BROKEN by Meena Diasso 

                        <6>

AHMAD 

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.   

FATIMA 

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 

honeys2016.wordpress.com

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BROKEN by Meena Diasso 

                  .5.
Ahmad

I held the girl in my hand tightly she was practically naked but I couldn’t do anything when I can only picture myself with only one girl  I pulled away from the girl, she looked into my eyes with a hurt look, I can now say I’m mersmerised and infatuation with her  but I’ve never been intimate with this girl, I wonder why I even I asked to do the interview when I could have others do it, I had a damn Empire to run, but I had to tell them I’d  do that interview and now look where that got me. 

I removed her hand from my body when I felt her running her hands over my body, “Vida you’ve got to stop I told you before this started that you were just a fling just like your friend and I think you are getting too attached to me so this thing is over” I said as I rose from the bed and picked my wrist watch and wallet from the nightstand I watched her fuming from the corner of my eyes but she could do nothing I’ve already found me a wife and I’m damn gonna marry her. “I’ll have my chauffeur bring you a heafy compensation”. I almost got to the door when I heard her call my name “Ahmad” I stood still waiting for her to say whatever she had in mind “You are such a bastard you know, you are a heartless bastard just as Jess said but I chose not to believe her, I was over the moon when you left her for me, but let me tell you  this you’ve messed with the wrong person and you’re gonna pay for this” I smiled at her words she knew I would never marry her she was just another f**k  yet she was acting like we were something more I held the knob and turned it “And whoever this new girl is I swear she’s going to pay for this with her life if necessary” I went back and strangled her. “I was quiet as you ranted because I know women will always be women but if you so far as come as close as 200 feet within the confines of any place and I repeat any place I am you’ll face the consequences and you wouldn’t want to look at yourself when I’m done with you” her eyes were filled with fear, but what I said was necessary I didn’t want any deranged lover going after Fatima, I hate being possessive but I can’t help myself when it comes to  her.

I left her and drove angrily out of the house, I guess that’s another I’ll have to give up, but in the mean time I had to go home and tell my  parents the good news they were finally going to have a daughter in_law, I answered my phone immediately it chimed and didn’t even check the ID “Ahmad you know I love you, my sister has made me press rape charge against you but I’ll drop it I love you Med pls just come back to me even if you don’t love me I’ll even revert to Islam if you want”. I rolled my eyes I don’t even know why I was still on the phone but I had to talk some sense into the girl “Jessica you don’t have to do anything ok, just forget anything that ever happened between us, take it as a nightmare  you just woke from ok” “But I l-” I ended the call before she could even continue I wonder why I even gave in to her advances and look where that got me.

My dad was mad to see me as usual, he doesn’t understand why I’m still single whiles my siblings and friends were getting married and judging from how furious he is I think mom told him I was planning to leave the house. 

I greeted him and stood to leave but he called me back “Is what I’ve heard true?” he asked in an impatient voice “What do you mean dad is it about the company?” I asked feigning ignorance “You know what I’m asking Ahmad don’t make me repeat myself”, I remembered my childhood when daddy will punish us if we did something wrong, my older sister (Zainab)  received less punishment and was the only one who could speak before dad mom spoilt us rotten though especially when dad was on his business trips,  my younger siblings were twins a boy and a girl Maruf and Maria. 

“Well since you seem not to be ready to speak you are not moving out of this house till you’re married and I’ll be calling your uncle to get one of the girls from our extended family for you to marry” I jerked my head up when he said that “I’m sorry dad but please let me choose my wife” I pleaded in a strained voice he shook his head and looked ahead to where my mom was coming from I heard the click of her shoes mom still acted like a young girl even after over 30 years of marriage and expressed her love for dad even infront of us, she kissed my forehead and sat next to  dad on the sofa he occupied opposite mine, she noticed the tensed atmosphere and looked from dad to me “What are you not telling me is this about you moving out?”.

I nodded and looked at dad “But honey I thought I told you that wasn’t happening no one is leaving this house until he is married just like your sisters did and even with that there are conditions so it’s never going to happen Ahmad” she said in a stern voice “It’s not about that mom dad wants me to marry a girl from the village but I’m interested in another girl” my mom eyes widened and shimmered with excitement I’ve never talked to them about any girl a smile broke on her face and she joined me on the one seater I occupied “Did you hear that Alhaji my baby boy finally sets his eyes on a girl we can’t deny him this Alhaji” my dad seemed to have cooled off after mom spoke “OK but I want to know about the girl and what house she’s from” I nodded and smiled at mom, she winked at me as I left. 

That was so close now I have to pursue Miss Fatima Alkali my soon to be wife, she’s quite uptight but I’ll dissolve all the strings she has tangled herself with she’ll be a hard nut to crack though. 

Dedicated to Fatima Kaka 

honeys2016.wordpress.com

BROKEN by Meena Diasso

             °4°

Being blank is better than feeling anything and that’s just how my heart feels now just blank, with a sliver of light my creator had brightening a little part of my soul

I felt blank and emotionless the next day I forced myself to smile and laugh at everything that was said like a loon, I  feel so fake cos I know a little push will have me crumbling.  I heaved a sigh and looked over the scope of the program they wanted it to be branded with my name because of the reviews  they had from the audience I liked that I was chosen for this, I heaved a sigh and pushed myself into my seat making the wheel push me backwards,  my telephone beeped I felt reluctant to answer it but pressed the answer button and left it on loud speaker “Ma’am the boss wants to see you in his office now”. She said in her quiet voice I really liked how cool she was, she knew when to back off and keep quiet. “The main boss” she added to clarify what she had said that had me springing up from my seat. “Does he really think I’m going to be all lovey dovey with him because he has dad’s consent” I muttered to myself  immediately I ended the call, I was only doing him a favor.

I wasted a little more than 30 minutes before making my way to his office I stood at the door for sometime, I was lucky Tosin wasn’t around or I wouldn’t have heard the end of it. Come to think of it I’ve not seen her for the past three days and I did not even ask about her,  she always came to my office to say hello, you could never ignore a woman like Tosin there was nothing not to like about her, she’s just full of energy.

I stood  near one of the two chairs at the other side of his desk “Take a seat please” he said motioning to the seats I sat and chirped a quiet “Good afternoon” he smiled and replied “I think we should make it official cos my dad and elders are at your house right now and as we speak your dad has already given out your hand and the nikah will be held in two months time” he said giving me an expectant look I wondered how he wanted me to react.

“Sir I want to ask you a question and I want you to answer me sincerely” I said quietly biting my lip a bit I don’t know where this sudden curiosity peeked from but I wanted to know about Jessica now, and all the girls who must have been his victims “Are you really sure you want this?”, I asked motioning between us with my index finger, I surprise myself sometimes, I really wanted to know about him and Jessica I couldn’t make us go any further without knowing the truth I don’t intend to marry and then divorce afterwards that was just a no no thing for me and I’ll know what to do if he is indeed guilty cos I never want a daughter of mine to go through that kind of trauma.

He gave me a lopsided smile and nodded slightly “You think I’d waste my time pursuing you if I wasn’t interested in you?” he asked rhetorically  standing from his chair he walked to the other side of the room behind me, he walked back then I  felt his breath on my neck he spun my chair and looked intently into my eyes “I don’t know how to make you believe me FATIMA but I’m  soo into you that you are the only woman I’ve really wanted to be with please don’t deny us the chance of being together” he ended his sultry  baritone voice barely above a whisper,  I looked away from the intensity  of his gaze, “So what do you say to us having lunch together I’m your fiancé now you know and I want to know about my future wife the mother of my babies” he added  seductively. I swallowed lightly  I didn’t like how he was  getting  to me I had to remind myself of what he did to Jessica, and I hated myself  for making myself relax in his company and making his words get to me “So?” his words jerked me from my deep thoughts “Uhm most of the workers here think there’s something going on between us and I’ve been made the host of an evening talk show most of those already here would have killed for” I huffed and held up my hand trying to make more emphasis on my next words “I think we should just meet at home instead, and keep whatever will develop between us from work, you know how they say not mixing business with “Pleasure”” I added making quotation marks with my fingers when I said “Pleasure”,  he nodded in understanding “But I you still owe me a lunch date though” he added I  nodded and rose from my seat “I’ll take my leave now Sir” he nodded and winked at me “I’ll see you soon babe” I rolled my eyes when I turned my back to him he was in for a BIG SURPRISE. 

 

***

I leaned into my chair and spun the wheels  I couldn’t stop thinking about Jessica and Ahmad’s case I had to help the girl and I had to nail him down before this disaster of a wedding waiting to happen I took my phone and scrolled uninterestingly through my social media accounts there was nothing interesting as always same old boring and sad stories, I tossed my phone on my desk and thought of my earlier encounter with Ahmad, I couldn’t keep the smile off my face he was in for a BIG SURPRISE if he thought he could have me maybe he might but I wasn’t going down without a fight. 

HE WAS STANDING BY MY CAR WHEN I CAME OUT  he smirked and raised an eyebrow when I made a beeline for the driver’s door he held the handle before I  could reach it “so you didn’t intend to even bid your fiancé goodbye before leaving” he asked playfully, I wondered what he was playing at “I told you I didn’t want anyone to  know about us” I uttered  looking around if anyone was watching  the security guard looked away when our eyes met, “You shouldn’t be worrying about that since we’ll be  marrying in a few months anyway” I huffed and closed my eye praying to retain the patience I was intently losing, I hurriedly opened my eyes when I heard a click sound, I opened my eyes  startled, then another sound went off, “Please delete it” I uttered in a tense voice “Then you’ll have to go to that lunch with me tomorrow then I’ll tell you what to do to make me delete it” he replied swiping the phone in front of me so I had a blur view of it.  

I rolled my eyes and gave his back a dirty look as he walked away, maybe this was my breakthrough my parents will see the real person behind that facade and Jessica the justice she’s seeking for. 

***

Grandma  almost talked my ear off about how Ahmad’s family were so keen on the nikah date dad gave to be pushed forward a bit but dad had insisted on the two months he had given, it really irritated me how dad had taken them in maybe his parents were honorable people but Ahmad is a different case all together and since I have no concrete evidence on all the claims I had to pretend to be  interested in this “union” to get them off my back I just pray they see him for who he is before the sh*t hit the fan. 
I stilled when I heard daddy’s voice call my name as I shoved my bag in my backseat, I smiled and greeted him, I really didn’t want him to bring Ahmad’s case up, I didn’t want to  face dad or talk to him about Ahmad.  

Dad wasn’t at home when I cameback from work yesterday, and did not join us for dinner, it was granny, Sameer, Saleem, mom and I, and granny couldn’t stop blabbering about my “upcoming wedding”, I was happy dad wasn’t around cos I didn’t know  if I could still continue with the pretence, he would have seen right through me. 

“Mamana why are you leaving so early for work today?” dad asked in a clearly surprised voice, I smiled widely trying to think of the best excuse I could come up with, I am a lawyer and know how to read people but I sometimes think I inherited that ability from dad cos he was really good at reading people and could smell a lie miles away, “I was called in early, the lady I help to host the morning show called in sick so I was asked to come early to  cover in for her” I replied before greeting him, he smiled and answered, I took that as my cue to leave, “So daddy doesn’t get a hug, even after you didn’t see me yesternight?” he asked when I rounded up to the driver’s door , I smiled and rushed to where he was my shoes clicking loudly as I did so,  he hugged me then looked down at the shoes, “I sometimes worry you might sprain your ankle with these kind of shoes” he complained frowning at my feet, I pouted and shook my head “But I love them dad”, he shook his head then held my head so I was looking into his eyes,  “I want to talk to you about this marriage when you come back from work today, I’ll round things up at the office today so  I can join you for dinner” I swallowed nervously at his words, then nodded and smiled. He hugged me then walked me to my car and opened the door for me “I’m really proud of you Mamana, see you later in the evening”, I nodded and waved at him before driving out of the house.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the little conversation I had with dad as I rode to work “Was dad going to give me an outlet” I sighed as I came to the large building’s parking lot, I wasted a little more time in the car before opening the door, I looked over at my outfit again an ankle length teal dress with a jacket then my high heels, the security guard who was at the gate yesterday gave me a knowing smile I returned it with a strained one and went in, I waved at the receptionist who was the gossip mill of the office so I never really greeted or talked to her until it was really necessary to do so. 

***

The day went by in a blur and quite uneventful Ahmad didn’t take me to lunch as he promised and I did not even receive a phone call or any message from him, I was somehow annoyed cos he was the one who insisted and asked me out.  The only highlight of my day was the meeting I had with my producers we came up with a name for the show, and I loved the rationale behind it, “LIFE WITH FATIMA” it centered on almost everything that concerned us, but mostly on woman empowerment I loved the show already and I know the public is going to love it. 

I checked my phone if I had any missed calls I had a message I checked it and it was from the my network provider Gosh life sucks. 
Dedicated to Fatima Kaka

honeys2016.wordpress.com

BROKEN by Meena Diasso

           *3*

An emotional bruise is much worse than  a physical one I’ve built my fences up which I know will crumple someday, till then I’m holding tight to the reigns before the inevitable blocking out whoever tries to intrude. 
           Fatima

I was overwhelmed when the Executive producer proposed the deal to me,  I’ve assisted Omolara twice in presenting the early morning show “Nigeria Today” but I mostly did the background work, just watching the others work,  but hosting a whole talk show not in a million years would I have thought that, maybe I might be exaggerating but I didn’t think it would come this early, and I know the gossip mongers would be at it again, there has been speculations I was dating the boss so I know this  sudden raise will make it worse.

*****

I hardly hit the hood of the car, it just wouldn’t start and I was running late mom called me earlier and told me dad will be arriving today, I know he already knows the time I arrive since mom tells him virtually everything,  I don’t want to run late I checked the time on my phone and it was already 5:20pm  I looked at both sides of the road and there was no car coming, my heart started thumping. I closed my eyes and started doing my breathing exercise, “I am greater than this” I kept repeating the mantra with my eyes closed.

A car screeched and I almost fell when I jumped back, my heart was pounding so hard now. I removed my stiletto and waited for the driver to come out, “Hop in” he uttered looking away when I bent to refix  my shoes. I didn’t want to go but I knew he was my slightly good bet, he might not do what he does to other girls to me and I didn’t know who I might end up with  if I continued standing there so I said a quick prayer and joined him.

He switched on  the radio as I was strapping my seatbelt and I almost laughed when “Stay with me” started playing, I thought guys were all about Hip Hop, I don’t have a particular genre in music but I don’t like schmoozy love songs, my phone rang just then and Ty Dollar Sign’s “Horses in a stable” started playing he shook his head and I knew he was amazed by my choice of song, an old classmate actually sent me the song when I refuted his proposal, I find it relatable cos that’s how guys behave exactly.

He drove directly to my house without even asking me for direction, he honked the horn when we reached the gate, “I’ll alight here no need to go in” I said when I saw his intention “I think I should reap all my blessings since I’m already here”. The gates were open and he quickly drove in,  judging from the cars at the lot dad was definitely home and I’m doomed I’ve never ever brought or hinted on ever bringing a guy home not even dropping me off, first being I hated being around guys and then this guy a “grade A casanova” happens to be the first guy I’m seen with in my house when daddy is around I sighed and rubbed my temple, this day couldn’t  be any better.

I don’t know why his car was still there he mumbled something  I couldn’t make  out as I was getting off, I opened the door of the living room and almost dropped on the floor when I saw my cousins and grandmother, I smiled widely and ran to my granny “I miss you so much my oldie” I said hugging her tightly she pushed me back a little claiming I was going to fracture her back. My two young cousins Saleem and Sameer almost knocked me off when  they rushed to hug me “And you my boo-boos” I said hugging them back and giving each of them a kiss on the cheek,  “How are Aunty Sauda and Uncle Maher?” I asked as I pulled away. “The gentleman you came with is asking to come in should I allow him in?” Jummai our house help asked,  “Yes, please show him in” I heard my mom’s voice say behind me. I turned and she was with dad, I hugged him and sat at the foot of the single sofa he sat on. “So who is this guy you came with?” “Exactly what I wanted to know Umar” my grandmom added before I could even utter a word.

*****

“I really like that boy Umar I think he’s the perfect spouse for my namesake and he comes from a reputable family, for a while I thought she was possessed by jinns when she refuted all the proposals she had” I overheard when I got to granny’s door.  “I’m still looking into it Mama, he actually wants to marry her, and I like him but I don’t want to force her into doing anything, I’ll ask for her opinion first”,  “I don’t think that’s necessary she likes him or will have never allowed him to drop her off, I don’t know what the two of you are really waiting for she’s the only granddaughter I have do you think I would have lived to see her if I had married at her age, I think you and her mom have over pampered her that’s why she refutes  all her proposals and is still single”. I ran off immediately I heard that, the deed has already been done, it’s been a week since Ahmad dropped me off and granny has never talked to me for more than a millisecond without bringing him up the twins had hinted that he visited in the afternoons but I didn’t take it to heart since dad never asked me about him after I told him there was nothing between us and he  only helped  me out.

We were yet to have dinner and I was very anxious I know I’ve refuted one too many proposals, and the one I hate the most happens  to be the very one granny likes I think I should have waited to hear dad’s reply but I have a feeling he’ll comply to her bidding not even mom could help me.

I just twirled my spoon on the plate, and the worst thing is no one seems to even notice, it seems that’s my destiny cos no one has ever noticed my pain, I’ve never been close enough to anyone to share it without any discomfort, but I want to let it out.

“Why are you not eating?” I heard granny ask, I just shook my head and forced a smile, “But you’ve been quiet lately you’ve even stopped coming to see me after you come from work” “I-uhm I’ve been quite busy lately you too much interviews and investigations” I answered shortly “and I’ve not been feeling too well lately” I added to get her off my back. I looked up and mom was giving me a weird look like she had just discovered something.

We ate the rest of the meal quietly I was very eager to leave the table but it wouldn’t be polite and mom hated that so I was stuck with them. “Go to your room Saleem and Sameer” dad said when we were done. “Mamana the guy who dropped you off the other day you said he’s your boss right?” I nodded and started playing with my fingers “He asked for your hand in marriage, I did a thorough background check on him and from what I’ve seen and heard he is a good guy, I wanted to ask him to bring forth his elders but I want to know your opinion first should I ask them to come”.

The room was so quiet the drop of a pin would have been heard everyone had their expectant eye on me, I swallowed hard my throat suddenly becoming bitter, I couldn’t talk it was like everything seized working just then, dad wasn’t asking me any question he was just giving me a chance to voice out my thoughts, so I could feel like I made the choice myself , maybe this is how God has ruled out my life to be, MY FATE is to live in fear all my life.

“I believe in whatever you choose dad” I finally uttered weakly, I heard a sigh from mom, they were all fed up with my stay home I could tell my grandmom smiled widely and pulled me in a tight hug  “I know Allah was preparing you for the best that was why you refuted your past proposals” I forced a shy smile and ran upstairs, I locked up my room and broke down I muffling my sobs with a pillow, I cried like I’ve never done then sighed and went to the washroom, freshened up and performed ablution I stayed longer in my sujood praying for the best from Allah a real smile spread across my lip as I folded my prayer mat this is the first time in a long time I’ve prayed a nafl (an optional prayer) I’ve never missed the obligatory ones. I lied gently on my bed and recited sleep supplications.

I still pondered over one thing though did dad really know Ahmad as he claimed to though the guy was nothing but an “A class manwhore” and a RAPIST I was willing to be the sacrificial lamb though I’m already BROKEN so I might just suck it up and maybe just maybe since we are all innocent until proven guilty I could investigate further into the matter, I pray Jessie (my client) gets the justice she deserves though.

Dedicated to a friend I’ve never seen but still feel close to Fatima Kaka.

BROKEN by Meena Diasso

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Even blood ties could be BROKEN right? I contemplate sometimes but everything can be BROKEN even the most basic of bonds. I sometimes marvel at the closeness between a child and it’s  mom especially when it’s in the womb, some women abort these babies so I think I’m right BLOOD ties CAN be BROKEN.

    Fatima

“It’s ok baby everything will be fine he’s not chasing you anymore” a soothing voice kept repeating I was in my terror room all over again the dark glasses and the sweets on the table. I tried pulling away from the gentle hold but the person held me tighter then the tears started all over again. “Let it all out, cry your heart out you really need it”, that did me in  I was crying so heartily she couldn’t hold me any longer I fell on the bed face down and started hitting the pillow with all my might,  even that didn’t faze mom, she sat on the mat and patted my back.  I breathed in heavily and sighed wiping the tears that had stained my face I didn’t find it as embarrassing as earlier.

*******

“Fatima I know something is troubling you, for the love of God please tell me  it hurts seeing you like this”. I looked up and mom looked very tired should I tell her, I felt it was about time I opened up to someone about this other than the shrink my molester was long dead but his threats were embedded in my brain,  I know the fear is uncalled for but I’ve been traumatized for long and there is this small part of my brain which won’t let it go no matter how hard I try, it hurts when you always have to  watch your back and be on guard when you are alone with someone.

I swallowed hard and held mom’s gaze “Mom you remember when I was a kid and used to  be friends with Nhyira (literal Akan meaning Blessing) my cousin” she nodded and held my hand I heaved a sigh and looked up I really needed that, I held her hand tighter and squeezed my eyes this was going to be difficult “Well uh-uh uhm  U-u-u” I closed my eyes and tugged at my nose a bit, I looked into her eyes and blinked a few times, “You know he used to give us lots of sweets especially me…. and he…… ” “Who are you talking about dear” she asked, it hurts even mentioning his name I always get the creeps when  his name  is mentioned, I usually get panic attacks . “I mean Uncle” I finished off hurriedly.  “Aw I’m so sorry  Fatima, I knew you were very close to him but I didn’t know you never got over his death since he died when you were quite young” I settled on the mat next to her.

“Mom I’ve gone back to journalism and I just secured a job in the leading media house in the country” I said in a forced cheerful voice, “I’m so happy for you” I could hear a but coming “But you know your dad wants you to get married, he has been prodding me for quite some time now and your grandparents are complaining since you are their only granddaughter”.
“Mom, I don’t want to get married now,  it’s not like I’m too old mom I just turned 26”. My mom chuckled and brushed my long braids with her fingers,  “Fatima I also want you to get married, I was very happy when I heard you talking on the phone with a man, and judging from how you were reacting I could tell you like him”. I stiffened but she seemed oblivious to my reaction, “I also want to see my grandkids Fatima,  I know I’ve not been the  best parent to you,  your dad and I  have mostly been absent  in your upbringing but I  can assure you that we love you very much” she kissed my temple and gently placed my head on the mat, “I’m going to  pray now it’s already dawn”. I sighed and pondered over what just happened,  I don’t know why I didn’t tell mom what truly happened but I couldn’t make myself do it.

I am a 26 year old lady and a lawyer/journalist a Kanuri by tribe (though I can’t speak a word of it or should I say I’m an Ashanti cos my mom is  an Ashanti and Ashantis inherit matrilineally) my mom is actually a Ghanaian and my dad a Nigerian I sometimes wonder how they ever fell in love but it seems that’s what Allah had in store for them although I don’t really believe in love. They met when dad was studying in the University of Ghana, I’ve lived most of my life in Ghana only visiting Nigeria  occasionally, I love both countries though and was very happy when dad said we were permanently moving to  Naija, I wanted to set up my own law firm,  but decided against it since I was new here, I worked as a corporate lawyer for sometime till I was approached by the sister of a colleague my only luck was I could always go back to journalism, I hated being under the spotlight which  was why I never pursued my journalism career but I had to do this for this girl, the bastard really needed to be stopped and put in his right places to teach other bastards like  him a lesson.

****************

I moved back a little and gave my closet a once over, this is going to be difficult, I didn’t want to be too dressy the weather is kinda hot today so I didn’t want to wear a suit,  but I also didn’t want to be too dressy he might think I was trying to impress him,  I was contemplating on  wearing an abaya just to tick him off but today wasn’t Friday, I usually do that on Fridays I didn’t  want to be late either.

I applied a  little makeup and stood a little away from the mirror,  I ended up choosing a mid thigh multi colored stripe armless dress,  with blue jeans and a jacket. I chose a black stilettos  and my bag,  mom always complained about my high heel addiction but has long stopped when she saw I had no intention of stopping she was still in her room when I came out, I knew not to wake her since I was the one who had her up all night, “Please tell her I left for work when she wakes up” I told the young help we had she nodded and smiled I hurried off to my car and sped away this was going to be a long day I could tell.

I nodded at the receptionist and studied  the lobby it was very large and very busy, I thought things cooled off mid week but I think it doesn’t apply for this place, I made my way to the elevator and and hurriedly entered before it closed, I know it would be polite to  greet but I couldn’t make myself do it, I silently watched as people got off,  soon I was the only one in it, seems I’m the only one here to see the boss.

The secretary an older woman had a smile on her face when I came in “You must be Fatima the one who will be meeting with Ahmad?” she asked as soon as I came off the elevator I couldn’t just be rude to  her so I smiled back and nodded “Yes ma’am I’m here to see the  boss” she chuckled and shook her head “No my dear you will call me Tosin from now on” I like this woman already I only nodded  she sat directly opposite the elevator so she is the first person you see when you come off the elevator.  “OK ma’am” she shook her head again “I still insist you  call me by my name” she muttered tugging my arm to his office.

He was on the phone when we entered the office and she didn’t even knock. How did I miss this woman the first time I came here, I asked myself, he gave me a lopsided smile and ended the call I really hated the look he was giving me like a kid eagerly waiting to be given his favorite toy, “Mama I can see you finally met Fatima” he said as he placed the phone on his desk “Yes” she answered “and she’s very beautiful Ahmad, a real gem I’d advice you never let her go” she said gazing at me again “Yes that’s very true, but Mama she doesn’t want us to be even friends” he added, my eyes widened on their own accord. Did he just say that, that was really lame I mean who used such tactic to  get a girl to go out with them “That’s because I don’t want to mix business with pleasure” I uttered before Mama could say anything I hated the game this guy was playing, I know it’s a progress but I don’t like how it affects me, I mean who wants a guy like him he could be chasing after the next pretty girl he sees and what happens when I give birth and gain weight, I sighed and cleared my throat, you really need to stop thinking like this FATIMA.

I swear I could burn to ashes by the look some of the girls were giving me especially Omolara I think I’ve seen her a few times on TV,  I’m not such a TV person,  I seldom watch TV I preferred reading newspapers, visiting  blogs or social media especially Twitter. I gave her one of my seldom smiles when she looked from Ahmad to me,  I’ve not shown any interest in  the guy and the girls were ready to pounce on me I was only here to help, “Welcome to the crew Miss Alkali, we are happy to have you”  one of the male anchors muttered,  I gave him one of my fake smiles “Thank you I’m happy to be here too”. “I think we’ve had enough of the formalities, you can all go back to what you were doing” Ahmad said in a thunderous voice, I swear I could have peed on myself.

Dedicated to a friend I’ve never seen but still feel close to Fatima Kaka

What’s ur take on Ahmad and Fatima, is there any chemistry between them?

Let me know your take on the story is.

honeys2016.wordpress.com

BROKEN by Meena Diasso

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“Like a broken mirror I know I can’t be mended the past hurts more than I’d like to
acknowledge and I wonder how long I can hold this farce up I just have to make them believe I’m alright”.

Fatima

I held his gaze when he raised his head he smirked and pushed the file away I quickly looked  at where he pushed it to and slightly shook my head “So Miss Alkali are you really sure you can handle all these considering the fact that you’ve not practiced for long and we are one of the leading media houses in the country?”. He said a bit boastfully.
I gave him a  strained smile of my own and nodded “Yes sir I’m actually the best candidate, I’ve been practicing since I was a teen on radio and I’ve done a little backstage work on TV I know almost all the ins pertaining this job”. He nodded and sized me up I rolled my eyes  inward and cleared my throat.  I think he’s going to make my job a lot easier.

He stood from his desk I can see why he has the girls after him even when they know he is nothing but a lousy casanova, he is tall maybe 6’1 inches tall and slightly built and his facial feature was not over the top but he could surely make it on the cover of any male magazine.  He held the back of my chair with both hands and turned it so we were facing each other.  I had to really force myself not to hit him in the face. “So what do you say to a dinner at La Palmeto to celebrate your special day cos you have the job”.
I looked at both hands then looked into his eye “I’d rather not  do that Sir, I wouldn’t want to give the wrong impression to my will be co-workers or anyone” I replied smiling, this was actually my first real smile since I entered his office,  he nodded and stood up shoving both hands into his side pockets, “You have the job, and you will start tomorrow and do come early I want you to meet up with our anchors,  correspondents and producers so you can have a hang of how things work here” he said in a sudden serious tone.  I nodded and took my bag from the floor. I slowly stood from the chair and looked up at him again “I’d like to take my leave now Sir” he smiled and showed me to the door

“And Fatima…..” I turned and he was still smiling “my dinner offer still stands  my chauffeur will come pick you at 8:00”. I shook my head and went out this job was going to be much easier than I bargained for.

****

My mom was sitting on her favorite chair reciting the Quran in her beautiful voice.  I sat on the floor and gently placed my head on her lap listening to the verses attentively, I’ve forgotten the last time I took a Quran it hurts me when I remember I’m not as spiritual as I should be but I pray that I’ll get there some day.  Mom is my best friend in fact the only friend but I can’t get myself to tell her what ruined the once cheerful and carefree girl, even I want her to be back I want to do things without looking back, especially with the opposite sex, I don’t want to be  male phobic all my life, I don’t want to always be alert and ready to spring on any guy who comes close to me.

Just like the girl  I am helping out we actually need a voice my case might not be as worst as hers but I was still traumatized by it.  I might be lucky my molester  never went the extra mile but there was a probability he might have done worse.

A hand wiped the tears that was flowing then the hiccups and waterworks came in  full force, she sat next to me and hugged me gently patting my back,  I know there will be questions after this breakdown but I have held on  long and couldn’t hold the pain in any longer. 

**********

One thing I love about my mom is she never questions you if you are not willing to  open up dad was on one of his numerous business trips as always,  it used to be the same with mom but she decided to stop when I was in junior high school and never told anyone the reason why.

“So tell me was your break down about a new case?” she asked in a quiet voice  when we were done eating dinner,  I nodded and took my phone from my pocket I used to be very distant from her until she forced me to stay with her whenever we finished supper but I still couldn’t open up to her like she wanted to .  “You know you can count on me right,  just remember you can tell me everything you want to” I looked up and nodded “maybe not this mom” I said in my head.
There was a knock on the door just then “Someone is here to see you madam” the young help we had said in her quiet voice I looked up confused “Who is it? ” I asked with a frown cos I know I have no friends all the friends I made could not be even counted as friends since we met in school and only talked when we had projects to do together,  and I can’t remember inviting anyone over even my client didn’t have my address to just come banging on the door whenever she had a fright.  My phone chimed just then and it was  an unknown number,  I looked up and mom was prodding me with a questioning look I shrugged and studied the number “answer it it might be important” I pressed the answer key before the call ended.

“She finally answers her phone” he said in his thick baritone voice I swallowed hard and looked at mom. “I’m actually at your front gate please come out we are running late already” I rolled my eyes and ignored mom’s questioning look “But I told you I didn’t want to go,  I still haven’t changed my mind”. He cleared his throat I could hear the smile in his voice “I’m not one to easily give up on what I want,  I know you are not a kid and I don’t want to give you any mixed  information so I’m doing this head on I’m interested in you and I want you to be with me I’ve actually never wanted anyone like I want you so I’m going to  pursue and seduce you till you give in to me,  and the dinner offer still stands I’ll always ask you till you give in,  see at work tomorrow  bye”. He rapped hanging up.

I took the phone off my ear and looked at the screen what the fuck just happened I looked up at mom who was also giving me a strange look I think it’s an old friend I quickly said to avoid the questions I know she will bombard me with. 

I have him right where I wanted him to be I just have to make him pant a bit more like the dog he surely is and corner him then disgrace him in the eye of the public. I covered my body with the the blanket and held it tighter when the forbidden memories started penetrating through the fog of my mind,  I fought it off with all my might and all the clues the shrink gave me but it still seeped through.

Tell me what you think of the story.

What do you think is Fatima’s problem and what will happen between her and her strange boss.

Dedicated to a friend I’ve never seen but still feel close to Fatima Kaka.

(The story is fiction though not related to her in any way you will know why I said that as the story progresses)

honeys2016.wordpress.com