I WAS SO fixed on the picture and was startled when the I heard the loud thud I looked from my phone and looked up at Mr Lee as he was trying to explain the funds that were going to be invested in the project which I was not going to go through with. “Sorry Mr Lee but my secretary will contact you when we come to a decision” I said rising from my chair we shook hands and I rushed to the rental car to make my way to the airport I couldn’t wait to get home, I’ve already disappointed her on the lunch date without any explanation. The company really needed a jet, things would be far easier if we hat our own plane and travel whenever we wanted to. I leaned into the seat and looked through the window as our plane descended the one hour flight was not worth it after all, it was just a waste of time. I took a taxi home and was welcomed by mom’s lovely dishes we made small talks as we ate but it was more between mom and I dad was quiet only chirping in when mom involved him.
He cleared his throat after the table was cleared and kept his eye on me, I almost fidgeted under his scrutiny he held mom’s hand “Ahmad I like how you’re handling my business and everything and I’m very happy you’re thinking of marriage but the question is are you worthy of the girl?” he asked raising an eyebrow I nodded and replied with a shaky “Yes” he huffed and shook his head “So are you ready to tell your mom and I about your rendezvous, cos I won’t disgrace myself and my family for you” he uttered in an angry voice I stuttered a bit this wasn’t how i wanted this to go, my mom had a confused look on her face and gave me a questioning look but I shrugged, I didn’t want to jump into conclusions and end up spilling my own secrets, “Your son over here is nothing but a man whore and I don’t think I can lead him to ask for anyone’s hand, I’ve asked about the girl and she’s a decent girl her dad also happens to be an acquaintance so expect no wedding cos I can’t marry off my daughter to a man whore who would give her nothing but STI” mom rose from her chair and slapped me hard across the face my cheek tinged but that wasn’t what hurt it was dad’s words that hurted me, my eyes welled up “Will you be happy if your sisters had been parading with men or sleeping around before their wedding, what about your brother?” she asked in a hurtful voice, “Would you like your brother to follow suit of what you’re doing?” she asked tears falling from her eyes. I detested my old ways more than ever she was my only hope and she’s now crying I made my mom cry I felt like hurting myself maybe that will ease the pain I was feeling inside.
I opened my mouth to talk but dad held up his hand clearly doesn’t want to hear a word I had to say, he walked off to his study/home office which was more of a library now. I looked up at mom and she stood angrily following dad’s suit. My throat burnt from the unshed tears I was trying to hold but I made it fall, I went upstairs and locked myself up in my room I was lucky none of my siblings was around to witness this. I rose from the bed and freshened up then performed ablution to pray nafil that was the only way out now.
I held my phone to my chest when I was done praying, I pray that Allah would have mercy on me and give me the one thing that I’ve really wanted in along time.
I HELD MY ABDOMEN shutting my eye tightly everyone seemed too engross in their meal to notice what I was going through I bit my lip tightly and opened my eyes to dad’s intense gaze he raised an eyebrow and I tried shaking my head but couldn’t pull through when I felt a sharp pain in my abdomen, I groaned out in pain which had mom running to me dad rose from his chair and scurried off to the study mom rubbed my waist and patted my back, my cycle sucked it was irregular and hurted like a bitch, I hissed in pain and closed my eye tightly praying the pain would just go away, I could go a whole month without having my menses, I sometimes had it twice a month and this was the second time I had it this month I preferred the prolonged periods though.
Dad came from the study with a deep frown and the phone held to my ear as Dr Sidiku our family doctor reprimanded me for not taking my drugs as prescribed he knew I hated drugs, pills and syrup I just hated them, I wasn’t even able to utter a word just nodded like he could see me. He asked me to take the drugs he gave me when I visited last time and come visit him tomorrow if the pain persist, I couldn’t even laugh when he made a joke before ending the call.
Mom walked me to my room and waited till I had bathed and taken my drugs before leaving, grand mom would have made an issue out of it if she hadn’t retired early. I turned with thoughts of Ahmad invading my mind before I drifted off, he didn’t fulfill his promise to take me out for lunch.
I called in sick the next day because I wasn’t feeling any better I looked lean and I had been sick for just a day, I went to the hospital and was given pretty the same drugs just some slight changes made, granny fussed all day, especially when it was afternoon and Ahmad didn’t visit them as he regularly did, she told me he always came in the afternoon to eat lunch and sometimes take the twins out afterwards, I nodded and smiled so that was what he was doing behind my back winning over my family’s heart while I was away. I felt much better in the evening mom had prepared my favorite today, Fufu and groundnut soup with smoked and dried fish, Jummai our house help has gone to visit her family since school has vacated, so mom did everything and didn’t make me touch a thing even though I felt better.
We had dinner with dad, and made small talks after the table was cleared, I wanted to go to work tomorrow so staying up late was not an option since I’ve already been absent today, I pushed my chair back and yawned, “I’ll retire now dad, I have work tomorrow” I said my goodnight to them and made my way upstairs he nodded but called me back before I reached the stairs,”I met up with Ahmad’s dad today and we’ve reached an agreement to push the wedding date forward and we’ve moved it to two weeks from today” he said looking around the table, I looked from my mom to grandmom and she had a huge grin on her face, I didn’t know what to say I was tongue tied, “Well?” he prodded when I didn’t say a word “God Umar do you expect the girl to come outright and tell you she wants the date to be pushed forward she’s too shy for that” granny said taking me off the hook.
I turned and walked slowly to my room, how could I come up with enough evidence in such a short time, I really needed to have a talk with dad on this.
° ° ° ° °
I woke up more energetic and cheerful, I bathed and walked into my walk-in closet choosing a black and white striped turtle neck armless ankle length dress with a white jacket which had a ting of black on the collar with my black gissiupe zanotti mango bag and high heels, I tied a black scarf around my head and went down to the dinning area.
“Does your dress up have anything to do with a certain someone you work for?” I shook my head and seated myself on the chair “Nope I actually have a photoshoot section today” I replied grabbing a cup to prepare tea, I preferred it black with a little sugar, I’ve never been a fan of sweets just chocolate, especially the golden tree brand, my dad joined us with grandmom on tow, “I can see this bride is so intent on snatching my husband from me” she said jovially as mom served, I twitched my lips and rolled my eyes a bit “Even he knows which one of us to choose, if asked to” I joked winking at her, she gasped and turned to dad “Did you just hear your daughter Umar, she is not even shy to admit that she wants to be married to the boy already” my parents couldn’t hold their laughs and burst into laughter.
I kept quiet as we ate, I’m not a breakfast person so, I was done before any of them I kissed and bidded them goodbye mom and granny were too engrossed in their discussions to notice my departure I shook my head and couldn’t keep the sad look from crossing my face, dad escorted me to my car “Don’t you have anything to say about our decision?” dad asked looking deep into my eyes we’ve not had the best of relationships but he makes sure to make it up to me whenever he comes from his business trips. “I know you’re not happy with this new development Mamana but it’s very necessary ok?” the look he gave me made a little bit of the leash break “Dad the guy is a casanova and chases after almost anything in skirt” I burst out, heaving a sigh afterwards.
Dad smiled and held my hand, “See this union as you being his light, guide him to the right path and I saw how he was looking at you, he loves you Fatima, this is a blessed union Mamana”. I smiled and nodded blinking the tears that had gathered in my eyes away, “Take care may Allah bless you” he uttered planting a kiss on my forehead.
I watched dad walk inside through the rearview mirror and drove away, I switched on the radio and it was the same political noise as always, I scrolled through my mp3 and selected Taylor Swift’s “I knew you were trouble”, I drove slowly as I neared the building, I’m sometimes fascinated by the building, it housed two companies the broadcasting and business part.
He was leaning towards his car when as I pulled my car to a stop, “You never cease to amaze me milady, you look more prettier each day, I just smiled and got out then closed the door with with a thud “Thanks sir now if you would excuse me” I answered going the other way “Are you going to just ignore me?” he asked following behind, he was taller and had long strides so he was beside me in a matter of second “Is it because I stood you up?” he asked again but “Look, Ahmad I told you already that matters not related to work we discuss it at home” I said my voice tinged with anger. I was amazed when he smiled and hated how my heart skipped when he did that “You finally called me by my name I like how you say my name” he uttered happily, I nodded at the receptionist whose eyes were wide when she saw us walk in together, I looked behind and the security guard was a different one.
“Miranda I want you to meet my fiancee” he said as I made my way to the elevator I pushed the key to my floor, the whole hall was quiet when he made the announcement. I’m definitely going to be the talk of the day, I just hope it dies out early.
Dedicated to Fatima Kaka