Abu Matrud and Jamiu, his right-hand man, shook Baba Qudus hands and bade him farewell. As they were exiting the bungalow’s hallway, the door knob caught the hand of Abu Matrud’s white agbada and Baba Qudus rushed to unhook him.
“Ah, please Baba Qudus, let me do it.” Abu Matrud objected.
‘‘No, laye laye. Eyin alfa wa. We have to respect you.”
They all bumped, not literally, into Eesa outside.
“Eesa, salaam alaykum. What are you doing here?” Abu Matrud asked.
“Wa alaykum salam.”
Without giving Eesa the chance to respond, Abu Matrud said, “Oh, your sister must have sent you.”
After Abu Maturd and Jamiu left, Eesa proceeded inside the house and went to Latifah’s door. He had been calling her all day but she wasn’t picking up. He knocked the door several times before Latifah opened, asking him to stay outside. Latifah stepped out and asked him to walk with her as she needed to buy gaari and sugar from the convenience store of Mama Eko.
There were water puddles on the road and the mist from last night’s rain was in the air.
It was mainly Eesa speaking throughout their walk up until the time they reached the place where the transformer is. Bothered by Latifah’s resounding silence to all he had said, Eesa said, “Will you please for Allah’s sake say something? Anything at all?”
Latifah stopped walking and exhaled.
“Eesa, what exactly do you want from me?”
“Marry me. Please. That’s all I’masking.” His face lit up.
“I am sorry I can’t. I can’t anymore.”
“Listen, you have your whole life ahead of you. You’ll find someone better than me in every way. Someone who is not a damaged good. Someone you won’t have to go against your family for. Someone your age.”
She started walking, and he walked with her.
“Believe me, it’s for the best. It’s not wise to fight one’s family because you want to marry someone. I fought my family. My late husband fought his family to marry me. I know what I am saying. It’s for the best. I will never come in between siblings or families anymore. So, Eesa it is final…”
“Don’t say that. We don’t know Allah’s plans.” Eesa staggered to find courage.
“You’re right. We don’t, but in this case, I…. well, unless…”
“Unless what Latifah? Unless…”
“You know what? Forget it.”
Eesa sat under a tree on the road side and watched Latifah as she continued towards Mama Eko convenience store.
Sunday morning, after halqah, Abu Matrud held Ustadh Jamiu back and told him he wanted to discuss somethings with him. There inside the mosque, he opened up to his friend and deputy about a pain in his heart. He spoke about the insolence of Jamilah, and how she’s not embodying the spirit of submissiveness he expected from his wives.
“Have you forsaken her on the bed?” Ustadh Jamiu asked.
“I have my brother. I have.”
“And you admonished her as well.”
“I did that first.”
“Well, you’ve done everything. Divorce her, ya Shaykh.”
Abu Matrud folded his legs, took a large dose of oxygen in, and rubbed his beard. He thought for a moment, and then his phone rang.
Later in the week, at night in Islamiyah’s living room, Abu Matrud was in the dining area, getting ready to eat when Eesa came into the house, said salaam to Abu Matrud and walked off to her room without saying a thing.
“Islamiyah, is everything okay with you and Eesa?” Abu Matrud asked as he washed his hand in the bowl Islamiyah had put infront of him on the table.
“That one, don’t mind him jaare. He is being childish ni. He’ll come around.” Islamiyah waved her hand. “How was your day, Abu?”
“Alhamdulillah. It was fine. One of our friends and benefactors in the Kingdom sent us some grants for the community maternity clinic.”
“How much is it?”
“It’s a pretty large amount. A little more than we actually need.”
“I don’t think that can be true. You can always find something good to use the rest for.”
“So, how much is it?” She rushed the spoonful rice.
He cleared his throat. “I have something to tell you.”
“I am listening.” Her demeanor changed to seriousness.
“I am divorcing Jamilah.”
There was a moment silence.
“Erm, erm when? What happened?” To her own surprise, she was genuinely concerned.
“I pronounced the divorce last night. I’ll gift her the self-contained house on odo-oba road after her iddah.”
“Abu. Why? What did she do?”
“Islamiyah, that’s between me and her. I just wanted to be the first person to tell you as a courtesy.”
“Ehn, ehn, I noticed I haven’t seenLatifah around lately.” He was nervous. “Is there anything I need to know?”
“No, Abu. Nothing you need to know. She’s just been busy.. that’s all.” She replied firmly.
Later that night as they make love, both were absent minded and had other thoughts running in their heads.
Latifah in her floor sweeping hijab walked across the hallway and knocked on Baba Qudus’ door. Iya Qudus opened the door and after they exchanged pleasantries, asked her to sit and her husband, the landlord. The living room smelt of camphor and ointment. There TV shelf, stacked with classic turntable discs and radio cassettes evoked in Latifah a strong feeling of nostalgia. She remembered her childhood days when he father would playAriyo and Kayode Wasiu Sodiq gospel songs on Saturday mornings. On Fridays they usually play AbdulBasit’s recitation of Surah Yasin and Kahf. Lectures from Oniwasi Agabaye and Bulala will be ringing all day long after asalaatu on Sunday.
She had reached out to her little sister earlier this week and had found out that her father had died. She cried for hours, replaying the last time she was with him in her head. Latifah’s father died a few months back, but only after he had changed his religious views. A group of sojourners had visited his local mosque. And due to their persuasion, he had stopped the use of sand to tell fortunes and had stopped using lizard head as concoctions three months before he breathed his last, according to Latifah’s mother.
Baba Qudus emerged and sat opposite Latifah.
“Eleha, how are you? Hope nothing is wrong?”
“I am fine, sir. I just come to tell you that I am grateful for your support and not being hard on us when my husband was alive, and even after his death. May God reward you.”
“Ameen. What are we to do, Eleha? We will not eat ourselves. We have to be good to each other.”
“I just want to tell you that I am planning to move out by the end of this month and go back to my people. I can’t afford to live here anymore. Our rent expired three months ago. I owed you three months and haven’t been able to pay and it’s not fair to you. Plus I miss my family.”
“What are you talking about theImam came and pay what you owe and a year’s rent?”
“Imam Sharaf Abu Matrud. He came the other day and paid me in full”
“I did not know.” Islamiyah said calmly.
“Yes, they did, Eleha. You don’t have to go anywhere.”
Islamiyah kept quiet for a while then she turned to Baba Qudus again.
“Still, I want to move out at the end of the month. I need to go back toll Ibadan and be with my family now. There’s nothing else in this town for me.”
“Oh well, if you insist.”
“Thank you sir.”
As Islamiyah got back into her living room that morning she thought of what was waiting for her in Ibadan. Would she be met with empathy or would her family be hard on her? Would she live the rret of her life in her parent’s house? Would she got an apartment to herself and a job? What sort of jobs are out there for her an OND level graduate? Would she ever be married again? Of all the thoughts, none pierced her in the soul more than the thought of her friendship with Islamiyah hitting the rocks, and the heartbreak she had imposed on Eesa, a young man, she inexplicably, loved.
At this point, for the first time, she became angry at Islamiyah. What was her problem? She wished there was a way she could make her feel the type of pain she was going through.
Three days before Latifah was scheduled to move to Ibadan, she got a marriage proposal from a very fine and wealthy man.
—– 😊THE END OF SEASON ONE 😊—
This series has grown to be interesting to me personally, but due to the level of obligations I have right now, I won’t be able to keep up. I hope to finish up this story in my next book or motion pictures 🤷♂️. There, you’ll be able to enjoy it fully. Again, I appreciate your readership.
Thank you so much for following this series and for sharing with friends and family. JazakumuLlah kahyra.
– Baba oní Story