TRIALS, TEARS AND TRIUMPH [Triple T]
After they left the court, Enitan had nowhere to go. Taofeeq’s house was definitely out of the question. Halimah and her husband were returning to Edo State but she couldn’t go with them because of work.
Then Halimah decided to stay with her for some days before leaving because she needed not be alone because of the pains she was going through. Halimah discussed her decision with her husband who granted his permission. It was easy for her because she was on leave and her kids were with her parents in law. Then Halimah suggested that they both put up in their father’s house for the time being but Enitan objected.
“No, I can’t go to daddy’s house.” Enitan said while shaking her head.
“Why? It’s your father’s house and you’re welcome any time.” Halimah said and Enitan smiled wryly before responding.
“That house might be my father’s house but I am not welcomed at all. Have you forgotten your mum chased me out of that house? Need I remind you that I’ve always been treated like a second class citizen in my father’s house? No I am not going. I have some money to put up in a hotel while I look around for an apartment to rent.” Enitan said bitterly.
“Enitan, I am so sorry for everything that happened in the past. But mum is a completely changed person now. Especially now that she’s battling with ill health, she’s realized that wickedness doesn’t sow good fruit.” Halimah revealed and Enitan was shocked at the news.
“What happened to her?” Enitan asked without much concern.
“She went blind after a brief illness and till date, her sight hasn’t been restored. We’ve tried every solution and spent hugely to no avail. I wanted to inform you about her sickness but I thought it’s not important for you to know more so when she was very wicked to you.” Halimah explained.
“May Allah heal her!………I am not interested in going to daddy’s house at all, please try and respect my decision.” Enitan said unwavering.
“Please Enitan, you can’t be alone because of your condition. Remember I am staying back in Lagos because of you. Come on, don’t be stubborn.” Halimah urged.
After a lot of persuasion from Halimah, Enitan agreed to go with her to their father’s house. When they got to the house, they met her step-mum on the floor inside the living room. Halimah rushed to her and asked what she was doing on the floor but the woman burst into tears before speaking.
“The maid has refused to give me food since last night. I am very hungry and decided to go to the kitchen to get something to eat when I missed my step and fell.” Step mother explained in tears while Halimah carried her unto the chair. Enitan stood with arms akimbo watching the humiliation and downfall of the powerful. The rich also cry indeed!
“Where is this stupid maid for goodness sake.” Halimah said and shouted on top of her voice while calling upon the maid.
The teenage maid rushed out of the kitchen to answer Halimah.
“Madam you’re welcome. I don’t know you’re around.” The maid greeted but Halimah ignored her greeting and threw her a question at her immediately.
“Why have you starved my mother since last night?” Halimah asked the maid with a long face.
“Madam your mother eats a lot and poo anyhow. She deficates on the floor and the chair too is not spared. The trouble of washing and cleaning is killing me. I thought if I didn’t give her food for sometime, she would stop deficating around the house. I am sorry ma.” The maid explained and Halimah was angry.
“Sorry for your wicked soul! So because she deficates around the house you decided to starve her? Just listen to the rubbish you’re spewing. We are paying you more than enough for this job and if you’re tired of the job, say so and leave instead of starving my mother. My friend go into that kitchen now and make food for my mother, I and Enitan.” Halimah instructed and at the mention of Enitan, step mother got up quickly and started searching with her hand.
“Is Enitan here? Where is Enitan?” Step mother asked and this time Enitan moved closer to her.
“This is me.” Enitan replied calmly.
“Oh Enitan! I have really wronged you. I’m sure my life is like this because of all the wickedness I did to you. Please Enitan forgive me.” Step mother said while holding on to Enitan’s hand. All Enitan did was cry because she was short of words.
Step mother begged her so intensely. She promised to call upon the lawyer so that her own share of their father’s property would be given to her. Enitan didn’t say anything, she was just crying. Step mother begged with teary eyes till her mouth was hurt and her blind eyes swollen from excessive tears. No matter how much she begged, Enitan didn’t utter a word and step mother cried the more.
“Enitan please forgive me so that I’ll spend the rest of my life in peace. My heart has been so heavy and peace had eluded me since my sickness began. The only thing that can heal my troubled mind is to know that you’ve forgiven me. Please find a place in your lovely heart to forgive all the wrongs I have done to you.” Step mother begged profusely and this time Enitan dried her tears and spoke.
“I don’t even know what to say. My life has been a downturn courtesy of your wickedness. I would have forgiven you so easily but my marriage is also a bitter tale, courtesy of your cruelty. It’s really a pity that you cannot see because I want you to see the terrible iron scar you inflicted on my body. That scar marked the beginning of my marital woes. And as if that isn’t enough, Allah used your daughter Halimah as sabab for the complete wrecking of my marriage.” Enitan lamented in hot tears and this time Halimah also broke into tears while Enitan shrugged and continued.
“Even though I was tired of that bitter marriage before, I never wanted to leave in such manner. I wanted to leave with my kids because I do not want my labour and suffering to be in vain but now everything is gone. Husband, kids, and everything I worked for to make my marriage work all gone down the drain.” Enitan said and broke into loud tears while mother and daughter too cried with her.
“Enitan I am so sorry for everything that happened. Please don’t cry again.” Halimah consoled.
“Please Enitan, forgive my wrong. I am already reaping what I sowed please forgive me.” Step mother cried.
“I’ll forgive you but not so soon. I’ll forgive you the very day I get custody of my children. That will be the happiest day of my life and then I can forgive a wicked woman like you. But for now, I am very bitter so much that I don’t have a heart to think about forgiveness. If my mouth say I forgive, be sure that it didn’t come from my heart so allow me have my kids first then I’ll forgive you.” Enitan said and without waiting for any reply, she got up and walked into the bedroom.
The following day which was Tuesday, she woke up with a high fever probably because of the troubles she encountered coupled with the mosquito that dealt with them at the cell. She reached the management of her school on phone to inform them of her indispose state of health and the management was understanding and told her to take her time.
Throughout that week, she was down and so was Halimah. Halimah tried to be strong so as to take care of Enitan but her body betrayed her too and she fell ill. Sickness was inevitable for both of them as the mosquito that bit them in just two nights was enough torture without whipping.
The family doctor administered treatment to them from home while Halimah’s husband sent his sister over to care for them. By the next weekend, they both got better and Enitan seriously felt the need to see her son. It’s been eight days already and she needed to know how he was fairing so she decided to go to Taofeeq’s house.
Halimah offered to go with her and off they went in the family car. The family driver took them and the car was parked outside while Enitan and Halimah walked into the compound. As soon as they walked in, Enitan sighted Fawzaan playing with his toy car outside the house. She heaved a sigh of relief while a delicious smile formed on her lips. Her son was alive and not dead. Allah saved him for her. Allah is so merciful and she couldn’t thank him enough. These were her thoughts as she approached Fawzaan who was busy playing with his toy that he didn’t see his mother.
As soon as Fawzaan looked up and sighted Enitan and Halimah, he left his toy and ran inside while shouting ‘witch witch witch’ Enitan touched her chest in dismay and then burst into tears.
Halimah was short of words. Enitan was still weeping when Taofeeq came out upon them.
“What do you want?” Taofeeq inquired fiercely.
“I want my children.” Enitan replied amidst tears and Taofeeq gave out a sarcastic laughter.
“………..And do think a child will go with a witch who almost killed him?” Taofeeq said meanly.
“I bore him and his sister with pains and now I am a witch? Taofeeq Allah will reward you duely for poisning my son’s little mind against me. I have not come here to fight you but to beg you to release my children to me. Taofeeq please let me have my children, have mercy on me please.” Enitan begged but Taofeeq mocked her.
“I’m amazed at how you’re begging me. What good father will release his children to your kind of terrible family? You didn’t even come alone, you came with your co-murderer and you expect me to release my children? Your charm is not potent enough to hypnotize me so try another gimmick.” Taofeeq said mockingly while Halimah begged him too.
“Abu Fawzaan please don’t do this. Enitan has been down because she missed her children. Please be merciful to her.” Halimah begged and Taofeeq laughed harder.
“So even you has the mouth to beg me? Ain’t you the cause of all this? Anyways, let’s meet in court on Wednesday and allow the court decides who gets custody of the children.” Taofeeq replied and with that, he walked in and locked the door immediately.
Enitan wept bitterly after Taofeeq left and Halimah urged her to let them return home to await Wednesday when the court will decide.
Sunday to Wednesday seemed like a year as Enitan had her hopes held high. She couldn’t sleep well till Wednesday morning. Halimah again postponed her return to witness the court hearing. She was partially the cause of the trouble so leaving her wouldn’t be good at all.
Enitan prayed fervently from Sunday till Wednesday, she cried to Allah in tears to make the judgement in her favour. Halimah prayed as well and so does Enitan’s step mum whose forgiveness was tied to the custody of children. They all prayed together and also individually and on Wednesday morning the family got up early while Halimah and Enitan proceeded to the court.
After hearing their case and the fact that both party wanted a divorce mutually, the judge pronounced his judgement. ‘The custody of the children goes to the father because the mother is careless and not up to the task. There has been a case of an attempted murder which later proved to be an accident but it all boils down to the carelessness of the mother, therefore, the father is best given the custody of the innocent children’ The judge pronounced and Enitan fainted immediately.
Halimah with the help of some good Samaritans rushed Enitan to the hospital while Taofeeq and his family returned home with a triumphant smile.
Enitan was revived at the hospital but she suffered severe depression. After she woke up, she didn’t talk to anyone. She was just crying. Halimah consoled her with soothing words but she wasn’t coming out of her gloominess. The doctor asked what her problem was and Halimah explained everything without leaving anything unsaid.
“With what is happening to her, getting custody of her children will be the only solution out of her problem. And if that is not done promptly, mental illness is inevitable for her.” The doctor said and Halimah broke into a loud cry.
“Doctor please help me………………..Enitan must not suffer mental illness, if she does I’ll kill myself.” Halimah pleaded in tears.
“Madam the solution to her problem is not in my hands. Maybe you should go with some family member to beg her ex husband. Explain the latest development to him and settle the custody case out of court. That is the only solution. Please excuse me, I have other patient to attend to.” The doctor said politely and walked away while Halimah cried bitterly.
Enitan was not speaking to anyone, she was just sobbing quietly. After three days in the hospital, she was discharged and Halimah took her back to their father’s house. Her leave was over now yet she couldn’t leave Enitan alone.
Halimah decided to summon some family members to go beg Taofeeq. They got there and explained what happened to him. They begged him to release the children to Enitan but he refused abruptly. He told them he couldn’t entrust his children to a murderer. After so much begging, Enitan’s family left when Taofeeq was adamant about not releasing his children.
The next day, Halimah was returning to Edo state and she was leaving with Enitan. They informed her workplace of the present situation and the management sypmpatized with them and prayed for her quick recovery.
After they got to Edo, Enitan’s attitude was the same, she wasn’t speaking, neither was she responding and the doctor’s words echoed loudly in Halimah’s head.’If a prompt solution is not taken, mental illness is inevitable.
Halimah spoke to her husband about it and he promised to see his lawyer concerning the situation. Enitan must not be mentally ill as she wouldn’t forgive herself if that happens.
One evening, Halimah went to Enitan’s room to serve her dinner when she met her soliloquizing to herself. She moved nearer and sat beside her on the bed.
“Enitan, I brought your food.” Halimah said while playing with her hair and Enitan turned to face her and for the first time she spoke.
“If I die, my bitterness would be over right? If I die, I won’t have to think about my children right? If I die, all these tribulations that have lurked around me since birth will go away right? If I die, my enemies will be happy and I’ll seize to be their prey right? I think dying is the solution to my problem. Halimah I want to die……….I want to die……this pain is too much. Am I the only one on the surface of the earth? Why has life being so cruel to me? Why have I known nothing but pains and sorrow? Let me just die and leave this cruel world. Allah please take my soul.” Enitan said amidst tears while Halimah cried too before founding her voice.
“Please don’t wish death upon yourself Enitan. Your life won’t continue like this. I have spoken to my husband who promised to speak with his lawyer. Everything will turn out fine please do not despair. Do not wish death on yourself because our beloved prophet said that ‘None of you should make a request for death because of the trouble in which he is involved’…………Enitan do not despair of Allah’s mercy. He promises ease after hardship.”
“When will the ease come? The hardship has lurked around me for years and anytime I think I was saved, another terrible hardship will surface. Why is life so cruel to me?” Enitan lamented and Halimah wasn’t tired of assuring her of a better tomorrow.
Since that day, Halimah doesn’t allow her be alone or even sleep alone. Halimah’s oldest daughter who’s eleven always spend the night in the same room with Enitan and during the day, Halimah takes her to her place of work and they also return together.
One evening, Halimah’s husband returned with the news from his lawyer. His lawyer said the only thing they could do to get the children back is to appeal the previous judgement. The lawyer linked them with a friend judge of his in Lagos who handles such cases with success. A ray of hope was felt and Enitan was optimistic.
The following weekend, the trio of Enitan, Halimah and Halimah’s husband travelled to Lagos to see the judge the lawyer referred them to. They took all medical evidences with them and some other proofs that Enitan’s health was on the line if she isn’t giving the custody of the children.
The young judge listened to them with interest and promised to help them. He felt pity for a young mother who had gone through so much in life and still denied access to her children.
Taofeeq was summoned to an appeal court and was instructed to bring the children along. After hearing from both parties with evidences and argument of the lawyers, Judge Mahmud Giwa ruled that the custody of the children be returned to the mother immediately. He dismissed the argument that the mother is careless, murderer or a witch as mere assumption and an attempt to only soil her image and gain cheap favour from the Judge.
After the judge’s pronouncement, right there in the court, Enitan said a hearty sajda shukr with tears of joy dripping down her face. She couldn’t thank Allah enough and right there inside the court premises, her two children were given to her.
Fateemah impulsively threw herself at her mother whom she’d missed so much but couldn’t ask her where about. Fawzaan was a little bit reluctant but Enitan thought he would soon come around. She couldn’t believe Taofeeq poisoned the heart of a four year old but she thanked Allah she’s now victorious and the volume of her triumph tingled loudly in the air.
Enitan scooped her two children into her embrace and kissed them delightfully. Halimah too couldn’t thank Allah enough, the storm was over and a ray of light and happiness was ushered in. Halimah carried the kids and especially caressed Fawzaan to herself. ‘Thank you Allah for saving Fawzaan’s life’ Halimah expressed loudly with burning happiness.
Enitan turned to Halimah’s husband and appreciated him profoundly. He’d been very supportive, physically, morally and financially and Enitan was grateful to him. She beamed with smile as her gloominess was replaced with happiness and sorrow replaced with overwhelming joy. She thanked the lawyer too and he replied that he did his job and needed no appreciation.
Enitan was all smile and brightness found its way unto her face again. Her sufferness didn’t go in vain. Her pains and trials was compensated with having custody of her children and she was saved from mental illness, she couldn’t be more thankful.
She along with her children and family stepped out of the court and they made to enter the jeep that brought them when Enitan heard a familiar voice. She looked up and it was Taofeeq. Enitan quickly put her kids in the car, closed the door and then turned to face Taofeeq.
“How may I help you?” Enitan asked while rolling her eyes at him.
“Please I haven’t come to fight you. I just want to beg you.” He said soberly.
“Beg me for what?” Enitan shouted on top of her voice.
“Please don’t shout.” Taofeeq said calmly.
“Then start talking or else I’ll walk out on you.” Enitan said with rage.
“Okay…………..I just want to beg you to give me Fawzaan while you have Faatimah. Please be merciful. Desola has no child yet.” Taofeeq pleaded soberly but Enitan gave a loud hiss.
“I have no words for you. No amount of your soberness will arose my pity. I hate you and over my dead body will I give you my kids. I don’t want you to infect them with your wickedness because cruelty runs in your blood.” Enitan said and immediately entered the car while the driver zoomed off.
Taofeeq stood on the spot with tears tripping down his cheeks.
Thank you Barrister Abiola Olaitan for the legal advice. Jazakillah khairan, I am grateful.
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LATEEFAH ADEWUNMI JUMAH