TRASH AND TREASURE (A short story series)
It was a long lonely night. The whistle of the watchman echoed loudly in the air. Everywhere was quiet and dark save the noise coming from the watchman’s whistle and the sound of the crickets.
The moon’s reflection lightened up the dark room and Iman didn’t bother to withdraw the window blind. Somehow she felt comfortable with the reflection of the moon inside her room.
On her large bed she sat with a heavy heart. She couldn’t sleep a wink. Her eyes were wide open like that of a watch dog whose primary assignment is to guard the house while others were asleep.
Intermittently, her gaze fell on the second side of the bed and she returned each gaze with a heavy sigh.
It’s been four days. Four good days since he’s been away from home. She’d tried his line to no avail. And switch off was always the story.
She’d cried her eyes out at the calamity that had befallen her in just four days of marriage.
The very first day of their wedding, they’d left Lagos for Warri where he works because he was given no break at work. They had no relative in warri and her husband had disappeared the second day of their wedding. He not only left that Sunday morning, he left angrily with a stern warning for her not to call his relative. And in his exact words to her: ‘I won’t ever forgive you for deceiving me. I need to go away from you because I’m really angry and I don’t want to misbehave. Do not look for me because I’m not lost. And do not tell none my relatives about this, especially my parents, otherwise, the tiny chance of me coming back to you would be completely ruined.’
He said angrily and made to leave but she quickly held on to his legs and beg profusely. He pushed her slightly away and dashed out. She threw herself on the floor and cried bitterly.
He left on that Sunday morning and hasn’t returned. She tried his line severally but there was no success. She stayed outside till 1:00am and she only walked into the house on the insistence of the security man.
She couldn’t sleep a wink from Sunday till Monday morning and immediately after subh on Monday morning, she quickly got dressed and went to his workplace. She was told he went to rig already and she wanted to query his colleague further when he explained to her that her husband begged to be put on rig roster for that month which came as a surprise to him as well.
Iman nodded her head, thanked her husband’s colleague and returned home in tears.
The reality dawned on her that her newly wedded husband, Ilyas Williams deliberately left her because he wasn’t supposed to be on rig for the next two weeks.
How could he behave in such manner? The Ilyas she had known is a complete gentleman who’s incapable of hurting anyone. He has such captivating and innocent smiles that could melt a stone heart. She smiled wryly as she reminisced on how their path crossed.
Iman was writing her final exams when she losts her dad. Her family didn’t tell her so that she won’t lose concentration on her exams. After her exams, she was summoned home by her uncle but the day before she intended to travel, her older cousin who didn’t know she wasn’t aware of her dad’s demise visited her in school. The latter had an engagement in Ibadan and he thought it wise to say hi to his cousin who’s schooling in UI.
Haroon, Iman’s cousin went to visit Iman alongside his friend Ilyas and they were talking when Haroon paused for a second and gave Iman an impressive look before speaking.
“Iman you’re really a strong girl. You didn’t carry your problems on your face and you’re taking your dad’s death very well.” Haroon burst the burble while Iman screamed and told him to repeat himself.
Haroon was dumbfounded as it dawned on him that Iman didn’t know a thing. He realised what he had caused as Iman broke into uncontrollable tears. She was inconsolable and both Haroon and his friend Ilyas had a hard time trying to comfort her.
She is the second of four children and her father was hale and healthy with no health complications. She wanted to know how her dad passed away and she asked Haroon questions to which he refused to answer. He comforted her instead and promised to take her to Lagos the following day.
The following day, Ilyas drove the car while Haroon and Iman sat at the back. Throughout the journey home, Iman didn’t stop crying while Haroon was tired of saying sorry. The man that handled the wheel stole looks at Iman intermittently and he felt a great pity for her.
They got to Iman’s house and Haroon apologized to Iman’s uncle who happens to be his father that he was sorry as he had already broken the news to her by mistake.
Then the days that followed saw Haroon and Ilyas always in Iman’s house. If Haroon said he wasn’t going, Ilyas would drag him and everyday they kept her company and assisted her get out of the gloominess that arises from the lost of her dad.
Then something akin to connection and affection sparked between Iman and Ilyas. He said he had vowed from the first day he saw her in tears to always be the one to wipe her tears, hold her hands and give her a shoulder to lean on.
After Iman’s graduation, her mum who’s now shouldered with the responsibility of two parents insisted Iman must complete her NYSC and start working before marriage. Her mother told her a woman must be empowered and financially independent to some extent before getting married. Her mother cited her case as an example, she told her daughter that if she isn’t financially independent, the death of her husband would have dealt a terrible blow on her and her children. Iman’s mother wouldn’t go back on her words no matter how much the love birds begged her. She insisted Iman must complete NYSC and working before marriage.
The decision of Iman’s mum threatened their relationship but love was resolute. They held on and looked into the future together. Along the line, Ilyas, who was working in a small company in Lagos got employed in an oil company in Warri while Iman was just some months into her compulsory one year service.
After Iman’s service, Ilyas came down from Warri to beg Iman’s mom to reconsider. He promised to help Iman get a job after marriage in warri and after a lot of hum and haw, Iman’s mother agreed and the marriage took place on a Saturday. And because Ilyas wasn’t given a break at work, the couple returned to Warri that same day where Iman met with an unforetold calamity.
It was a strange land and the one who brought her had left her on the second day of their arrival which also doubles as the second day of their wedding. She couldn’t believe her eyes. She couldn’t believe that was actually happening to her. She needed to be woken up from this nightmare. It all appeared like a bad dream to her. She had cried gallons of tears yet she couldn’t stop crying.
She couldn’t understand how she had deceived him as he claimed. It’s Wednesday already and in just four days of agony, she looked like a shadow of herself. She couldn’t bring herself to call his parents as he had warned her sternly not to do so. Otherwise she would ruin her chances of him coming back to her. She was scared to call her own parents too because she knew if she informed her parents, they would tell his parents about it and her marriage would be completely damaged.
She bore the pains all alone and sought refuge in Allah. She prayed fervently to Allah to touch his heart so that he would come back to her.
To be continued
Can you guess the dilemma this young bride is in?
LATEEFAH ADEWUNMI JUMAH.