiled. “Well my dear Benita, wouldn’t you be the one to ascertain that?” I kept my smile in place.

“Me? Okay. I think I need help.”

“Why?” I asked.

Benita regarded me suspiciously. “What kind of a priest are you anyway? Haven’t you been listening?” 

I took some time before answering her. “Well, you see, you’ve hardly said anything, except telling me you’re a Lesbian. And right now, I’m waiting for you to tell me why you think you’re a Lesbian.” 

The way Benita looked at me then gave me the impression she thought I was nuts. I smiled inwardly. This was so going to be something.

Benita kept looking at me warily. I still had my pastoral smile in place. It was an all-knowing smile. If she wanted to tell me her story, I was all ears. One always had something to learn from tales of this nature. I rested my back on the chair and gently rocked the leather thing from side to side.

“Padre!” The young lady shifted uncomfortably in her seat. I could see perspiration on her brows. I involuntarily looked at the fan, which was bellowing at full speed. These industrial fans had an uncanny way of trying to blow everything out of the way. The one in my office had a peculiar hum – like the diminished roar of helicopter blades. How could she be sweating under a fan like that? 

“Padre!” The lady said again. My gaze returned to her face. I thought she was going to be stuck there forever. I began to lose patience. Worse still, the hunger was back. I allowed my mind wander a bit. Why she was busy calling ‘padre’ over and over again I could as well fall down and die of hunger and boredom…

“… the school was so bad. All the senior girls would compel us to…”

“…wait a minute girl!” I quickly cut in. “Did you say the school was so bad?” I was out of my daydream in a flash.

“Yes. It was almost lawless. The senior students would make us strip at night and…”

“Benita dear. You’ve got me totally confused. Could you please begin the story again? Slowly this time?” I wasn’t about to let the young lady know I hadn’t been paying attention. It was a pastoral offence…

Benita had her wary look back in place…

After a few minutes, her wary look disappeared. In its place was sadness. I had never seen such overwhelming sadness in anyone’s eyes. The emotion seemed to envelope her. It hung like a sinister halo over her head. The lady that seemed so tall and proud only moments ago now looked utterly miserable. Her shoulders were slouched. Portions of her braided hair had somehow escaped from the flower shaped pin that held them together in a ponytail; they fell in cascades over her face.

When she raised her head this time, there were tears in her eyes. 

“Father… I wasn’t always a Lesbian you know?” My heart went out to her. I wanted to reach out a hand, but I quickly thought better of it. A counsellor should not get too carried away. Benita wiped a lone tear from her left eye. She comported herself and cleared her throat. Then she looked straight into my eyes again. The fire was back in her eyes.

“Padre… I’ll be 21 next month. That means I’ve been carrying this burden for eleven years. I was 10 when I gained admission to Federal Government Girls College Ekpoma.” She paused and looked away. There was a faraway look about her, as though she could remember that moment from years ago. “I’ve been wanting to speak to someone about this. Anyone! But you see… How do you just go to someone and tell them you’re a lesbian? Who would truly understand what I feel deep inside? Who would even be patient enough to hear my story? Today, I just made up my mind. We were talking about gay marriages and civil implications in my Family Law class and… something just didn’t seem right. I knew I would burst if I didn’t talk to someone. So here I am.”

I was holding my breath, wondering when she was going to begin the story. My nerves were stretched taut, my ears strained at every word. 

“Well… Padre! So here I was in my new school with so much expectations… To cut the long story short. I was introduced to all this by the Biological teacher. Her name was Becky. I can never forget that name. She was a very young woman at the time.  Very alive and funny. Everyone liked her. But she took a special liking to me. I was elated. I became like her little sister. That’s what she called me. I was always with her, I longed for her company… Imagine leaving everyone behind and finding a perfect friend here in school. But one day… One day…” Her voice trailed off.

I was stunned. I had been expecting the usual school mother/school daughter thing. Biology teacher? A grown up woman? I was dealing with a criminal offence in my hands. Whoa! 

Benita seemed to have pulled herself together after a little while. She had that determined look again. “Well padre… One day Miss Becky called me to the biology laboratory after lunch. It was not unusual for some teachers to stay over for some extra lectures. I went there with joy. After all, I had nothing doing that afternoon, and I would obviously have jumped at any opportunity to be rid of the ugly specimen that called herself our hostel prefect.” Benita paused. She seemed to be collecting her thoughts. 

I remained very still. This was not the time for interruptions of any kind. I’ll just let her go at her own pace. 

‘Miss Becky was the only one in the laboratory. She had pulled off her overcoat since the weather was extremely hot. I came in from behind and jumped on her back. She laughed and pulled me down. She appeared to be very busy that day…”

Benita picked one red pen off my table and began drawing patterns on my table. I could see the tiny red lines from my seat. I just wished she would get back to the story and leave my poor table alone….

“She started talking about puberty and sanitary pads and menstrual cycle…” Benita’s voice trailed off again. “She said there were things I needed to know, and that no one would tell me except her.” Benita looked up at me. “Do you understand all of this padre?” 

I nodded. I had no choice. Whether I understood or not I had to agree with her at this point. Her story had to continue.

“Well, that was how it all started. I would go there every day and she would tell me about changes in my body. She would even point them out and touch me all over, even in the oddest places…” Benita could notice my discomfort. I hoped she would spare me the details already. 

“Padre?”

“Yes dear!”

“Are you comfortable with all this?”

“Oh yes!” I lied. “Please go on…” 

Benita did not appear convinced. Maybe that was why she changed the tune of the story. “Padre! I’m not here to talk about Miss Becky sha. I had to bring that in just to let you know where my lesbian tendencies sprang from.” She looked up at my face. She probably was trying to figure out my expression. “I’m here to talk about myself and the burden I’ve had to bear alone these past eleven years…” She paused. 

I just kept smiling. You know? That pastoral smile I had earlier mentioned. Benita was not going to hear a word from me just yet. I wanted her to get the story all out. 

Someone poked his head through the door of my office. It was the Sec. Gen. He was probably surprised that I was still in the office. He quickly greeted us just before his head disappeared the same way it had appeared. 

The campus was quieter. I wanted to check what time it was, but I dared not. I didn’t want Benita to think that I was in a hurry. The rumblings in my stomach had long since subsided. The poor intestines had adjusted, knowing they wouldn’t be getting any food that afternoon. Intestines of priests had to adjust all the time…

“I did so many things with Becky. So many unspeakable things. I couldn’t even begin to tell you about them Father.” Benita had that faraway look about her again. “Anyways, things changed when Miss Becky was asked to leave…” 

“Asked to leave?” It was the first time I interrupted the story. I wanted to be clear on that point. 

“Yea. She was asked to leave. It was during our third term examinations…” When Benita raised up her head to look at me, there were tears in her eyes again…

… She wiped the tears from her face with the back of her right palm. “It was discovered that Becky had been using many many girls my age in my school. Benita paused and looked out the window. “I was so hurt. How could she? I couldn’t even understand how she had gotten away with it. At first, I wasn’t angry because she had sexually abused me on many occasions. I had gotten used to these sessions with her. It was a kind of addiction, you know? I was angry because she told me I was special; that I was the only one. That I was her special angel…” Benita’s voice trailed off. 

I was dumbfounded. I just sat there with eyes open wide. This was one hell of a story. 

“Anyways… A student had spoken to her parents about Becky. They came to tell the authorities and they launched an investigation. That’s how it was discovered that she had used many other girls.” Benita exhaled so loudly, I could hear the whooshing sound from my seat.

“So it turned out I wasn’t the only one. Things changed from thence. I was lonely, heart broken and confused. My parents didn’t know what had gone wrong. My mom tried to make me share with her…”

Benita stood up from her chair. She raised both hands to her face and gave it a good rub. “Please padre, I really need to pace. Is that okay?” 

“You can pace all you want dear.” She could even run around or something if it made her feel better. I didn’t mind at all.

“After Miss Becky left I became something else. I guess that’s when I got lost. The sexual urges were so intense I began practicing all the things I learnt from her on the younger students. I gave them lectures and touched them in the same way she would touch me then. Some loved it and would come back again and again. Others who didn’t like it were not bold enough to report me to the school management. I became a Lesbian Queen of sorts…”

Benita had her back to me and her face to the wall. I couldn’t see her face. I couldn’t even guess what she was thinking. Her next words took the breath out of me.

I strained my ears. She didn’t just say that, did she?

“Excuse me please. What did you say?”

Benita turned and came back towards me. She sat down calmly, looked me straight in the eye and gave me a look that I’ll remember forever.

“Padre! I said I don’t believe in God anymore.” It was obvious that the young lady was getting angry. I could see it in her eyes, in the way the bones stood out on her neckline. I could even make out the veins on her right temple. 

“Wow! Benita. Please take it easy. Surely you didn’t mean that…”

“I mean it so much.” She didn’t even let me finish. “I wish I didn’t padre. But I do. I really do.” 

Nothing prepared me for the tears that poured down in torrents on those tender cheeks. Benita’s whole frame shook as sobs washed over her repeatedly. In an instant I was out of my seat. To hell with the principles of guidance and counselling. I needed to at least comfort this lady. I quickly brought out my handkerchief and offered it to her. 

“Please don’t cry Benita. Take it easy. God knows you. He knows your name. You’re His dear dear child.” I didn’t know what else to say in that moment. I sat on one edge of my office table, my right hand patting her back gently…

“I’m so sorry padre. I didn’t come here to break down.” She tried to wipe her face, but fresh tears frustrated her attempts. “Where was God padre? Where did He go? Did I choose to know Miss Becky? I didn’t ask for any of this. Now what do I do with myself?” She got up from the chair and moved a bit backward as though she suddenly realised I was intruding on her privacy. I took that as a cue and went back to my seat.

“I need a life padre. I need a future. I didn’t ask to be a Lesbian. But now I’ve been a Lesbian too long. Too long! It’s the only sexual orientation I know. What in heaven’s name am I supposed to do now?”

I looked at Benita. Then I heaved a huge sigh. This was going to be a long day…

“Benita dear…,” I was looking for the right words; this was a dicey situation, “please don’t lose hope. The only way out of this situation is God, so you somehow need to bring back that faith you said you’ve lost.”

“Father you don’t understand,” Benita argued. “I think about how perfect I would have been today if I had never set eyes on Miss Becky. I think about how normal I would have been if my innocence wasn’t abused and stolen at that early age. So I blame God. Wasn’t he supposed to have guided me and led my path towards someone else, someone better than Becky? Why me?”

“Benita…”

“Wait Padre, let me finish.” Benita had lost her calm. She was getting angry again. “I didn’t choose this Padre. I didn’t know any better at the time. I trusted Becky. I was only Ten for God’s sake!” 

“Benita!” This time I had more force to my voice. I didn’t shout at her, but my voice was loud enough to pass across the message that she really needed to listen to me at this point. 

“I’m sorry Padre,” Benita apologised. “I got carried away.”

“It’s okay. But here’s the thing. You came here because you didn’t choose to be a Lesbian. I know that. You came here because you knew there had to be more to life. You came here because you’re strong enough to give this a shot. Somehow your mind told you that no matter how dark the tunnel is, there must be light at the end. Do you have a Bible, Benita?”

Benita looked at me in a funny way. It was as though she couldn’t believe I had asked that. “In fact, Padre, I belong to a Bible study group. I’m a member of CCRN. My parents are so Charismatic, we had no choice but to be members as well. I had my life in the spirit seminar when I was eleven.” Benita smiled ironically. “And I was already doing these things at the time o. God!” 

I heaved a sigh. “Okay, I guess that means you own a Bible then?” 

Benita smiled. 

“Well, if you read psalm thirty, verse five…”

“Sorrow may last all night, but joy comes in the morning.” Benita recited effortlessly. “Padre, I read the Bible o. Hmmm. You don’t know me at all.”

“I want you to say the words of that scripture again, slowly this time. I’m not interested in how good your memorisation of scripture is. I just want you to pay attention to the words more. Can you do that?”

“Sorrow may last all night, but joy comes in the morning.” Benita recited it slowly this time. 

“Good,” I said. “You see, it’s one thing to pray, but it’s another thing to pray like you’ve got no other choice. Do you understand?” 

“I guess?”

“Well, Benita. That scripture gives us a reason never to lose hope. I can’t question God. I don’t know why Becky came into your life and ruined it at the time she did. I don’t know why God allowed it to happen to you. But I know enough to know that God knows best.”

“How?” Benita asked with much energy. “How does he know best?” 

“Benita, how are you so certain you’d be much better today if you hadn’t met Becky?”

“Haba, Father na. What situation could be worse than this one? Ehn? What could be worse than this?”

I smiled. “Well, I know of someone who was raped at age six by an uncle, started having sexual intercourse with her elder brother at seven, and was lured into lesbianism at ten years, and she remained a lesbian till she was thirty.”

Benita’s mouth was so wide open, flies could have held choir practice in there for ten seconds, absolutely undisturbed. “Haaaah, Father,” she finally said. “I know what you’re doing. You’re trying to make me feel my situation isn’t the worst abi? This is just a story to make me feel better bah?” 

“No dear. I do know such a person. She is my friend.”

“What? Like seriously?”

“Absolutely,” I confirmed. 

“Oh my God!”

‘No be only your God’, a voice said inside my head. ‘You never hear anything.’

“So what happened to her? Where is she today?” Benita was suddenly full of questions. 

The fan suddenly stopped rotating. PHCN had struck as usual. I looked at my wrist watch instinctively, it was nearly 4:30pm. “Let’s step outside dear. Without the fan, this place will soon turn into an oven.” I gathered my stuff together, strung my laptop bag across my shoulder once more and went out of the office, Benita following closely behind me. I locked the door and led the way outside. 

As soon as we got out, the fresh air wrapped wonderful arms around me. It was a welcome relief. It would be triple tragedy to faint inside my office because of hunger and excessive heat.”

“Father o…”

“Yes my dear.” I replied as we walked toward one of the mango trees just in front of the Chaplaincy chapel. 

“You’re kind of different.”

“Me?” I looked at my legs instinctively. Some students had told me that I walked funny. “My gait right?” 

“Noooo…” Benita shook her head vigorously as she negated my line of thought. “I’m surprised you’re not angry with me.”

“Angry with you for what?” I couldn’t understand what she was saying. 

“Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m saying.” Benita continued. To be frank, the major reason I’ve never spoken to anyone about this is because I had been too ashamed to even admit that I am a lesbian. Some of my lesbian friends…”

‘Ghen! Ghen!’ The common movie tune signalling DANGER resounded inside my skill. My mind wandered around. So she’ll come to my office with more lesbian friends? How was I supposed to spend such time daily trying to convince them to believe in God? 

“…that’s also why.” Benita finished. 

We got under the tree and sat down on the bamboo chair the students had constructed for that purpose. 

“Benita o…”

“Yes padre.”

“What were you saying about your lesbian friends?”

If Benita was disappointed I hadn’t been listening, she didn’t show it. She carefully crossed her legs and looked at me with such intensity I could feel the heat of her gaze on my face. “I said some of my Lesbian friends had mentioned that when they tried to speak to people about who they are, they begin avoiding them like they’re possessed or something. So me I don’t want anyone to see me as a possessed person. I also don’t want to lose respect among my fellow CCR members. My parents will just die. To them I’m still the holiest of their children.”

“Is that why I’m different?”

“Yes na. You’re not even angry. You’ve been here for hours trying to make me regain my faith.”

That human thing in me called pride reared its ugly head. I suddenly felt like one celeb as my head swelled with pride. But then I quickly controlled myself before I got into God’s bad book. I had a soul to rescue. This was hardly the time to be wallowing in vanities. “You forget that I’m a campus priest. I’ve seen and heard many things. I learn from these experiences. So no, I’m not angry with you. There’s no point. My own is to make sure your relationship with God is restored. Simple! To answer your question ehn? The lady is still very much around, and she hasn’t lost hope. We’re still talking. At some point she even had to undergo psychological therapies to help her process the many traumatic aspects of her existence.”

Benita wasn’t talking, but I could see her lips moving as though she were muttering silently to herself. 

“Listen,” I continued. “I know some persons who have this lesbian orientation and have refused to let go. They are not even strong enough to try. It has become a lifestyle for them and they have completely given up. Some others, instead of accepting the issue and trying to see how to be helped in their journey of faith, begin to raise propaganda and form gay clubs, gay groups, and what have you. They begin to proclaim their weakness as strength, and become activists of sorts. Is that what you want to become?” 

“No padre.” Benita replied.

“Do you believe your sexual orientation can get back to what it used to be?”

Benita looked at me, then her gaze went far away. Her eyebrows contracted and relaxed, then contracted again. “Padre, to be frank ehn, I don’t believe I can change. You see sometimes the urge is so strong, it’s like I’m addicted to it. When that happens, I can do anything with anyone. It’s like something else takes over me. I don’t even have any feelings for guys anymore, like sexual feelings.”

I cleared my throat and cracked my fingers noisily. Benita was very quiet and calm. I 

was careful not to use any judgemental tone. I knew God must be very patient with people like Benita. I had to somehow try to be patient too. “Benita, see ehn, I’m not you, so I cannot pretend to truly understand how you must feel. But I’m trying to place myself in your shoes, and I know, trust me, I know it’s not easy.”

Benita brought her gaze back to my face. It was obvious she was hanging on to my every word. 

“God loves you just as much as he loves me.” I continued. The look Benita gave me revealed she wasn’t convinced. “Benita, God’s love is unconditional. It’s not dependent on what we do. It is true that we need to do our best to take up the salvation Christ won for us, but God’s love can’t be diminished by our failings. And his mercies endure forever.”

“Father, can God forgive me?”

I nodded. 

“Okay, what about those children I made lesbians? Each time I think back I feel like killing myself. I’m so angry at Miss Becky today. But that’s exactly how those persons must be angry with me too. I have destroyed the lives of people as well. How can God forgive me?” 

This was one serious question. And honestly, I was not certain I could provide a satisfactory answer. “Well, Benita. You were abused. Then you went on to abuse others. It became one vicious cycle. Many have been hurt, souls have been led astray. Honestly, I don’t know what God is going to do about those persons. But just as you’ve come to me now, I’m certain God will continue to prompt them till they are able to regain themselves. For all we know, they may have already gone back to the right track.”

“Why does God allow any of this to happen in the first place?” Benita asked. 

“Hmmm… I can’t answer that. But I know God has a reason for letting even terrible things happen to us sometimes. He sees what we can’t. He knows what we can never imagine. So… let God take care of those persons. I know he will. Right now let’s allow him take care of you.”

Benita shifted uncomfortably on her seat. 

“I’m sorry I had to make you talk as much as you did. But you see, I needed to understand. Have you heard about sexual relationship disorder?”

Benita seemed to consider my question for a moment. “Erm, not really father. But from the words I can guess you’re trying to say I have a disordered orientation?” 

“Something like that, but wait a minute dear.” I smiled. I had to somehow break this information without sounding demeaning and condescending. Experience had taught me that the way issues like this are handled could go a long way in either making or marring fragile consciences. “Just give me time to properly explain. Is that okay?”

“Yes Father.” Benita was smiling again. She perhaps found my discomfort hilarious. For me, that was a good sign. “Okay… Erm… Natural sexual orientation is heterosexual, you know, the attraction between men and women?”

Benita nodded.

“And being homosexual is…”

“Being attracted to members of one’s own sex.” Benita said. 

“Good! Did you say you have no feelings at all for the opposite sex?”

“Padre. I don’t o. To be frank.”

“But you’re willing to try, right?”

“I will try Padre.”

“It’s going to be difficult. It’s not magic. You will try and fail many times. Do you promise not to give up trying?”

Benita heaved a sigh. “Well, I’ll do my best by God’s grace.”

“Perfect. That’s just perfect.  God can do the impossible. So get ready to work.”

“Yes Father.”

“You see, your mind has somehow gotten used to thinking about sex and sexual orientation in a certain way, because of too many repeated instances. Do you understand?”

“I think I do Father.”

“Good! Now we all have to work to try to reform your mind to make a U-turn and begin to think more naturally.”

“Hmmmmmm!” Benita rubbed both of her palms together. 

“Are you familiar with Ephesians Chapter One?”

Benita looked at me with a funny gaze once again. 

“Oh sorry dear. I almost forgot your familiarity with scriptures is unprecedented.”

“I didn’t say that o, padre.” 

I laughed. “Anyway, take time today and read that passage over and over again.”

“The whole Chapter?”

“Yes dear. The whole Chapter. I’m going to encourage you to pray the rosary as well. When last did you..?”

“I can’t remember padre.”

It was my turn to give her my own ‘are you kidding?’ kind of gaze. 

“Don’t look at me like that jor. Padre. I’m not able to pray that rosary…”

“But you’ll try, abi?”

Benita thought about it for a while. “Okay, I’ll try…”

“You still remember how to…”

“Yes na. Haba! Am I not Catholic?” 

“You be Catholic before o.”

“That said. I’ll give you the number of one Monk I know in the monastery who’ll take you on a week retreat with Psychological therapies.”

Benita looked worried. “Erm… Monastery? Why na?” 

“Okay, first things first, you’ve become addicted to homosexuality out of habit. To break habits can be extremely difficult. Especially habits of this nature. So I’ll send you to a friend of mine who’s a monk. You need a quiet place to seriously work on your sexual orientation and think about all this. Then you need his expertise in Psychology to help you deal with the trauma. I can’t help you there, I’m no psychologist. Finally you need to be in an atmosphere that enables you rediscover God’s love under the guidance of a spiritual director. Get the point.”

“You’re sounding like a medical doctor giving me prescriptions or something.”

I hit a mosquito that was trying to sip my blood. “Benita dear. But I’m a doctor na. A doctor of the soul.”

Benita smiled. 

“Please come back tomorrow. I’ll call the monk tonight and set up an appointment. Let me know when you’re able to have a week off, okay?”

“Yes father.”

“Have you read St Augustine’s Confessions?”

“No father.”

“I’ll give you the book tomorrow. Take your time. I’m sure it’ll inspire you and strengthen your resolve.”

“Okay Father. Many thanks for your time.”

“You’re welcome dear. One more thing. When was your last confession?”

“Erm… It’s been a while Father.”

“Are you willing to come to God in the Sacrament of reconciliation now?”

“Yes Father. Please!”

“Okay, one moment, let me get my stole.”

As I went to my car, I whispered a prayer to persons like Benita everywhere, that God may give them the courage to seek help… 

THE END

About the Author

Rev. Fr. Kevin Oselumhense Anetor is a Catholic Priest of the Catholic Diocese of Uromi, Edo State, Nigeria. He holds Bachelor’s Degrees in Philosophy and Theology, from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and Urbaniana University, Rome respectively. He is currently a Post Graduate Student of Communication Studies at the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

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BENITA

When Benita walks into the office, she isn't exactly sure what she wanted from the priest. It was true she needed someone to talk to about her unusual sexual orientation, but she also had reservations. She considered her options. Was it necessary to go ahead and open up the deepest secret of her life to a man she barely knew? Or was it better to accept what she was and try to live at peace with something she had increasingly come to hate?

  • Author: Kevin Oselumhense Anetor
  • Published: 2017-01-05 16:35:30
  • Words: 5779
BENITA BENITA