We eventually made it alive to the Waterfall itself.
Tens of people were there, putting their heads under the water falling from the top of the hilly valley.
People who were not Catholics were there as well. It was rumoured that they came there to generate power to perform miracles.
Sick people were brought there to also put their heads under the falling water. I was made to know that the water healed the sick in the past but as i stood in one place and watched, non of the sick people there was healed.
We waited until it is our turn to put our heads under the falling water, i told my new girlfriend to go first.
She gave me her belongings and went in. I watched as she put her head under the water for several minutes before she returned and said it was my turn.
“Lets go back to the Monastery” I said.
“No, brother. You must go and put your head too. God will heal you more if you do that. I know you must have come to the Monastery to pray. This is part of the prayers. Please go” She said while looking me in the face.
From the look on my face, she knew i was not interested in entering that place.
Too many people were still in there and i had to tell some of them to shift away before i could put my head there. The entire setting looked very dangerous to me and i also felt that something could fall down from the hill with the water.
There was no doubt that snakes lived in such places and if there was one animal i hated, it was that slimy bastard called snake.
“Please do it for me” Praise had suddenly said.
“For you?” i asked with a surprised face.
She nodded and said nothing.
I removed my shirt and my trouser and handed it to her.
I was wearing a long boxer and singlet.
“Praise, there is money in the trouser. Don’t let it fall to the ground” I said as i walked into the water and started bathing with it.
Ten minutes later, i returned and picked up my gallon to fetch some water which i would take back to the Monastery for blessing.
On our way back to the Monastery, Praise told me that we were going for the Station of the Cross as soon as we returned.
“No way baby” I said.
“Why did you call me baby?” she asked.
“Uhm, i am just used to the name” I said.
“Used to the name, Does it mean that there are other girls you call the name?” She fired.
“Look Praise, lets change this topic. Remember we are going for the station of the cross” I said.
“Not yet, lets talk about it. Why did you call me baby?” She asked again.
“Praise, that’s how we address girls in Germany” I said.
“Germany? Have you been to Germany?”
“Yep, i have been to Germany” I answered.
“No Wonder. You speak English like Someone who lives in Oversea” She said.
It was a relief to derail the topic.
I had mistakenly called her baby and i was sure she wouldn let me rest if we didn’t discuss something else.
Miss Praise was 20 Years old.
Beautiful, black and had a smile that would melt any heart.
She said she was still looking for admission into a University But lived in a Catholic Parish somewhere in Anambra State.
She had come to the Monastery to pray for God to grant her admission on several occasions.
In fact, that was her fourth Visit to Awhum Monastery and she believed that one day, God would mysteriously send her admission from the Monastery.
On my own part, the beautiful black girl seemed like a blessing to me. She was sent to pray with me because i was sure i wouldn’t have lasted more than three hours in the monastery if not that she showed up.
From the moment i arrived at the monastery and saw the environment, i knew that it was just a matter of time before i got fed up with the proceedings. I was going to pick up my bag and return to Enugu.
I would then lodge in a hotel and only go out in the nights so that people would not see me. I was then going to return to village with a gallon of water which i would claim was from the monastery. I would also buy some prayer books and more Chaplets.
I was surely going to convince my people that i spent days praying at the monastery.
But Praise was sent from nowhere to keep me at the Monastery.
From the look of things, i was sure that the end of our relationship was not near. We were definitely going to take our relationship outside the Monastery; it was just a matter of time.
“Are you married?”.
The question brought me back to reality.
“Why do you want to know?” I asked.
“I just want to know. You seem to be a nice and funny person” Praise continued.
I told her that i was single.
I was naturally going to be single anyway, even if i was married.
There was no way i was going to tell that girl that i was married.
First, it was going to make her feel uncomfortable associating with a married man.
Secondly it was going to destroy any chance i had of doing anything with her.
I liked Praise. She had this sense of understanding things before i finished saying them. That was one quality i liked in a girl.
After over an hour of slow walk, we made it back to the Monastery in one piece. I was subjected to carry the two gallons of water we had fetched from the waterfalls. They were not too heavy but then, i had to climb a steep hill all the way to the Monastery.
Praise carried our phones and Rosary beads and prayer books and yet, complained that they were heavy.
We had stopped on the way and rested on a rock. It was on that smooth Rock that i asked her to give me her phone number. She had done that without hesitation.
On the rock, she sat beside me and eventually put her head on my laps. She claimed she was tired but i didn’t believe her. She just wanted to be too close and i liked it.
It was true that we were there for prayers but there was no law preventing people from falling in love with each other there.
At a stage, she had said that she liked me because i was a gentle man.
But i knew that whenever a cat was to be killed, we first of all, gave it a bad name.
That was how Praise entered into the life of Ozoigbondu the first.
The life of Le Meister.