Cecelia's devils - a story.
Part 1- Aunty's request
‘Please could you come back and cast some devils out of Cecelia for me?’
‘Of course, aunty, no problem’ Rosalind rifled through her YSC diary. ‘Wednesday good for you?’
Aunty Pearl nodded firmly. ‘Yes please. Soonest, best. It has all been too, too much.’ Aunty stared into her near-empty cup of mint tea. The fingers of her left hand tapped intermittently on the doily-lined tray where only a few cake crumbs of Rosalind’s pleasant refreshment remained. Later, as Rosalind walked out for the bus, she remembered the fixed set of her aunt’s face and wondered what Wednesday evening would be like.
She could still hear her own parting reassurance: ‘It‘ll be alright aunty,’ It would be, but how quickly? On Wednesday, Celia would be back from school around two forty-five, so with homework and dinner out of the way, five o’clock would be about right to show up.
The careening bus screeched to a stop dangerously close to the plantain hawkers, the conductor screaming its destination like a hyperactive raver tripping on an illegal substance. The competitive frenzy with which these conductors carried out this job description detail was record-worthy, but no one was recording. Ibadan, with its city population, was too quiet, too ‘oomph-less’ to attract anything else other than small town status.
Rosalind squeezed into the crowded little vehicle. Her spirit began to groan in anticipation of Wednesday and the confrontation. As she yielded to the groaning, she sensed thick barriers. Really? So it was going to be interesting then? She laughed out loud. A couple of passengers’ faces turned toward her. All they could see was a pretty slip of a girl who could have passed for seventeen if she wasn’t wearing that Youth Service Corps Tee shirt
Rosalind had just graduated in microbiology at the leading university in the east, but nothing in the labs or lectures had taught her to do this the way she’d been doing it for the past two years. Sometimes the devils left quietly, sometimes they shrieked dreadfully and sometimes they actually tried to negotiate tenancy. No, she hid a wry smile; casting out devils had not been on the curriculum.
Wednesday was interesting. Rosalind had made sure not to collect a lot of detail about what Cecelia had been up to. Always better to hear from the Spirit. The important thing was to make the young girl comfortable and willing to cooperate. The girl and aunty Pearl might have different agendas so the first part of the interview had to establish where Cecilia was at.
Cecelia sat at the polished empty table. She wasn’t saying much. Her Junior Secondary school uniform had been replaced with a denim skirt and plain t shirt and the obligatory rubber flip flops. She nodded when asked a few questions about how she had settled into her new school, whether she sometimes found the work difficult and other ice- breaking trivia.
It was enough. Rosalind decided to shoot straight.
Part 2 of this story on the way...