Choices Chapter 9
We were back home and catching up with Nurah about Adamawa when his phone started ringing, he checked the screen and cut the call with out answering and we went back to our discussion only to be cut off again by another ring which he still didn’t answer.
“Just pick up the phone already, whoever it is clearly needs to talk to you urgently”
“Its Maya, I’m still pissed at her so i don’t want to talk until later when I’m more calm” the chime of a text echoed as he finished talking and his face paled slightly when he read it. I got up from the reclining position I was in and asked him what’s going on. He looked up at me with trembling hands ,his voice shaking as he said “they are taking her away from me Man! Her dad wants to marry her off to some cousin!”
“Really, why so suddenly? I thought you said her dad wants her to graduate first”
“I thought so too, I don’t know what changed. Let me call her and find out” he made the call and I went to the bathroom to give him privacy and splash some water on my face to wake myself up a bit more. I know things are about to go haywire and with the way Nurah is reacting to the news I’m pretty sure I’ll have to be the voice of reason and talk him down from doing something stupid. I could hear his voice getting louder all the way to the bathroom, he must be really angry now coz Nurah never shouts or looses his cool for anything and I get it, I’ll be pissed too if someone tried to take away the love of my life. I went back in the room just as he threw his phone away in frustration. I managed to grab it before it hit the ground and set it down gently next to me on the couch. He started pacing back and forth and ranting “how can they be so cruel! Maya doesn’t deserve to be forced into marrying someone she doesn’t like just because her parents said so! I’ll be damned if I let this happen!”
“Calm down and sit down Man, all this pacing is making my head spin. Sit down,let’s talk and we’ll figure it out!” I pacified and it was like watching a balloon deflate as he sank to the bed and said “I can’t loose her too Nurrain, I can’t! I’m loosing my mom a little bit more everyday and watching her like that and not being able to do anything about it is killing me! They can’t take Maya away as well, i won’t be able to take it!” He looked more vulnerable than I’ve ever seen him before
“Maya’s case is different from your mom’s, Hajiya’s fate is in the hands of Allah (swt) now and inshallah she’ll recover but Maya’s case, we can do something about it. We are not helpless, trust me I’ll help you out and together we will put a stop to this nonsense, if I have anything to say about it Maya will marry you and no one else.Consider this as my promise to you!” I assured him and he instantly sat up with hope in his eyes.
“You’re right, we can totally stop this but how? Maybe we could talk to Baffa, if we explain it carefully he’ll surely understand and maybe he’ll speak to Maya’s father and resolve everything!”
“Sorry to burst your bubble man but Baffa is pissed, he’d rather cut off his arm than talk to Maya’s dad. They almost came to blows that day at the hospital. Besides with the beef between us and them, Baffa will only tell you to let her go and find another girl which clearly isn’t an option for you”
“So what do we do then?” He asked and I took a minute to think about it before coming up with a solution.
“Maybe you could reach out to one of your uncles and explain the situation. He can come and talk to Baffa I’m sure he’ll listen to him and hopefully together they can convince Maya’s dad to stop this madness”
He started shaking his head before I could even finish talking “you know my dad is not from here,he came from Lebanon met mum here and they decided to get married and start a family, none of us know anyone from his side of the family, during his lifetime when I asked about his family he said he’s an orphan and his extended family maltreated him so they had a falling out and he migrated to Nigeria to get away from them, we never met them even when he died none of them showed up. I have no means of tracking them down, my only hope is Mom’s side of the family, you know she’s and orphan too but she has two surviving relative an uncle and aunty. Remember we visited my aunt once when we went on holiday back in the days”
“Yeah I remember her, she refused to let us leave until we accepted that goat she gave me and we didn’t have a clue what to do with a baby goat. What happened to the goat anyway, I totally forgot we left it at your mom’s house when we left”
“Forget about the goat I’m sure it died or ended up as stew or something, my point is Maybe I can convince aunt to talk to her husband, they are pretty easy going so I’m sure he can stand for me”
“What about your uncle, I’ve never met him and you never talk about him don’t you get along, I ask”
“He cancelled out my mom from the family when she refused to marry his son and marry my dad instead. He basically raised her after her parents died and he felt betrayed when she ran away from the wedding with my dad. It’s been so long ago but he still holds a grudge remember when dad died and we had to move back to Adamawa for a bit before Ammi brought me back here” I nod my head to signify I remembered and he continued ” he came over and said some nasty things to mom about how she’s now nothing,and she better not come to him for help as he’ll rather die than help her and her bastard child! I lost it and smashed him in the face. That was the last straw that ended that relationship. So you see why I can’t go to him for help now”
“Hmmmm, okay let’s do this, talk to your aunt’s husband and see what he says and I’ll try to feel out how Baffa feels about Maya’s dad now that tempers have cooled”
“Whose temper has cooled? yah Umar asked as he stepped into the room. Before Nurah could spill everything I signaled him to keep quiet and answered “I was just telling Nurah the story of one of our friends who smashed the notice board when his name was placed in the spillover list out of anger!”
“Poor guy, it must suck seeing all your friends graduate while you’re stuck spilling!” He said as he took a seat next to me clearly not leaving any time soon.
“How would you know you’ve never failed a test a day in your life Mr genius!” I mocked and he threw a pillow at me before turning his attention to Nurah “what’s up with you, you’ve been quiet since you arrived which is totally unlike you”
Nurah answered “I’m fine Yayah, I’m just worried about Mom”
“Don’t worry, she’ll get better inshallah. Ammi told me you’re only back for a week her husband can take care of her for the mean time don’t worry so much”
“I know but I’ll feel better if I’m there with her, I only came to do my final screening get my transcript and certificate once and for all so I can focus on her health without having to be coming back and forth between Kano and Adamawa”
I interrupted the chat before it could progress and derail us “speaking of getting your affairs in order, we need to get going and get the clearance form before they close for the day” I got up and picked up the car keys from my side table.
“You two are something else, what have you been doing all day, it’s almost five I’m sure they’re closed by now you’ll have to wait till tomorrow” yah Umar said.
“No, we’ll make it, they sell it at a cafe inside the school and they are normally around till after magrib prayer so we better get going” I hustled Nurah out of the room and we were on our way in no time.
“Why didn’t you want me to tell yah Umar, he might be able to help us?” He asked
“Kana magana kamar baka San shi ba, when it comes to overprotective older brothers he takes the cake, after the whole beating episode he hates Maya’s family more than Ammi and that is saying something. If we try to explain to him he won’t hear us out he’ll just blow up and then Ammi will hear and everything will get messed up, it’s better to wait for an elder to do the explaining, they’ll take it better coming from him”
“You’re right, but we are not really going to school are we, I thought you’ve already gotten us those forms”
“Yeah and all the stamps and signatures needed are right here except for the last one which we can only get by Monday, I only said that to get us out of there before you start blabbing like usual!”
“Hey! I don’t blab!” He protest and I just laughed “yeah, sure you don’t!”
We found a quiet spot and parked so Nurah can make his call. They spoke for a long time in fulfulde which I didn’t understand a single word of but from his expression it’s clear to see things aren’t going great. When he got off the phone he fell back into his seat with zero energy before covering his face with his palms in despair “what happened Man, is he not willing to come?”
“He died last month, when we were in the midst of exams that’s probably why mom didn’t tell me so I won’t go rushing home, I can’t believe I didn’t know, since I’ve been back home my aunt has been coming to visit at the hospital after every two days and she didn’t tell me and I never thought to ask why he never came with her too consumed with mom’s health, the hospital bills and everything else!” He hit the dashboard in frustration.
“You can’t blame yourself for not knowing, of course your mom’s illness will consume your attention”
“So what now! Our only hope is dead, what next”
We fell into silence as we gave it some thought and I can only see one other option, it’s a hail Mary but it could work so I told Nurah about it “we could go and talk to Maya’s dad together and explain everything to him, maybe if we clear up the misunderstanding that it’s actually you that is dating Maya and not me he might give you a chance since his problem is with me and my family not you”
“What are the chances this will work besides his problem isn’t just with you, it’s with any guy that is not his family member apparently Maya’s family never marry outsiders and he doesn’t want to be embarrassed if his daughter breaks the chain”
“Ultimately every father wants to see his daughter happy, it’s a long shot but we won’t know if we don’t try. maybe if we convince him that you love his daughter and will do anything to make her happy he might make an exception. He might be irrational but he’s not unreasonable and he clearly loves Maya so maybe it’ll work”
“Fine,it’s worth a shot. Let’s go” he agreed and we set off to Maya’s house. We parked slightly away to avoid detection and walked over to the house. We walked into the compound with a Salam just as Maya’s dad was coming out of his sitting room. He stopped dead where he is when he locked eyes with us. We walked over to greet him and the first thing out of his mouth is “you better have a damn good reason for coming to my house unannounced!”
I took back the hand I extended towards him and told him why we came ” we are sorry for coming suddenly like this but we really need to talk to you about something important”
“And what important business do I have with you” he snapped
“It’s about Maya” his body went stiff the minute I mentioned her name so I quickly moved on and blurted it out “we wanted to explain everything to you so you can have all the information before you make any decisions Maya and I are….
“Shut up! There is no such thing as Maya and you. Don’t ever mention your name and my daughter’s name in the same sentence, I thought I made that clear to you and your family before! Whatever you came to say I don’t want to hear so turn around and leave before I loose my temper”
Nurah spoke up then “Alhaji we understand your anger but Maya told me you want to marry her off and we just want to make sure you don’t make a mistake that’ll affect her life out of anger……”
“Didn’t you boys hear me! I don’t want to listen to you so turn around and get out before I have you put you back in that hospital bed you left from!” He turned around, went back in and shut the door in our faces.
“Well that went well, what now?” I asked Nurah who looked as dumbfounded as I felt.
We left dejected and cracking our head with what to do next. Nurah received a frantic call from Maya a little bit after we left apparently her dad threw a fit about us coming and he was going to speed up his plans. The wedding is now going to happen in two weeks before we get any ideas of stopping the marriage in his words.
Maya was loosing it, I’ve never heard her so frantic in my life Normally she’s so strong and nothing could shake her but today she’s falling apart and Nurah wasn’t far behind in the loosing it department, I couldn’t stand to continue listening to her pleas for Nurah to do something as he sat frozen next to me so I grabbed the phone from him and told her in no uncertain terms “calm down! Nobody is going to force you into marriage! Trust me we are going to stop this!”
“How! Dad has already roped Hajiya and Kawu into this so it’s not like I can turn to one of them to get him to stop this madness!” She snapped her voice husky from crying, she was clearly loosing her breathe from the pants coming in over the phone.
“First, slow down and take a deep breath” I told her
“I can’t slow down! This is my life we are talking about! I nee…. She lost her breathe
“Breathe! Come on breathe with me! Inhale slowly! Come on!” She managed to catch her breathe and we did the inhale and exhale exercise 5 times before I was confident she had a grip on her emotions. I put the phone on speaker and poked Nurah to get him back to the present from his little far away kingdom “okay you two listen to me, we don’t have time for emotional breakdowns right now, we need a plan. Maya is their anyone in your family that can help us convince your dad that you are in love with Nurah and this wedding will ruin not just your life but Walid’s life as well”
“No, kawu is the only one dad listens to and he’s totally on board with this marriage” she answered.
“How about Walid, can we convince him to turn down the marriage and that way you can be free?” Nurah asked her.
“No, the wedding was just announced and already Walid is here all smiles and happy, he is camped out in our living room now waiting for his future bride, Dad tried to force me to come out and meet him that’s why I locked myself up in the bathroom” she answered.
“Things just keep going from bad to worse! So what are we going to do now because I’m all out of ideas.” I told them
“Well, you two better figure it out because I’ll rather die than marry that pig!” Maya snapped over the phone and hung up.
I felt my stomach sink to the bottom as fear gripped me, she sounded so confident. I turned to Nurah and said “she wouldn’t do anything stupid, will she?”
“This is Maya we are talking about, what do yo think?” Nurah said as he tried to call her back.
He’s right Maya is crazy, and stubborn, she won’t marry Walid no matter what, even if she has to hurt herself to stop it.
Sorry for the long absence guys! I’ve been a bit sick this days. Hope you enjoyed the chapter!make sure to vote and comment! How do you think this wedding saga will end?