“I’m going home now”
Those where her simple words to mother superior the night before she left the convent. Looking back the words weren’t so simple after all as they started her journey into the world of romance and family. By morning she had left the convent eloping with her childhood sweet heart, she didn’t forget her religious teachings she just didn’t care anymore. For so long she had been shackled by religion. Although the convent was there for her when her whole family died in a bIzzare House fire, they took her in 7 days after the incident and 3 days before her 18th birthday.
Susana Ato Born on the third day Of July, 1997 who later changed her name to Susanna Ato Adding anextra “N” for reasons we will get to understand as “divine”. 7 years and 3 months after she joined the convent she left and never looked back, her childhood sweet heart Charles had rescued her from this illusion she called life. They didn’t leave the country as everyone thought they would, they just moved to the remote hills of mambilla plateau, a magical place in Taraba state where no one bothered to search for them. Charles was a Struggling doctor in the small town with his own private hospital she worked there as an auxiliary nurse with the little she learnt from the convent, they had cut off all communications from extended family, although Charles insisted they changed names, Susana only added an N and never dropped her surname “Ato” out in these hills no one needed your name. All the town folks do is grow tea leaves by day and make babies at night under the cold weather of the plateau the coldest place in Nigeria.
The young woman from house number seven at third street, emerald estate in kaduna, will go on to have three kids for the love of her life. The first two kids, twins were easy to handle they couldn’t believe thier luck, life was like a movie romance, family and don’t forget faith. Living in paradise with the love of her life and two identical boys to be proud of. They had been stories of people going mad after leaving the convent but no not Susanna she had her marbles intact and she would show the world religion was an illusion. Although she had little episodes of anxiety here and there but it was OK didn’t mean much. Like the time she woke up Believing rapture had come and her family had been left behind, her husband had to call mother superior with a hidden number so she could calm down. If anyone would make heaven it would be mother superior.
She always prayed to the father, son and holy spirit seven times a day, don’t get it wrong she believed in her catholic faith she just didn’t believe she or anyone else was worthy enough to be called holy. So being a nun was a waste of time and the highest form of hypocrisy. That’s why her parents had to die they weren’t holy enough but walked around like they were spotless always telling her “repent Susana the Kingdom of God is near” hypocrites all of them, the fire showed them mercy.
Her third child was the sign she had waited for to return home, when the expected delivery date came out as the third week of the seventh month, seven years after she had married Charles, she knew it was definitely time to go home. She tried to tell Charles but she knew he wouldn’t understand just like her family, they never understood the divine call. After 37 weeks of pregnancy when her water broke she was prepared, because she had induced it. She couldn’t go to her husband’s hospital, she knew he would never approve, she loved him but he too was deaf to the divine calling. Her daughter was born the seventh day of the third month just like she predicted the final sign she had waited for to go home. She called her husband to bring the kids to the hospital to see the new family member. Dr Charles although angry why his wife would have the baby in secret without him a qualified doctor present, was also over joyed when he saw his daughter for the first time and the twins around thier mother who was smiling for a different reason. They left the hospital 7 hours after the birth of the third child, drove off in the family SUV, the noisy twins at the back arguing female baby names, Dr Charles angry and happy at his wife who had her rosary Wrapped around her third finger no words spoke between the couples. As they navigated the hilly road of mambilla plateau going home but not to the house.
Seven minutes into the journey (Susanna counted because she knew the divine call was coming) the twins slept off first, Susanna fought against sleep because her husband had to understand before the call came, if not this would all be for nothing. As Dr Charles Slept off on the leather steering wheel his foot on the accelerator, The harder he pressed gas the more invincible, odourless exhaust smoke entered the SUV through the pipe that had been bizarrely connected to the trunk. Susanna held her husband’s hand and told him as she slept off.
“we are all going home”
“I’m going home now”