I told the few friends who I shared my testimony with not to let the others know because I wanted to surprise them. Meanwhile I was the one fixing to get surprised.
“Evi go to ebaeno supermarket, get me this, get me that.”
My friends requested.
Image courtesy of Pexels
I even made the trip to Balogun market to get us some matching off the shoulder Ankara tops and turbans. I packed up my stuff; my younger cousin and brother bullied me into leaving my ipad for my cousin, because I was going back to the US and could easily get another one. So yea, I left it. I was too excited to return, an apple product was the least of my problems. After I don tell everybody bye bye finish oh! See you in December possibly; I got the biggest shocker of my life.
I almost peed in my pants when I was asked by the immigration officer to step aside.
“This can’t be good” I said to myself.
So they took me to a room, where they kept all the defaulters. There was a Brazilian, an Australian, a Nigerian mama, a young couple from some country I can’t recall, and then me! Me of all people? How did I get myself in this hot pot of soup?
Somebody Pray for Me!
I brought out my phone to text my friends, asking them to pray for me. I was too scared to call anyone back home because they were going to panic. So I decided to keep them in the dark.
"Pray for me!" I said to my friends with tears in my eyes.
"Let my pastors know what is going on. Cry out to God on my behalf. I honestly don’t have the strength to seek Him right now. I am in a bind, I don’t know if they would let me in."
This must be how Jesus felt at that moment in Gethsemane, where He was crying out to God to take away the adversity that was in front of him. But the difference is that He was still asking for God’s will to be done in the end.
Although I did not know what God’s will was in that moment, I just wanted to get in. As I nervously waited for them to call me, I kept going into the bathroom to cry. “God please don’t let this happen to me.” I pleaded with Him countless times to take the adversity I was about to face away. The mama who sat next to me, tried her best to console me, but I just covered my face in shame and wept, until the time came for them to attend to me.
Ma’am they will like to see you now, a customs officer pleasantly said to me. Then the grilling started;
Why did you lie on a federal form?
I'm sorry....I tried getting a word in, before I got cut off again.
Don't you know that is a felony?
I know, I know...please have mercy!
If you had told the truth, then we would have pardoned you.
“Darn it! Why! Why? Why did you lie, Evi? Wouldn’t it have been better for you never to have left Lagos, than to come all the way here to get humiliated? This has got to be the most expensive lie I have ever told, because it is about to cost me everything!”
WD her, said one official to another.
Huh? What does that mean? I replied back.
Trust me it's okay, you just have to go back home and reapply, then come back, they said.
Who will give me another chance? Who will purchase another flight ticket for me? Please please, let me in! I have no criminal records; I am no threat to you guys. I just made a silly mistake which we all make and told a lie, abi una never lie before? I mean I didn’t say that, I was not about to make my situation worse than it was already, but you catch my drift.
Hope….or maybe not
Okay, go into this room, and we will send for you.
Then I stepped into what they were referring to as a room, and immediately exclaimed; What! A cell?!
You know how they look like in the movies, that was exactly how it was! the toilet in the same room as the tiny iron bunk bed. It did not seem like whatever was taking place, was really taking place!
Is this what your life has been reduced to? I asked myself.
As soon as the officer stepped out and locked the doors, I broke down again. I wept like someone who just lost something valuable. I couldn’t believe my eyes, I mean my story was unveiling right in front of me and no one in Nigeria knew what was going down. I had just texted them when I arrived Atlanta, saying I had returned to the land flowing with milk and honey.
Maybe I should have passed through Houston or New York or even New Orleans. Who knows? I would have left unscathed.
God please I need you! Help me! Touch their hearts! Do one of your great miracles. Like the one of Paul & Silas, or when you set Peter free from prison. Set me free from this anguish and I promise, I will never tell a lie in my life again.
I then cried myself to sleep on the floor; I hadn't even slept for up to an hour when suddenly I was woken up by this loud bang on the door, thinking all that just happened to be a dream!
You can come out now ma’am.
Whew! God is about to move! Everyone is about to know how great my God is. Things were dark, but God...ma’am! (I was rudely brought back into reality). The official who attended to you made a mistake, they continued. Yes! Yes! This is it! I thought..
We are actually going to bar you for 5 years. Please sign here. You have to go back home.
Wait! What? I had heard this happen in the news recently and prayed that it was never going to be my reality. They even took the option of me going back home and reapplying off the table. What am I going to tell people now? My family? Another failure? Another disappointment? This was 2017 oh, 2018, 2019, 2020 …2022! Chai! God! Five years?!
God this is not the ‘Arise & Shine’ vision for my life that I thought I would experience when You spoke at the beginning of the year. What am I going to do with my life now? This shift was about to change everything. The Negotiation
Now there was this woman oh, I don’t know whether to refer to her as the agent of the devil or someone sent by God to help bring His plan to pass in my life, even if at the time, I did not see any good in it. She was just blocking me from all angles.
Okay fine I knew I was going to go back home to Nigeria, but what about my surgery? I mean I had my dates set up and everything. So I had to negotiate with them to let me in, even if it was just to get my surgery done. The officials even took notice of my swollen feet and suggested to take me to a hospital in Atlanta for a medical check-up.
So as the negotiation began, they asked me if I would like to do the surgery in Atlanta or in Lafayette. I said Lafayette of course, because I had no one in Atlanta. So they decided to call my doctor to confirm that I had an appointment for surgery, even if I had all the documents with me stating that I had a surgical appointment. I mean you wouldn’t blame them; I had already told one lie so they needed to corroborate my story (Plix hexcuse my big grammar too much Investigation Discovery Channel).
Can you imagine this woman was away on vacation? We couldn’t get through to her on the phone. All of this was taking place on a Thursday, and she wasn’t going to be back to work till Tuesday. So it wasn't even a matter of; we can't get through to her today, so we will try tomorrow. When I tell you the odds were stacked up against me! They then went ahead to call my friend who is a nurse, to find out the recovery time for a fibroid operation and she said four weeks.
So the oga pata pata, as in the boss in charge, who could say she can go in and nothing would happen, came out to say—okay fine, I am going to let you in for exactly four weeks, then after your surgery, you have to go back home. If you don’t leave, we will come looking for you.
I was happy with that option, I mean half bread is better than none right? Then that woman, aka agent (of whom, I am still not sure), refused oh! She told her boss that they shouldn’t let me in, and I should go back home and do my surgery in Nigeria. I started pleading with them again (there was no shame in my game). I wanted to play the third world country card, but she said it’s a lie oh! Nigeria is a great place; you can do your surgery there. Do you see why I refer to her as an agent of who I have no idea?
Hands up, you are under arrest!
So they packaged me and put me in a fire truck with police officers in it, and a police car following closely behind us with sirens and all, and took me to Emory Hospital. I was like these people have time oh, what is all this paparazzi for? Who has the energy to run away? After all the stress, I mean haven’t I dug my grave deep enough already?
This was night time by the way; I landed Atlanta in the wee hours of the morning. While in the truck, the two black officers I was with were truly concerned for me. One of them said—you can just go back to Nigeria and come back. In my mind, I said—it’s not that easy my brother…..
We got to the hospital and I was escorted in. The ER doctor came out to see me, to carry out some tests. She confirmed I had large tumors inside me that needed to be taken out a.s.a.p., and gave me some medication for pain. All the while, a female officer followed me everywhere I went; patients were looking at me like—what crime has this one committed?
Then it was time to leave the hospital to head back to the airport, I started waltzing to the police car like it was my father who owned it. Then they said wait oh:
Hands behind your back…don’t move
I’m like na movie be this?
Next thing the officer brought out handcuffs, and cuffed me.
I could not believe it! it felt like it was not happening. All because of a lie? nawa oh! I’m sure you know what happened next; the water works came streaming down as they helped me enter the vehicle, back to the airport.
The Shift is a multiple part story which covers my journey to moving back to Nigeria unexpectedly. Be sure to check out the website every week to continue with me as we explore this story about one of the most trying moments of my life. Catch up with Part 1 & Part 2 if you haven't yet. Continue to part 4 here.
So what do you think about the story so far? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below, and also remember to like, share and subscribe, never to miss an update.
Don’t stop here; click this link to explore more on our Short Stories page.
About The Author: Evi Idoghor is a Christian, writer, and content creator on Letstalknationblog.com. She is a chemical engineering graduate from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Consumed by her love for writing and desire to effect change, she launched her online platform––Let’s Talk Nation––to tap into her creativity and start meaningful conversations that would make a difference around the world.
Most of her writing has been influenced by her time spent in America, where she lived for about 11 years. Also, she lived in Nigeria and South Korea and currently loves traveling the world while learning about other fascinating cultures. You can find her on all social media platforms with @eviidoghor