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Choices Chapter 4

Chapter 4 (Maya)
Why did that boy follow you home Maya? Answer me ko ba dake nake magana bane?! Hajiya asked again for what felt like the hundredth time since she woke up this morning and my nosy cousin Ramlat filled her in on all that happened last night when she was asleep. We were all sitted in the courtyard under the tree and having breakfast of Pap and Akara.
I just wanted to eat in peace so I can get dressed and head home but no, everyone in the house has been following me with judgemental eyes as if I killed a man or something, all Nurah did was walk me home like a gentleman but my uncles not only chased him off without an explanation, they also spent hours later on plotting how they were going to beat him up for daring to even look my way. I took a sip of my pap before answering her ” hajiya for the millionth time, I barely even know the guy,it was dark outside and I was walking back to the house from the main road, he saw me stumbling around in the dark and helped me by turning on his flashlight and walking me home! That’s all!”
“I don’t believe you, Maya do you think you are old enough that you can deceive your old grandma, Ramlat told me your uncle musbahu caught you too gisting outside in the dark! It didn’t seem as if you only met each other besides if it was all innocent why did the boy run off when he saw your uncles” she replied but I just shrugged and pretend I don’t know anything.
“Fine, since you don’t want to talk. Muhammadu go and call her father Maybe he can get the Truth out of her Nikam ta raina ni ai.
My stomach clenched in fear if Dad gets to hear about this I am done for. I tried to convince hajiya I really was telling the truth but it didn’t work. Soon enough uncle muhammadu my dad’s youngest brother was back with Dad in tow, from the glare he threw at me once he walked in am sure uncle muhammadu must have filled him in on what happened. He knelt and greet hajiya before taking a seat.
“Garba, I called you here because of this your disobedient daughter Maya, ni Daman once she came and told me she’s spending the night here I was suspicious but I kept quiet and gave her the benefit of the doubt but as usual it didn’t take long for her to show her true colors. Musbahu come here and tell Garba what you saw last night” uncle musbahu didn’t waste time telling everyone what he saw. I knew it was going to come back and bite me the minute it happened, we’ve been so careful for 2years now to think it only took a moment to spoil it all. “Yayah, we were all about to go to bed when the light went off, I decided to go out and change the fuse box so I could turn on the generator when I saw Maya and one boy outside holding hands and talking, it was dark so I couldn’t see his face clearly. The minute I called out and shined my light at him he bolted. So I called out the rest and we chased him because I thought he was harassing her” he told Dad, who turned to face me slowly and asked harshly “who is this boy, have you become so grown up that you can go out to meet with boys behind my back!” Before I could get my thoughts together and come up with a response Hajiya started lamenting “I keep telling you to get her married but you refuse to listen, you said she must graduate first, a girl in her prime what’s the use of keeping her at home and besides none of our children will stop her from furthering her studies even after marriage but Garba you don’t listen to advise, any one I suggest out of her cousins you find a reason to dodge the issue and reject him toh yanzu gashinan ai!”
Her words pushed dad over the edge and he snapped at me ” can’t you hear me! Didn’t I just ask you which boy you were chatting with at the dark of night!”
I can’t tell Dad the truth right now, he is too angry to understand my feelings, what should I do?
Uncle muhammadu unknowingly gave me a way out before I could speak he told Dad that ” yayah, I didn’t see his face but I recognize the car, it belongs to Nurrain so am sure it’s him”
“Nurrain, who is that. I don’t know him” Dad said and uncle Saleh jumped on board with the idea. “I know Nurrain, his elder brother Abdul was two classes behind me in school. I recognized his car as well but I wasn’t sure until muhammadu pointed it out, he’s the son of  Alhaji Buba. Their house is right behind on the next street”
” Ohh, I recognize him now his father sometimes sent him to my office with documents when we collaborated on a project some years back. But isn’t that boy Maya’s age mate, what is he playing at trying to court Maya ai ba sa’an auren ta bane besides his dad an I had a falling out years ago during that project, he accused me of doing substandard work and I didn’t take that accusation lightly. Isn’t it his mother that came to complain to Hajiya about Maya some weeks back. Why in the world will you get entangled with that boy Maya! Have you no pride or do you lack suitors! Any boy in our family will happily marry you, if you want to get married so bad why didn’t you just say so and I will have arranged everything, but you wanted to study so I supported you and this is how you repay me by not only disgracing me but also disgracing the family’s cardinal rule! Nobody marries outside the family,that is the rule and I did not give birth to a daughter that will put my name to shame,baki Isa ba wallahi!”
Seeing him get so worked up at the prospect of me and Nurrain,an idea occurred to me and I decided to execute it.
“Dad you know me, you know I’ll never go against you. We started engineering together with Nurrain and ever since then he has been following me around,I keep telling him I’m not interested but he insists he loves me and he’ll die without me, I felt bad for him that is why yesterday when he suddenly showed up and started begging me to talk to him, I decided to hear him out because he kept threatening to drink piyapiya if I don’t listen to him. Please don’t be angry dad, I didn’t tell you he has been harassing me because I knew you’ll get angry and try to confront him and people will say you have stooped to fighting a boy old enough to be your son, and you know I’ll never let you reputation be tarnished……” I burst into fake sobs for dramatic effect and seeing me wail seems to do the job. Dad seems to buy my story,hook,line and sinker.
“Well, why didn’t you just tell me that rascal has been harassing you! Kuji fa he even has the guts to threaten my daughter! Wipe your tears my dear, your father is still alive and I won’t stand for it!” He turned to Uncle musbahu and directed him “I am leaving this matter to you, make sure that boy gets the message that Maya is not for him”
I giggled internally already picturing how that message will be delivered to Nurrain, he made me cry last night now it’s his turn to shed tears.
After my uncles are done with him he’ll think twice before messing with me. But then hajiya almost spoilt my plan ” look Garba, there are two sides to every story, its not the poor boy’s fault if he likes Maya, let’s not take any drastic action since we are not willing to marry her to him  I think you should meet his father and calmly explain to him the situation, there’s no need to spoil our relationship with these people over such a silly matter”
Dad was having none of it and he clearly told her ” hajiya what relationship are you talking about, we don’t have any good relationship with that family anyway, they just happen to live in the same area with us, that doesn’t mean we have to be friends. I figure the matter isn’t significant enough to warrant me going to his father. Just let musbahu and the rest handle it”
He left soon after that and I quickly went back into the room so that none of them could see the happiness on my face and catch my lie. I can’t believe how lucky I was they recognized the car and just assumed it was Nurrain none of them even considered I might be dating Nurah. Let them focus their efforts on dealing with Nurrain instead of my relationship. I was still giggling at my brilliance when I heard hajiya’s voice from the open window “you have sent them after that poor boy and you are here laughing huh. Maya what do I do with you, when will you grow up and be responsible, I don’t know Nurrain at all but I haven’t heard a single bad thing said about him in this area either so think about that carefully and what you just unleashed on that poor boy because I hope for your sake you don’t come to regret it one day” she moved on after that and I shrugged her words off. Sure Nurrain isn’t all bad but I’d rather sacrifice him than Nurah. My cousin Ramlat walked in and sat next to me on the bed. “Yayah Maya, are you really dating yah Nurrain?” She asked
“Why are you calling Nurrain yayah?” I asked confused.
“He’s my friend Khursum’s elder brother and she never once said anything about him being in love with you and she tells me everything” she replied and I Finally understand where the question is coming from, it totally skipped my mind that Ramlat and khursum are friends. For a second it crossed my mind to come clean and tell her the truth but then I remembered she said they tell each other every thing. There’s no way she’ll keep it to herself and not tell khursum who will go straight to their mum and spill it all, and then she’ll come and complain about me again. I have to protect my relationship with Nurah no matter what ” Ramlat I’m not dating him he’s the one chasing after me and I just want him to stop before he gets me in trouble with Dad”
“But Yayah Maya,you know uncle musbahu and his temper. Aren’t you afraid they’re going to hurt him” she asked and I told her “he’s a big boy, he can take care of himself”
I could see she still wanted to say something but in the end she kept it to herself and walked back out of the room as quietly as she came in. I picked up my phone to call Nurah only to find multiple missed calls from Yayah Nabila so I returned her call first. We gisted and I filled her in on all that happened. “Isn’t my idea brilliant and dad totally bought it. He will focus on breaking my so called relationship with Nurrain and I’ll be free to continue seeing Nurah in peace”
“But Maya that’s unfair to Nurrain besides aren’t you afraid if Nurah finds out what you did he might break up with you. You know how attached he is to Nurrain, if uncle musbahu hurts him in anyway he’s definitely going to blame you for it” she cautions me and I have to agree Nurah will never stand by anyone hurting Nurrain but what do I do. It’s too late to call them off now besides what will I say that I lied and he’s not harassing me then dad will definitely stop keeping hajiya at bay and rush off to get me married to the first cousin he can find for fear I might marry an outsider. God forbid I be allowed to make my own choice and marry the man I love.
“So what should I do now yah Nabilah? How do I fix it?”
” Tell the truth, if Nurah really wants to marry you then he’s going to have to step forward and ask for your hand eventually so why not now”
” But you know he just graduated,he hasn’t gotten a job yet so dad will definitely use that as an excuse to say no to our marriage. It’s going to be hard enough to convince him to change his mind about the whole marrying an outsider thing” I remind her.
“Well, all I can tell you is that is a risk you’ll have to take wheather now or later on. Dad will respect Nurah more if he man’s up and ask for your hand rather than sneaking around and hiding” she replied.
“Well, he’s too angry to understand now. I’ll talk to Nurah about what you said after all this blows over” I assured her and we moved on to other things.
Yah Nabilah is right, our relationship with Nurah has to be revealed eventually but I’m just not ready to loose what we have yet and I know once parents get involved everything will go haywire and our dynamic will surely change. I’m not ready to take that gamble yet.

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