A bad day, one among the ones I can never forget. A sad occurrence, a bitter lesson learnt. The story of impositions and deceit, a story written by my mum and her friend using me as the lead character without my consent. Two desperate and ambition hungry mothers locked up in the web of entanglement, the friendship of years is about to go down the drain. Human heart is full of vices and secrets, my mum keep reiterating like a child who just learn the alphabet in school. She couldn’t believe her friend could do such a thing.
The two friends became sworn enemies in a matter of minutes and everything escalated to a heat argument, one countering the other. Several begging and rejection all done under a tensed atmosphere.
My parent’s spelt it to Tohib’s family that there would be no wedding between their son and their daughter. I could hear as Alhaja Toyin was pleading with my mother from the room while my mother sworn never to accept. Mother told her she was a traitor for concealing the marital status of her son. Alhaja Toyin gave flimsy excuses but my mum wouldn’t buy any of her excuses.
After much ado, front and back and arguments, Tohib’s family left and my dad raised his voice to call me from the room I was and I walked to the living room to respond to his call. I took my seat and dad cleared his throat before speaking.
“Ramlah I and your mum are sorry for everything. Your mum trusted her friend so much and failed to do her findings about her son. We thank God for revealing the truth to us before a solemnization takes place. It was very wrong of her to conceal her son’s marital status for any reason at all and I and your mum also accept our fault in all this.” Dad pleaded and it was mum’s turn to speak.
“My love please forgive me, even if I had hundred mouths, I wouldn’t be able to beg you enough, please my daughter forgive your impetuous mother.” Mum pleaded too but I was silent.
“Ramlah please say something.” Dad urged.
“Dad, mum I have nothing to say.” I said with a long face.
“My baby I know you’re very angry with us but please do overlook our mistakes and forgive.” My dad pleaded again and this time I thought I should pour out my heart.
“Dad and mum you both have really hurt me, you’ve toyed with my emotions and in fact you’ve been wicked to me. If Tohib hadn’t been married I would have been forced to marry him, did you both ever pause to think of my happiness? No, all you want is for me to fulfill your own happiness by doing your wish at all cost. You’ve really hurt me.” I said and broke into tears while my dad got up from his seat to comfort me.
“My darling! We’re very much aware that we hurt you and we’re very sorry. I think you should forget about men’s issue for now. I’ll urge you to go for your Masters degree and that will go a long way to heal your broken heart and prepare you better for tomorrow or Mama Ahmad what do you think?” Dad asked mum seeking for her opinion.
“It’s a good idea, she should enroll for Masters degree and forget about men’s issue for now.” Mum concurred.
“Ramlah what do you say?” Dad asked for my opinion.
“Doing Masters is great but I can do that in my husband’s house, I want to get married now.” I said firmly.
“Getting married too is great but do you have any other person apart from Tohib?” Dad asked and I wanted to reply yes and give Haarith’s name but I stared at my mum’s not smiling and stern face and I gave a No reply.
“So is it possible to get married without having a man? Enroll for Masters and allow everything fall in place at the appropriate time.” Dad said and this time again I agreed reluctantly to do their wish.
“Okay! I’ll enroll for Master’s degree.” I replied dully.
“Good.” My parents said in one voice and just then brother Ahmad walked in to our surprise as we all thought he’d left for Lagos.
“Ahmad, are you still around?” Dad asked in surprise.
“Yes dad, very much around. I had to leave earlier because I was really angry.” Brother Ahmad said with a bitter countenance and dad tried to calm him.
“Ahmad please sit and calm down. What happened was also like a dream to me, I thought your mother had done her homework diligently but I was surprised she didn’t do anything. She trusted her friend so much and see the mess that had got us.” Dad said and brother Ahmad smiled wryly before responding.
“What had happened can’t be undone and we thank Allah the violent wife didn’t harm anyone. This should serve as a lesson to us all. As parents you are meant to guide and not to impose, leave Ramlah to marry her choice whether single or married.” Brother Ahmad said and mum gave a quick and sharp response.
“Please leave married men out of the matter, henceforth she’s free to bring home her choice but a married man is definitely out of the picture please.” Mother responded sharply but my brother argued.
“Mum there you go again! Twice this girl brought home married men without knowing, have you thought of what that might means? She might be destined to marry a married man and Qadar’Allahu wa mashaa’fah. The pen is dried and no one can change what Allah has predestined. Pray for her instead of trying to block her destiny.” My brother said but mum quickly rebuked such destiny.
“My daughter will never be destined to marry a married man. I reject a bad destiny for my daughter and a bad predestination will never come to pass in my daughter’s life.” Mum rebuked sharply.
“Mum please we are Muslims and one of the articles of faith is to believe in destiny…………….” My brother was trying to say when mum interrupted him sharply.
“……..And were you there when my daughter’s destiny was written for you to conclude that she’s destined to marry a married man, Ahmad please be careful of what you say.” My mum warned but brother Ahmad argued again.
“Mum I wasn’t there when her destiny was written and that’s why I am reiterating that we should seek Allah’s guidance instead of choosing or rejecting for her.” My brother argued and this time around dad came in.
“Enough of the Argument Ahmad and her mother, Ahmad we are Muslims and we believe in Qadar too however a parent has a full right over her child. Before you came in, I and your mother had already concluded that your sister should forget about men’s issue for now and enroll for her Masters and she has agreed. Please don’t let us go back again.” Dad said with a final note and brother Ahmad who was obviously very angry got up to leave.
“There’s no problem. I am leaving.” My brother said.
“Alright regards to your wife.” My parents chorused, they were obviously angry too.
Brother Ahmad asked me to walk him to his car which I did. He invited me into his car for a talk and he registered his displeasure over everything including my indecisiveness.
“Ramlah I am very disappointed in you. In fact I don’t know what to say again. I expect you to use this mess as an opportunity to be obstinate about your desire. I expect you to stand on your feet and tell them it’s Haarith you want. I have helped you this far and I expect you to help yourself.” My brother said angrily.
“What do you mean you’ve helped me this far. What did you do when mum said I must marry Tohib by force, you left me to sort myself out and now you are blaming me.” I replied in anger too.
“Ramlah do you want to know what I did?”
“Ehn tell me, what did you do.” I said rudely to my brother.
“Okay I thought I shouldn’t say it before but now I will. When I was worried for you I made my findings about Tohib and that was when I discovered he is married. I was the one who invited his wife over if you must know.” My brother said and I screamed.
“Ahhhhhhhh brother mi.” I shouted.
“Please don’t shout, mum must not hear of this if not she’ll lynch me. My wife was the one who disguised as her friend and called her to give her our home address. That woman is really a hell of trouble, I never knew she would come with violence. I just thank God she didn’t harm anyone.” My brother confessed and I was too astonished to speak. When I didn’t talk but open my mouth instead, he continued.
“If you must marry a married man, it should be the one you love and the one that is tested and trusted in terms of character. In fact I have called Haarith and told everything, he promised to come over to seek your hand in marriage.” Brother Ahmad said but I disagreed.
“No brother mi, I don’t want Haarith again.” I said with a long face.
“Why, why the sudden change?” My brother queried.
“I don’t want a man who forsook me in times of tribulation.”
“What do you mean by that?’
“He refused to call me, he refused to pick when I called and when he eventually did, he hanged up on me. Should I continue pestering a man who had seen me as a burden?”
“You are obviously kidding right? Of course he didn’t see you as a burden but trying to lessen your burden instead. Haarith was only being careful not to add fuel to the already burning fire. I told him everything going on and that was why he stepped back a little. If Haarith was disturbing you, you’ll definitely be forced to disregard your parents wish and tell them to go to hell and burn to ashes. His feelings has not changed for you and you aren’t the only one going through tough times, he is as well or do you think it’s easy accepting defeat?” My brother said but I got pissed off.
“You know what brother mi? There’s absolutely no difference between you and our parents. Mum imposed her friend’s son on me and you are imposing your friend on me. You people should just leave me alone.” I said transferring my aggression to my brother who got angry by my harsh words.
“Ramlah I don’t think I deserve such rude remark from you. How am I imposing Haarith on you? Oh Lord this is a slap on the face! All I am trying to do is to make you happy but if you see my efforts as impositions then I back out.” My brother said, entered his car and zoomed off.
I didn’t bother to beg him because I was really angry. I don’t know if he was the one that offended me or Haarith or my parents. All I know is that I needed to unleash my anger and since I couldn’t unleash it on my parents, I had to on my brother. I walked in and went straight into my room. It has been a tough week and a tough day for me. I don’t even know what to think of the situation. I was twice a victim of deceit and in both scenario, I was blamed. The first accused me of not asking of his marital status while the second wanted me to infer his marital status from our discussion. I lied on my bed while thinking about my life, how do I escape from my parents trouble? I expected them to have learnt from Tohib’s saga and allow me follow my heart yet they still proposed Masters degree and wouldn’t care if that was what I wanted or not.
Faatimah didn’t had it tough with my parents so why is my own so difficult. Was it because of my choice? Why wouldn’t they allow me pursue my happiness, what parent imposes marriage partner on their wards this days. My situation is just pitiable and for Haarith he can go to hell now for all I care. How could he hang up on me, he should have at least comforted me with soothing words to show that he cared but no, he added to my heartache by telling me to accept defeat.
I was still in this thought when I was taken away by sleep. I slept till late in the evening and it was the sound of my ringing phone that woke me. I checked the caller and it was Haarith, I hissed and refused to pick. He called severally but I didn’t pick then he sent messages which I deleted without reading. He had done his own and it was my turn to pay him pack in his coin.
His friend should have delivered my message to him so I don’t expect him to call me again. He should leave me alone and face his family I thought but a feeling of guilt suddenly engulfed me as I thought I shouldn’t have spoken rudely to my brother. He had been a good brother who was after my happiness and all I could pay him pack with was rudeness and ingratitude. I picked up my phone and called him but his wife picked the call.
“Your brother is in the bathroom.” She said
“Oh thanks I just wanted to ask about his journey.”
“Alright I’ll deliver your message………..and Ramlah I am so sorry about what happened, in fact we don’t know of any other way to help you than to tell Tohib’s wife about it.” Hafsoh said.
“Weldone Sis! You and your CID husband deserves an award of Terminator. Anyways I am grateful for your help, if not that Allah used you both as sabab, I would have been married today to a man I don’t love gosh! That would have been so awful.” I said in disgust.
“Alhamdulillah, we thank God………..so what’s happening at home…………I mean what’s dad and mum saying now?” Hafsoh asked.
“Don’t mind them, they want me to enroll for Masters.”
“So what did you tell them?”
“See ehn I wasn’t brave enough to tell them about Haarith again so I just agreed I would go for Masters.”
“Ohhhhhhhhhh why are you dulling yourself now, tell them it’s Haarith you want and stand on your feet.” My sister in law said and I could hear my brother’s voice underneath. He must have collected his phone from his wife as he was the one talking now.
“Ramlah please don’t mind my wife, she doesn’t know of the latest development and that’s why she’s talking like this.” My brother said and I heard his wife asked about the latest development and also heard the reply he gave to her.
“Her Majesty Queen Ramlah Orelope accused me of imposing my friend on her and henceforth I have backed out and I want you my wife too to back off.” My brother said to his wife who exclaimed Ha!
“Brother I am sorry now, I was frustrated and I spoke out of annoyance. You won’t forsake me will you.” I asked in tears.
“I won’t forsake you but I just have to know my boundary, I won’t accept any more insult from you and I have also warned Haarith not to call you again, I told him your final decision is that you don’t want him and he shouldn’t bother you again.” My brother said and hanged up before I could say any other thing.
I called him again but his phone was switched off, I called his wife too and it was the same switched off story. I told myself that my brother was just angry and wouldn’t tell Haarith to back off. Haarith still called me today so I concluded my brother was just trying to punish me a little for my ungratefulness.
Although I wished to throw everything I had for Haarith away but the more I tried the more fond of him I get. I thought I could forget about him but I was just deceiving myself. That night before I sleep, I had concluded that when he calls the next day I’ll pick and agree that he come see my parents. It’s better for one to see what is pursuing him before he starts running. He had to come first so that we’ll know what my parents reaction would be, if he didn’t come, we wouldn’t know if they’ll accept him or not. They might just be rejecting polygamy because they’ve not really seen a pleasant person, they might change their mind if they see him. That was my conclusion but I didn’t know I was planning to fail.
The following morning I saw a message notification on my phone, it was Haarith. He sent several messages the other day to which I didn’t read before deleting but this one I was going to read and not delete. I opened the message and quickly glanced through.
“Ramlah your brother told me you said you don’t want me again. I wanted to hear from the horse’s mouth but you refused to pick my calls. I think that is enough to confirm what your brother said. I thought about it too and came to the conclusion that I should let go as well, you are an adult and you definitely know what you want. It’s just painful that you had to be a mirage which I’ll never have. A sincere love I have for you but I must respect your wish as there had to be mutual consent. In order not to be tempted to call you, I blocked your number already on my phone and I did so too on social media. I wish you best of luck in all your life endeavours……….Haarith” I read the message over and over again, at some point I washed my face with water to be sure I wasn’t having a blurred vision. I read again and the message was the same. I cried bitterly and wished it was a dream.
I was just trying to vent my anger on my brother which I later admitted was wrong and he took it too far. I expected him to understand me and be patient with me but he destroyed my happiness. That was too much for me to bear and I fell terribly ill.
I was wallowing in self pity and rejection. I wasn’t talking to anyone and I wasn’t responding when talked to. My parents took me to the hospital and several tests confirmed I wasn’t suffering from any disease but my parents were advised to see a psychologist who confirmed it was depression. The psychologists asked series of questions which include: How long have been experiencing low moods? Do you enjoy doing something that you had to quit? Have you lost a loved one? He asked and I nodded my head at the last question. I was given a pen to write what I had in mind and I wrote HAARITH. It wasn’t as if my speech was muted but I wasn’t just talking until I saw him.