TRIALS, TEARS AND TRIUMPH [Triple T]
Immediately Enitan exited Taofeeq’s shop, she sighted her step-mum with two mobile police apparently coming for her. They were still a little far from her which afforded her the opportunity to run. She turned back immediately and ran back into Taofeeq’s shop while begging and shouting for him to close the shop.
Taofeeq wanted to know what was pursuing her so he peeped out and upon sighting two police men in uniform, he beckoned on Enitan’s colleagues from the second shop to shut their shop while he also shut his shop immediately.
The hair-dressing salon and Taofeeq’s shop were the only shops in the building so both were already shut before Madam and the police men got there. Before Enitan ran into Taofeeq’s shop, her step-mum was able to catch a glimpse of her so upon getting to the shop, she banged violently on the door but no one responded.
Madam together with the police men continued banging violently on the two door s with a threat to break the doors but there was no response. After a while of banging on the door, one of the policemen turned to Enitan’s step mum in utter confusion.
“Madam I don’t think anyone is inside these two shops.”
“I saw her run into this shop just now.” Madam replied while pointing to Taofeeq’s shop and continued “Let us break the door. I am very sure she is in there.” Madam suggested.
“Madam, the offence the girl committed does not warrant us to make a force entry.” One of the police men responded and Madam was mad.
“What do you mean her offence is light and does not warrant you to make a force entry? I told you someone wanted to break my eyes and you’re telling me you can’t make a force entry to arrest her. You should have told me you’re not competent enough and I would have gone to another station to get competent hands you idiots!” Madam retorted while charging at the policemen.
“Madam please mind your utterances! You’re not allowed to insult an officer in uniform.” One of the policemen cautioned.
“What yeye officer, an officer that is not competent. Shame on both of you! After collecting my money you’re now telling me you can’t break the door to arrest a bastard criminal who almost broke my eyes. Give me back my money if you don’t want trouble this morning.” Madam demanded and made an attempt to grab the officer’s cloth, the latter pushed her away while she staggered backward before hitting her buttock on the floor. She moaned in pains as she helplessly watched the officers exited the place.
Inside the shop, Enitan’s mouth had been busy chanting adhkar. She shuddered like a criminal on death roll. Taofeeq watched as Enitan shivered like a jelly fish. He also busied his mouth with the adhkar as he was also scared of the looming danger. If the policemen broke the door open, they would have beaten him severely for abhorring Enitan.
It seemed their prayers were answered and they both heaved a sigh of relief when the policemen walked away. They kept a pin drop silence still and both were occupied with different thoughts when Madam’s voice jolted them back to the reality.
“Enitan I know you are inside that shop. Listen and listen good to me, the day you step your foot inside my house again will be your last day on the surface of the earth because I’ll kill you and damn the consequence. You have the gut to pour pepper on my face you good for nothing bastard. Once again, if you don’t want me to send you to go meet your useless mother and father in hell, don’t come to my house again. If your want to know how serious I am, just dare me and see!” Madam threatened, struggled to get up and headed home.
Enitan was still shivering and the threat made her shudder more terribly. Taofeeq looked at her and shook his head before speaking.
“Now I can see what you are going through. You have been living in fear and pandemonium.”
“Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh don’t speak, she’s still outside.” Enitan cautioned in fear.
“No she’s gone.” Taofeeq assured.
“I don’t think so.” Enitan whispered.
“Let me check.” Taofeeq said and peeped from a small hole on the door of his shop.
“I can see no one. I am very sure she’s gone.” Taofeeq said and Enitan heaved a long sigh of relief.
Taofeeq wanted to open the door but she shouted.
“Not too fast! She might still come back.” Enitan expressed in fear.
“No I don’t think she can come back again………………….” Taofeeq was saying when they heard another knock on the door.
“I told you…………she has come back.” Enitan said with quivering lips while the knock persisted.
Taofeeq and Enitan maintained a pin drop silence as before and after a while that they didn’t respond, the person knocking the door spoke out.
“Taofeeq open the door, it’s me Enitan’s boss.” A voice said and Taofeeq had to peep to be sure it was really Enitan’s boss. After he confirmed she was the one, he opened the door.
“Why did you lock up?” Enitan’s boss queried Taofeeq.
“Enitan’s step mum was here with policemen.” Taofeeq responded.
“Really!” The boss marveled.
“Yes ma, please can you follow me to go and beg her?” Enitan asked with tears.
“So that she can pour acid on me right? I can’t o.” The boss declined.
“Why do you want to go beg her? Instead of you to be happy that you’re now free from her persecution, you still want to go and beg her……………………” One of the apprentices was saying when the boss shut her down.
“Shut your mouth you fool! Who asked for your opinion? The boss said to the girl then turned to Enitan. “Enitan, I’m sorry I can’t help you beg your step mother. I don’t want to die now my children are still young. If you know any of your father’s relative, you can go there and explain your predicament to them.” With this, the boss entered the salon leaving Enitan with teary eyes.
Taofeeq heaved a sigh and thought for a while before speaking.
“Stop crying Enitan. Put yourself together and go do your work. After the close of work today, we’ll talk about it okay!” Taofeeq said and Enitan nodded before entering the salon.
All the hair she styled that day was done in bitterness. Her heart was heavy and gloominess was written all over her face. She was helpless and the bitter thought of sleeping under the bridge made cold shiver ran through her spine.
After the close of work, her boss and the other apprentices went home but she stayed outside the shop. She wanted to go meet Taofeeq in his shop but at the second thought changed her mind. She wouldn’t want to throw herself at him. She would have asked for his assistance as she always does, but when the issue of marriage proposal had cropped up between them, she was being careful.
After a lot of rumination, she decided to go spend the night at a nearby mosque. She was already some steps away from the shop when she heard her name. She turned and it was Taofeeq calling her. He was running to catch up with her. He caught up with her eventually and scolded her lightly for leaving without telling him.
“Why do you have to leave without telling me? I thought we had an agreement to meet and chat after close of work!” Taofeeq scolded.
“I’m sorry for not telling you. As you can see I’m on my way home.” Enitan replied without looking at him.
“Home? Don’t tell me you’re returning to your father’s house where your step-mum had already warned you not to go!” Taofeeq exclaimed.
“I am not going there but elsewhere.”
“Where are you going exactly?”
“Ohhhhhhhhhhh, why are you pestering me now, let me go.”
“I want to know where you are going exactly because you are a lady, you can’t just be roaming aimlessly about. The street is dangerous.”
“Okay, if you must know, I want to go and spend the night in the mosque.” Enitan said at last.
“Nooooooooooo, you can’t do that because I won’t allow it.” Taofeeq said while shaking his head and Enitan burst into tears.
“Do I have another option? No I don’t .” She said in tears.
“What about Halimah? You can go stay with her.” Taofeeq suggested.
“Have you forgotten Halimah don’t stay in this town?”
“O yes that’s true.”
“Besides, I don’t want anything to do with any of Madam’s children.”
“So what do we do now?”
“I don’t know!”
“Don’t you know the house of any of your dad’s relative?”
“Hmmmmmmmmmmm, dad took me to his elder brother once. That was a long time ago, I was eight then. I don’t think I can locate the place again.”
“Do you remember the name of the area?”
“Name…….Name……..Name…………” Enitan rack her brain before she replied suddenly.
“Ojota! I think it’s Ojota…………..but Ojota is big, how do I know his house or the street he lives in?” Enitan replied dejectedly.
“Does your uncle have a name people address him with? Something like his profession.” Taofeeq asked again.
“I don’t know but he sells meat. I think I heard people call him Baba Eleran the day we visited him.”
“Okay! So do you remember the name of the child he’s addressed with?”
“Hmmmmmmmmmm………….I think its Baba…………Yes! Baba Sade.” Enitan replied with a click of her fingers.
“That’s good. Let’s go to Ojota.” Taofeeq said with positive vibes.
“See this funny man o, where in Ojota are you going exactly?” Enitan asked him in awe.
“We are going to Baba Sade Eleran’s house.” Taofeeq said with smiles.
“Yes, let’s go, it’s getting late.” Taofeeq urged and Enitan reluctantly followed him. Somehow, she trusted his lead.
They journeyed to Ojota and after they alighted from the bus, with a strong positive faith, Taofeeq called upon a man and asked him how he could locate Baba Sade Eleran’s house. And surprisingly, the man told them to board a keke Napep and then alight at ori-oke. He told them the second house after Ori-oke is Baba Sade Eleran’s house.
Taofeeq and Enitan exchanged glances and a triumphant smile formed on their lips. They couldn’t believe their ears. They just decided to make use of that logic and it seemed it worked. Without wasting any more time, they boarded the next available keke Napep. They alighted at Ori-Oke as instructed by the man.
They took some steps in order to locate the second house after Ori-oke and upon sighting the house, Enitan exclaimed.
“Yes! This is the house………….. I can remember faintly.” Enitan exclaimed sharply and Taofeeq smiled.
“Alhamdulillah…………let’s go in.” Taofeeq urged and they walked in.
The house was a face-to-face one storey apartment and Enitan remembered that his uncle lives on the second floor. They climbed the stairs exuberantly and after exhausting the steps, they met a young man of about Enitan’s age at the entrance. They paused and greeted him then inquired about Baba Sade Eleran.
“That’s my grandpa!” The boy replied while Taofeeq and Enitan exchanged glances with smiles.
“Okay, is he at home please?” Taofeeq asked.
“Who are you? The boy asked.
“Haneefah here is the daughter of Baba Hameedah, his younger brother.” Taofeeq said.
“Okay, let me go inform him of your presence.” The young man said and went away.
After some minutes, he returned and told them that Baba said they should come in. They thanked him and he showed them the way to Baba’s living room.
They entered and sighted an aged man sitting on an arm chair. Enitan recognized him more so as he shared a striking semblance with her father. She quickly ran to embrace and greeted him. The man had really aged and his voice was shaking as he spoke.
“Haneefah the daughter of Aminah, my late brother’s late secretary, am I right?” The man asked as Enitan embraced him.
“Yes sir, you’re right sir.” Enitan replied.
“Where have you been all this while that you didn’t come to look for me?” Baba asked sagely.
“I’m sorry sir but I couldn’t remember how to locate this place. I would have come earlier than this.” Enitan replied.
“Okay o, so where have you been living?”
“I have been living in my father’s house sir.”
“With that wicked Iya Hameedah?” Baba asked and both Enitan and Taofeeq exchanged glances.
“Oh my poor girl! You must have suffered a lot……….You see my dear, the most unfortunate calamity that befell my brother was marrying that woman. No member of the family could go to my brother’s house after his demise because of that evil woman. She must have dealt seriously with you.” Baba said bitterly while shaking his head and this time around, Taofeeq became Enitan’s mouth piece.
“Yes you are right sir. She has dealt terribly with her and the last straw that broke the camel’s back was what happened this morning and that is why we are here sir……………………………….” Taofeeq said and explained everything that has been happening and the one that happened that morning to Baba.
Baba listened with rapt attention and intermittently shook his head in pity for Enitan. After Taofeeq completed the stories, Baba heaved a long sigh before speaking.
“This house is your house you have no problem at all. If I don’t shelter you who else would? My wife has passed away and I live here with my grandson and granddaughter who are twins, and a nanny my children hired for me. It was Kehinde you met outside, Taiwo went to school. She would be back shortly. I am very glad to have you around my daughter. Where are your luggages?” Baba inquired and Enitan sniffed and scratched her head before responding.
“I couldn’t wait to take anything from the house before running out this morning sir.”
“Oh poor girl! Don’t worry, Taiwo’s clothes can fit you perfectly……………………So who’s is this young man.” Baba asked and before Enitan could reply, Taofeeq quickly responded.
“I am her fiancé sir.” Taofeeq responded with smiles and Baba turned to Enitan.
“Is that true my daughter?” Baba asked and Enitan being who she is told Baba the truth.
“Don’t mind him sir, he proposed but I haven’t said yes.” Enitan replied bluntly without minding if Taofeeq would get hurt or not. Baba turned to Taofeeq and queried him.
“Young man, are you sure you want to marry my daughter?”
“Who are your parents? Where did you come from? What do you do for a living?” Baba bombarded Taofeeq with questions.
“My parents are Alhaji and Alhaja Sanni ma. I am from Osogbo in Osun State. I am a fashion designer though I have a university degree.” Taofeeq answered.
“Why do you want to marry my daughter?”
“I like her sir.”
“I am not talking about likeness, of course you can’t marry someone you don’t like. What qualities of hers attracted you?”
“She’s well behaved, intelligent, dutiful and beautiful sir.” Taofeeq responded sharply.
“It’s late, come and be going to your house.” Baba said to Taofeeq while everyone was surprised.
They were like…..Like seriously? Where does that come from all of a sudden.
“What did you say sir?” Taofeeq asked in bewilderment.
“You heard me right. I said you should leave.” Baba repeated and Taofeeq was dazed. He couldn’t fathom what he’d said or done wrong.
He got up to leave and Enitan wanted to see him off but Baba called her back.
“Come back here……………….goodnight young man.” Baba said and Taofeeq dragged his feet on the floor.
He was dazed. He couldn’t wrap his head around the scenario. He didn’t understand why Baba behaved like that. He wanted to tell Enitan so many things before leaving but this old man had spoilt his day. Enitan does not have a phone and Taofeeq was really worried on how they’ll connect henceforth. He thought of his behavior and speeches that evening and he couldn’t lay his hand on where he went wrong. He went home that night while hissing like a snail. He almost cursed the old man and upon getting home, he only prayed and went straight to bed without eating dinner.
Enitan on the other hand too could not understand his uncle’s behavior. After the man discharged Taofeeq, he showed Enitan Taiwo’s room and asked her go in and relax. Enitan went into Taiwo’s room and sat on the bed.
She was really unhappy. What kind of a man is this uncle’ he thought aloud. How could he discharge Taofeeq in such manner? Or did he see a bad omen in him? She thought and thought but couldn’t arrive at a favorable answer. Just like Taofeeq, she hissed severally with a grumble. She was still in this thought when the adhan for Magrib was called. She made ablution and was still seated on the mat when a lady of her age walked in. She immediately thought it must be Taiwo, the second of the twins.
Enitan greeted her with smiles while she returned the smiles.
“You must be Enitan or should I call you Haneefah?” Taiwo asked with smiles.
“You can call me anyone of the two. You are welcome. How was your day?” Enitan responded.
“My day was fine…………….See ehn, I have barely entered the house when grandpa started giving me gist about you. I am very pleased to have you here.” Taiwo said as she undressed.
“Me too, I am very pleased to be here.” Enitan replied with smiles.
“Let’s go to the living room. The nanny has served dinner.” Taiwo said while dragging Enitan along with her to the Kitchen.
They ate dinner with a chit-chat. Grandpa cautioned them not to talk while eating but the chatterbox Taiwo didn’t listen. She chatted throughout the meal telling her grandpa how happy she was to now have a lady to chat with in the house.
After dinner, Taiwo dragged Enitan back to the room where she continued with the chit-chat. They observed Solat break and after solat, they continued the gist. As much as Enitan appreciated Taiwo for being sweet and accommodating, that kind of chit-chat life was strange to her, maybe because she doesn’t have a friend and she hardly speaks to her half siblings except Halimah who had long been married.
That night, Enitan knew everything about Taiwo. She knew she was a 200level undergraduate in LASU. She knew her parents were in Ogun state and she knew her hobbies and best food. The chit-chat took Enitan’s mind away from thinking about Taofeeq but after Taiwo fell asleep, Enitan tossed and turned on the bed while thinking about how to see Taofeeq again.
She couldn’t fall asleep on time, partly because she was thinking about Taofeeq and partly because she wasn’t used to sleeping early. She goes to bed nothing less than 11:00pm so she found it difficult to fall asleep.
Eventually she fell asleep after sometime and was the first to get up again. The life she lived in her step-mum’s custody was still very much part of her. She opened her eyes at exactly 3:30am, the time she wakes up everyday while living the life of a slave.
She decided to enjoy the peace of the present moment so she went back to sleep and only opened her eyes at the call to prayer. After praying, she stepped out to get the chores done but met the nanny already doing it. She joined her and after sometime Taiwo joined them as well. The chores were done faster because it was a division of labour.
After they were through with the chores, Enitan asked about her uncle and Taiwo replied that he doesn’t come out until breakfast is served.
Before breakfast, Enitan had already had her bath and prepared for the salon. Ojota to Egbeda would gulp a lot of transport fare everyday and she already had some money saved from the peanuts her boss paid her.
After breakfast, she made her intention to go the salon known to her uncle and also sought his permission but to her dismay, her uncle declined.
“I thought you said you had graduated, what are you going to do there again?” Uncle queried.
“Yes I have graduated but by boss hired me as a stylist.” Enitan explained.
“You don’t have to go that far to work. I can get you a salon nearby.” Uncle said and walked into his bedroom before Enitan could say anything further.
Sad was an understatement to describe how she felt, she was really not pleased with the latest development. She wanted to go to the salon not because of the work alone but also to see Taofeeq. She wasn’t pleased with the way uncle discharged him yesterday and her heart longed to see him.
After uncle didn’t give her permission to go to the salon, she went to the balcony of the house and stretched her neck to see if Taofeeq was coming. She didn’t memorize his mobile number, else she would have gone to a phoning booth to call him. She really wished to see him and Saturday was still three days away. She knew she could see him on Saturday when she goes for her PT program but Saturday is still a long time, she thought aloud.
Worriedness was written all over her face as she stretched her neck intermittently to see if he was coming. She was really engrossed with the thought of seeing Taofeeq that she was oblivion of her surrounding. She wasn’t aware that someone was behind her watching her as she lamented loudly. The person tapped her on the shoulder and that was when she gasped, turned around and exclaimed.
“Daddyyyy!!!!!!” She exclaimed upon sighting her uncle.
“What are you doing out here stretching your neck like that of a giraffe?” Uncle asked with some humour.
“Errrrrm………….Errm……..Errrrrmmm” She struggled incoherently.
“Are you looking out for him?”
“What?” She replied in amazement.
“I thought you said you don’t want him.”
“Daddyyyyyy, I didn’t say that.” Enitan said with a frown.
“Do you know why I sent him away?”
“No sir, in fact, my heart has been worried as to why you did that.”
“I don’t want him to take advantage of you.”
“Daddyyyyy…………No he can’t. Taofeeq is not that kind of a man. In fact he is a pleasant man who had been my strength for living all this while. If he had wanted to take advantage of me, he would have lured me to his house instead of bringing me here to connect with my root.” Enitan said convincingly but his uncle wasn’t convinced.
“You’re a small child…………….” Uncle replied.
[What the elders sees while sitting, a child can’t see it even on a skyscraper…………………….. Hang on there……….The help of Allah is near]