By Meena Diasso
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.
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.