That moment Maimunah held my hands, I was akin to pity for her. I saw in her eyes the yearning to have someone to speak to, someone to pour her heavy hearts to and someone to assure her all would be fine. I took her hands and led her into my bedroom. I believed she wanted to pour her heart to me and that was why she rushed to grab my hands. We walked into my room and I showed her to a seat.
“Please what is it this time?” I queried with worry.
“Habeebah I swear I don’t know what I have done wrong, I have tried my best but it seems my best isn’t good enough to win my husband’s love and mercy. His family aint helping matter as well, they all don’t want me.” She lamented in tears.
“Then check yourself, check yourself Maimunah. You know what you’re doing that has been causing a ruckus in your marriage, try and adjust and compromise a little to save your marriage. I advised.
“I know, I know I have character deficiency and I have really tried to adjust, I made a final resolution to fight my destructive habits at a wedding in Abuja when we had an argument and I told him to go to hell. Your husband sermonized me and ever since that day I had made a resolution to fight against my soul, to fight against the spirit of arrogance and that I had done to the best of my ability, but Ismail has been the one tormenting me, I am getting tired, I don’t seem to understand him any longer.” She cried out.
“I don’t understand you either, how is Ismail tormenting you.” I queried.
“Ever since the fight we had in Abuja, he’s been acting funny, I had apologized for publicly embarrassing him but he’s not been good to me ever since. He now refused me washing his clothes with machine telling me I have to use my hands instead. I obeyed him and went out of my comfort zone just to please him. Another thing is that he would wake me at the dead of the night and asked me to make something for him to eat, I would do exactly what he wanted and after he would say he doesn’t want that particular thing again that I should prepare another. I would also obey with tears in my eyes. Habeebah, I am going through hell. Ismail is tormenting me, I feel like running away.” She lamented in tears.
“Please don’t cry, your husband might have a reason for changing all of a sudden, have you ever sat him down to ask him why he’s been treating you unfairly?” I asked feeling her pains deeply.
“I have severally but his reply was that if I couldn’t cope again I should just take my exit, then I knew all his actions were deliberate.” She explained with witty eyes.
“Oh my! Why is he doing that, what happened again, I heard him told his friend when I came in that he couldn’t endure again.” I asked.
“He’s been asking me to pound yam for the last five days now which I refused.” She said.
“Why did you refuse, my dear all this that your hubby is doing, my mind tells me it may be his own way of giving you a home training which you have refused to receive. Marriage is an institution of learning, I will advise you to endure the heat for now, your husband is testing you that I know for sure.” I opined.
“I know and I have been enduring his so called tests, I would have pounded the yam but the doctor said I shouldn’t stress my self.”
“Why, are you sick?”
“I am pregnant.” She said and burst into tears.
“Oh my! That’s good news Alhamdulillah. You shouldn’t stress yourself truly. Didn’t your hubby know about this, or why his he requesting you to pound in this state.”
“I didn’t tell him.” She replied firmly.
“Why?” I asked in awe.
“I don’t know whether he love or hate me now, I don’t want to burden him with the news of a pregnancy. With the way he’s been treating me, we’ve not really been close of late so I couldn’t bring my self to share the news with him.” She said amidst tears and I was trapped in emotions too, I wept too as I moved closer to console her.
“My dear, your husband loves you and he probably want you to change and that’s why he’s been domineering. Should we get up now and go break the news to him in the living room. I am sure he would be happy, who wouldn’t. It’s good news, you guys have waited over two years to hear a news like this. Please get up and let’s go break the news, shall we?” I summoned while she nodded her head in agreement.
We walked to the living room where we met both Ismail and Ibrahim devouring pounded yam, I guess my husband might have called on the maid to prepare it, his friend probably compliant of his yearning for pounded yam hence his action. I held Maimunah’s hands and we both sat down. Ibrahim looked up but Ismail wasn’t perturbed by our presence, he continued eating his food while Ibrahim spoke.
“You ladies have something for us?” Ibrahim asked.
“Yes, please permit us.” I urged.
“Go ahead.” My husband replied.
“Maimunah here is very sorry. Ismail please your wife is sorry for not pounding yam for you……..” I tried to explain but Ismail interrupted me.
“As you ladies can see, I am eating pounded yam, when a woman refuses the yearning of her husband, he would always satisfy himself outside.” Ismail said with mouth full.
“It’s not as you think, please hear us out.” I pleaded while Maimunah was silent.
“I am listening, how is it?” Ismail said.
“Your wife here is pregnant and needs to rest as advised by the Doctor……..” I tried to say but Ismail interrupted me as the morsel he was holding dropped.
“You mean my wife is pregnant?” He exclaimed happily as he stood up to sit by Maimunah, he drew her closer while the former sobbed quietly.
“I am so sorry, why didn’t you tell me, oh my! the advice I was being given had made me turned into a monster such that my wife couldn’t break a good news to me. Maimunah my darling I am so sorry.” He repeated as he snugged her. My husband and I excused them to sort their differences and left for our bedroom.
Inside the bedroom, I saw myself crying, the tears were just dropping effortlessly even my husband was surprised.
“Our cry cry baby has started again, why are you crying now, aren’t you supposed to be happy for them. At least the baby will erase all the accumulated grievances and they’ll be fine again.” My husband said.
“Don’t mind me, I cry a lot. It’s tears of joy anyway, but who could have incited Ismail against his wife for goodness sake.”
“His mum, he told me his mum advised him to be a bossy and fastidious husband. That’s a way of teaching a woman who refused to receive a home training. It might have been a hard step but she sure learnt a lesson, it’s obvious she loved her husband so well and wouldn’t want to lose him so she had to adjust.” Ibrahim submitted.
“Yes she learnt I agreed, but Ismail went too far, he treated her like some piece of trash, it’s unfair.”
“Would you believe anything your friend told you? You’re obviously been sentimental here, you didn’t hear the second side of a story yet you’re judging, you can’t be a lawyer I swear” Ibrahim said with a stern gesture.
“Yes I can’t be a lawyer, I am a very emotional person, that profession doesn’t suit me at all. Anyways I am very happy for Maimunah, what a hard way to learn. I am also happy at the news of their baby, this is what my people call OMOLAJA.”
“What’s that?” Ibrahim queried
“Ask google.” I said and burst into laughter.
“Me! You’re telling me to ask google 1/0. Don’t worry I’ll do my own.”
“No I’ll tell you, don’t do your own, your own revenge is always painful. OMOLAJA means the arrival of the child has put a stop to the fight between the parents. I don’t know how to explain better. You should go for Yoruba classes and stop disturbing me to explain every Ha and Ho that I uttered.
“Thank you for that advice, I will definitely get a Yoruba teacher, a female teacher who will teach me well.” He said and winked.
“Not in this house, in fact you don’t need a teacher, I will tutor you by myself.” I said sharply.
“Hahahahaha….. because I made mention of a woman now you want to assume the role of a tutor all of a sudden, chai women and fright for a second wife.” He said with sarcasm.
“Thank you, I won’t leave my meat in the mouth of a cat, never.” I said sharply and we both laughed loudly.
Days rolled into months and Months into year, it’s been an amazing marriage with Ibrahim Dangoje, we aren’t perfect but we looked beyond each other’s fault and held unto each other’s strength to find strength in times of disparity. The Dangoje’s were great people who were endowed with extra ordinary inner beauty. Months after my mother’s death, there was another wedding between the last man standing Abubakr and Fatimah, the daughter of our maid.
Sometimes I used to think the Dangoje’s were from another planet judging by their reasonable philosophy of life which doesn’t place the rich above the poor. In their family lies examples for humanity, in their eyes lies compassion for the less privileged and their hands are always ready to assist the poor. This is what I called a blessing to humanity. Yes the Dangoje’s, we need plenty of them in the world today may be all animals would have been equal with one not surpassing another in equality if we have plenty of their types.
Another good news was gifted to my ears when Radiyyah my sister gave birth, she was delivered of a baby girl some months after the demise of our mother. After she was stable with no threat of a miscarriage again, the news of mother’s death was broken to her. The news shattered her as much as it did to the rest of us, but again just like the rest of us, she was consoled and life continued. When life happens, we don’t query God instead we accept the qadar with faith hoping for the best in Allah. I was really delighted by the news of Radiyyah’s baby, I phoned her and she was beaming with joy over the phone. It was indeed a beautiful gift and I have a niece after all.
My boys were big now and I was the proud mother of 18months old triplet. I had also weaned them at this time and they could run and jump around the house. It’s a great joy in itself watching them scatter and turned the whole house into disarray. Their first words were mama which made hubby jealous and would want to put dada into their mouth. We were enjoying our lives before a dark evening arrived.
The evening which later turned dark was amazing, my 18 months old triplet were cracking I and hubby up with their baby talk, mimicking whatever I and hubby said and giggling at the same time as though they understood what we were talking about. Abdullah was the cosy type, he love to clinch all day while his brothers preferred to just play on their own. His dad happened to be his best friend whom he clinched unto whenever he was home. This particular evening he was snuggling his dad as usual and the latter felt the need to visit the toilet but the little boy won’t allow him. I laughed at their drama and just told him to throw him a ball, he loved ball and that’s the only way he could leave him. Ibrahim threw the ball to the door and asked him to go catch it, Abdullah obliged and ran to the door but immediately ran back to his dad again crying and pointing his little finger to our astonishment.
Ibrahim and I looked at the direction the boy was pointing to and just then three armed men walked in with stern looks that spelt trouble, before we could say anything, another three armed men joined them which made my heart wanna jumped out. I trembled in fear as I grabbed my three kids and wrapped them in my arms. I looked at my husband who obviously wasn’t as scared as in was, even if he was scared he didn’t show it at all. Ibrahim summoned all the courage left in him and interrogated the armed men boldly.
“Please how may we help you?” He asked bravely.
“We are professional armed robbers, cooperate with us so that there wouldn’t be any blood shed.” One of the armed men said and my heart skipped at the mention of blood shed.
“What exactly do you want?” Ibrahim queried again.
“What else, we want money. Doctor Ibrahim Dangoje, head surgeon of Immaculate medical home, son of a serving Minister, don’t be surprised we know you. We are professional armed robbers who work with information. We are here for money.” Another of the armed men spoke.
“As you can see this is not a bank, I don’t keep money home.” Ibrahim said firmly while I nudged him with a pleading look.”
“Are you mad! Do you think we’re here to banter words with you, come on lead the way to your bedroom.” The first robber roared as he lifted the gun unto Ibrahim’s head and cock it at the same time, I shouted and pleaded with Ibrahim to cooperate with them.
“Ibrahim please, your life is much more valuable than money, please don’t allow them waste your precious life.” I pleaded with hot tears.
“This isn’t about money, I thought they said they are professional armed robbers, they are here to steal from me so why should I be the one to hand my belongings to them. If they are professional enough as they claim, they should ransack the whole building by themselves and do away with anything they can lay their hands on.” My husband said stubbornly to my surprise, how could someone be as stubborn as this at the face of a bullet, I thought with fright as I intensified the chanting of Allahuma ikfinihim bima shi’ta
“You wanna die?” One of the robbers said again pushing him aggressively while my husband stubbornly released his hold on him.
“My death is not in your hands.” My hubby replied confidently while I pleaded with teary eyes once again.
“You know what boys, search everywhere and bring whatever you can see, money, gold, diamond anything valuable. This guy is just going to waste our time.” One of the Robbers who probably might be their head summoned while the remaining five ransacked our house under our helpless watch. We both increased the chanting of Adhkar and watched on.
Minutes later, the five of them returned with some money, gold jewellery, wristwatches, laptops, phones and some other valuables.
“How much is the money?” The leader asked
“We didn’t count, but I don’t think it’s up to a million naira.” One of them replied.
“Where did you keep the money?” The leader charged at my husband.
“What money? I told you I don’t keep money at home.” He replied firmly.
“Where is your ATM card then?” He roared again.
“I left it at the office.” He replied simply.
“You are a stubborn he-goat.” He said as he grabbed one of the triplet “If I kill this one sebi you’ll tell me where your ATM is.” The Robber threatened while I rushed to him begging and screaming. My heart was running a 2000metre race and I could feel the heaviness of my breathing, I looked at my husband and he was frightened as well . [eni ija’oba lo n pe ara e lokunrin].
“Please don’t kill my child, he’s saying the truth, he left his ATM at the office, all of it. This is mine, please take it.” I said in apprehension as I reached for my purse and handed him my ATM card.
“What’s your pin?” He asked with eyes spitting fire
“1950” I quickly replied.
“Are you sure you gave me the correct pin?”
“Absolutely, please give me my child.” I pleaded with trembling lips
“Please let’s have the boy.” My husband pleaded.
“Shut up! [He barked at my husband] “This is not your bargain at all, it’s between your wife and I, why do you have to leave your ATM card in the office on a day we august visitors are coming to pay you a visit. I think I have to teach you a lesson.” He said and before anyone could say Jack, he pulled the trigger and the bullet went bang inside my husband’s body. He fell immediately and was bleeding torrentially. The robbers ran out and fled almost immediately without looking back.
I screamed as I watched my husband’s lifeless body on the floor, I shook him vigorously and wept bitterly . I told him to get up and answer the call of his sons who were also weeping as though they understood the calamity that befell us.
“Please get up Ibrahim, take a look at your kids, they are crying. Please don’t leave us. Please get up and talk to me.” I repeated as I shook him vigorously with my tears falling on his body.
I tried to carry him but I couldn’t , I quickly ran out to call the gateman but I found him tied to the iron door with a tape on his mouth. It took a while before I could untie him and we both ran inside where a pool of blood was flowing on the floor. We stepped on the blood to where Ibrahim was lying and the gateman quickly lifted him and ran to the car. By this time the neighbours had encircled our building. They said they were alerted by the sound of a gunshot. One of the neighbours drove while I was been sent back to the house. The maids had also come out of the extension, they sat me down and tried to console me. I stood up and made to leave the house when they stopped me.
“Please let me go and see my husband.” I said amidst tears.
“Don’t worry ma, he’s been taken to the hospital and he would be fine.”
“I saw blood, I saw my husband’s blood gushing like a tap, I saw him layed lifelessly, please tell me he isn’t gone.” I lamented as hot tears cascaded my cheeks.
[As I typed this chapter, I remembered an incidence that occurred in my house on the 10th of December 1996, it was in the month of Ramadhan. Some armed robbers stormed our house and in their exact words “We are professional armed robbers, cooperate with us” it was as though the second world war was been fought as the robbers struggled to cart away with our belongings. A pool of my dad’s blood was flowing in our living room as the robbers striked a machete on his head…………….LAJFINGERS blending true events with fiction].