TRIALS, TEARS AND TRIUMPH [Triple T]
The couple had a jolly smooth relationship throughout Enitan’s pregnancy. Though not without misunderstanding but the happiness and expectations of becoming parents soon, created a strong bond between them and their love blossomed.
When the intruder Taofeeq’s mum brought could not withstand the Romeo and Juliet’s love between the couple, coupled with the fact that Taofeeq didn’t give her attention no matter how much she and his mother tried, she had to leave. She took her exit when she could no longer bear the rejection by Taofeeq. Mama kept assuring her that Taofeeq would eventually dance to their tune but that didn’t happen. Enitan could not thank Allah less for coming to her rescue as she ran to Him in prayers to save the situation.
It was also a smooth delivery and a baby boy was bestowed upon the couple. Their happiness knew no bound and they basked in the euphoria of the joy of parenthood. The baby boy who was a split image of his dad brought so much fortune upon his parents’ right from his conception. Taofeeq had more sawing contracts on his hands and business blossomed, so much that the naming ceremony of their child was done in the house Taofeeq built.
The house was a beautiful and elegantly built four bedroom bungalow with a very large compound. They moved into the house few days before the naming ceremony and Taofeeq’s mother moved with them for Omugwo. Before they moved, Taofeeq realized a need for his parents to have a maid and he got one for them. Though mama moved with them but the maid had grandpa to take care of.
The aqeeqah was a success as family, friends and colleagues of the couple graced the ceremony. They had it big because a dual ceremony of aqeeqah and house warming was what they did. There was food in abundance and the well wishers came bearing gifts for the new mother and baby.
As expected of a mother in law who has come to care for a grandchild, mama was supposed to bath the baby and help with little chores but reverse was the case. Enitan was the one who would bath her son by herself, then do the chores too. Mama was as useless as a trash yet Enitan endured her deliberate lack of care.
Being a hard worker herself, she got herself accustomed to the responsibility that comes with her new status as a mother pretty soon and she was doing great.
Three weeks after the birth of their bundle of joy whom they named Fawzaan, Mama was in the living room one evening while Enitan was making dinner in the kitchen. The baby cried from the room and Enitan called upon Mama to help out but Mama didn’t perturb. Enitan was already stiring Amala and if she left it, it would become saggy. She told Mama this but Mama didn’t blink an eye still.
She left the Amala and went to attend to her baby. By the time she was done with her baby, the Amala had already become so rough and hard. She served mama like that without a second thought, she couldn’t kill herself was her resolve.
Mama’s face spit fire when she uncovered the food and she began to lash Enitan.
“You can’t even make good food again. Carry your food I am not eating.” Mama said and Enitan shrugged insolently and carried the food but mama called her back.
“You made a bad meal, I asked you to carry it and you carried it? You can’t even beg? Why are you so arrogant? So now because you have a son you think you’ve got it all? I’ll definitely break your wings so that you won’t be able to fly again.” Mama said angrily while Enitan heaved a sigh before responding.
“Why do you hate me so much? Let’s agree that you hate me, are you supposed to hate your grandchild too?”
“I don’t like you yes, and I won’t pretend I do. The dislike I have for you probably extended to your baby because you only adore a child whose mother is dear to you.” Mama said with disgust while Enitan broke into tears.
“Okay…….may Allah change your mind towards me because all I have been to you is a good daughter in law. The baby was crying and I asked you to help but you didn’t. I had to leave the food I was making to attend to my baby and you still complain that the food is bad. What will I ever do to please you?” Enitan said with tears dripping unconsciously off her eyes.
“Do you want me to tell you what you’ll do to please me?” Mama asked with a straight face.
“Yes ma.” She replied anxiously.
“Tell your husband to marry Desola and that’ll be the end of my war with you. Desola had not been herself since she left your house. She had been suffering with depression. Do you know Desola had always crushed on your husband long before you even came into the picture? You were just lucky Taofeeq married you and not her. Desola’s utmost wish is to marry Taofeeq. Don’t be a stumbling block to another woman’s dream. Don’t be the reason for another woman’s tears. A good thing is not meant to be hoarded but shared. I hope you got my message?” Mama concluded and Enitan heaved a long sigh before responding.
“Can I ask you a question ma?” Enitan requested politely.
“You can go ahead if it’s a sensible question.” Mama replied firmly.
“Why did you accept me when you knew it is Desola you wanted him to marry in the first place?” Enitan queried with her eyes fixed on the woman and eager for an answer.
“I accepted you because Desola’s mum offended me as at that time and I was really angry with her so much that I do not wish to have anything to do with her family. Now we’ve made up and I want the good relationship to further strengthen by means of marriage. Do that for me and I’ll be pleased with you. Will you?” Mama asked.
“I don’t think I can tell my husband to marry Desola ma but I won’t object if he decides to marry her.” Enitan said firmly then sought permission to leave.
Mama smiled wryly upon hearing her reply and shook her head in a way that connotes that the battle line is drawn.
After that day, the relationship of a cat and dog continued to exist between Mama and Enitan. Enitan tried to be good but Mama wasn’t pleased with her.
Baby Fawzaan was now three months but mama refused to leave despite the fact that she wasn’t helpful but a burden.
One afternoon, Enitan was returning from the market when she received a call. The call was from Taiwo, her second cousin. Taiwo informed Enitan that uncle was critically ill and in the hospital. She urged her to come as uncle was willing to see her. Enitan told Taiwo that she would inform her husband that evening then try to show up the next day.
That evening after the couple had retired for the day, Enitan informed her husband about uncle’s sickness and sought his permission to visit him the next day.
“Permission declined.” Taofeeq said firmly but Enitan took his reply for a joke.
“I won’t be long at all. I’ll just go and return quickly.” Enitan said.
“I said you can’t go you’re telling me you’ll go and return quickly. You won’t dare!”
“Are you serious, like I can’t go for real?” Enitan marveled.
“Yes, you are not allowed to go.” Taofeeq replied for the umpteenth time.
“This is my family we are talking about. The uncle who raised me and gave me in marriage to you………………” Enitan was saying but Taofeeq interrupted her sharply.
“Oh shut up and don’t remind me about that man! The man who hated me so much and didn’t even hide it! You can’t go and that’s the final.” Taofeeq said vehemently.
“You can’t do this Taofeeq. Uncle didn’t hate you. He was just trying to be protective of me. And that was a long time ago why do you still hold grudges against him?”
“That is because I felt unaccepted. He treated me like a piece of trash the very first day I met him. You can’t go see him and you can dare me and see!” Taofeeq threatened.
“I am sorry if you still feel hurt by the way he treated you the first day but that is the only family I know.” Enitan said soberly and Taofeeq burst into a sarcastic laughter.
“Do you really have a family Enitan? Like seriously?” Taofeeq asked mockingly.
“Did I fall from heaven?” She asked while staring hard at him.
“It would have been better if you had fallen from heaven because those damn people you call a family are not worth to be called a family.” Taofeeq sneered and Enitan was surprised at his outburst.
“Did anyone offend you at work today?” She asked when his reaction seemed more like a transfer of aggression to her.
“No one offended me but you!” He charged at her with an accusing finger.
“How did I offend you?” She asked calmly.
“I am angry because whenever I remember how unfortunate I am to be associated with a terrible family as yours, I become a monster. First is your step mum who inflicted a scar on your body which I had to deal with against my desire. Then when I remember how badly your uncle treated me, I feel like hitting you with a blow everyday. Then again whenever I remember the rape attempt scene by Kehinde, I feel like throwing you out of my life. I hate your family Enitan! I hate your family!! I hate your family!!! If you don’t want me to transfer the hatred I have for your family to you, don’t ever mention anything concerning your family to me again okay!” He retorted and left the room in anger.
She was speechless and dazed. She held unto her son as a solace and cried with excruciating pains. That outburst was too much for her to bear. She felt betrayed and unwanted. She felt like a nobody who was begging to be loved and accepted. She cried loudly like a kindergarten pupil that was denied of candy. Why is life so cruel? Why this again. When she thought the storms was over, a new wave came and blew away the love and understanding that had existed since she broke the news of her pregnancy to him till the present moment.
Taofeeq had never hidden his hatred for her family, but he had never come out as straight forward and unapologetic with his hatred as he had done that evening. Since her marriage to Taofeeq, she had only visited her uncle twice and the two occasions were also reluctantly agreed by him. She recalled her uncle’s words vividly about not trusting Taofeeq. What elders see while sitting, a child wouldn’t see it even on an iroko tree indeed. Her uncle probably had a lie detector in his eyes which enables him to see that Taofeeq was only after her because he sees her as a relationless girl he could own and cage without anyone to fight for her. And that indeed had been his attitude towards her.
She held tightly to her son while the tears poured torrentially. She was still in tears when Taofeeq walked back into the room. He noticed Enitan’s tears were dripping on his baby so he collected the baby from her.
“When you are done crying, I’ll give the baby back to you. Do not infect my son with your sadness.” He said as he lied on his back and put the baby on his chest.
“So my tears meant nothing to you?” She wondered.
“Yes and that’s because you’re crying for nothing. If I were you, I won’t have anything to do with such a terrible family but no you want to associate yourself by force. I and Fawzaan are the only true family you’ve got so you better stay put or I’ll show you the way out. I have my eyes wherever you go and I’ll definitely know if you go visit him or not. If you think I’m joking, try me and see!” He said conclusively and shut his eyes while still carrying the baby on his chest.
Enitan was confused. She wouldn’t like to dare Taofeeq because he was capable of throwing her out as he had threatened. Now she had a son for him, she wouldn’t want to be thrown out to become a single mother or a divorcee at twenty three. She decided to cook a plausible lie to give to Taiwo as an excuse.
She sent money to her uncle but she didn’t go visit him. She made up several excuses while still pleading with Taofeeq to have a change of heart. Then six months after, news reached her that her uncle had kicked the bucket.
It was a Friday morning as she was preparing to go to school. She received a call by Taiwo that uncle had passed away. She exclaimed ‘innalillah waina illahi rajihun’ and her husband who was in the bathroom rushed out immediately and inquired about the reason for her exclamation.
“My uncle had passed away.” She replied bitterly and he stared hard at her before responding.
“That was why you almost brought the roof down with exclamation. He’s an old man, so his death is not tregedic. May Allah forgive his shortcomings.” He was nice enough to pray.
“Aamin. Please I’ll like to attend the janazah.” She said softly and he was quiet for a while.
“Your presence is not needed there.” He replied firmly.
“What do you mean by that? Ain’t we supposed to go together? Won’t you pay your in law a last respect by attending his janazah.” Enitan said firmly.
“I don’t have time.” He replied coldly.
“I have time if you don’t so allow me go.”
“Okay……..you can go but don’t go with my son.” He said and walked back into the bathroom.
Enitan knew he meant what he said so she wouldn’t wish to patronize him. She went and left the baby who was nine months at the time with her mother in law who reluctantly accepted the baby after so much pleas. She left the baby’s food with her and off she went.
Upon getting to her uncle’s house, she was received by lashing and bashing. She was rebuked for being an ingrate who didn’t show up during the period uncle was critically ill. Mama twins’ particularly didn’t take it easy on her. She called her different types of bad names to which she didn’t respond. She was just begging for forgiveness. With what mouth would she say it was her husband who caged and didn’t allow her?
She decided to make up for her misdeed so she stayed behind in uncle’s house till late in the evening helping out with one thing after the other. She left uncle’s house later in the evening and returned home. She was still few houses to reaching the house when she started hearing Fawzaan’s loud cry. She ran as fast as her legs could carry her home and rushed into the house.
She met Taofeeq carrying the boy who was crying non stopped. Her heart raced heavily as trouble loomed in the air. Her mother in law was sitting on a chair in the living room tapping her foot on the floor. Taofeeq upon sighting her quickly gave the baby to his mother, charged fiercely towards her and rushed slaps and blows unto her fragile body. She begged for mercy but he didn’t listen as he beat her blue black. Mama didn’t blink an eye neither did she make an attempt to salvage the situation.
“How dare you disobey me! When I told you not to go with my son, your common sense should have told you that I meant you shouldn’t go at all. Or why would I allow you to leave a baby who’s still sucking behind while you pursue frivolities. I had returned to this house since 3:00pm and my baby had never stopped crying. How dare you make my own child go through so much pain because of your useless family! What I have done to you is just little compare to what I’ll do to you next time you disobey me. Nonsense!!” He said after beating her to stupor.
She remained on the floor while she cried with pains. Taofeeq walked in after beating her with his son but Mama kept sitting without uttering a word. After a while, she tried to get up but she was very weak. She remained on the floor while dragging along the room with her buttocks. She noticed the baby food she left for her baby on the floor and dragged it along.
She managed to get up while holding the door for support. She got to the room and father and son were already sleeping. She sat on the bed, reached for a wool and cleaned the blood on her face. She looked into the mirror and a strange woman was staring at her.
Her face was swollen, eyes bulgy and mouth with cuts. She dried her tears after a while and her head was blank. She couldn’t think of anything. She was enveloped with emptiness as she stared weakly at the wall.
Her baby began to cry later but she was too weak to put him to breast. She reached for the baby food and opened it, her mouth went agape when she realized that mama didn’t make food for the baby as the baby food she left was still intact. Little wonder why the baby had been crying non stopped. He was indeed hungry. It was obvious Mama deliberately starved baby Fawzaan just to put Enitan in trouble. She heaved a bitter sigh as she made the baby’s food. She fed him and the baby slept off after a while.
Enitan stood on the bed after she put the baby to sleep. Her heart was heavy with gloominess. She was still in this sitting position when she started dozing. She lied down and tried to force some sleep but she couldn’t as her whole body ache terribly.
Taofeeq didn’t say sorry or begged her this time around as he used to whenever he misbehaves. Enitan on the other hand decided to be strong. She decided to bear the pains but she couldn’t go to school for three days. She was sick and her face hadn’t healed. She wouldn’t want unnecessary question so she decided to stay at home till her face was cleared of the scars.
On Wednesday of the week that proceeded the battery, she was in her room when her phone rang. She picked the call and she was surprised to hear Jamilah’s voice. Jamilah and her husband had relocated to warri but they still kept in touch. After a while of disconnection due to the distance, they were able to connect again and since then, they’ve been communicating but Enitan had never opened up to her about the hell she was passing through. Jamilah was in town that day and decided to surprise her.
“I am at your gate, come get the door!” Jamilah said brightly while she got up sluggishly to get the day open.
She was the only one at home as Taofeeq and his mom had gone out. The first thing Jamilah noticed was her beaten up face. They entered the house and Jamilah couldn’t curtail her surprises, she asked question.
“Who did this to you?……….Your husband?” Jamilah asked while examining her black face and Enitan nodded.
“SubhanaAllah!!” Jamilah exclaimed.
“I’ve been through hell. I really need someone to talk to.” Enitan said and then explained all she’s been through to Jamilah who opened her mouth in great awe.
“I am speechless………………..I am surprised………….in fact I don’t know what to say. If this is not coming from you Enitan, I would have said it’s a lie but coming from you, I am dazed. I never saw bro Taofeeq as someone who could hurt a fly talkless of maltreating his wife. Why did he change all of a sudden? Why didn’t we see this coming? You can’t truly say you know a man until you give him a daughter to marry indeed. We only judged him from what we knew of him which was nothing but goodness. Enitan I am deeply sorry this is happening to you. I’ll talk to my husband and he shall to talk to him. I am so sorry. Where is baby Fawzaan?” Jamilah inquired.
“He’s in the room sleeping. I’m just being strong because of my baby. I am loosing it Jamilah, when will this tribulations stop? I am tired, I can’t endure any longer.” She said and broke into a loud cry while Jamilah hugged and comforted her with soothing words.
Before Jamilah left that morning, Enitan was a little relieved as Jamilah’s presence really gave her strength and hope that her tribulations will soon be over.
Three days after which was Saturday, Taofeeq came back from work and confronted Enitan with a fight. He said her mouth had become so loose she couldn’t keep her marital affair secret. Apparently Hassan had spoken to him but he came up with a fight instead of amending the loopholes.
“When next you open your mouth and tell a third party what is happening in this house, you wouldn’t like what I’ll do to you. You’re mine and I choose to treat you the way I like.” He said but Enitan gave a sharp response.
“You can’t continue to treat me the way you like without being checked Mr man. Fear Allah because I am not a slave, I am your wife and have you suddenly forgotten how you wooed me with sweet words? Where did the Taofeeq whose life was guided by the quran and sunnah traveled to because the Taofeeq right here in front of me is a monster, a vampire and a kill joy. You behave differently from what you preach and if I don’t have anyone to fight for me, do remember that I have Allah. You’re nothing but a beast in human clothing and Allah will surely fight my battle for me.” Enitan said boldly and he shook his head.
“Until I break the remaining of your wings, you won’t stop attempting to fly right? Don’t worry I know exactly what to do. I’ll give you a shocker and you’ll be shocked.” He said and walked out.
The love and understanding that existed between them went on exile and the situation seemed irredeemable with Taofeeq’s incorrigible behavior. The trouble between the couple made Mama’s manipulations worked better. Mother and son got quite closer and it seemed they were up to something.
Few weeks later, on a Saturday morning, Taofeeq was getting dressed in front of the dresser while Enitan was feeding the baby. He was garbed in a new white fabric which was neatly ironed and elegantly styled. He displayed the garment in front of the mirror while turning back and front. He smiled brightly to his image in the mirror while Enitan watched on in silence.
Later, he picked up his cap and tilted it to the left. He smiled brightly again then turned to Enitan.
“How do I look?” He asked but she was quiet.
“Answer me now, how do I look?” He asked again.
“Please don’t disturb me. You have a mirror in front of you, check it and see how you look.” Enitan snapped.
“Please now, I want to hear your opinion.” He begged and she stared at him for a while before responding.
“Okay………….you look good, just like a groom about to take a wife.” Enitan said with innocence and she really shot herself on the head with that reply.
“Wowww!!!!!!!……………My wife is really a genius.” He replied with smiles and she wondered what was going on.
“What do you mean?” She asked in bewilderment.
“Actually, you got it correctly when you said that I look like a groom about to take a wife.” He said and sat beside her on the bed. Her heart raced as she fixed her gaze on him.
“Today, I’m getting married to Desola. Sorry I’m just telling you but you caused it. You have become so haughty, disobedient, rebellious and recalcitrant to mention few. I need to get myself a new wife who will obey me without challenging my authority. She shall live here with us starting today. Will you like to come along?” He asked after an insultive information but she stared at him like a moron who didn’t understand all he’d said.
He left the room when she didn’t say a word. It all seemed to her like a dream. She needed someone to tap her and tell her she heard him right. Or was she hallucinating? Was she really haughty? Has she been a disobedient wife? Has she acted rebelliously? Was she recalcitrant? She continued soliloquizing with all the adjective he’d described her with while tears effortlessly dropped off her eyes.
Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
Whoever would love to be delivered from Hellfire and admitted into Paradise, let him meet his end with faith in Allah and the Last Day, and let him treat people as he would love to be treated.
Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
Verily, the most complete of believers in faith are those with the best character and who are most kind to their families.
Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“The merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.
©️Lateefah Adewunmi Jumah