TRIALS, TEARS AND TRIUMPH [Triple T]
Enitan didn’t look back at Mahmud, she walked briskly to where her car was parked, hopped in and drove off. She fetched her kids from the neighbor’s and closed her door upon entry. She dropped her bag immediately and went straight to the bedroom to take a shower. She breathed heavily under the shower while Mahmud’s words echoed loudly on her head. She doesn’t care if he was joking or not, any joke that has the word marriage in it is not welcomed or okay with her.
The word marriage scares her like crazy. Even though it’s been good eight months that she got emancipated from the shackles of a bitter marriage, she still has nightmares about the horrible experience of her marital life. She hissed severally with anger and couldn’t fathom why she was angry exactly.
Meanwhile, in the home of the Giwas, Mahmud’s mum reminded him of the need to marry again after Neemah, his third wife had left him some years back. He shrugged indifferently and continued reading the newspaper in front of him.
“Why are you not bothered about marrying again? If you don’t get married and sleep with a woman, how are we going to know if the problem is still there but has been solved?” His mother said worriedly.
“Mum, I’m really tired of the disgrace. I don’t want scandals. My position as a judge of the federal republic of Nigeria is a naked one with so many preying eyes. If I marry another woman now and she leaves me like others have done, that would be four failed marriages and people will start insinuating that I’m an extremely bad man and that’s why I have been having failed marriages. Please allow me be.” Mahmud replied in dejection.
“Do you underestimate the work of Allah? I know there’s nothing Allah cannot do and I believe this fourth wife would be the last. Our prayers shall be answered through her and our joy would be unlimited. Please my son, consider marriage again.” His mother pleaded and this time, his father chips in.
“Mahmud my dear, please listen to your mother. It’s about time you marry again and we strongly believe our prayers will be answered by the power and mercy of Allah. Please start looking around for a good woman.” His father advised.
“Actually, I have my eyes on a young divorcee but the problem is, I already told her I’ve been divorced thrice and she already sees me as a bad man even without hearing my story. It will be difficult to convince such woman to marry again coupled with the fact that she had a very bitter marriage and a messy divorce.” Mahmud told his parents.
“Do you really like her?” His dad asked.
“I think so.” Mahmud replied.
“Then woo her with wisdom. There’s no woman a wise man cannot woo regardless of whether she suffered a bad marriage which made her develop a negative mindset about marriage. I know you can do it son. If you like her please go after her without wasting more time.” His father encouraged.
“I should go after her?” Mahmud asked for confirmation.
“Yes do.” His parents replied in unison while he nodded his head in agreement.
The following weekend, he decided to visit Enitan’s house. Prior to this time, Enitan and the HOD had become so close, more so when they discovered that they live in the same vicinity. During weekends, the HOD would drop her three kids whom are all girls with Enitan to make their hair while she goes out and come back to fetch them.
The Saturday that Mahmud decided to visit Enitan, the HOD had come to drop her kids as usual and on her way out, she met her ex husband in front of Enitan’s house. Both of them were surprised to see each other and were more surprised to know that each of them knew Enitan. After exchanging greetings and pleasantries, each of them was curious to know what relationship each has with Enitan.
“So you know Mrs Badmus?” They chorused and they both smiled at the way their heart works together.
“And we asked together.” They chorused again.
“We still said it together.” They chorused for the third time and they both burst into laughter. Theirs wasn’t a messy divorce so they weren’t enemies to each other.
The HOD was the first to speak after they both laughed out loudly.
“Actually Mrs Haneefah Badmus is my subordinate at work.” The HOD informed.
“How do you know her?” The HOD queried Mahmud.
“Actually, I presided over her divorce case as regards custody of her children. Thereafter, her daughter grew fond of me and I’ve been here like twice since then.” Mahmud explained.
“I see…………so what are you doing here now?” The HOD asked
“Isn’t it obvious? I like her and I’m here to woo her.” Mahmud said firmly.
“Hmmmmm……….It wouldn’t be that easy. That young lady went through so much in her first marriage and to her now, all men are the same. Why don’t you let me talk to her, I’m sure as your ex wife who knows you in depth, I should be able to convince her about you.” Khayrah offered.
“You’ll really do that for me?” Mahmud exclaimed with a lit face.
“Yes I’ll gladly do. Mahmud you’re a good man and I can’t wait to see a little Mahmud. That’s my utmost wish for you.” Khayrah expressed sincerely.
“Thank you so much. I’ll really count on you. In that case, I don’t need to go in and see her anymore. I’ll trust your judgement and expect a positive result.” He said and walked to his car to leave.
Khayrah waved him goodbye and then proceeded to her car too and drove off.
The next Monday in school, after the assembly, Khayrah told Enitan she would like to see her during the lunch break to which Enitan replied with a yes ma.
During lunch break, they both sat under a tree in the school and discussed.
“The other day that you were asking me about Mahmud, I never knew you both knew each other.” Khayrah started and Enitan’s heart skipped at the mention of that name.
“I know him ma.” Enitan replied softly.
“Yes he told me he presided over your kids’ custody case. Do you know he was in your house on Saturday?” The HOD asked.
“No I don’t.” Enitan replied with a thumping heart while her eyes were fixed on Khayrah.
“You see Mrs Badmus! I won’t beat about the bush because you’re no longer a baby. Mahmud wants to marry you and he has entrusted me to do that for him.” Khayrah revealed and expected Enitan to say something and when she didn’t, Khayrah continued.
“You see my dear, Mahmud is someone I never wanted to leave but due to family pressure, I had to leave him. While being married to him, I enjoyed a paradise on earth and the period I spent with him still remains the best part of my life. Mahmud has no other adjective other than goodness. If it were to be the present me, I wouldn’t have left Mahmud but the old Khayrah was a naïve young woman who believes that a fulfilled life borders only around child bearing. Because you’re someone I trusted so much, and because Mahmud wanted marriage and never wished to fool around with you and because he’s not a deceitful man who would hide his problem from a prospective bride, I’ll tell you Mahmud’s story and I strongly believe his secrets are safe with you.” Khayrah explained and paused to see Enitan’s reaction, when she didn’t say anything, Khayrah continued.
“After being married to Mahmud for a while without a child, we went for a fertility test and that was when it was discovered that Mahmud has a low sperm count. Please do not mistake having a low sperm count with inactive bed performance. Of course he was very active in bed, it’s just that a low sperm count poses infertility and my family wouldn’t wished for me to be a barren woman. The pressure to leave him was too much on me and I had to leave to go marry another man. Mahmud decided to marry women with children afterwards to cover the shame of his infertility and I guess those women couldn’t endure just like me and they left him. Since his third marriage failed he hasn’t married again and I’m sure the likeness he has for you has arose his interest in marriage again. Since marriage is for companionship, and because you have two lovely kids already, I’ll urge you to give Mahmud a chance. He’s a very good man whom you’ll never regret marrying and who knows Allah might just answer his prayer through you.” Khayrah concluded her epistle and then awaited Enitan’s reply.
“I’m so sorry to hear that all those things happened to the Judge. But ma, marriage is the last thing on my mind right now. In fact, I’ll like to remain a single mother for the rest of my life. Men are scum and I don’t believe there are good ones among them. I’m so sorry I am not interested in marrying your ex husband. Maybe you should find him another divorcee or widow, as for me, marriage is a no no no again.” Enitan replied vehemently and Khayrah tried to convince her to avail.
She tried to tell her there are still good men. She told her not all men are wicked, woman beater and a sadist. Khayrah tried to convince her that she needed marriage again and that she shouldn’t close her heart and mind on men. She told her not to let a bitter experience jeopardize the rest of her bright future. She tried to convince her to pray about it and not reject outrightly but all she said fell on Enitan’s deaf ears. The lunch break had been over since an hour ago and they were still discussing without a head way. After series of forth and back without reaching an agreement, the HOD decided to leave Enitan for that day.
After that day, Khayrah ensures she raises the issue of Mahmud with Enitan everyday but she was unwavering. After about five weeks of no positive outcome, Khayrah told Mahmud to continue from where she stops. It seemed Enitan was really adamant on being a single mum for life. Khayrah advised Mahmud to use his man prowess to woo her if she would change her mind.
Then Mahmud continued from where Khayrah stops unflaggingly but the story was the same. They were all fetching water into a basket as Enitan was not ready to give her heart to any man again. One weekend, Mahmud decided to pay her a visit. During this period, it was already a little over a year that she got divorced from Taofeeq. She was really enjoying her freedom and wouldn’t wish to be entangled in a marriage again be it good or bad. She experienced an indescribable peace of heart and she wouldn’t want any man to come as a thief and snatch her peace away.
Marriage is for procreation and she already has two lovely kids so what else, she thought. There are only two gender and she already has the two so what more would she still be looking for, she thought again. Anyone who would convince her to marry again would really do a huge job.
Mahmud paid her a visit that Saturday and he stayed outside as usual. And as usual again, Faatimah ran into his embrace and clung tightly unto him.
“This little girl needs a fatherly affection.” Mahmud joked while Enitan snapped at him.
“Please don’t even try to blackmail me emotionally.” Enitan snapped and Mahmud smiled before responding.
“That wasn’t a blackmail but a statement of fact. Or let’s just say that the girl perceived a future with me and her mother from the first day she layed her eyes on me.” Mahmud joked again.
“Oh please stop!” Enitan snapped again.
“I understand the fact that your first marriage wasn’t palatable but you have to stop seeing all men as the same. I can’t boast of being the best man in the whole world but I promise I’ll be good to you. You need a man. A woman needs a man to complete her deen. Celibacy has no place in Islam and the quest for love and companionship is a natural one. You can’t deny the natural fitrah. Marriage is not hell, please don’t allow your past experience rob you off a good future. I like you a lot and something sparks in me whenever I see you. Please marry me and you’ll never regret you do.” Mahmud tried to woo her but she stood on her toes.
“I’ll like to go in now if you don’t mind.” Enitan said unperturbed.
“Won’t you reply all I have said?” He asked her.
“I have no reply to give to you. Since you’ve decided not to take a no for an answer then I’ll turn you to a radio who talks without reply.” Enitan said meanly and then forcefully collected her daughter from him and walked inside without looking back.
Mahmud narrated all these to Khayrah who encouraged him as usual.
“You have to be patient with her. She’s still trying to heal and that was a transfer of aggression. Every woman who had suffered a bitter marriage tends to be mean to all men. I just hope she heals fast and not allow her past harm her future.” Khayrah said after Mahmud narrated what happened to her.
“For how long will I wait for her? If not that I liked her so much, my sister has found me a widow with four children.” Mahmud said almost giving up on her.
“Do you like the widow in question?” Khayrah asked.
“No, not at all.” He replied.
“Then don’t marry because you want to be married but marry because love and attraction is involved. If you truly like Enitan please try to give her more time. I won’t stop talking to her as well and I’m sure if you both are destined together, Allah will make a way.” Khayrah assured while Mahmud thanked her for her support.
Months later, Enitan was still indecisive. Mahmud and Khayrah didn’t stop disturbing her but as usual, she turned a deaf ear to them.
One Saturday, Enitan received a call from Jamilah who informed her that she was in town and would like to visit her.
Jamilah and Enitan hadn’t lost contact at all. Jamilah knew all that happened to her and after her divorce, she had visited her a couple of times and they also connect on phone. That Saturday, she was in Lagos and decided to visit her and to also spend the night.
That day happened to be a busy day for Enitan, ever since her female colleagues knew she was a good hairstylist, they always come around to make their hair during weekends and they pay cool cash. Jamilah met her making hair and like four other women were still waiting for their turn. She helped out and before late noon, they were finished.
They sat down to a delicious male after which they observed solatul-Maghrib. After the prayer, they discussed at length and Jamilah asked Enitan the plans she has for her future.
“What plan are you talking about? I have a good employment with the federal government and I have a hair making side hustle which fetches me money. What else do I want?” Enitan asked her with opened palms.
“I am not talking about job or money. When I say plan, I mean plan of settling down. It’s almost two years after your divorce, you can’t continue living like a tree. You need a man.” Jamilah raised with concern while Enitan burst into laughter.
“What is funny?” Jamilah asked with a confused countenance.
“Your serious face when you mentioned the issue of me needing a man is funny. Look girlfriend, I don’t need a man. I’m so enjoying my freedom like this and I have this indescribable peace of mind. I don’t think marriage is for everyone and maybe I am one of them. Marriage is hell, men are scum. I can’t get scammed again with that thing called marriage.” Enitan said with a loud hiss while Jamilah heaved before speaking.
“I perfectly understand you. You have developed a wrong notion about marriage because of the bitter marriage you went through. You also have a bad impression about men because of Taofeeq but let me remind you that men are not the same. Marriage is not a field of thongs either and a Muslim is expected to be under the umbrella of a man. You can’t continue being stone hearted, it doesn’t befit you. Open your heart to love again and remove the spec on your face. Marriage is sweet with the right partner. Pray for the right partner and Allah will aid you.” Jamilah sermonized.
“As if I didn’t pray before I married Taofeeq, please let me be.” Enitan said with a sniff.
“I understand you very well and I want you to know that what happened has been predestined. A leaf will not fall without the perfect knowledge of Allah. Don’t deny the natural fitrah or do you want to tell me you don’t have sexual urge………………………”
“No I don’t.” Enitan interrupted her friend sharply.
“Liar…………..your blinking eyes has confirmed that you’re lying. If you don’t have any suitor, let me find you one and stop being unnecessarily stubborn.”
“Thank you, don’t help me find any suitor. You won’t live there with me. You and your husband endorsed Taofeeq who turned out to be a monster. Let me be please.”
“I can see you’re still hurting but let me tell you something, until you accept what you passed through as one of life challenges and an inevitable destiny, you’ll remain stagnant. I understand that you’re afraid but do not allow your fear decide your future. Pray to Allah for the best and face your fears because the fears you run away from becomes your limit. You’ll continue to brood over the past and you’ll never accept the future. The past is history, if you brood over it, it will affect your present which is a gift and also mar your future which is supposed to be brighter. Come out of your bitterness and embrace the future. We all have scars and the scars will continue to bleed as long as we brood over the cause of the scars but once you move on, the scar is healed. Please my dear, open your heart to love again. Not all men are scum and not all marriages are bitter. Please rise above your fear!!” Jamilah said pleadingly while her words touched Enitan to the bone marrow.
She was quiet for a while ruminating about Jamilah’s words and after a while of sober reflection, she heaved and spoke.
“Actually I have three men disturbing me. There’s an old man down the street who wants me as a fourth wife, can you imagine?” Enitan asked and they both burst into a sarcastic laughter.
“He always boasted that he’ll enrich me and spoil me silly with money. He tells me I have no problem because he’s the richest man in the whole of Ikeja. I don’t like him one bit, he’s so money drunk and an old fool. I can’t be caught dead with him you know!” Enitan said with disgust while Jamilah laughed and eager to hear the rest of the gist.
“Then there’s a male colleague of mine who wanted me for a second wife. I heard he’s a stingy man who doesn’t take proper care of his wife and kids. I hate irresponsible men. Despite the fact that Taofeeq is a beast, he’s financially responsible and I give it to him in that regards. I don’t like this man at all. Can you imagine him telling me that his wife is a pig? Whatever that means I don’t even want to know.” Enitan said with a head shake and a serious face while Jamilah urged her to continue.
“Then there’s Judge Mahmud Giwa. I don’t know why but my heart flutters at the sight of him. If I want to choose among the three, it will definitely be him but I am scared. He’s been divorced thrice and even though I later learnt why that was so, my mind is still not at peace and because I have decided not to settle down again, I have turned him down severally. I don’t care if he’s hurt or not but I have to protect myself from being hurt again. Even though Fateemah is very fond of this man but I don’t care. Even though he is very nice to me but I’m not impressed because that was exactly how Taofeeq behaved nicely before I married him and discovered he’s a beast. Even though his ex wife is my superior at work and she had done her best to convince me that he’s a good man, I still can’t trust him because I don’t trust men again. I don’t want to get hurt again. I don’t want to be entangled in a bitter marriage once again. I have been once bitten and now I am multiple times shy.” She said with tears while Jamilah wrapped her in her embrace.
“Please don’t cry. Why don’t you pray over it? Tell Allah whatever you want and I strongly believe He’ll aid you. He’s the almighty who is capable of all things. Pray fervently and put your trust in him. Whoever put her trust in Allah will never be disappointed.” Jamilah consoled with words of encouragement.
They discussed at length after which they observed Ishai and went to bed. Jamilah slept in the guest room while Enitan slept in her room with her children. Her mind was heavy and she couldn’t sleep. She thought of her future and she ruminated about what Jamilah told her. Her scars will continue to bleed as long as she continues to see all men in the same light. Her scars will heal once she moves on and accept that men are not the same. She heaved severally and then decided to go with Jamilah’s last words. She would pray about it.
She made up her mind about the rest of the men and didn’t include them in her prayers. She prayed concerning Mahmud alone and she did fervently and relentlessly. Two weeks after Jamilah had a heart to heart discussion with her, Mahmud showed up in her house with two female teenagers.
He called Enitan on phone and she came out to see him. After greetings, he introduced the teenage girls to her.
“These are the twin girls I told you about. Khayrah told me you’re a very good stylist so I brought them here to make their hair when they were complaining about not having a stylist.” Mahmud said with smiles and it was as though he opened a can of worm because Enitan burst into tears to Mahmud’s surprise.
“Why are you crying? Why are you crying?” He repeated and when Enitan didn’t reply nor stopped crying, Mahmud told the girls to go into the house and wait for him.
After the girls walked in, Mahmud turned to Enitan, gave her a roll to wipe her tears and asked why she was crying again.
“Please tell me, is there a problem? Why are you crying?” He asked again and this time she spoke amidst tears.
“I just thought about my life. My life has been so bitter. From a lonely child who ran away from home due to maltreatment and infliction of pains to a guest in uncle’s house which brought bitter memories as well and to that naïve young lady who thought marriage was an escape route to sorrow. Marriage dealt a bigger blow on me and I’m still living with the pains. Being a single mother with kids isn’t any easier which actually made me cry. How can life be so unfair? Please what exactly do you want from me?” Enitan asked amidst tears.
“I’m so sorry about all that happened to you. But you see, life is a journey that doesn’t breeds sweetness alone. There are sweet moments in life and there are bitter moments. It’s just that the bitterness shouldn’t be more than the sweetness and the sweetness shouldn’t be experienced alone because Allah promised to try us which he does differently. I have my own share of life trials which I haven’t overcome. That is life. Ability to accept what life shoves our way is what we call believe in Allah and believe in Qadar. I don’t want you to brood over the past again. And concerning your question, I want you as my wife. I want to be the shoulder you lean on and I want to lean on you as well because marriage is for companionship. I want to wipe away your tears and I want you to do same for me because marriage is about giving succor to one another. I want to make you smile and I want you to make me smile as well because marriage is about sharing happy moments together. I promise to be good to you and I promise to treat you right and with honour. I promise to raise your kids and be a good fatherly figure to them. I promise to love and cherish you till the end of time and most importantly, I promise to make the path to jannah easy for you by holding tightly to you until we both make it to jannah.” Mahmud said sweetly while Enitan couldn’t found her voice.
“You know what? Let me take you out if that will brighten your mood. Go call the girls and fetch your kids.” He urged and she obeyed.
Mahmud drove while one of the girls sat at the front while the second girl and Enitan together with her kids sat at the back seat.
He took them to the beach and the kids were very excited. It was their first time at the beach and they played excitedly with the water. Mahmud instructed the girls to watch the kids while he sat under a canopy with Enitan.
“Is your mood better now?” Mahmud asked her while she nodded her head.
“Very good. Anytime I’m feeling low, I come to the beach to unwind . Watching the nature helps me get over my gloominess and I’ll be fine.” He said with smiles while Enitan nodded her head again.
“Don’t you want to talk?” He asked her with smiles again and she heaved before speaking.
“Can I trust you?” She asked with a straight face.
“With what?” Mahmud asked.
“With my life and happiness.” She replied firmly and he smiled.
“Is that a yes?” He screamed excitedly.
“You are a nice man and I think you’re good too but I’m scared. My ex was this nice and good before marriage. He saw me through school and met my financial needs. He was very good to me, he connected me with my root and at the end of the day, his niceness was just a gimmick to hook me. I am scared Barrister, won’t you turn out to be like him? Will you remain nice or change too after marriage?” She asked amidst tears.
“I love you Haneefah and if I had wanted to take advantage of you, I wouldn’t have waited for you to make up your mind for this long. I am not a wicked man, my momma raised me right and she taught me to treat women with honour. The prophet urged us to be good to our women and the Quran teaches us goodness too. I have never treated any of my wives with scorn and I think you know why they all left now. I am a complete gentleman and you won’t regret marrying me by the grace of Allah.”
“Do you live with your parents?” Enitan asked with fright.
“No I don’t. I have my own house. Why do you ask?”
“My ex’s mother contributed a whole lot to the downfall of my marriage.”
“That’s too bad. No, my mum is a cool headed woman. You can ask Khayrah.”
“I won’t ask her but you. She won’t live with us, besides she left you a long time ago, your mum might have changed.”
“No she hasn’t. She’s still as sweet as ever.” Mahmud replied assuringly.
“I have a scar. I hope you can deal with it.” Enitan tried to open up.
“We all have scars. I have scars too.” Mahmud replied lightly.
“I am not talking about abstract scars. I am talking about a physical scar. I have a horrible iron scar that my step mother inflicted on my thigh. The first issue I had with my ex was as a result of that scar.” Enitan revealed.
“An iron scar? Why should that cause a marital chaos?”
“Because it’s such a terrible sight to behold.” Enitan said.
“Don’t worry, that shouldn’t be a problem.”
“Are you sure?”
“Then I’ll trust you and give you my heart.” She said amidst tears and a delicious smile formed on his lips.
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