Choices Chapter 6
I heard dad’s voice yelling and spewing insults on Nurrain’s family, I could hear him exclaiming how dare they drag his siblings to court over a mere fight from the bedroom I shared with Ramlat. I haven’t been able to make myself move from my spot ever since we came back from the hospital earlier. Seeing the state Nurrain is in because of me and my selfishness is beyond what I can endure. I can’t believe I did that to him! Nurrain has always been brash, arrogant and larger than life but seeing him in that hospital bed covered in so many stitches and bandages, for the first time ever he looked broken and I don’t know how to fix it or even if I can fix it, but I will not let my family harass him again no matter what happens, it ends here.
I jumped off the bed and head for the Court yard where Dad was still ranting about the injustice of it all to Hajiya.
” It was just a minor altercation, I don’t know why they keep blowing it out of proportion! They had the boys arrested and they denied me bail when I went to get them out! My brothers and our children do not belong in a jail just for a fight! If the boy knew he couldn’t stand the consequences then why did he harass my daughter! I will finish that boy and his father, they want to destroy our reputation in this area I……….”
“Dad enough! Enough already! Have you seen the state of Nurrain once! He looks like he’s been run over by a DAF truck dad! Uncle musbahu, Walid and the rest did that to him, why! Just because he followed me home once! Was that his crime! He wasn’t even the one uncle musbahu saw m…….”
I snapped at Dad but he cut me off before I could complete my sentence
“Maya you were the one that told us the boy was harassing you! So why are you defending him now?” He was clearly confused by the switch so I explained to him carefully.
“I lied Dad! I was mad at him so I lied to you all but I never in a million years thought they’d hit him so hard he’d end up in a goddamn hospital bed!”
“Get out!” Hajiya shouts from where she’s sitting. We both turned sharply at her tone, she sounds more angry than I’ve ever seen her be “Garba take your daughter and get out my house tunkafin raina ya b’acci! I can’t believe I am alive to witness this day. Because of a silly lovers quarrel my sons and grandson’s are in jail! And a boy is beaten so badly he’s in the hospital! Tell me Maya, now have you gotten what you wanted. You wanted to use my sons to punish your boyfriend yanzu wa gari ya waya!” She turned to dad and continued “Garba I warned you not to leave this matter in the hands of musbahu but as usual you didn’t listen so now you better listen up and listen good, I don’t care what you do and how you do it I want those boys home safely! And I’m saying this for the last time find a way to tame this girl or she’ll be the end of us! Now get out! And don’t come back here without those boys!”
She went to her room after that without a second glance despite dad calling out to her. Once she was out of sight dad’s furry turned to me “Maya why! Why’d you lie! Now look my own mother won’t even look at me because of your actions! I hope you are happy now Sai ki d’auko mayafinki ai mu tafi!”
We didn’t say a word to each other all the way home, dad fuming and me stewing in my misery. I really can’t even be angry at Dad or my uncles. I did this to myself, and now I’ll have to figure out a way to live with it. Everyone at home must have read my mood because they all kept a safe distance from me and I was grateful for it as I locked myself in my room and borrow into my duvet. My phone kept ringing from the looks of how persistent yah Nabila is being in calling me I’m sure the news has reached her already but I really wasn’t in the mood for more scoldings and I told you so. I’ve already had enough to last me a lifetime from hajiya since yesterday when the kids came running to tell me Nurrain and my uncles were fighting, I didn’t even realize he came to see me since when Kalifa came to call me I was in the bathroom. Hajiya stopped me from going outside to meet him and I just assumed he left, it was only when the commotion became too much and all the kids ran back inside looking terrified and crying that I became aware of the fight, by the time I ran outside they already had him flat on his back and were beating on him like a punching bag. I kept screaming at them to stop but nobody was listening, I was going to jump into the fray and shield him from them when Malam Isa showed up and put a stop to it.
I couldn’t sleep no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t get the image of his bloodied broken body in that hospital bed out of my mind. I might have successfully ignored my sister’s call but Nurah has been blowing up my phone all day and I can’t keep ignoring him. It’s time to face the music, I thought I’ll definitely see him at the hospital earlier but I must have missed him. I bite the bullet and picked the call with a Salam and as i predicted he ran right over me with harsh words “well done Maya! I heard you had Nurrain beaten up! I never thought you hate him so much you’ll have him put in a damn hospital bed! What has he ever done to you huh! I leave town for one day and this is what happens! Well listen to me and listen good, if anything happens to Nurrain because of what you did then you and I done!” He cut the call immediately after, Nurah has never spoken to me so harshly. He has never once been this upset with me and i have no one to blame but myself. I cried myself to sleep and prayed it will all be better tomorrow but as always it only got worse.
Early in the morning Ummi came knocking on my door to let me know dad was calling me. I headed straight to his room only to find Kawu my grand uncle seated in the parlor. He is the last living uncle dad has and he respects him very much, he never goes against his decision no matter what. I greet him and found a spot to kneel, hajiya must have gone to him to complain about me I’m sure of it. He started speaking after answering my greetings ” hajiya told me everything that happened and I had to come here to see for myself before I could believe it. I can’t believe after so many years Garba, you and your brothers are not going to let go of your fighting habit. You are surrounded by children and grandchildren but you let such things happen. Maya isn’t at fault in this,no matter how much you might want to blame it on her. Her only fault is breaking the rules by dating an outsider but instead of explaining to her and the boy calmly like a father should,you decided to have your siblings beat him up and now they are locked up in jail, toh yanzu wa gari ya waya”
“Kawu, I accept full responsibility for what happened, I agree I could have handled it better but you have to understand Maya told me the boy was harassing her and when she did not return his affections he tried to blackmail her, and as her father I felt it was my responsibility to protect her in such a way that the boy will never think of coming after her again” Dad tried to explain himself to Kawu but from the look on his face I can tell Kawu isn’t buying it “I don’t think you understand me Garba,you are supposed to know better and do better at this age. So what if the boy likes Maya and she doesn’t like him back, couldn’t you have called him and explained to him what the rules of our family are, you could have easily persuaded him to leave her alone only when he doesn’t listen then and only then should you react and that too by reporting the situation to his parents, but now look what you did and the embarrassment it has caused us, the boys are now locked up and looking at a court hearing soon. We’ve done things your way and it landed us in trouble now I am here and we are going to do things my way” he turned to me and asked if
I’ve been to the hospital to see Nurrain and I told him we went yesterday.
“What! When and why didn’t I know about this” dad exclaimed but Kawu was quick to stick up for me. “Don’t scold her, she did the right thing. Now both of you get ready we are going back to the hospital and the two of you are going to apologise to his parents for what you did to their son and I will speak to them to see if there’s anyway we can come to an agreement and drop the assault charges on the boys”
“But…..” Dad started to protest “no buts I want you to do as I say and that’s final” Kawu stopped him and within twenty minutes we were in the car heading for the hospital. My heart kept pounding because I know his mum won’t take seeing me again lightly, hell even Nurrain doesn’t want me there, he made that perfectly clear yesterday. So I wonder how they’ll react after they find out I made the whole thing up and Nurrain and I aren’t even dating. Everyone is going to hate me my dad included. I never should have lied and put him in a position where he has to ask someone he doesn’t like for a favor.
I was the last one in the room. Because I was hiding behind Kawu, I breathe out a sigh of relief when I saw Nurrain sitting up, he was propped up by a pillow but at least he was sitting, that must mean he is recovering and Ammi wasn’t in the room which is the icing on the cake. Only Baffa, khursum and another man I don’t recognize are in the room, the man looks to be in his early 30’s and has an uncanny resemblance to Baffa so he must be one of Nurrain’s elder brothers. He has two other sons but I’ve never met them so I don’t know who this is. I sat next to Kawu and stayed quietly while they all exchange pleasantries.
Dad and Baffa made the introductions and soon we were all acquitted apparently, this is the oldest brother Umar who was doing his Msc in Cyprus but rushed home after hearing what happened to his younger brother, the second brother Abdul is trapped in China and couldn’t make it home. Well kudos to you Maya, at least you got one brother home for a visit.
Dad introduced Kawu and the discussion started just as Ammi walked in the room carrying an electric kettle, she paused in surprise at seeing us but she managed to school her features and sat at the foot of Nurrain’s bed. Baffa filled her in on who is who and they exchanged pleasantries,when it was my turn I tried to greet but she pretended she didn’t hear me and asked khursum to get the guest some juice from the fridge which Kawu declined on our behalf saying “mungode, I wish this is a social call but under the circumstances, well all we can do is apologise. I am deeply regretful of how things turned out between our children, and seeing the condition your son is in I totally understand why you had the boys arrested, you were well within your right to do so. If this happened to my kid I would do the exact same thing. All I can say is we are ashamed and sorry for what happened” he paused clearly waiting for Dad to chip in but he was clearly set on keeping quiet until Kawu nudged him slightly to get him talking and he reiterated that he was sorry for what happened to Nurrain but In true Dad fashion he had to throw in a dig at the end “I didn’t want it to go down like this but you know how the boys can be they just couldn’t stand by and watch their daughter being harassed” I closed my eyes so tight praying to God to take those words back or close their ears suddenly so they don’t hear them but from how Baffa and everyone in the room reacted they heard dad loud and clear, the minute I opened my eyes they set on Nurrain’s and from the furrowed brows he is as confused as everyone. Baffa was the one to ask ” I don’t understand, who was being harassed?!”
Dad answered instantly “your son Nurrain has been harassing Maya, apparently he is in love with her and when he she didn’t return his feelings he started following her around and threatening to end his life if she doesn’t return his affections. As you’ll understand her uncles didn’t take too kindly to Maya being harassed and they decided to have a word with Nurrain unfortunately things got out of hand and a fight broke out but I’m sure you’ll be understanding of where they are coming from, they were only trying to protect her that’s all! You have a daughter as well I’m sure you understand”
Baffa looked as baffled as Nurrain, he kept looking back and forth between us as if the answer to our relationship is written on our foreheads. Everyone in Nurrain’s side looked shocked out of their minds. Ammi was the first to react ” no! I don’t believe it! My son tells me everything and he has never once mentioned this to me so I’m sure you must be mistaken about this!”
“Yes I agree with my wife, Nurrain didn’t tell us he was dating Maya and besides even if that is so, I know my son he will never harass a girl that isn’t interested in him no matter what, we raised him better than that!” Baffa adamantly defends Nurrain who was now glaring daggers at me, I had to look away, I felt too ashamed to look him in the eye.Ammi went on to say “Nurrain tell them they are wrong! Who ever told them you love Maya is lying right!” She implored him but he remains silent without uttering a single word. So she turned her attention to me ” Maya tell us the truth! My Nurrain will never harass a girl no matter what! So why are you lying”
I opened my mouth to explain the situation to all of them since it seems Nurrain has suddenly become mute but dad jumped in “my daughter is not a liar, so I will appreciate it if you’d refrain from referring to her as such! Your son is to blame here so why are you after my daughter!”
Ammi was gearing up to reply when Kawu quickly intercede “let’s all take a breath and calm down, we are not here to assign blame. What has happened has already happened, we are here to find a solution that will suit all of us. Now Alhaji Buba I need to tell you in all honesty that I am sorry but I will have to request Nurrain to take heart and let go of any feelings he is harboring for Maya not because he is lacking in anyway but because we have a policy in our family that we only marry within the family. I wish him the best and I hope he finds the right person for him soon”
“Well, that issue aside it doesn’t take away from the fact that your grandson’s put him in a hospital and I will be honest with you as well, an apology is not enough for the trauma they put us through and regardless of reason I want Justice for the assault on my son!” Baffa replied and Ammi and Umar all nod in agreement.
Dad wasn’t having it as he got more pissed “justice! You want Justice! What about justice for my daughter that had to suffer the harassment of your mannerless son!
“Oh no you don’t! Don’t you dare insult my son! I will not stand for it!” Baffa replied and dad was quick to get up from his seat in full fury “na zagi d’an naka! What will you do about it!” Baffa moved forward and was now toe to toe with Dad “trust me you don’t want to know the lengths I’ll go to for my children! Don’t test me on this I assure you you’ll loose!” All hell broke loose after that as they kept throwing jabs at each other. Kawu was trying to calm them down and Umar was now up trying to calm his dad down but it wasn’t happening. I can’t believe I caused all this, how did we get here, what’ll happen now?!
It took Nurrain speaking for the first time to get Baffa to calm down “Baffa please enou……!” The rest of what he was trying to say was lost in a coughing fit that startled everyone and his family rushed to his side all anger forgotten in the face of their concern. Khursum got the water and Umar helped him drink it down as Ammi urged him to please calm down. Once his breathing leveled out he calmly said his mind “Baffa please don’t argue because of me” he turned to my dad and said “I want to apologise to you and Maya for any inconveniences I have caused I’m sorry for everything!”
What! Why is he saying all this. He should be telling them the truth so why is he going along with my ruse.