Zaynab stood at the bus stop quietly staring at the slow moving traffic. She wondered when a half empty commercial bus would pull up for her to struggle to get on board. So far, all the ones that stopped had been overloaded and were just dropping the extra passengers off so the car would have the right number of people to move.
She stared down at her white knee length socks and her now dusty black shoes and passively listened to the chatter of the other individuals waiting to also catch a bus.
Today she had left the school compound late. Mr. Yeli had asked that she and a couple of other students stay behind and help sort out the papers of the finalists who had just written their last mock. On the whole it had been an interesting event, except the part where Sarah asked her if she would like to have a relationship with Jesus. She had heard of Him, a couple of times and thought she might have chanced on Him when she tried improving her fluency of the Arabic language by reading the Holy Qu’ran.
She had smiled the question off and tried to change the subject because she didn’t seem to have the right answer to give Sarah but she felt something in her heart. A slight thug. Which she had previously never felt before.
Her thoughts were interrupted when a bus screeched to a stop. Too many people were struggling to get in, she thought to herself. Just then, another bus with only a few passengers pulled up just a few metres ahead and she run towards it. She struggled a bit at the gate but finally got a seat beside a plum pretty lady.
Soon the bus began to move, and she wondered what meal her mum and older sisters prepared for supper today. She was starved. She hadn’t enjoyed the waakye Hajia sold at the canteen today, and she didn’t seem to be the only one who complained. Her tummy rumbled slightly.
The plump lady sitting beside her, tapped her gently and said ‘Hi’ with such a radiant smile she just had to smile back.
‘How are you?’ She asked.
‘Very fine thank you Ma’am.’ Zaynab replied.
‘Have you always been a Moslem?’ She enquired.
Zaynab was taken back by the question but showed no hint of that.
‘What’s your name? I am Priscilla.’ The lady asked again.
The plump lady smiled.
‘Have you heard about Jesus?’ She continued.
Zaynab smiled, and looked down at her palms, then she raised her head and smiled again.
‘Do you believe in Heaven?’
‘Yes, I do.’ Zaynab replied
‘Are you able to pray five times a day like you are supposed to?’
Zaynab didn’t understand why first of all, she just couldn’t stop smiling at the lady and secondly, what the lady was trying to drive at by asking so many questions. Nevertheless, she decided to answer.
‘Well, when I have the time I pray 5 times a day but our school schedule is a bit tight so I don’t usually do all the five on weekdays. I always do the Fajr and Isha’a prayers though.’
The lady smiled.
‘Don’t mind my many questions dear. Are you sure you are not just slurring out your name. Cos i have never heard of Zaynab before. I have heard of Zenabu though.
Zaynab smiled the more.
‘They are two different names please. Zaynab means beauty.’ Zaynab explained.
‘OK, I see. I just want to tell you that Jesus loves you Zaynab’
Zaynab felt that jilt in her heart again. She paused and smiled and replied.
The plump lady smiled back, placed her ear pieces in her ear and turned away.
Zaynab looked down at her clasped hands as the smile she had plastered on her face through out their short conversation faded off.
She felt her heart throb.
Who really was this Jesus?
Why had she heard of him twice today?
What was so special about today?
All thoughts of supper left her mind as she pondered deeply. Still deep in thought and finally deciding to ask her mum all the unanswered questions, they arrived at the last stop.
Zaynab carefully alighted from the bus and waited for her sitting partner to also step out of the bus, then she waved at her and began walking off to go board another taxi heading towards home.
Zaynab stood patiently at the right side of the road, waiting for an opening so she could cross and go to the other side to join the taxi.
The coast seemed clear after she turned her head left, then right.
Just as she was scurried across the road, she turned her head to see a petrol tanker coming right at her at top speed…
She heard people scream!
She felt numb…she couldn’t move.
Then she saw Him, she really couldn’t identify who He was but His presence felt different- heavenly – everything and everyone seemed to be moving at a slower rate.
He stretched out his hand, she took it and allowed Him to lead her out of harms way. She held on to His hand when they got to the other side safely and asked Him
‘Are you Jesus?’
His face was light, yet she could feel His smile.
‘Yes Zaynab, I am’
Zaynab woke up with a start! She was sweating profusely! All over her body! None of her sisters lay on the bed with her.
Just then she heard the first call for the dawn prayers – Fajr.
Slowly her eyes began to fill with tears and they rolled down her cheeks.
She wanted Jesus.
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