Tomi ran inside the house while Kawthar quickly ran after her. She was about to lock herself up in her grandmother’s room but Kawthar quickly held the door and removed the key from the knob. She joined her in the room and tried to hold her but Tomi struggled to snatch the key from Kawthar.
“You can’t lock yourself up Tawakalt. We all came to reconcile the situation please! “ Kawthar pleaded with emotions.
“I don’t want to see him neither do I want to reconcile. He betrayed me! He lied to me!! He deceived me!!!” Tomi shouted amidst hot tears while Kawthar wrapped her in a warm embrace and patted her back gently.
“I know and I understand how you feel. Even if you don’t want to see your husband…………..” kawthar was trying to say but Tomi interrupted sharply.
“Please don’t call him my husband. He is not my husband. A man like him can’t be my husband.” Tomi shouted while Kawthar smiled bitterly.
“I know you’re still angry and you really should be because he really betrayed you. What I’m trying to say is that if you don’t want to see him, please consider the presence of the elders. They are all here because of you.” Kawthar pleaded again while Tomi’s Grandmother walked in together with her sister Teslimah.
Grandmother too tried her best to pacify the inconsolable Tomilola.
“Oluwatomilola Tawakalitu omo ikoyi esho, Ikoyi esho omo adeele d’ogun!!!” Grandmother started with eulogy while Tomi broke into loud tears. Grandmother scooped her into her embrace and then continued while Kawthar and Teslimah watched on with tears.
“Tomilola my beloved daughter. Your father is here. Your siblings, Teslim and Teslimah are here. Your parents in law are here. Your friend and her husband are here. Your husband and his wife are also here. All because of you. And it’s an honor well deserved because you’re a queen. They have all come to honor you and to whom honor is given, honor should be returned. Please my sweetheart! I’ll like you to honor them by coming to the living room to give them audience. Please my dear, do this for me.” Grandmother begged profusely while Teslimah held her sister’s hands and also placated her.
“Sis please listen to granny. She can’t mislead you. Come to the living room and hear what your husband’s people have to say. Daddy had to send me in when we didn’t see you come out. Please sis, your happiness is our happiness. I can’t bear seeing you in this state. Please for God’s sake, come out and honor your guest.” Teslimah pleaded while Tomi held her hands and wept harder.
“Teslimah I am so sorry.” Tomi said to her sister who was lost as to what she was sorry for.
“Sorry for what sis?” Teslimah marveled.
“I am sorry for not showing you a good example. As the first daughter, I’m supposed to be a role model for you to emulate but see the mess I got myself into. I’m so ashamed of myself. Teslimah please don’t make the same mistake I made. Don’t trail my path please be wise.” Tomi warned her sister amidst tears.
“Sis please don’t talk like this. You’ve always been a good role model to me and I have always looked up to your good virtues. I won’t be ashamed of you because of this singular mistake. You thrive where dad failed and you put our foot on the path of righteousness. I am a conscious muslim who observe five daily prayers and also uphold the observance of Hijab courtesy of your indefatigable effort. This won’t be the end of your life, it’s a phase which shall pass biithnillah. You were the one that taught me this Hadith of the prophet [saw]’Wonderous is the affair of the believer for there is good for him in every matter and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If he is happy, then he thanks Allah and thus there’s good for him, and if he’s harmed, then he shows patience and there’s good for him’ Please my dear sister, this is a test which you have to handle with patience.” Teslimah sermonized while Grandma smiled brightly at her second granddaughter’s brilliant submission.
“You see! Your sister has spoken well. Now let’s go see your husband.” Grandma urged.
“Grandmother please do not call him my husband. Tell him to go away with his parents and wife. I don’t want to see them. You can tell my dad and siblings to stay.” Tomi responded with teary eyes while Grandmother shook her head in objection.
“That’ll be very impolite my dear. Remember it was your husband that offended you and not his parents or wife……………………..” Grandma was saying but Tomi interrupted.
“They all offended me. All of them.” Tomi exclaimed.
“How?” Grandmother marveled.
“His parents didn’t tell me he’s married. At least I met them before the wedding and they didn’t tell me anything concerning his marital status.” Tomi lamented.
“Well…….I don’t know if they’re to be blamed for their son’s impropriety. But I do know that the bearer of the largest blame is Amir. He should be the one to tell you everything. Please my dear! let’s go to the living room to see them. They’ve been waiting for ages.” Grandma pleaded for the umpteenth time and this time Kawthar cuts in.
“Tomi! I think you should listen to grandmother. Give the guest a chance to table their explanations, apology or whatever. Even in the court of law, the most hardened criminal is given a fair hearing. Please my darling uhn!” Kawthar too pleaded while Tomi shuttled her gaze between Kawthar and her grandma for a while. She also stared at her sister for seconds.
All of their faces were filled with pleas and after a while of grumpiness, Tomi agreed to go with them to the living room where the guests were patiently waiting.
They entered the living room and without looking at anyone, Tomi sat beside her Grandmother and her father was the first to speak.
“Thank you my darling daughter for honoring us. May you be honored by God in manifolds. You see! I am as angry as you are. In fact I’m angrier than you are. I am furious and my whole being couldn’t curtail the irresponsibility and inhumane behavior from this man called Amir here. You can’t believe it was two days ago that he came to me telling me he can’t find you. I almost fainted and managed to ask him since when. He responded with four weeks ago and I screamed on top of my voice. I scolded him for behaving so wickedly and stupidly. He didn’t see you for four weeks and he was just telling me and that was when he narrated all that happened between you two. I was dumbfounded and furious. I sent him away angrily and no matter how much he pleaded, I refused to listen to him. When he left I knew you couldn’t be anywhere else but here. Mama’s place has always being your refuge. I tried to call Mama but I couldn’t get through. Yesterday he showed up with his parents and his parents swore they knew nothing about his irresponsibility. They pleaded with me and that’s why we are here. Please my daughter, let’s hear them out.” Mr Ajayi expressed while Amir’s dad was the next to speak.
“Tawakalt my beloved daughter, I am so sorry for all the troubles you’ve been through. I am so sorry for all the agony my son has caused you. If I knew he didn’t tell you he was married I would have told you myself. I scolded him when he told me he deceived you because he didn’t want to lose you. He’s just foolish because he failed to put his affairs in the hands of the creator. He refused to act upon what he preaches everyday. He’s the one that taught us that what will miss you will never meet you no matter how much you tried, whatever isn’t meant for you wouldn’t be yours no matter how crooked you tried to get it. Likewise whatever is meant for you will be yours without sweating to get it. Even if you allowed it fly away, it will still come back to you because you are destined to have it. I scolded him so hard and he’s learnt his lessons. Amir is my son and I know he can be very secretive but aside this, he is not a bad person at all. Please give him a second chance to make up for his misdeed. His wife here is ready to accept you. In fact, she has already accepted you. Your mum in law too can’t wait to have you back in the house. We can’t all wait to have you back in the house. You’ve been an integral part of us and your absence was greatly felt. Please my daughter, forgive him and come back home.” Amir’s father pleaded while Tomi responded sharply.
“I don’t have a home to return to with a liar. I don’t have a future with someone who betrayed my trust. I can’t spend the rest of my life with a total stranger. With due respect, you people should please leave me alone.” Tomi expressed bluntly while grandma cautioned her to be patient.
“My dear please be patient. I have talked to you severally about forgiveness. We commit sins everyday and God forgives us. Please tell me what our lives would have been without God’s forgiveness? We commit enormous sins everyday and He forgives us so who are we not to forgive our fellow human.” Mama cautioned while Tomi objected.
“Grandma you don’t get it. This is not about forgiveness but my future. I didn’t prepare nor plan to share a man with another woman. This man here does not have the fear of God at all. If he does, he wouldn’t deceive me into thinking he’s a single man. Polygamy is not an unprepared journey. Polygamy is a journey that one prepares physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually for. I don’t have what it takes to enter polygamy because I am not prepared for it. While preparing for marriage I didn’t prepare to share a man so how do you want me to adjust. How do you want me to accept something I wasn’t informed about? This is too much for me to bear. This is a blow I can’t deal with. Had it been he had opened up to me about his marital status, I would have known whether to enter or walk away but now it’s too late. The similitude of my situation is that of a hunter who goes hunting with the intention of killing a bush rat but upon entering the forest he was met with a lion. How does he kill an animal he’s not prepared for. He doesn’t even have a gun, a spear, an arrow or hunting sword. All he has with him was just a rat trap to catch the bush rat and nothing more. The lion will not only kill him but devour him raw. That’s exactly my situation. Firstly I’m not prepared for polygamy because I didn’t envisage it, I didn’t wish for it and I didn’t plan for it, I was deceived. Secondly it came as a rude shock and I’m still trying to wake up from the bad dream. Thirdly I don’t have the wisdom, the knowledge, the intellectual capacity and the required characteristics to live in a polygamous home, maybe if I had prepared I wouldn’t have found it so difficult but now I don’t want to start what I can’t finish please grandma try to understand my plight.” Tomi said with teary eyes while her grandmother breathed heavily before responding.
“Tomi my dear! I perfectly understand your situation and I know what you’re going through. But you see in life, we can’t always get what we wanted. We might desire something which might not be given to us because its not good for us and we might hate something which might be given to us because there’s a lot of goodness therein for us. Life is a teacher and we learn as we journey through it. No one is born with a guide manual on how to live life. We all learn in the process of living. I understand that you’re not prepared for polygamy and as a mother I do not wish polygamy for you but this has happened already and who are we to question Allah’s will. You can learn how to deal with it because if there is a will, there’s always a way. I want you to see all that happened as a bridge you have been destined to cross in life. If you have not been destined to meet and marry Amir your paths wouldn’t have crossed. Once again I want you to accept all that happened as predestination especially now that you’re carrying his baby…………………………………….” Mama was saying when everyone exclaimed in one voice.
“She’s pregnant!” exclaimed everyone
“Yes she’s pregnant.” Mama responded with a smile while Amir got up from his seat and headed towards Tomi but her harsh voice sent him aback.
“Mr Man don’t come near me! Don’t be too happy either because I’ll have this child and give him/her to you without looking back. That is what bind us. Don’t think I’ll be trapped with you because of a child. That will never happen.” Tomi expressed obstinately while Amir returned ‘jejely’ to his seat. And as usual grandmother quickly salvaged the situation.
“Oluwatomilola Tawakalitu! See how Amir has turned my pleasant daughter into a fierce lion! Tomi, do not let people or situation change you into a monster. Continue to be that darling girl everyone loves. The smile on your face is pleasing. Your gentle character is amiable and your sweet and adorable temper is endearing, do not compromise them for anything in the world. A weak person is one who allowed situation to influence him negatively while a strong person is one who changes his situation to conform with his desires and wishes. Now you’re pregnant for your husband, it’s not easy for me to send him away and tell him to come back for his child in the next eight months. I won’t do that because I don’t want you to start jumping from one man’s arm to the other. He deceived you yes and he has realized his errors and sought your forgiveness and according to his father here, he’s not a bad person. Every marital problem is not solved through divorce. Many people divorced and remarry only to discover that the spouse they divorced was actually better than the new one. Marriage entails many challenges and there are one million and one solution to those challenges, until all the solutions are explored without any remainder will divorce be given consideration. Without that, divorce is never an option. Oja ti omo bati wo, oti di okuta. Please give your husband a second chance to make it up to you.” Mama said while signaling to Amir to come sit beside Tomi.
Amir got up while Tomi gave him a nasty look again. Grandmother signaled a pleading gesture to Tomi and she was calm. Amir sat beside her and held her hands while grandmother continued.
“I am giving you a second chance to hold my daughter’s hands not because you deserve it but because I want to give you a test. If you pass my test by treating my daughter well hence forth then I’ll pray for you but if you do otherwise, you won’t be able to stand the curse of a mother.” Grandma expressed sternly and then beckoned on Amir’s first wife to come.
Aminah got up from where she was sitting and walked to where grandma was. Grandma instructed her to sit beside her husband. She sat by his right side while Tomi sat by his left side. Grandma released one of Tomi’s hands from Amir and gave it to Aminah.
“My dear, I’m giving you my daughter’s hand to behold and protect. Please take her as your blood sister and help me nurture and guide her. You have more marital experience than her which is why I’m requesting you to put her through and accept her as your marital co. Whenever she offend you never hesitate to call her attention to her wrongs. Don’t tell her mistakes to anyone else but her. I can vouch for Tomilola not because she’s my grandchild but because I know she’s a good and well raised child. I am not boasting but she’s not a woman that’ll ruin your home please accept her. I know it’s not easy to share one’s husband with another woman but let’s just accept what destiny has shoved our way. Work and walk together to support and elevate your husband. When the home is peaceful, the husband’s mind is peaceful and he’ll be able to discharge his roles as the head of the family. Do not listen to hearsay about one another and do not backstab one another. Let Allah be at the center of your relationship and all shall be well with you.“ Grandma concluded and Amir’s father had something to say.
“Thank you so much grandma for the wisdom you exhibited in salvaging this situation. Thank you Mr Ajayi for giving us a second chance to rectify our wrong. I am really grateful to you. I have also spoken a lot of sense into Amir and I’m sure he’s learnt his lessons and would never do such again. His first wife is a very good woman and I can assure you that Tomilola has no problem. We are really grateful to this family for giving reconciliation a chance and we promise to take good care of your daughter.” Amir’s dad said happily while Amir’s mum cuts in excitedly.
“Where are your bags Tomi darling? We can’t wait to go home with you.” Amir’s mum said happily while Tomi gave her a shocker.
“I’m sorry I won’t be able to go home with you today. I want to stay with grandma for a little while.” Tomi said stubbornly while her dad scolded her.
“My dear don’t be silly and get up at once into that room and pack your bags!!!” Mr Ajayi instructed sternly.
“Daddy I don’t want to follow them today please try and understand.” Tomi said with tears in her eyes but her dad wasn’t having any of her tears.
“It is you who should understand that a woman’s place is with her husband. I know you love your husband you’re just being unnecessarily stubborn. He has realized his misdeed and he promised to make up for his wrongs. Get up now and be a good girl.” Her father urged while Amir has something to say.
“Please don’t force her sir.” Amir said and then turns to Tomi. “I’ll wait for as long as you’re willing to come home. I know you love me as much as I do and I promise to make up for my misdeeds. I can’t wait to have you back home but I won’t force you. You can take your time. Take a very good care of yourself and my baby. Eat well and sleep well. I love you.” Amir expressed while Tomi looked away and avoided his teary eyes.
To be continued.