Choices Chapter 10
Chapter 10 (Maya)
I kept praying for sleep to take me but just like last night and the day before that,I couldn’t get my brain to shut down long enough to fall asleep. My head kept swirling around with thoughts of my fast approaching nuptials. Ever since Dad announced the wedding two days ago I’ve tried every avenue open to me to put an end to it but he wouldn’t budge. I have begged,I have screamed, hell I even resorted to crying but he still didn’t cave. Normally a few fake tears were enough to help me get my way because Dad loves me and he can never stand my tears but not this time. Yesterday I called Yah Nabila to ask her to talk to him on my behalf and make him see sense but to my surprise she was firmly on Dad’s side as well. She totally believes Walid will make me happy and she wanted me to forget Nurah and start a new life with Walid, I told her just because she is married to his older brother doesn’t mean she should betray her own sister and side with an agressive bully like Walid. Our conversation went down the drain from there it ended in a screaming match with her calling me a spoilt brat and me calling her sell out, needless to say we aren’t on speaking terms right now and I feel more alone than ever before. I can’t even go out my room freely now because it seems everyone is out to get me, Ummi is constantly trying to get me to drink one form of aphrodisiac or the other acting like the replacement mother figure she potrays herself to be, yesterday she brought me one concoction and wouldn’t take no for an answer when I refused to take it until I grabbed the cup and smashed it into a million pieces, she burst into tears and ran off to snitch to Dad who came barrelling to my room all charged up about how this my attitude is why he wants to marry me off so I can finally settle. I told him to take me as I am or leave me alone coz there is no guy or marriage in the world that can change me, he slammed the door in my face and refused to speak to me all day. I started a hunger strike and refused to not eat all day to get his attention but to no avail which brings us to now, I haven’t eaten anything in the last twenty-four hours, my stomach is cramping and snarling but I refuse to give up,even though it’s 2am now and everyone is sound asleep so nobody will know if I head to the kitchen and grab a bite,but I would know and I am nothing if not resilient, I will stand my ground and I will win. I will stop this marriage come what may. I finally managed to get an hour of sleep in the early hours of the morning after subh prayer only to be woken up by commotion and banging noises from outside my window. I angrily snatched up the curtains to find the source of my interrupted sleep but Dad was standing right by my window and I couldn’t see clearly but it looked like he was directing someone shouting at them to be careful. I could hear my uncles voices calling out commands as well. Something is fishy, my uncles hardly come over to the house since Dad stops by at Hajiya’s house every morning and evening to greet her,so they have no reason to follow him here and the times they do come over they never visit this early in the morning, it’s only 8am for God sakes. I put my hijab on and went out to investigate, all the children were standing at the main doorstoop watching the show full of excitement, even Ummi was there watching with them, what exactly is going on out there. I scooted in between Ridwan and Khalifa and burst out into the compound to get a glimpse of what the commotion is all about and my breathe stood still. This can’t be real!
All my uncles and Dad were unloading different parts of furniture from the bed of a truck. Dad was directing and uncle musbahu and uncle Muhammadu were hefting the big headboard of the bed off the truck while uncle Saleh was jumping down from the truck bed with a wooden center table clutched in his arms. I moved closer to the scene to make sure my eyes aren’t deceiving me. I blinked twice to confirm I wasn’t dreaming and they were still there when I opened my eyes clear as day. I felt dizzy for a second but anger propelled me and I charged up to dad to give him a piece of my mind.
“You can’t be serious! I told you I am not getting married and you turn around and have furniture delivered!” They all froze at the sound of my screaming at Dad. He turned to me his voice full of steel as he said “talk normally! I am your father you don’t get to shout at me! I’ve already told you nothing will stop this wedding so save your breath and stop wasting my time!” He dismissed me and turned to Uncle muhammadu “what are you waiting for, unload quickly we still have to make a second trip to get the dinning set and the sofa set!”
Tears filled my eyes at his nonchalance, why can’t he see my pain “Dad please I am begging you, don’t do this to me! Look at me, can’t you see that only the thought of this marriage is killing me slowly! If you want to marry me off so badly then I agree but at least let me marry the man I love not that dreadful walid! Dad please at least give him a chance, you haven’t properly met yet but I promise you if you’ll just keep an open mind you’ll see that he is the best choice for me! After you no man on this Earth can love me more than Nur…..” The dirty slap I received echoed in the large compound and you could hear a pin drop with how quiet it got after that. You could feel the shock in the air, growing up I have made a lot of mistakes and done a lot of bad things but this is the first time Dad has ever raised his hand to me. I held my left cheek and the tears I’ve been holding flowed freely not because of the physical pain because I can’t feel it,my whole body is numb, but because of the way Dad is looking at me with disappointment clear in his eyes. “Didn’t I warn you never to say his name again! What has that boy done to you Maya that you can’t let him go you’d rather see your own father shamed and disgraced than be apart from a boy who’s parents point blank to your face and mine said they don’t like you and they don’t consider you worthy of their son! Why can’t you see I’m trying to save you from yourself! I am your father Maya, your only surviving parent! Do you really think I don’t know what is best for you! Huh! Well you better listen to me carefully young lady for as long I am alive you will marry the person I choose for you! I have given Walid my word that you’ll be his wife and kinyi kad’an ki maida Ni k’aramin mutum wlh!”
“So you won’t call off the wedding huh! We’ll see how the marriage will take place without a bride!” I snapped back, turned around and stopped by the pillar next to the main door entrance, I circled my arms around it and banged my head full on with the concrete pillar. Chaos ensured as they all rushed up to me clamoring for me to stop, pain speared through me as blood started gushing from the open gash on my forehead. Uncle muhammadu tried to pry me off from the pillar but I wouldn’t let go. “Are you crazy Maya! Stop this nonsense right now!”
“No! I won’t stop until Dad calls off this wedding because I will rather die than marry Walid!” I told them as I banged my head against the concrete a second time causing more blood to flow and more agitation from my uncles to stop.
The world was spinning around me and blood was dripping into my eyes clouding my vision but Dad still hasn’t said a word yet,so I braced my self for a third hit. Just as my forehead made contact with the pillar my uncles joined forces and pried me off the wall by force. My siblings started crying at the sight of my bloodied face as uncle musbahu called for a first aid box which Ummi ran off to get. My knees buckled under me as pain gripped me, I would have fallen on my face if not for uncle Saleh clutching me to his side and gently setting me down on the floor. Through my cloudy Vision I saw uncle Muhammadu talking to Dad and begging him to give in to my demands “yayah look at her! She’s loosing her mind please just call off the wedding, there’s no use forcing someone into a relationship they don’t want!” I didn’t catch Dad response as I drifted off into darkness and everything went quiet.
I woke up on a hospital bed with a drip inserted in my arms and a heavily bandaged forehead. The room was quiet and all I could hear is the sound of the whirling celling fan. I tried to move my head to the side gingerly to limit the throbbing pain. Dad was sitting on the chair next to the bed quietly typing on his phone, he didn’t seem to realize I was awake yet until I unclasped my dry lips and called for him, his eyes instantly came up and met mine.
“You’re finally awake huh! Well done, look at where you are Maya! On a hospital bed with a smashed head all because of some boy! I can’t recognize you Maya, I raised you for 24 years and I can’t recognize this self destructive person in front of me! What happened to you, I want my daughter back who was lovely and will do anything I asked with no questions not this thing you have become!”
Silent tears flowed down my cheeks at his words “how about I’m glad you’re alive child and I won’t do anything that’ll hurt you to the point of self harm again! Huh Dad, couldn’t you at least let me get my bearing before you started lecturing me again or is it that you no longer care about me again huh! Dad you say you don’t recognize me but I don’t recognize you as well, you used to want my happiness more than anything but now all you care about is your reputation and not me!” The door burst open as I finished my rant and my eyes flew to it. Happiness engulfed me at the sight of him at the door, his fair skin was Rosy red with worry as they stepped into the room Nurah at the helm with Nurrain a step behind him. Where Nurah looked concerned and worried Nurrain looked more angry than I’ve ever seen him before. They rushed to my bedside just as dad stood in front of them to halt them from coming closer.
” I thought I was clear the last time you came around, stay away from my daughter!”
“Alhaji please we don’t want to bother you we just want to see how she’s doing please just give us two minutes” Nurah pleads with him as Nurrain circled around dad and approached the my bed directly.
“Hey! What are you doing!” Dad snapped at him but he didn’t pay him any mind he just started scolding me with fury blazing in his eyes
“What is wrong with you! I always knew you were crazy but I didn’t think you are this crazy! How could you even for a second think hurting yourself is okay in anyway for any reason huh!” I jumped at force of the last biting remark like a child getting a scolding, he didn’t even notice me flinch and just kept on ranting ” how can you not realize how precious your life is that you’d just trow it away for the sake of your pride and stubbornness! Because this! What you did is not about love! It’s about you being too stubborn to stand the fact that others are controlling your life and your choices! Well princess, I have news for you nobody has total control over their lives ,the people around us will always influence our choices in one way or the other, look around you” he throws his hand around spanning the room “the choice you made today affects every single person in this room so next time you feel like throwing a fit at least consider the people who love you and how it’ll break their hearts to loose you!” He turned around and stalked off after that without another word leaving us all stumped in silence. Even Dad couldn’t say a single word as he watched the door shut after him. Nurah took advantage of Dad’s surprise and walked up to me. His eyes roved all over my body taking stock of my injuries before he spoke softly his voice full of concern “he’s right you know, he might have been harsh about it but he’s right I lost ten years of my life when I heard what happened to you! I can’t loose you Maya and trust me I’ll do anything in my power to stop this wedding so you don’t have to do anything just lie back, relax and heal and trust your man to take care of it okay” I nodded and he smiled that his heartbreaking smile “that’s my girl, I love you always never doubt that, take care of yourself I’ll call you later okay” he made for the door under Dad’s disdainful eyes.
I realized Dad didn’t hear what we discussed when he asked me “What was the fair one whispering to you” so I quickly covered up with a lie “nothing,he just wished me quick recovery!”
He didn’t look convinced “I warned those two to stay away from you twice now but because Basu da tarbiya they refused to listen. Look at the boy you were trying to kill yourself for! Look at the way he treats you! He didn’t even take a second to ask after your health and you’re faulting me for refusing to let you marry him!”
“But dad Nurrain isn’t….
“Do not mention his name in front of me! I will never let you Marry that boy as long as I am still your father so kick and scream and smash your head in as much as you like but I will not change my decision! It’s better you cry and hate me now you’ll get over it than live in regret for the rest of your life if you to stay with that heartless boy!” He stormed off before I could explain to him it’s Nurah I want not Nurrain.
I closed my eyes to try to sleep but Nurrain’s eyes kept flashing in my eyes, his words, his anger and his passion when he gave me a piece of his mind refused to leave me. I couldn’t shake that image no matter how hard I tried. Hajiya came in with all my uncles, cousins and ofcoz Walid in tow. All of them gave me an earful for being stupid and risking my life.
“I don’t know what to do with you Maya, hurting yourself won’t make us change our decision rather it only makes us more determined to marry you off and break whatever evil spell that wretched boy has you under” she said
“Don’t call him wretched! Your grandson that you’re forcing on me is the wretched one” I snapped at her and uncle musbahu angrily reprimands me for daring to speak to her like that.
Walid and all his siblings looked ready to burst with anger at my words but I refuse to take them back. I looked straight in his eyes and addressed him ” what sort of man are you! Look at the extents I went to get rid of you but you just won’t let go! A real man with even an inkling of pride will have severed ties with me a long time ago but a spineless man like you can’t comprehend that can you!”
“You have it confused, your boyfriend is the spineless one for daring to look at another man’s woman, you have been mine since we were kids and I will not let you go no matter how hard you try!once you’re mine I will make sure you forget about his existence” He said with an ugly expression on his face.
“Allah ya tsare ni!” I snapped back at him.
“Enough! Let’s just go,clearly Maya doesn’t want us here, she values strangers over her own family now. Your poor mother will have been so disappointed in you if she was alive today” Hajiya commands and they all left as swiftly as they came. Her parting statement hurt like an arrow to the heart, of all the insults I have received since the beginning of this wedding drama, that one absolutely killed.
I curled into a ball and cried to my heart content thinking the pain will stop and I’ll feel relieved but it didn’t. My heart just hurt more with every drop of tear that soaked my pillow. I heard the door open but I couldn’t bring myself to look up and see who is here to witness my humiliation. I was simply truly and utterly broken and there was no coming back together.
“Stop it Maya, it hurts me to see you like this! You are the bravest girl I know and I can’t stand by and watch you loose yourself because of your father’s stubbornness!” I rolled to the side and came face to face with uncle muhammadu shock visible on my face. He is the youngest of my uncles and we’ve always been closest as he is only 4 years older than me. But out of all my uncles he has always followed in Dad’s footsteps the most, he regards him more as a father than a brother and never goes against him as he was born after my grandpa’s death so he never knew his father.
“Don’t look so shocked Maya, I am like a father to you am I not”
“No buts, I will personally help you get married to the man you choose no matter what, so cheer up and let’s make a plan, we don’t have much time before the wedding”
I lunched up and hugged him fiercely ‘Thank you! Thank you so much! I knew I could count on you!”
“Fine, fine, let me go before you choke me to death” I let him go and he sat on the bed facing me “I’ll help you on one condition”
“What condition?” I asked ready to fulfill anything he asked
“I will properly vet this guy of yours and make sure he’s the right fit for my favorite niece. If I find out he is not fit to take care of you and your responsibilities in anyway then I will pull the plug on everything even if it’s at the last moment, agreed?” he warns with a serious face all traces of jokes gone.
” Agreed!” I answered with full confidence. Finally things are looking up for me and our love story will finally become a reality.