BROKEN 

BY MEENA DIASSO 

                    19

                              ◀AHMAD▶

THE TALK I HAD WITH MY FATHER IN-LAW REALLY HELPED, he told me they knew about the pictures before the wedding,  I was not proud of the pic but I was happy that such a noble man would give his daughter’s hand in marriage to a fornicator,  I hate branding myself as such but that was the truth and I despised myself for ever doing and entertaining such a thing.  May Allah forgive me and  guide those in that kinda life. 

I was happy about dad’s quick recovery, but i couldn’t  stop hating myself for making it all happen. Especially with my siblings we all acted like nothing had happen but I felt like I was on a time bomb waiting to go off at any given time. 

I watched with hooded eyes as she craned her neck to the side,  spraying her body perfume on her neck and then massaging it into her  skin. I swallowed hard and turned facing the other side. Tomorrow was the opening  of her Shelter and i was very proud of her, what she’s achieved and overcome. 
“So how do you know Jessica?” i asked surprising myself,  that wasn’t what i wanted to ask i wanted to know if she’d really forgiven me,  she stopped her hand mid air as she was tying her hair in a ponytail,  she sighed and turned to me,  “Do you really want to know how?” she asked squinting her eyes at me like she knew something I didn’t,  I nodded hesitantly I didn’t remember ever talking to her about Jess “Well she’s my client” she said seating herself on the long  couch placed at the foot of the bed.  I nodded and walked opposite her,  she arched her eyebrow up when I turned and met her eyes “Do you want me to continue?” I didn’t feel comfortable with her questions I told her I was no saint but it’s awkward when the person i’m asking her about is an ex-lover. “Well her sister was a colleague and came to me when Jess was raped at work” my eyes widened in shock “When was that?” I asked sincerely  surprised by the revelation. She smirked and rolled her eyes “And you won’t believe who did it?” she added “Who” I wanted to ask but I had a feeling I wasn’t going to tinkle her answer. My eyes moved to her shoulder as she played with the strap of her night gown i swallowed hard and looked at her face “Well the said rapist happens to be her boss” she said clapping her eyes and abruptly rising from the couch. I blinked rapidly in confusion “And the last time I checked you happened to be her BOSS dear husband of mine” she said in a sultry seductive voice behind my ear,  I didn’t even notice her leaving her position “You don’t believe that do you?” I asked my voice wavering a bit. 
One thing I’d never do is force myself on a woman, I’ve been with quite a few and I’ve never forced myself on any of them,  I turned and held her arms “You don’t believe that do you?” I asked looking deep into her eyes she swallowed making her throat bob “No” she whispered “i am happy she did bring her case to me though, it led me to the most amazing man I’ve ever known and even though you had strings of lovers in the past” she adding frowning a bit when she said lovers. “I’m not so proud of my past myself Zahra but I thank Allah for making you come my way, you are my light you pulled me away from the darkness I pushed myself into” I replied kissing her lips. 

I was not proud of what I did in my past, I was lucky to have a wife and family who stuck with me even after all the embarrassment i’ve put them through. 
    

                     ✔FATIMA✔

    I WAS HAPPY THINGS WERE BACK TO NORMAL,  I’D never thought he knew I had contact with Jess  i cut all contact with her when she sent all those messages prior to my  wedding  I was surprised she and her sister never contacted me again though. “Why are you frowning?” he asked wrapping his arms around me I smiled  and placed my head on his shoulder “Nothing just happy about the program” I fibbed although it was not a total lie,  he kissed my cheek “I’m proud of you,  and I know all those kids are happy for what you’re doing for them” I swallowed I smiled nervously I hope I can continue doing this and do it right. 

We were having the sod cutting event this morning,  followed by the fun games we’d organise for the kids then we’ll do the fund raising tonight. 

««««««««««««««««««

I smiled as I cut the tape with the First Lady, I didn’t know if she’d make it  I taught she would  send someone in her place. 

*

“I want to thank each and everyone who sponsored us, but one thing I’d like to clarify is being molested doesn’t make you less of a woman I’ve seen and heard of greatest women and men alike who’ve been abused, I mean women and men  like Oprah Winfrey,  Gabriella Union, Vanessa Williams, Tyler Perry,  R Kelly and a whole lot of people have been victims…. But have turned out well” my voice constricted “We are not to be stigmatised we are warriors and I say we because I HAVE BEEN A VICTIM” 

THERE WERE gasps from the crowd my eye caught my parents’and I could tell they were really surprised “Yes I’ve been a victim, and please to the parents have a good relationship with your children so they can come to you when they’re going through things like this” I ended abruptly and left the stage,  quite a few people were wiping tears from their face, it was very difficult holding my emotions in check,  I went to the backstage and hugged Annette  tightly I felt a tap on my shoulder I released Annette and turned around mom hugged the life out of me, she burst into tears and held me tightly like I was going to be snatched from her. 

“You should have said something” she said when we were more relaxed dad held my hand rubbed his thumb lightly on it “You should have reported to me honey who was it” dad asked I could tell he was really mad at whoever did this,  “There’s no need for that I said looking at the both of them it’s past now” I hugged the both of them, maybe if I had not gone through that I’d never have think of helping people who had been in the same situation.

I left my parents and mingled with the guest who had made it, thanking and reminding them of the fund raising event we had tonight. Aunty Zainab squeezed me tightly in her hug, “I adore you FATIMA, I can’t believe you’ve been through that and you still handled my brother well even with all your past,  I’m glad to have you as a sister” I smiled “I’m happy to have you as an older sister Aunty” I replied shyly Maria hugged me as tightly as her big belly made her “I can’t wait for the day I’ll see you pregnant with my brother’s baby” she whispered in my ear. 
We turned when we heard the  clear of throat, “Hey wifey” Maruf said raising his eyebrow “I’m proud of you he said and gave me an awkward hug. “Hey that’s my wife you’re manhandling” AHMAD said in a stern voice “Argh” I groaned rolling my eyes “Everyone knows she’s mine big bro,  I’m I not right wifey” he teased I chuckled and nodded “You’re so annoying AHMAD” Aunty Zainab complained shaking her head.  Maruf left my side as Ahmad invaded my space   “I’ll you borrow her for a second bro” Maruf said giving me a flirty wink “Are you later munchkin” I replied giving him a wink of my own.  I watched as the siblings left us. I thank God  for my family. 

“So hes your munchkins?” he asked knitting his brow and twisting his lip i giggled and hugged him, “Yup and you are my Oga at the top”, “Why do you call me that?” he asked pulling from the hug “Cos you are my Oga at the top” i replied imitating his expression “I’m proud of you, i’m grateful for having you as a life partner” he said hugging me again. 

“And me you” i said in my head. 

“Let me go see the kids” i said pulling from the hug. 
Dedicated to FATIMA Kaka. 

honeys2016.wordpress.com 

***

This page really tugs at  my hearts all the celebs I mentioned were victims and it’s so sad cos this thing is really happening I want to urge whoever has been through this that it’s not the end AND WE CAN MAKE IT 🙌💪

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BROKEN

BY MEENA DIASSO 

                       ⏪18⏩

                  ◀AHMAD▶

I WAS ALMOST DEAFENED BY THE LOUD  THUMP OF MY HEART,  I blinked rapidly to see if I was dreaming,  the pics of me and Vida was littered on every social media platform, I recalled when dad said he was going to call off the wedding,  Were these the same pics he was talking about,  what will Zahra and her family  do?, will they force me to divorce her?. I shook my head vehemently I can’t lose her,  that explains the looks we received as we entered the building,  I rushed to the elevator, there were whispers as I sprinted  out.  I runned to her office but she was not there “Where is she Lola?” I asked in a strained voice,  she looked at me angrily and didn’t even try to hide her frown rolling her eyes at me,  “She went out” she replied in a cold voice,  I deserved this treatment,  I hate that my past could ruin what we were building I just pray she understands when I tell her it was a past mistake and I never knew Vida was crazy enough to pull this kinda thing  off. 

I drove around trying to remember where she would be,  she had no friends and siblings, she only had her mom, aunty,  my mom and my sisters,  then her psychologist,  I wasn’t ready to face any member of her family or mine,  “Ya Allah please don’t take my  Zahra away from me” I prayed repeatedly  as I drove around town,  I drove to the hospital, and was met with an angry Faiza “Why did you have to do that?” she asked giving me a mean look, “It was an ex-girlfriend and it  happened  way before I met Fatima” I said looking into her eyes with tears shining in my eye, “Where’s she?” I asked looking around the office.  She nodded in understanding and sighed,  “but you should never pull such a thing on her  again or I swear you’ll have me to answer to”, I nodded and raised an eyebrow when she looked up from rearranging files on her table,  “She’s in the adjoining room” she muttered motioning behind me,  I frowned in confusion looking around the room, ” the knob is here” she said walking around me and opened the door. 
I almost lost it when I saw the smile on her face,  she’s forgiven me, I  said in my head but was afraid to voice it out, then she suddenly looked away,  I felt like ashes  with specks of fire had been dumped on my heart, I confessed all my heart desires to her but she was still quiet. The ride home was quiet I wondered what Faiza whispered in her ear when they hugged. 

She rushed to her room when we got home,  I had to go to my parents and explain things,  mom was super annoyed, “I want you to leave my room now” she she said in a cold hostile voice, turning her attention to the television, dad was not around and the last time this issue came up he was the one who calmed her down “Mom please help me talk to Fatima she has not spoken a word to me since I got her from her friend’s” I pleaded,  mom laughed hysterically “You think I’m  that biased ehn,  Ahmad” she shook her head and closed her eyes then sighed “Ahmad I’m very angry with you for going against the words of Allah to do this heinous acts, you could have caught a STD,  were you not afraid of that?” she shook her head, “and the bitch you do your stupid acts with is not civilised enough to act like a lady so she took pics of your rendezvous ……subhanallah then decided to spread it to the world” she finished in a total despair, “I accept all my………”  “BREAKING NEWS……..THE FLIGHT FROM MAIDUGURI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO ABUJA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT HAS CRASHED ABOUT THREE HOURS AGO,  KILLING 48 PASSENGERS WITH 11 SERIOUSLY INJURED, WE STILL HAVE OUR REPORTER ON THE SITE TRYING TO GET MORE INFORMATION,  meanwhile families who have their relatives aboard the evening flight are advised to contact the said airports or visit the Central Hospital for more info”. “Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’un” mom uttered repeatedly, I was confused “What’s wrong mom?” I asked my heartbeat  increasing,  “Y-y-your Father Ahmad ” she uttered bursting into tears,  I was confused I blinked rapidly trying to make my mind register what she just said,  what was wrong with dad,  mom wasn’t on her seat when I turned to it  I  was  lost in my own thoughts I didn’t see her leaving, I ran downstairs and she was pacing the hall with a phone held to her ear, “Mom let’s not jump into conclusion dad might be  at granny’s let’s call them”. “No he’s not because he called me before their flight took off and his number isn’t going through, I can’t stay here Ahmad let’s go to the airport and call your siblings” she said in a sudden  stoic voice rushing upstairs. She came back in a long hijab and walked outside,  I followed suit thinking about how things were going to be if we really lose dad. 

We drove out like we were being chased out,  “Mom please  calm down we’ve not verified anything yet” I said coolly when I saw her fidget in her seat,  she nodded and turned facing the window. I was scared myself, I had a gnawing feeling I was the reason why my dad was in the accident,  that is if he was on that plane which  I pray he wasn’t. 

  

                   ✔FATIMA ✔

I DRESSED IN ONE OF MY LONG MODEST NIGHT GOWNS,  I LIED ON THE     BED BUT COULDN’T  SLEEP, a part of me knew I was waiting for Ahmad to come explain things,  no matter how much how I was angry with him I could never go to sleep without his hands wrapped around me,  I watched the wall clock intently like it could give me an answer it was getting late but I couldn’t follow him to his parents room,  I don’t know if dad was back from his trip and I didn’t know how they were going to handle this, “Were they going to reprimand him or would they blame me for being a bad wife who pushed her husband to adultery” I wiped the tears that   were trickling down my face I heard the clutter of the main gate being opened i looked at the clock again and drew my curtain to the side a bit,  Ahmad’s car was by the gate then he speedily  screeched his car out of the house. 
I felt like ice bergs  had been dumped into my brain and heart,  I blinked slowly trying to understand what was going on around me, “He just left me he gave up on me” I cried out bursting into uncontrollable tears

“You know I love you Zahra, you should never doubt it, I’m unfashionable without you” he said looking deep into my eyes,  I shyly looked away, “Don’t be shy my love look into my eyes I want you to believe it cos that’s the truth,  and I only have eyes for you,  no other woman is worth my love but you” I smiled widely, I really loved this man,  I looked at our intertwined hands and kissed it, “I love you too” he held my chin up and kissed me on the lip.

I fluttered my eyes but I couldn’t open them fully, they felt heavy, my neck was stiff  and sore,  I slowly raised my head massaging my temple like it could stop the thud. I massaged my neck slowly I couldn’t crane it to either sides without feeling pains.  I stood as rigidly as I could and walked slowly to the bathroom. 
I couldn’t believe the guts of  that guy,  he was the one to wrong me then decides to  get angry too.  I did my prayers  moving as slowly as I could without injuring my self more,  then took painkillers to  calm the pain. And that dream felt so real,  I could have sworn it was real. 

                        ❄         ❄          ❄

I couldn’t move to the side there was a bulge blocking me, my midriff was pulled and my body was blocked by a boulder I couldn’t tell,  my eye felt very heavy,  I raised my eyelids slowly  and looked down at my midriff to a hairy hand circling them,  for some reason I didn’t panic, I turned as stiffly as the little space I had could allow me, he had his eyes closed I looked at his facial features like I was seeing him for the first time, he looked so handsome and perfect,  my heart beat increased “I love you” I whispered, then yesterday’s event bombarded my mind,  I tried pulling myself from his hold but he held me tightly muttering gibberish stuff,  I nudged him as hard as I could in the arm with my elbow, he opened his eyes in confusion then buried his head in the crook of my neck “Pls Zahra don’t push me away I really need you,  Pls don’t leave me I can’t lose you not now not ever” I struggled to pull myself away but froze when I felt a  wet liquid on my neck.  What could have happened to Ahmaf to make him cry. “What’s happening Ahmad please tell me” I asked my voice quivering a bit. “I almost killed him I’m the reason he’s  in that situation he mumbled against my neck. 

What did he mean,  “What is happening Ahmad?” I asked my voice coming off normal, I was scared of the answer he was going to give me,  “my dad was  in a plane crash Zahra,  he’s in a very critical condition we’ve been denied access to his room” he said his voice trembling a bit. “We have to go Ahmad, go bathe I’ll wait for you” I pulled  his head slowly from my neck,  he looked around like a lost kid, “Go bathe so we can go Ahmad” I said again more insistent this time , he nodded then rushed to the bathroom.

        <><><><><><><><><><><>

I closed my eye and patted her  back gently,  I can’t imagine losing either of my parents I shivered a bit when the thought crossed my mind,  “It’s okay Aunty he’ll be okay,  we’ve not heard anything from the doctors yet so we can’t say for sure what’s happening”. I looked around the room at the anxious face of everyone, it was like the whole Abubakar family were shipped here, Munirah was in one of the seats with her husband, my mom and dad had come over but dad had to attend to an emergency,  my mom was speaking to Mama, she looked lost and disheveled Mama loved dad so much I just pray nothing happens to him, I went out to see if I could find Ahmad, but there was no sign of him. I was worried he could do something stupid. 

Mom talked my ear off about taking care of my husband, and supporting the family in this trying time. Dad’s words were pretty much the same, Everyone adviced me to be patient and supportive, one thing I’d never do is leave this family,  they were my family, the only thing that would  separate us shall be death.  

A week later…..

Things were a bit normal,  I have taken sometime off TV because of the recent incidents but my project was almost done and I made it a point to stay in contact with the kids,  Dabs was of great help she talked to the children, and Ahmad was a bit easy on himself now, his  younger brother joined us two days after the accident, he looked so much like Ahmad he could have pass for his twin,  he’s just a bit taller than Ahmad. 

He smiled and called my name in his croaky voice, I smiled back and looked down shyly “Thank you for being with my son Fatima,  I knew you would be a blessing to him,  may Allah bless you with kids that will obey you like you do to us”.

Everything righted in my World at that moment, my only problem was with Ahmad I felt distant from him,  even when he held me to sleep every night,  we were not the same I still loved him probably more than ever but does he love me the same,  I forced a smile on my face when I looked up to dad.  I was going to find a way to work it out. 

Dedicated to Fatima Kaka 

honeys2016.wordpress.com 

BROKEN 

BY MEENA DIASSO 

                    ⏪17⏩

                  * AHMAD*

“YES  I DON’T WANT TO DISCLOSE THE NAME OF THE DONOR,  JUST CONTACT ME IF THE PROJECT NEEDS MORE FUNDING”  I felt more in love with her every day especially with this initiative she was putting up,  I’m so proud of her fighting  her demons and looking out for those kids,  she didn’t know I knew about the project she was doing,  she blurted it when I was consoling her the other day,but  I knew about it a few days after she had began. 

 I was losing touch with my siblings Maria is pregnant and I didn’t even call to ask her how she was doing, I dialled the number and held the phone to my ear.   *Hey bro long time* his voice blasted from the other end of the line  “How are you doing  Maruf,  how’s school?”  I asked my voice matching his cheerful one “I’m coping,  so how’s my lovely wife?” I laughed heartily at his question.  We talked for almost an hour before I ended the call.  

I called Zainab afterwards “Do you know you are the most neglectful  brother ever?” she asked in a mockery voice.  I widened my eyes and held my hands up in a surrender gesture “What did I do now Zee, I don’t remember mishandling anything you’ve given me” I retorted frowning a bit.  “You went on that God forsaken trip and didn’t call, not even once did you call your wife after going on that trip,  and left  us with a moping wife,  then you come back from this trip and don’t even ask about me or your nephews who have been filling you in about the said wife’s welfare”  I knew I was at fault,  she’s my personal person and I’ve not even filled her in about any of  the events of the past week,  I didn’t feel like telling her it was between My bae and I, “I’m sorry Zee and tell the boys I’ll be seeing them soon” I said as I ended the call.  I called Maria afterwards,  I didn’t have the best of relationships with her, I was  soon off after a few minutes of exchanging pleasantries and asking about her well being. 

My phone pinged immediately I ended the call. 
*Fatima : I’m very grateful to Allah for giving me you as a husband, you’re my morning star,  I love you My Oga at the top 👆❤.

I smiled * Me : You are a blessing to me AZ-ZAHRA,  you  lightened away the darkness that was surrounding me,  I love you my LIGHT”.

SHE did not reply, I checked a few of my files and email I couldn’t keep the smile off my face this is the second time she’s said she loves me,  and in two consecutive days,  I feel like telling the whole world how lucky I was to have the most prettiest, compassionate and the most loving lady ever to be my wife. I loved the pet name she called me. 

I called my MD and asked about the progress of the building in Borno, things were running smoothly much faster than I had anticipated,  the contractor was estimating for things to be done within the next three months,  I still had lots of time to plan on the next project,  we were thinking of extending our company to other African countries,  anglophone and francophone countries, I sighed I hope dad will be proud of me this time around. 

                  ✔FATIMA✔

I SMILED AT THE MESSAGE I HAD RECEIVED FROM HIM, AZ-ZAHRA,  I loved the name,  he’s my morning  star(Adekye Nsroma) that was how I saved his name,  I was not completely lost when I saw him but,  he helped me,  mend my broken pieces, he lit up the little hope that was dying inside me. 

Lola barged into the room excitedly “Ma’am  a donation has been made,  and you won’t believe this” she said excitedly seating herself on the chair opposite mine, “It can cover for the whole project,  and I mean all if our estimated cost  doesn’t shoot up” I had a huge grin on my face “Who’s this person?” I asked excitedly,  she had a gleam in her eyes “the person did not disclose his name” she uttered with a grin on her face. 
“You know that means we can complete this thing in the next two months,  I’m very happy for the kids” I said fanning my eyes to prevent the tears which had gathered from falling.  
I was cheerful when   we were driving home,  my world felt right.

3 weeks later….. 

I was scared of the unknown,  I didn’t know what was going to happen,  but I could feel that everything was wrong,  I made breakfast but was silent throughout the meal. 

“What’s wrong babe?” Ahmad asked entwining our hands as he drove us to the office, “I don’t know,  I just don’t feel good, I’ve not been feeling well lately” I replied placing my head on the head rest, he nodded and seemed far in thought himself. We drove silently to work, I was not oblivious to the weird looks, and strained smiles we received as we made our entrance,  I felt a hand tug at my bottom lip” You know you might hurt your lips one day,  from gnawing on it” I smiled and delayed a step behind him but he pulled me to his sides. “I like it when you fall into steps with me, that’s where you belong by my side,  not behind me”. he said circling his hands around my waist. 
Even Lola was not as cheerful as she’s,  she greeted us and went back to what she was doing I frowned but shunned it, I’ll ask for an explanation later maybe she might  not be feeling well, he seated me on my chair and kissed my lips “I love you OK,  don’t ever doubt that” I nodded and forced a smile for some reason I felt like I really needed the  words. 

My phone rang and I answered without looking at the ID “I told you to leave him we belong together, and what’s in the papers is prove  enough about the love we have for each other” . she said laughing synically and ending the call. I was confused I’ve not seen the papers today and dad was not home he’s the only person who reads newspapers in the house mom,  preferred reading from the net.
 
I powered up my laptop and opened my twitter app,  a news about a recent bombing in Aleppo was what I first saw,  I blinked back my tears when I saw a little boy who had been saved after the airstrikes,   “May Allah bring an end to this tyrant rule” I commented and  scrolled down, 

My vision blurred when I saw  “EXPLICIT PICS AND VIDEOS OF AHMAD ABUBAKAR WITH LOVER” written in one of the Nigerian news sites. “BUSINESS MOGUL EXPOSED BY EX-LOVER” a pic of them was below the headline,  I died a still death when I saw the pics, I forced myself to rise from the chair and walked outside,  “Do you think she knows about it,  I mean they came in like there was nothing wrong” I heard as I headed out of the office. I opened the door quietly and  walked out without sparing them a look, I walked out of the building ignoring the looks I was receiving. 

“What will you do about your husband’s infidelity ma’am” “Will you leave him” “Did you  know your husband  was cheating on you?” I was bombarded with these questions immediately I set foot outside  the building,  I blinked and continued walking,  I couldn’t go back inside, I don’t think I can face him.  I stopped a taxi,  and hurriedly entered,  with some of the reporters  trailing behind the car and snapping pics. 

I felt numb all over,  I didn’t feel anything in my heart “Why would he make me feel like the most important woman,  then do this to me the next minute”, I hurriedly wiped the lone tear that was trickling down my face. I have never wanted to fall for anyone,  but he made me trust and broke me the next minute.

“Where will you alight ma’am?” I gave him, Faiza’s hospital address, I kept my head down as I  hurriedly entered the hospital
.
“I hate myself Dabs,  I don’t know why I ever let my walls down, he played me big time, I’ve always known not to trust men, especially him,  did I tell you I received threatening messages prior to our wedding”. She listened on as I blabbed about how wicked Ahmad was. 

I fluttered my eye open and welcomed the familiar scent that invaded my senses,  I smiled at him and touched his cheek. He smiled back “I love you,  Zahra never doubt it ok” he uttered planting a kiss on my forehead, I smiled but flinched from his touch when I remembered what brought me here in the first place.  He shook his head, his face tightening with a painful expression. “I want you to believe one thing Zahra,  I’ve never loved a woman like I love you and I already told you before our marriage that I was no saint,  I’m sorry my past wasn’t the best,  but that’s where it will always be in the past you are my present and future, please don’t push me away because of this” he says sniffing. 
I closed my eyes making the tears I was holding to fall, I loved him so much it frightens me,  how can anyone fall for someone in such a short period of time, 

 “I love you Mostar but it hurts seeing pictures of you with another woman,  I know I’m not the perfect wife but I still gave you my all,  how can I know these pictures were not taken after our wedding,  I hate that I doubt you even for a nanosecond but all this makes you look guilty” I wanted to say but I couldn’t make myself say it,  it was like I was robbed of my voice.

I was a bit annoyed at Dabs for making him come near me,  she smiled and hugged me tightly “I think you should forgive him” she whispered into my ears.  I nodded but couldn’t utter a word.

The drive home was very quiet, how was I going to face mom and dad. The hall was very quiet, he held my hand as we walked upstairs “Let me go see mom,  I’ll join you later” he said going up the third floor where mom and dad’s room was, I locked the door to my room and prayed, then cried myself to sleep. 

Dedicated to Fatima Kaka 

honeys2016.wordpress.com 

BROKEN

By Meena Diasso 

               

                              °16°

                    ◀AHMAD▶

I WAS SCARED OF HER REACTION,  SHE WAS EERILY QUIET, I couldn’t tell what she was thinking her expressionless face was killing me inside did she regret being with me or is this going to retard our progressing relationship. 

I buttoned my cuff links and took my suitcase from the floor,  Fatima was already downstairs having breakfast with my parents. I was happy when I heard  her happy chatter with mom and dad,  my dad opened up more to her than he ever does to me,  she stopped talking when I pulled my chair and sat next to  her,  I greeted my parents and watched as she made me a cup of coffee.  Even dad was in a good mood,  breakfast was more pleasant than any I have ever had.  We walked in ease silence to my car,  I’ve already finalised and handed over the rest of the Maiduguri project to my MD so my  work load was a bit minimised,  I turned on my mp3 to a random song and held her hand, I held on to her hand tightly when she tried pulling it away,  I still can’t wrap my mind around the kind of love I feel for her,  she was the centre of my world, I kissed our joint hands and nodded to the beat of the song.

 

***

“You know you’ve not  spoken a word directly to me since yesternight” I said as I was parking at my reserved space,  she held on to her  bag tightly with her other hand, I took the other hand and turned her to face me. “You are starting the silent treatment you know?” I asked rhetorically,  I held her chin  up when she bowed her head “I love you Fatima, and I always thank Allah for giving me a wife like you,  I’m sorry if I’ve rushed you into things but I’m only human Fatima” I finished my voice breaking  as I ended. She looked up and the tears welled in her eye killed me inside,  ” I -” she closed her eyes and opened them again, I felt like she was looking into my soul “I’m sorry  for not being woman enough for you  Ahmad-i ” I shook my head holding her hand tighter “No lemme finish Ahmad,  I’m like  a nutcase holding you back,  I know what you were like Ahmad but I treated you horribly and went as far as hitting you ” she shook her head hardly like she was warding off the horrible memory “And you were still good to me” she added in a quiet sorrowful voice. I kissed her lip just as the words left her mouth “One thing you should know about me is I never give up on what I want” I looked her over again wrapped up in her  signature long dress with a veil, “And I’m proud of you,  I feel like I’ve known you my entire life, don’t ever belittle yourself you are worth to me more than any woman can ever be”. And I’m going to help you get over these demons I wanted to add but that was a promise I made to myself,  I’ll help her  get over this, she was stronger than all that, she just hasn’t found out yet. 

She had a little bounce in  her steps when we got out of the car,  I wanted to carry her but I knew I was just going to embarrass her,  so I walked by her side to her office and chatted a bit with her quiet but nosy assistant. “Take care of my wife Lola” I said as I walked away “I’m always  at it sir”  I heard her say.  I smiled and nodded at everyone I came across,  at least my love was not unrequited. 

                      ❄FATIMA❄

I COULDN’T MEET HIS EYE, DID HE REGRET BEING WITH ME?,  I avoided his gaze, I didn’t want to see the regret in his eyes. I  freshened up and bathe after he had left for mosque then did my prayers and lied on the bed.  I faked being asleep  when I heard the squeak of the door,  the bed sank a bit when he sat on and the next thing I know he had his hands around me he kissed the side of my face,  I heard as his breath evened out. I waited a bit longer then pulled myself from him and headed to the kitchen. 

I nodded and laughed at Mama’s chatter and jokes about Ahmad’s and Zainab’s childhood fights,   Alhaji was not into the conversation he only nodded and laughed when necessary,  and reminded Mama when she exempts a part of the story,  I was lucky I didn’t choke,  I don’t ever remember laughing this hard. “I just pray his children don’t act like he did or we might all have raspy voice from shouting at them”. Mama uttered fanning herself dramatically. I  smiled and held my tummy,  what if I was pregnant already. I served him when he joined us.

The ride to work  was a quiet one,  I watched our laced hands,  I wonder how tomorrows meeting with Dabs will be like,  I was happy but I couldn’t show him that, I have defeated my last demon and my husband still liked me. 

He held my hand tightly when we got to his parking spot,  “You know you’ve not spoken a word directly to me since yesternight” he said startling me a bit. My heart was thumping loudly was he going to call it quits.  “I love you Fatima” he said running his thumb across my cheek,  I might have heard the words numerously but hearing it now,  made my mind clear of all the doubts that had been clouding my mind,  “HE STILL LOVES ME!” I wanted to shout at the top of my voice,  I listened dreamingly as he uttered words after words that made my heart fall more in the nest he had wove around my heart,  “I love you” I wanted to tell him and clear his doubts but I couldn’t. He took me to my office spoke with Lola then headed to his. 

<><><><><<><><><><<>><><><><>

I lessened my visits to Dabs to once a week,  I was making quick progress,   which even amazed me,  I have a program today with a young boy called Abdul,  I like finding things out with my viewers the only thing I know about him is he was being abused by his  nanny. 

I batted my eyelashes trying to wrap my mind around what the boy just said Abdul is just twelve and his nanny has been exploiting him from infancy, God some people  are just so horrible.

I just pray the shelter we’re building can help these children, I’ve not experienced half of what most of these children have been through but I was still bugged by it, how do they feel?.

I cried on Ahmad’s shoulder the whole night after Abdul’s story,  “We have to help them Ahmad,  I really don’t know why we still have these bigots who know nothing but to destruct the beauty and innocence God has created in these children”. I listened to his soothing voice lure me to sleep “I love you” I whispered before giving in to the darkness that was quickly enveloping me. 

BROKEN by MEENA DIASSO 

                           <15>

                    ⏪AHMAD⏩

I WATCHED IN ANGUISH AS SHE CAVED INTO HER CAGE,  I wanted so much to shake some sense into her. She was giving me the silent treatment i detest,she cooked and acted like a wife was suppose to but wouldn’t speak to me unless necessary, the arrival of the goods and my parents complicated things the more, I didn’t have enough time cos of work and she always made excuses with either my parents or work. I laughed hysterically as I reminisced events of the past week  between my parents and us Fatima and I were the ones acting like the older couple the little encounter we have is our night hugs,  I hug her to sleep and it’s sad that she still has nightmares,  I wish there was something I could do about this,  I couldn’t chase them in her dream the least I can do is make her forget,  I was getting help and we needed it now. 

 I paced the hallway slightly nervous, I’d called up  the chauffeur to go pick her from the office she could be difficult if she wanted to be, my message was for her to come and it was urgent,  the time was 3:30 pm now,  I needed to clear this up,  I needed my wife with me. 

She wasn’t so happy when she saw where we were, I nodded at the chauffeur to leave us and motioned  her to the door,  I nodded when she looked back at me with hesitant eyes,  I could give her the silent treatment in a double dose, and I was not going to back down on this. 
I  nodded at the doctor’s extended hand, “I’m sorry I don’t shake hands hope you’re not offended” I asked as she smiled back and looked to the door where Fatima was standing. “Nice to meet you ma’am” she nodded and walked over to us, I looked down at her heels and shook my head I still can’t get my mind over how she walks in that thing and still does it with ease.  I smiled at her and pulled the chair for her. 

“Can you please excuse us Mr Abubakar I’d like to speak with  your wife alone please” she said after we were seated,  Fatima was being a snob,  she just nodded at the doctor,  and did not answer a single question the doctor asked since we came in. 

I couldn’t sit on the chair, I had all this macho persona on but I was super nervous, I needed her to cooperate with the doctor, I just pray she does, I closed my eye and ran my hand through my hair saying a silent prayer for God to intervene and make her cooperate. 

            ♦FATIMA♦

I SAT ON THE CHAIR AND LOOKED DOWN , TRYING SO MUCH TO BLINK BACK THE TEARS THAT HAD GATHERED IN MY EYES,  I was being a difficult, maybe stupid but how did he expect me to act o know he had women who satisfied his needs,  and I can never be woman enough to claim that part of my marital duties,  my marriage is just a formality and there will be nothing more to it.  “Tell me about yourself Fatima is it OK I call you by your first name?” she asked hesitantly,  I nodded and swallowed trying not to choke on my saliva, “I’M BROKEN” I stated bluntly breaking into tears I felt her envelope her hands around me I leaned into her hug and cried till tears were no longer coming out. I told her all about my childhood and the fear and guilt I still felt over what happened,  I even told her about Annette,  my meeting with Annette was what reopened the old wounds, the young girl was much stronger than I was,  I was still held back by my past,  I was sometimes angered by how I made this whole thing control my life but I couldn’t muster the courage to face it,  It was sometimes  suffocative, it was like all air had been sucked from my lungs I breathed deeply through my mouth and exhaled from my nose, “Take it easy on yourself Titi” I smiled at the nickname she’d given me. 

She asked me numerous questions about how I felt and reacted with other men, I was quite amazed when I realized I did not fear Ahmad, I’ve never flinched from his touch or feared him from day 1 even when I thought he was a rapist,  I only kicked him when he tried getting closer than he always does,  and I couldn’t blame myself for that,  I tend to act spontaneous to touches,  I laughed which gained me a weird look from Faiza the psychologist, I remembered once when a classmate jokingly slapped my back and I slapped her hard across the face,  I swore to her it was a reflex act but it ruined our strained relationship the more and she made sure to warn off everyone from me which rendered me friendless that school year. 
I felt like a weight had been lifted off me,  if that is even possible,  I felt lighter Faiza Dabs (my new psychologist) was of great help, though I still wonder about her last name,  we scheduled to meet thrice a week. 

________________________

I was getting along very well with Ahmad now we could talk for hours without tiring of each other,  I made  a peace offering with him that night after we  came from the hospital I promised to be the wife he sought for but I couldn’t jump to being the perfect wife without being a friend knowing his likes and dislikes and being with him without trying to kill him.
 I moaned as he massaged my shoulders, I was very tired from all the walk and meetings with sponsors who had rushed in to help make my dream come true,  it’s my little secret for now, I crooked my head and closed my eye I was a bit hesitant when he offered to  do the massage but it was paying off I could feel my muscle relax under his touch.  I stiffened when  he pressed a kiss to my neck, I stilled and willed my body and mind  not to jump into action,  he’s your HUSBAND FATIMA I kept repeating the mantra, to ease my mind and not freak out. 
Dedicated to Fatima Kaka 

honeys2016.wordpress.com 

BROKEN by Meena Diasso

                           °14° 

                ♦AHMAD♦

I FELT LIKE STRINGS WERE BEING PULLED FROM MY HEART,  WHAT THE FU*K HAPPENED TO HER, SO MUCH FOR THE SURPRISE I HAD IN STORE FOR HER,  “WHO DID THIS TO YOU?” I asked quietly as I watched her sleep,  she looked so innocent in her sleep, I felt a tug in my heart when she whispered incoherently and turned, the couch was too small for her, “Fatima” I uttered softly trying not to frighten her, I brushed my fingertips lightly on her ear down to her neck, “Ahmad… ” she uttered in a whiny voice, I smiled and turned my wrist I couldn’t believe how fast time had passed,  it was almost magrib time I scooped her up, I loved how her body relaxed into mine, she circled her hand around my neck. Her assistant had a wide smile on her face when she saw us “I’m so glad you’re back Sir,  she was so miserable when you weren’t around” she blurted out then as if she had realized what she did she covered her mouth with her hand and widened her eyes I shook my head and creased my forehead trying hard not to laugh. 

I nuzzled her face gently to wake her, she’s been out for hours I’d have freaked out if not for her incoherent words and turns, I brushed my lips against hers she fluttered her eye open and smiled widely “Ahmad… ” she uttered hesitantly in a raspy voice  I nodded and kissed each of her knuckles “You gave me quite a scare you know ” she furrowed her brows in confusion “You’re really here? ” she asked widening her eyes and bolting upright “Ahmad…. I’ve… ” she frowned again looking at her surrounding for the first time “you’re really home?” she gnawed on the left side of her lip “But I’m suppose to be in the office how did we get here? ” she asked her raspy voice gaining much of its natural tone, I smiled and held her hand “you had a breakdown and I brought you home” I replied shortly her breath quickened as if she just remembered something, I was frightened by her reaction “Did anyone hurt you Fatima” I asked my voice straining when I remembered the threats I had received before the wedding I balled my fist trying to hold on to the anger building inside me I’ve never seen her this frightened “What happened Fatima please tell me” “He came again…. ” she replied breaking into tears I was burning with rage when I heard that. The damn photographer never listens he came onto her again I wonder what the hell the crew were doing.  “I’m gonna kill the bastard he was lucky when you pardoned him the last time he’s not gonna get that  this time” she tensed a bit, “But he’s DEAD” she exclaimed hysterically,  pulling herself away from me,  I felt empty when she pulled away “I told him I didn’t like how he touched me, but he didn’t stop” she circled her arms around her knees and moved to furthest end of the king size bed I stood motionless “He said it was nothing then gave me toffees making me promise to not  tell mom and dad,  don’t  tell them ok” she finished looking into my eyes with  her bloodshot eyes and tear stained face. 

I swallowed hard trying to decipher what she just told me, I couldn’t get myself to do anything I wanted to kill whoever she was talking about I was walking to the door but was  stopped by the sound of her laughter “You might as well listen to  all that  happened …..then there is the second one when I was in school mom had promised to  come pick me up after school ” her voice  broke a bit,  “and I was the only one left, one of the senior students came and started conversation with me I didn’t like him but I opened up to him because I didn’t want to be alone so I joined him when he said the classrooms would be more comfortable I foolishly followed him and  he almost raped me Ahmad he had his hands all over me I can’t even remember how I escaped ” she said ending in a quiet voice. 
I left the room more to clear off my mind than to leave her in that state,  I couldn’t believe how some men could be  so cruel, something might have triggered her reaction, I massaged the sides of my head trying to calm the headache that was slowly seeping through, I went to the other room to freshen up. .

                       ❄FATIMA❄
I COULDN’T THINK OF ANYTHING BUT WHAT HAPPENED I SAT ON THE FLOOR ROCKING BACK AND FORTH AS THE PAST INVADED MY MIND,  I HATE THEM ALL,  I RELAXED IN THE HAND THAT ENVELOPED ME AND WELCOMED THE COMFORTING DARKNESS THAT WAS  SEEPING into my eyes. 

………………

I BLINKED MY EYE acquainting it  with my surrounding I squinted my eye a bit I was in my room,  how come,  I don’t remember coming here, I was with Annette then I walked to my office, I tried rising from the bed but I was held tightly by a hand, he pulled me closer to him, my memory is a bit blurry I blinked rapidly when events of the day before flooded my thoughts,  I remember telling him about uncle and that boy from school my breath hitched,  he was surely going to leave me now who wants a troubled person for a wife.  I waited for sometime and pulled myself away from him leaving for the bathroom,  I scrubbed my body repeatedly trying to wash off the dirt of all those years, I still felt dirty I wondered how Annette coped all these years, my dam broke just then, I cried out withholding nothing back, for all the years I’ve been prisoner to my own fears, for Annette and what she’s been through and for all the girls that might be going through the same fate or much less worse cases. The bathroom door was knocked repeatedly “Open the door Fatima I know you’re in there” I heard him call out his  voice muffled by the door and running water. And the love  of my life who might leave me before I start LIVING. 

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

AHMAD DIDN’T BRING THE MATTER UP,  ALTHOUGH I  COULD TELL IT WAS KILLING HIM, WE’VE  GROWN CLOSE AND VERY FAR APART it’s somehow funny, he’s the one I ran from in the morning and end up in his arms at night, mom and dad’s arrival also  helped me  ran away from all those questios. He heard enough when I rambled about  the past. I stood from my desk and stood by the window looking at the painting of  waterfall hanged on the right wall it looked serene and free, I need to help these girls, we need a world where a girl will walk and not have the fear of someone harming her.. I’M DOING THIS, I WANT MY FREEDOM. 

Dedicated to Fatima Kaka 

honeys2016.wordpress.com  

BROKEN by Meena Diasso 

                     ~13~

                ✔AHMAD✔

I CLENCHED MY JAW WHEN I SAW IT WAS A REPEAT OF THE PREVIOUS SHOW,  I runned my hand through my shaved hair that was the only means to see her face, her smiles and she had to take that too away from me, I looked around the en suite like I had misplaced  something, I really needed to get back to Naija being away from her is killing me, I frowned a bit when I remembered the last time she called me all she had to do was talk but she kept mute till I ended the call. I could tell the smiles she puts on TV were fake. I had to finalise a deal in Frankfurt, I could only make it to Nigeria next week. 

The days that passed were much harder, I couldn’t sit a second without thoughts of her  invading my mind, it was like my soul was being called I needed to be in Naija, I looked at Schneider we’ve finalised everything but I still had to inspect the supplies before they’re shipped, “I’m pleased with the supplies Schneider, but I have to be sure there’ll be no problems with the delivery of the goods” I said looking deep into  his eyes. 

We shook hands to seal the deal. I booked for  a flight online, I wanted to really watch her today but I want was tired of seeing the sadness she hid so well, I’m sometimes amazed by how much I love her, I chuckled as I looked at the picture I snapped at the parking lot when I was asking her out from lunch, come to think of it she never honored the invitation I kissed the pic and held it to my chest, this is going to be a long night, “See you soon my darling”.

I whispered as I dozed off. 

                          ⏪FATIMA⏩

THE GIRL’S STORY TRIGGERED OLD MEMORIES, I REALLY NEEDED AHMAD I’m amazed by how much I need him I’m suppose to be afraid of him I sometimes push him away from me but I still needed him to hold me I was crumbling inside just holding on by a thin thread which might break anytime. 
“FATIMA we have a new development Amida wants to open up to us” Stanley said like I knew what he was talking about, I knitted my brow in confusion  waiting for him to explain further,  “You really don’t know her?” he asked in an amazed voice I nodded and shrugged, he took the seat opposite mine and placed the file he had in his hand on it. 

“You know it’s been a week since the news of a girl who’s dad has been having intercourse with her came on the news?” he asked rhetorically, I nodded trying to get what he meant and regulate my quickening heartbeat. “Well we were contacted by the girl today she said she wants to have an interview with you cos of what you’ve done for those men in the army” I swallowed to wet my sudden dry throat, “Are you alright?” he asked in a concerned voice,  I nodded and forced a smile “Is OK, but do I get to meet her before the interview?” I asked biting the side of my lip. “It depends on the time she’ll get here, the program starts at 4pm and it’s 2:45 she’ll be coming here from the airport so we’ll  whenever she makes it here” my eyes twitched on their own accord “You mean she’ll be coming here today” I asked breathing through my mouth. He nodded giving me  a wary look, I smiled and shook my head calling out the names of Allah in my heart, “My Shadows Of The Past” has been lurking for quite sometime it’s about time I faced them I’ve been hiding behind them for quite a long time. 

***

I sat emotionless as my make up was done I didn’t even smile to the jokes Oluchi (the make up artiste) made as she did my make up, I felt like I was going on a war,  this is actually war, a war against a faceless, emotionless beast who takes advantage of weak children, I slowly breathed out as my fear turned into anger he was fucking dead but he still control my life from the grave I wasn’t going to make him anymore. 

I smiled as she joined me on the stage, I stood and hugged her when she got to her chair, she returned the hug tightly like she really needed, “I know how you feel” I whispered in her ear as we parted,  she widened her eye when we were looking at each other and I nodded. 
“THANK YOU FOR JOINING ME ON ANOTHER EDITION OF “LIFE WITH FATIMA” our show today is not so different from the other ones we did but it’s very emotional and surprising” I said my voice quivering a bit.  I looked away from the camera to Annette she smiled and nodded. “Most of us woke up to one of the most horrifying news last week,  I was quiet shocked when I heard it myself” I sighed and licked my lips. “Well we were quite surprised with the news about the girl whose dad had been having intercourse with since she was twelve, today we have the victim here to tell us what really happened and how it all started”. I ended looking at Annette .  She smiled and nodded “Well I’m from a family of four we are all girls and well loved by our parents” she chewed the side of her lip and fidgeted in her seat I held her hand to give her support “Then dad started acting weird mom has never been one to stay at home,  I don’t know how it happened but he started visiting my room at night when she went on one of her numerous trips, then the indecent touches I didn’t take them as anything cos he is after all my dad” I passed over the box of tissues to her, she wiped the tears that had fallen “I once complained when he touched my private parts, but he told me it was nothing,  I was only twelve then but I knew a little about the female reproductive system and a little sex education but dad said it was nothing he could do that to me”. She massaged her temple closing her eye I held her hand tightly in support “Then he made me move to his room at night,  and forced me to watch kidporn with him, I hated every second of it but I could do nothing about it, he threatened to do same to my siblings and eventually kill us all if  I ever told anyone” I couldn’t ask her a thing every question wiped out of my brain I couldn’t think of dad doing same to me. She gnawed on her quivering bottom lip “Do you want us to end this?” I asked silently she shook her head and continued “He forced himself on me one night after we had finished watching one of his porn sessions, I thought I would die from the pain” she ended making her tears fall without wiping them,  I was trying so hard to keep mine at bay,  “I had to stay at home for  two weeks without school till I was OK and he slept with me any other night after that”. Almost everyone in the studio had tears in their eyes. “How did you finally come in the open about it?” I asked her quietly “Well mom couldn’t tell what was wrong when she came back and I couldn’t tell her, I was very hurt when she didn’t notice how different I acted, she was too engrossed in her business and the profit she made to know what I was going through, I distanced myself from everyone, he came to my room whether she was around or not” she said laughing hysterically, you could tell it was a painful laughter.

“My head mistress noticed how withdrawn I had been and asked me what was wrong with me but I couldn’t tell her what was happening, she studied me for almost 4 years before finally forcing me to tell her what was happening with me, I couldn’t hold it anymore I broke down and told her all that was happening” I gaped in surprise, trying so hard to hold on to my anger, “You’re sixteen now?” I asked in a surprised voice,  she nodded and held on to my hand tightly, she didn’t look sixteen she  looked much older than that. “I had to repeat secondary school for two years” she added bursting into uncontrollable tears.  I hugged her tightly  trying to  seep some of the little strength I had into this little girl,  she is a WARRIOR,  and I was still complaining when this little girl has been raped by her dad for four fucking years. 

I couldn’t hold on to my tears anymore, I did well sitting through the whole interview without breaking down or having a panic attack, a hand held me,  my body relaxed into the familiar hold, my back was patted lightly continuously, “I hate him, I really hate him for what he did to me he ruined me, he ruined me and now he wants to ruin my marriage, he wants to ruin my marriage” I uttered repeatedly and closed my eye welcoming the peaceful darkness  that awaited me.