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Choices Chapter 2

Chapter 2 (Maya)
He glared at me so hard you’ll think he’s shooting laser beams out of those huge Bambi looking eyes of his, one of this days they just might fall off from over use. I don’t know what his problem with me is cause anytime he sees me all he does is glare at me. so what if I beat up his precious little sister the little gossiper deserved it, if he wants to sulk about it that’s his problem I just want to get to school on time. He finally starts driving and we lapse into silence. People keep calling him and Nurah twins but the truth is they’re nothing alike. While this one here is stuck up and full of himself my Nurah is perfect, he is so caring and at least has a sense of humor. I know Nurrain thinks am not good enough for his best friend,he has never hidden how much he dislikes me in the 2 years Nurah and I have been dating but fortunately I don’t give a damn about his opinion. I speak to him when I have to and we both pretend to be cordial in front of Nurah so he doesn’t feel bad but other than that we avoid each other like the plague. I glance over at him and he was still stewing in anger judging by the way he had his square jaw clenched. Well, that’s his problem as long as I get to school in time he can eat his black heart out.
We stopped at a red traffic light and I sighted a hawker selling alawar Madara which happens to be my favorite candy so I rolled down the window and called him over, I had collected the sweet and was just waiting for the boy to count out my change when the light changed green and grumpy Nurrain speeds away.
“What the hell! I haven’t collected my change! Stop the car!” I exclaimed but he pretended not to hear me and kept going. “You are such a child,now who’s going to pay me back my 300 naira! It was my transport fare back home you jerk!” He turned my way then and said “ask your boyfriend for it or walk back home, I don’t care”. He’s lucky I can’t be pissed while enjoying the candy but there’s no way am letting him get away with it.he forgets I’ve been in this car many times with Nurah and I know where they keep their emergency cash.
Once we reached the school,he parked in front of the boys hostel and asked me to get out of his car ” but my department is too far from here” I whined I knew I was pushing my luck when he grits his teeth and growled in irritation but damn pushing his button fills me with such Joy that’s why I do it all the time. “All right calm down, no need to get all growly and snappy, I can take a bike from here” I opened his cardholder sharply and grabbed all the cash he keeps in there before swiftly getting out of the car. Once I was safely out of his reach I gave him a small wave with the fresh bundle of hundred naira mint I just swiped which he refused to return. Oh well his loss! and found a bike to take me the rest of the way. I know I took way more than he owed me but then again that will teach him never to mess with me, besides he can afford to loose 5k without breaking a sweat it’s not like he is a broke student like the rest of us. His parents are well off and he never lacks for anything.
Everyone was already seated for the exams when I finally made it to the department, I tiptoed to a vacant seat under the watchful eyes of the supervisor and took a calming breath before collecting the question paper. I sent a silent prayer for some divine intervention before starting, am normally a good student but maths has always been my kryptonite. Which is why I failed out of engineering in level two, the school expelled me because my grades where so terrible or else I’d still be in the same class about to graduate with Nurah and Nurrain. A never really liked engineering anyway my Dad is a civil engineer and he’s always wanted one of his children to follow his footsteps so when I was about to start University I thought well why not and applied for the same course, where Nurah and that Nurrain are electrical engineers I wanted to do civil just like Dad. I met Nurah during our screening 5 years ago, I didn’t like him at first cause I thought he was too much of a talkative but where others gave me a wide berth because of my temper nurah was persistent and kept coming around like a lost puppy looking for attention. I finally gave in and we became friends, it was only after I flunked out and he was there to console me and encourage me to try again and not give up on school that I started seeing him in a new light. He was there every step of the way when I resat jamb and post utme to get into agriculture department. Where am currently in my second year. Nurah has been trying to tutor me in maths but so far am not getting much better, maybe cause I keep getting lost in his eyes during the session, he’s just too cute. You can’t ask a girl to focus on equations and formulas when she’s faced with all that.
I met up with my girls Amina and Rahima after the exams and filled them in on all that happened this morning. Even though they are a bit younger than me they really get me.
“So girls no eating gurasa for us today we are going to splurge and get shawarma and nice drinks since we have money to spend!” I told them happily shaking the minted bundle I got from Nurrain.
“You’re seriously not going to return it, Maya fear Allah we can’t spend it all what if Nurrain needs that money” Rahima said trying to kill my buzz.
” It’s just 5k Rahima chill, he doesn’t need the money, I’ve seen that guy spend more than that on lunch so he won’t even miss it, do you want the shawarma or not” I answered
Amina piped up then before Rahima could say another word ” if she doesn’t, I’ll take hers. Let’s go am starving already”
“It’s not that I don’t want it am just saying” Rahima defended herself.
” Whatever, let’s go quickly you know the shop is far and we have biochemistry at 2pm so we have to be fast”
We enjoyed our lunch and I felt no guilt for spending Nurrain’s cash. Besides him and Nurah keep claiming what belongs to one belongs to the other so when you think about it, I am indirectly spending my boyfriend’s money and there isn’t anything wrong with that, right?
I was so happy when I got to see Nurah later in the day after he was done with his exams. Ever since exams period started I barely get to see him anymore but I understand this is his final year and he needs to focus unlike me that is just seating for my second year exams and can afford to mess up. I thought he’ll be glad to see me also but the minute I got in the car he started ranting about how I messed up by beating up that conniving khursum.
” She’s like a sister to me Maya, besides she is way younger than you. whatever she did you shouldn’t have hit her” he ended and my own anger peaked. ” But she’s not your real sister is she, you two are not even related so don’t give me that crap! She messed up and I punished her, I don’t care that she is two years younger I’ll treat her the way I treat everyone else! And just because I love you it doesn’t give you the right to try and tell me what to do!”
“Okay baby, calm down that’s not what I meant, let’s just forget about it and talk about other things okay” he consoles me just like I knew he will. Nurah is a great guy that way, which makes him perfect for me, whenever I get angry he never argues but instantly tries to calm me down. Sometimes I wish he’ll push it a bit just to see how it’ll all end but he always has massive control over his emotions and in the 2years we’ve been dating he hasn’t lost his temper with me once. We moved on to other discussions and I kept waiting for him to ask me about Nurrain’s cash but he didn’t, it seems Black heart didn’t tell him. Normally he’s always quick to discredit me in front of Nurah any chance he gets, I wonder why he didn’t say anything about this morning. Nurah offered to ask Nurrain to give me and the girls a ride home after we were done cause he’ll be spending the night at the hostel again but I declined,I’ve had enough of seeing his face today besides without Nurah there the vindictive man will likely throw us out on the way.
I reached home in high spirits only to encounter a pissed off grandma, seems ammi came to complain about me, I’ve always known she doesn’t like me.thank God she’s not Nurah’s mum or I can kiss my dreams of marrying him goodbye. Grandma kept ranting about what a wild girl am becoming until Dad came in to intercede on my behalf, he collected his share of insult on how it’s all his fault am so spoilt but that one is their own concern after all sunfi kusa. I took advantage of the distraction and slipped away to my room.
Life went on seamlessly and soon enough we were done with our exams. Nurah was so happy to finally get his degree and he invited me to go as his date for their graduation dinner. I Know if I ask Dad he’ll probably let me go but then he’ll ask a million questions on where am going and who I’ll be going with and he doesn’t know about Nurah yet cause as chill as my Dad is must times one of his hard limits is dating. He claims am too young to date and I should focus on my studies not boys. I am 24 years old for God’s sake am not a child but to him I’m forever his little princess, but I can’t let Nurah down on his big night so I have to come up with something.
I normally never sit in the seating room when am home because then my annoying little siblings will be all over me with there childish rambling. It embarrasses me sometimes when I look at how young they all are compared to me ranging from age 9-5. The five little devil’s know how to torment me but am waiting for Dad to come home and the best way to ambush him is at the living room because once he goes into his room Ummi, my evil step mother will be all over him like white on rice and we’ll not get to see him again. I don’t address her as mum just because she’s married to my dad her real name  really is Ummi, it just happens to mean mum in this community. Besides she is my dad’s cousin just like mum was. Our family is renowned for their intermarriage and they never marry outsiders. Speak of the devil and she comes waltzing by in her trademark tight skirt that she thinks looks good but in reality only makes her look like a waddling baby duck, she doesn’t speak to me and I don’t speak to her either. She and I hate each other but we have an understanding I don’t bother her and she stays out of my business. She tried to play the replacement mother routine in her earlier years of marriage to dad but it was hard to take her seriously when she’s only 6 years older than me, and 4 years older than my older sister Nabila who is now married to our cousin Fahad and lives in Egypt. The only reason I tolerate her presence is because of her children, my little siblings who I love despite being annoyed with them must of the time.
Nabila was 10 and I was only 6 when we lost our mom, I barely remember her but from her photographs I know am a carbon copy of her,which is why Dad let’s me get away with murder must times. He really loved mum more than anything and loosing her broke him. It took him years after her death and outstanding pressure from Grandma before he decided to marry the dreadful Ummi. She isn’t so bad but I just have to hate her on principle for taking my mom’s space in our lives.
Dad walks in with a Salam and I rush over to greet him and take the nylon full of oranges he has with him. He smiled and said ” Maya this one that you’re being a dutiful daughter today nasan akwai wani Abu so tell me dear what do you need?”
I laughed and followed him to take a seat next to him on the sofa ” you know me too well Dad, my friend Amina’s sister is getting married and today is the dinner party. Can I please go Amina will be so hurt if I don’t attend please Dad” I gave him an extra dose of the puppy dog eyes and he caved “you can go but don’t stay out too late, when you’re ready go to hajiya’s house and tell your uncle musbahu I said he should take you”
I gave myself an internal fist bump in celebration but quickly found a way to convince dad I don’t need uncle musbahu to take me cause then he’ll find out am not actually going to a wedding and the snitch will no doubt report back to Dad ” Dad there’s no need to trouble him, Amina will be swinging by to pick me up on their way to the hall and they’ll be bringing me back after the event as well”
“Alright then, you go ahead and enjoy yourself but don’t forget to act properly, please Maya don’t go over there and start a fight at a wedding ki jamana abun fada you see how upset hajiya got with me over your antics the other day, she even threatened to take you back to her house if you don’t strengthen up and we both don’t want that, right?” He implored and I assured him I will definitely be on my best behavior. There’s no way I would go live with hajiya again. Although her house is right behind ours on the next street over, so we are still pretty close. That house is always so crowded with five of my uncles still unmarried and living at home and there is also 4 of my cousins who lost their dad and now live with her. As if that isn’t enough there is almost always three to four other cousins visiting at any given time. I have no desire to stay in that mad house, I mostly try to avoid it because the minute hajiya sees me she starts playing matchmaker with whichever cousin is visiting at the time,but maybe for one night it wouldn’t Hurt and it will help out my agenda to spend the night at hajiya’s house since they leave the door open all night and they’re is no curfew I can stay out as long as I want with my dear Nurah.
“Dad I think i would spend the night at hajiya’s house today after the dinner, I haven’t been to see her since that day she scolded me, I don’t want her to start thinking am keeping malice and avoiding her house, you know how she gets”
“Yeah,you are right. You should even spend the whole weekend there am sure she’ll be so happy to see you” he agreed.
I could barely contain my excitement, as I rushed back to my room to start getting ready for my date with Nurah, I texted him to let him know all has been arranged and he should pick me up by the roadside behind the old garage we normally meet at 8 pm dot. In the 2years Nurah and I have been dating we’ve gotten good at hiding, he has never stepped within 10 feet of my house because people in this area are so damn nosy that am sure the news will have reached my dad’s ears within ten seconds and that will have spelled doom for our relationship because if Dad finds out he’ll probably  chase him off and call all his siblings to help him break every bone in his body if he persisted. My dad is as hot headed as I am and he communicates better with his fist than his words so how anyone expects me his full blooded daughter to be anything different I will never understand. Ai barewa baza tai gudu ba d’anta yai rarrafe.
I know I have to tell him about Nurah eventually but not anytime soon, I have 3 more years to go in school so I should be okay since Dad will never let me marry before I finish my degree. That has always been his policy certificate first, marriage later. By then Nurah will have found a job and secured his future that way I might have more chances of convincing him to let me break the chain of in-house marriage and marry an outsider. Ever since childhood, I have never been interested in the idea of marrying my cousin, just because we have a vast family doesn’t mean everyone must find his soulmate within the family. Sure it worked for mum and Dad and for Fahad and Nabila who have loved each other since they were in diapers. For me, I can’t ever imagine myself married to any of my many annoying cousins. My heart belongs to Nurah and I’ll be damned if anyone can stop me from marrying him.

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