The weather was very hot as a result of the blazing sun. The students of LAUTECH were running helter-skelter
as if after one target or another.
Most of the students were sun burnt. Most held their folders tightly by their sides, almost colliding with one another. While some stood in twos discussing issues relating to their various courses.
Farha was afraid to walk in this blazing sun, she remembered her mother always telling her to avoid going out when the sun was blazing hot to avoid having a fever. She wasn’t sure if her mother was right or not
She looked at her wrist-watch, it was 4:15pm, 15 minutes before the commencement of the tutorial class. She quickly summoned courage with the Yoruba saying that “whoever is afraid to be beaten by the sun and rain will surely die of starvation.
She dashed into the sun and started running like someone who was late for an interview. She held her books tightly by her side while she walked with her head bent. Oblivion of Gloria approaching, the two of them almost collided with each other before they both halted with a surprise.
“Where are you hurrying to”? Gloria
“To the tutorial of course.” answered Farha
“Oh I’ve almost forgot, anyway, I want to go home and rest I had a busy day”. Gloria said lazily.
“Lazy head, come on let’s go, you know you invited me to the tutorial, so if you are displaying this nonchalant attitude, what do you want me to do”? Farha asked giving her a scornful look.
“Alright you won”. Gloria said changing her mind.
They both walked to the centre of the tutorial, chatting and laughing as they walked, and by the time they got to the tutorial, the lecture was half way, they were not able to sit at the front because the front row was already occupied, they sat together at the back row and listened to the lecture with rapt attention.
The person lecturing them was also a student, a young man in probably his late twenties. Farha watched the way he delivered his lecture with great admiration. She had seen a lot of lecturers in action, but there is something unique about this person. He teaches, he doesn’t lecture, he teaches in an erudite manner, explaining steps by steps with devotion and patience.
Farha watched as he jumps up and down making entry to the rows line by line, and quickly running back to the board to write down his explanations. He was full of energy, emphasizing each points just to drive home his explanations. He would pause and asks questions about the topic he was discussing at intervals, just to be sure he was carrying everybody along.
Farha was highly impressed, it seemed this man had unraveled the misery of statistics, because to her the course she was studying was mysterious. She asked series of questions to which the man answered brilliantly and to her satisfaction. By the time he had exhausted the topic of the day, Farha understood better and could not wait for other topics to be treated.
When the class was over, Farha could not help being curious, she asked about this man with a unique way of lecturing from Gloria.
“Gloria, please who was that man that took us through the tutorial class”? She asked anxiously.
“Oh, that was brother Daniel, he is unarguably a genius, teacher of teachers, and he even corrects his lecturers in class whenever they made mistakes. Lecturers respect and adore him”. Gloria explained passionately.
“Really? Please tell me what I don’t know”. Farha pleaded, she was highly impressed.
“He is the one leading our department with a first class. He is really an extra ordinary person, a rare one for that matter”. Gloria added excited at giving the information.
“What level is he?” Farha asked again eager to know more.
“Finalist, oh that boy is unbeatable” Gloria stressed and continues “he’s studying on scholarship, he had won many awards for the school at several inter-university competitions”.
“Oh my God”! Farha expressed gripping her head with both hands. “I’ve seriously been missing, it was just as if he opened my head and put everything he said inside it because I’ve really achieved a lot in one day, I must confess.”
“That is it! His explanations sinks into the skull like coins sinks in water”, Gloria added.
“There is something about this Daniel o, how come I am able to understand his lecture, compared to all the lectures on campus? Does that mean he is better than the lecturers”? Oh girl! I must regain all I have missed in this tutorial”. Farha said with certainty.
“Should we go and meet him then, maybe we could seek his assistance for extra lessons to make up for what we’ve missed”, Gloria suggested.
“That’s exactly my point, let’s go”. Farha summoned.
They both went to Daniel and introduced themselves to him, they made their intentions known to seek his assistance in taking them extra lessons so as to cover up for what they’ve missed which he agreed.
Daniel told them that what he loved doing most is assisting fellow students with their academics. He told them he would try and spare 30 minutes after the tutorial; Gloria gave an excuse when she remembered she would be going for her evening fellowship at that time, which leaves only Farha for the extra lessons.
* * * * *
Farha was very excited about her newly found busy life. Her daily routine was now from home to school, from school to the tutorial class and the extra tutorial and from there back home. She only goes to the madrasah during weekends.
Her academic performance was now improving and she told everyone who cared to listen to her that her tutorial class lecturer was a God sent to her. She now had a say whenever there was any group discussions in her class, unlike before when “I supported the motion “was her logo.
Farha now did her assignments and tests brilliantly well and so much that her lecturers noticed this commendable change and they advised her to keep it up. Farha now carries herself exuberantly and does everything with grim determination. She finds it difficult to leave her books for a longtime that her friends now called her a book worm.
Daniel was a studious young man and he was a great positive influence on Farha. It seemed he took a special interest in coaching her because he was always happy whenever he takes her through the lessons. He also advises her like a brother and Farha appreciates his brotherly advice and dispositions to the extent that she felt relaxed and warmth whenever she was with him.
Farha no longer waits for the commencement of the tutorial before she sees Daniel. Whenever she had any question to ask him during school periods, she always went looking for him. They were now fond of each other that they sometimes hanged out during school time. Daniel also sometimes checked on her to ask if she had any challenge for the day.
There was a day Asia called Farha’s attention to the fact that her rapour with Daniel was becoming too much, but she was quick to answer that their friendship was purely academics, no strings attached; it was only a platonic one. “I just like the guy because he’s brilliant, that’s all”. Farha explained.
“Do not forget that he’s a Christian, even though he’s taking you some lessons, it should be limited to that alone”. Asia said with fright in her voice.
“I’ve already told you that our friendship is strictly platonic and does not exceed beyond academics”. Farha argued
“You still have to be careful you know, and you also know it’s not good to take the unbelievers as friends, besides if your excuse is based on academics, there are Muslim brothers in your department who can contest with him, if only you look beyond what you are seeing right now” Asia said emphatically.
“I’ve not seen any!!! Farha replied sharply. “You don’t have to worry yourself unnecessarily. Has anything changed in my religious dispositions since I’ve known him?” She asked Asia.
“Nothing that I know of, no reduction, quite alright but no addition as well, no improvement! Isn’t that worrisome?”. Asia asked back? “Don’t get too closed to him because those Christians are very cunny, you may never know what’s on his mind, and you may not know he’s digging a pit for you until you fall into it.
“That can never happen, I am a Muslim and that fact will never change”. Farha said convincingly.
When Asia sensed that her excuses and explanations were plausible, she allowed sleeping dog lie.
In all sincerity, Farha had no hidden agenda about Daniel except for the academic benefits she was deriving from him. It was true that she was impressed and fascinated by his academic brilliance but that was all, her mind didn’t go beyond that.
Daniel’s feeling on the contrary was different, he was over whelmed by Farha’s beauty and simplicity and he thought to himself that she would make a good partner.
One day, he confided in his friend Joseph when he could no longer keep it to himself.
“Joseph”, He began. “Do you know Farha?”
“Who is Farha”? Joseph queried.
“That Muslim lady I used to take in tutorial”.
“Oh! That girl! What about her”?
“Could you believe that I’ve bee nursing some strange feelings about her?”. Daniel confessed.
“Feelings like what”? Joseph asked ignorantly.
“Feelings like uhm uhm … uhm uhm….” Daniel stammered.
“When did you become a stammerer?” Joseph asked with a wry smile.
“Feelings like love you know!” Daniel said at last.
“What kind of absurd love is that, do you realize that the girl in question is a Muslim?” Joseph asked with disgust.
“Who cares about religion, what’s bad in inter-religious marriage anyway”? Daniel asked unperturbed.
“Everything is wrong with it, are you sure you are in your right senses”? Joseph asked raising his voice.
“Yes I am, keep your voice down now, I can’t help myself, I can’t control my feelings either”. Daniel stressed.
A knock on the door interrupted their conversations.
“The door is not locked. They both chorused and Femi opened the door and walked in with a smile. He greeted them with handshakes and sat down on the bed beside Daniel.
“You can’t be serious at all”. Joseph continued. “You must be daydreaming”.
“I’m damn serious”. Daniel replied.
“What are you being serious or not about?”
Femi asked curiously.
“Femi you are not a stranger, I told Joseph that I love a Muslim girl and would like to date her and he’s rebuking me for it”.
“Who’s this Muslim girl if I may ask?” Femi asked Daniel
“I don’t know if you know her but her name is Farha”. Daniel explained.
“Oh that fine girl, I know her so well, who says you can’t date her, my guy please go ahead”. Femi said in support of Daniel.
“Now I see that both of you are birds of a feather that flock together. Infatuation has blinded your eyes to see that the unbelievers are forbidden for marriage”. Joseph argued.
“I don’t see them as unbelievers, they also believes in a God, only that the mode of worship is different”. Femi argued back.
“Little wonder, show me your friend and I will tell you who you are, dirty minds thinks alike. I should not be exchanging words with you guys, I’m out of here”. Joseph said
disappointed and walked out.
“Don’t mind him Daniel, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, as for me, I don’t see anything wrong in a Christian man marrying a Muslim lady; it fosters love and unity between both religions”. Femi said emphatically.
“Why should I mind him, my ears are now deaf to anything contrary to my love for Farha, I must date that girl no matter what”. Daniel said with determination.
“I’m with you 100% my brother, Muslim ladies make a better wife, they are more obedient and homely. By the way have you even asked her out”. Femi asked digressing.
“No I’ve not, I felt I should take my time before doing that”. Daniel replied.
“O boy, don’t waste time o, beautiful and charming girls like that have one thousand and one admirers, it’s going to be a case of first come, first serve”. Femi stressed.
“And do you think she would accept my proposal to date her not to even talk of marriage. Daniel expressed his fears.
“I don’t know but you have to try, who knows she might be susceptible. Girls always play hard to get at first, they don’t give in cheaply just like
that, but you have to be persistent”. Femi encouraged
“You don’t know the extent to which you have eased my task, when next I see her, I will do just that. Thank you my guy, Daniel said giving Femi a handshake.
* * * *
Daniel decided to take his time in confessing his love for Farha, he started by playing a nice guy, he would voluntarily go to Farha’s class and asked if the whole class had problems with any of their courses.
In his struggle to win Farha’s love he never failed to tell her course mates that he was helping them because of Farha who was his friend.
Farha’s classmates were very surprised and at the same time happy that the best student in their department is a friend to one of their mates and as such, they are blessed. A free tutorial everyday by the best student in their department could not be described in other words.
Daniel continued this charity for weeks, when asked by his friend Femi what he stands to gain by telling all and sundry that Farha was his friend and even going to the extent of spending his busy time to tutor Farha’s class.
He simply replied:
“I have to put my sticker on her first, so that by the time I finally dropped the bombshell she would find me hard to resist”. Daniel explained.
“You are simply wasting time, go straight to business and stop perambulating”. Femi said.
“I know what I’m doing, it’s going to yield a good fruit”. Daniel replied optimistic.
The charity tutorial continued coupled with different other good gestures. To Farha, she thought Daniel was just a nice guy who knows how to treat a lady well, little did she know that there’s nothing like a free lunch….
One day, Daniel took his desperation to the next level by visiting Farha’s hostel. He bought beverages and fruits with him and on getting to her hostel, he met her absence.
It was a Sunday and the three friends had attended an Islamic program. Daniel stood at the door and continued knocking even when he was not hearing responses. “Where could she have gone on a Sunday” he said aloud.
“Who are you?” A voice queried and Daniel quickly turned to see who was talking to him.
“I said who are you?” Samiah asked
Samiah who was a little indisposed was sleeping in the second flat, her sleep was interrupted by Daniel’s continuous knocking so she came out to see who the disturbance was.
“I seek for Farha” Daniel replied
“You haven’t answered my questions, I said who you are?”. Samiah asked again gazing at the basket of wrapped gift he was holding.
“I’m Daniel, Farha’s friend”. He said feeling uneasy
“Daniel, Farha’s friend from where to where”. Samiah mumbled to herself.
“You said what? Daniel asked confused.
“Nothing, she’s not home”.
I see, could you give this to her please?” Daniel requested handing over the gift to Samiah
“What do you have in there, I hope it’s
not a time bomb”. Samiah asked with a scornful look.
“Ah ah sister, no it is not, it’s a gift”.
Daniel replied with a wry smile.
Samiah collected the basket reluctantly and left him standing without saying a word of good bye. Daniel was pained by not meeting
Farha and he left dejectedly.
Samiah came back to Farha’s apartment when she was sure that she must have been back to deliver her message to her. She met the three friends eating.
“Were you trailing us?” Asia asked Samiah with a smile.
“What’s that you are holding?” Hafsoh asked sighting the beautifully wrapped basket on her hand.
“It’s Farha’s property”. Samiah replied sitting down.
“My property”? Farha asked touching her chest.
“A man came by the house, he said he is Daniel, he asked me to give you this”. Samiah explained giving the basket to Farha.
There was a long silence in the room for a while, Hafsoh decided to ignore what she heard but Asia couldn’t and she spoke out.
“Your friendship has gone to the level of home visitation and exchange of gifts”. Asia said rather than ask
“Don’t mind Daniel, I don’t know his problems, I definitely will scold him for this”. Farha said with fury.
“Please do, warn him never to come looking for you again and return his gifts to him. What an effrontery!” Asia said wryly.
“Hmmmmmm.” Hafsoh and Samiah both sighed simultaneously.
“Say it out, don’t keep it inside, that’s why I will always like Asia, she doesn’t toy with my life”. Farha said responding to Hafsoh and Samiah’s sigh.
The following day, Farha carried the gift to school and hid it in the mosque, when it was time for her to leave for the tutorial, she took the gift and off she went. She decided to let Daniel know of her displeasure, she decided to warn him sternly never to repeat what he did.
After tutorial, she sent a message to Daniel via text to meet her in one of the classrooms in the school. Farha sat on the chair tapping her foot impatiently on the floor, Daniel walked in and met her in this position.
“Hope there’s no problem”. Daniel inquired.
“Have your gift back”. Farha said handing over the gift to him without looking at his face.
“Ah ah!! this? It’s just a kind gesture! What
are friends for?” Daniel said.
“Please I don’t like it, I’ll like it if you don’t visit my place again, I don’t want unnecessary attachment, let’s limit our friendship to only academic”. Farha said politely and made to leave when Daniel drew her back, the former quickly withdrew her hand from his grip.
“What’s all these, you have no right to touch me you know!” Farha said angrily.
“Please don’t be annoyed, I just felt we should take our friendship to the next level, that’s all”.
“What is that supposed to mean”. Farha inquired giving him a scornful look.
“Be my girlfriend. Daniel said without mincing words and Farha burst into an uncontrollable laughter which lasted for seconds, Daniel was surprised at her reactions and said;
“This is not funny,” Daniel said seriously.
“It is o and you must be kidding me”. Farha said amidst laughter.
“I am not joking, I am damn serious, become my girlfriend. I think I like you so much”. Daniel confessed.
“Okay o Mr. Daniel Williams, it’s not possible”. Farha said shaking her head. “You are
a Christian and I am a Muslim, my religion does not permit me to befriend a Christian”. Farha blurted out without a second thought.
“No Farha, what you don’t understand is that where there is love, religion should not be a barrier, love takes care of everything”. Daniel said trying to convince her.
“Did I hear you say love, have I ever said I love you”? Farha asked in bewilderment.
“Even if you don’t express it, I could see it in your eyes, the way you are avoiding my eyes contacts tells me all”. Daniel said with certainty.
“Don’t fool yourself Mr. Daniel, I don’t love you, I can’t date you, the earlier you get it the better for you.”
“But you don’t hate me either, do you? Let’s both dance to the sweet melody of love, let’s put religion aside and go after our hearts. Do you know what love is? Love is a true friendship with less criticism but more encouragement, with uplifting instead of belittling, with giving rather demanding, with ability to soothe with few words, putting smile on a dull face. I sincerely love you Farha, I want………………”
“Please stop!” Farha cut him short. “It’s like you’ve come to me after doing a proper
rehearsal of your poetry, isn’t it? Farha asked.
“No Farha, I’m just telling you my mind and how I feel about you”. He tried to touch her again but she flung his hand away angrily.
“Get your hands off me please! Which part of the “it’s not possible” didn’t you understand. Look I am serious, we are not compatible, two parallel lines can never meet, and what makes you think that I can date you?”
“Are you not a woman, a woman can date anyone irrespective of his background, social status or religion, all I’m asking is for you to give me a chance to proof my love for you”.
“No I can’t, and if it’s because of the tutorial that makes you think you are indispensable in my life, I put a stop to it right here and right now, in fact, I’m no longer interested in the lesson, Allah is sufficient for me”. She said and walked out on him in annoyance.
From that day, Farha started avoiding Daniel like a plague, whenever Daniel emerges one way, she would take the other way.
Daniel on the other hand was still admiring Farha secretly, he was determined to try again later, he would never let go of her, he would do everything in his power to make her his.
Farha now sees Daniel as pepper that could never meet with her eyes, she always felt a great discomfort whenever she sees Daniel. She boycotted the tutorial and shunned even Gloria in class. She doesn’t want to have anything to do with anyone that could link her to Daniel.
Farha continued like this for weeks, until one day when Gloria came to her seat to inquire from her why she hadn’t been attending the tutorial class.
“Nothing” Farha replied.
“Do you think I don’t know? You boycotted the tutorial because Daniel asked you out, isn’t it? Gloria asked.
“When you knew, why were you asking again and is there anything wrong with that?” Farha asked back.
“Nothing o my friend, I just felt you shouldn’t risk your academics because of a trivial issue. Daniel only expressed his feelings and you’ve turned him down already so why punishing yourself. There’s no big deal in what you’ve done, it shouldn’t prevent you from attending the tutorial.” Gloria persuaded.
“He sent you to me right? Anyway, that’s my decision and I’m a woman of my word, I want you to know that”. Farha said.
“No I was not sent to you, I just wanted you to have a change of heart, you know the second semester examination is fast approaching and you need tutorials to supplement the class lessons”. Gloria said.
“Don’t scare me Gloria, Allah is sufficient for me okay!.”
“I’m not scaring you Farha, I’m only concerned, I want you to excel, that’s all.
“Very well then, I will think about it”. Farha said succumbing.
“There’s nothing to think about and you have nothing to worry about. It’s not possible for Daniel’s body to get glued with yours okay!”. Gloria encouraged.
“Alright, I will start coming”. Farha said submitting.
“Up Farha!”. Gloria shouted, raising Farha’s hand with a triumphant grin.
Little did Farha realize that she had fallen into a trap. Daniel had pleaded with Gloria to help talk to Farha to change her mind concerning the tutorial, this if she does would facilitate his plan of hooking her.
Daniel had discussed his failed attempt with Femi and the later encouraged him at last after some discouragements.
“Daniel, Femi called. “why not catch a bird and let it go. If it comes back, it’s yours, if it doesn’t come back, it was never meant to be yours, that’s the philosophy of life.
“What kind of risky philosophy is that one, I won’t subscribe to that o, God knows I won’t”. Daniel said shaking his head.
“Okay Mr. lover boy, let’s do it this way, since you are so bent on dating this girl, let’s tell Gloria to talk to her, you know, woman to woman.” Femi suggested.
“About what? Daniel asked foolishly.
“What are we talking about”? Femi asked back with sarcasm. “Tell Gloria to persuade her to be attending the tutorial again, by this, you will re-strategize your plans, as simple as ABC”. Femi explained.
“Oh! That’s a brilliant idea, I will tell Gloria to try her best, thank you so much Femi, you’ve always been a friend in progress”. Daniel said elated.
“It’s nothing.” Femi replied.
* * * *
It was Farha’s first time in the tutorial after a long break. She was quite late, she walked in gently and took her seat at the back row. Daniel sighted her and gave a triumphant smile.
The tutorial lasted for another 30 minutes after Farha’s entrance. Immediately after the class, she quickly packed her books. She was determined to fight with all the blood in her veins anything that could break her vows to Allah, her parents and friends. She stood up and made to leave when she heard her name.
“Ah ah Farha, a greeting would not hook us”! Daniel said smiling at her.
“Good afternoon”, she said coldly without giving him a look.
“Long time no see, anyway how have you been?”
“Fine”. She answered impatiently almost standing on her toes.
“Why are you avoiding me?” Daniel asked trying to have a conversation with her.
“Am I supposed to jump at you anytime I see you? Or pretend as if nothing happened between us, look! All am trying to say through my action is that we don’t have to be unnecessarily yoked together since we are not
compatible, the extra tutorial is cancelled and the old issue is buried, Good day”. She said firmly and walked away. Daniel watched her steps until she totally disappeared.
“This girl is irresistible”. He thought aloud.
Attending the tutorial that day made Farha recollected some beautiful old memories of herself and Daniel Williams together.
It was a night of worry for her, she had a sleepless night, tossing up and down on her bed. She would lie down for a while, she would sat on the bed again. She did these continuously for hours.
She was in a dilemma, yet she couldn’t express her mind to her best friend. Asia had always been her confidant, she tells her everything that bothers her and the latter had always been a good adviser and confidant to her.
But this particular matter, she felt she shouldn’t discuss it with anyone. She told herself that whatever her mind tells her to do would be the final.
One part of her mind was telling her to shun Daniel completely, that love was not what Daniel felt for her but infatuation “Don’t compromise your faith for an ephemeral thing.” That part of her mind tells her.
The other part of her mind was telling her never to mind the first that it was only deceiving and depriving her of a good thing. “Apart from the fact that Daniel is a genius he is also very good looking, come off it, nothing is wrong in you marrying a Christian, after all you are not going to practice Christianity with him. Both of you would live just fine, you better marry a genius so that your kids could take after him”. The deceitful part of her mind was whispering to her.
These whisperings continued for a long time into the night, one counter-attacking another. She herself was confused, she doesn’t know what to do, she started asking herself these questions.
“Do I really like Daniel? “Yes you do, the deceitful part of her mind was whispering again. “You like him, don’t be deceived, love conquers all things, brace up and stop living in bewilderment. Finalise in your mind and say yes to Daniel. The deceitful shaytan was saying again. She continued like this for a long time until she slept off.
Meanwhile, she continued attending the tutorial but she doesn’t give room for a close rapour between herself and Daniel. After every tutorial, she would pack her books and leave immediately.
Daniel on the other hand was not relenting in his effort to hook Farha. He kept on re-strategizing and trying all possible methodology to make Farha dance to his tune, but the former does not seem to play his kind of game.
It was the second semester examinations, marking Daniel’s last exam in school, he considered himself an incomplete graduate without having Farha, he decided to persist further, so after tutorial one day during the examinations, Daniel was able to persuade Farha to spare him a little of her time. She obliged reluctantly and Daniel sprang up the old issue.
“Please Farha, give me a chance in your life, I will never debar you from practicing what you believed in, I will always support your dreams and facilitate in every way possible your
effort as a Muslim. Please make me a happy man and I will also make you a happy woman… He paused to see her reactions, but as their eyes met, she quickly looked away and he continued.
“Allow me to prove my worth in your life, and you will never regret you did, please Farha I need you”. He pleaded soberly.
“I have told you that it’s not going to work”, she said solemnly. “My conscience….
My parent…. My friends… they are all going to turn their backs on me. Please let’s not raise this issue again. I wish you the very best as you write your final exams, good night”. Farha said calmly and walked away.
Daniel sat there for minutes counting his loss. He was depressed and dejected, but nonetheless he decided that he was not going to relent, even after graduation, he would still come back. What desperation! “It’s not over until it’s over. He thought to himself.