Choices Chapter 1
All I wanted was to get a few more winks of sleep before I had to get to class, I feel like I deserve that much after studying all night but no it seems the universe isn’t getting the message cause some idiot is banging the gate to within an inch of it’s life at 5am. I punched my pillow in irritation and went out of my room to confront the idiot but Baffa has beat me to the gate, I made it out to the compound just as he was removing the jam lock he put back in after we came back from the mosque 5minutes ago. He was asking who it is while trying to open it but the person on the other side was clearly impatient and just kept on banging away. The minute the lock gave the person barged in barrelling over Baffa who lost his balance from the force, I swept in and caught him before he could hit the ground, shouting at the person swiftly moving past us and straight into the house.
” What the hell! Can’t you see where you are going!”
” It’s okay son, am fine” Baffa assured me patting me on the arm and asking “who is that girl anyway?”
” I don’t know, I didn’t see her face she was walking too fast”
We heard shouting coming from the house and we hurried in to investigate what the hell was going on. Once we burst into the courtyard I saw the girl dragging my sister around on the floor and beating the shit out of her. Ammi was trying to drag her off khursum but she kept dodging out of her grasp. Next thing you know she was straddling khursum and squeezing her windpipe.
“Nurrain stop her! She’s choking khursum!” Ammi’s panic had me moving. I scooped her off my sister kicking and screaming like a damn banshee. She kept trying to claw out of my arms and charge khursum again. Damn! She’s strong but I held on, keeping her engulfed in my arms I took two steps back to get her further away from khursum. She turned to face me and started screaming for me to let her go! And that is when i saw it was Maya! What the hell is she doing here?? Her face was scrunched up and red with fury, if she hadn’t just tried to choke my only sister to death I’ll probably find the fiesty cat routine amusing. But when she sank her long nails into me and drew blood it wasn’t so cute anymore and I snapped.
“Hey! Watch it! Calm down and stop acting like a mad woman!”
She stopped trashing and glared at me with fury “who do you think you are! Trying to tell me what to do! Put me down now!”
“Am not putting you down until you calm down!” I answered with my own glare.
Ammi crouched down next to khursum and gave her a glass of water to soothe her abused throat while Baffa moved to stand in front of Maya who was still hurling insults at khursum despite being trapped in my arms.
“Please calm down! Whatever your problem is with khursum, am her father so tell me and we can settle it there’s no need for violence” he implored her.
She took a visible long breath to calm herself down as she started answering Baffa. Despite the calm she was portraying I could feel her entire body trembling in my arms from anger. What could khursum have done to piss her off this badly. But then this is Maya we are talking about, the girl has such a short fuse she’ll cut a person for looking at her funny so this beat down she gave khursum was probably for some nonsensical reason. I must have spaced out cause I totally missed the explanation she gave Baffa. I came back to the scene when Baffa asked me to set her down and assured her he will handle the issue. She stomped hard on my poor toes when I let her go,I had to bite down to keep from exclaiming in pain as she glared at me one last time and breezed out of the house just as quickly as she came in.
Ammi started ranting the minute the gate banged shut with such force it made the cat jump in fright from where it was curled up next to the tap. ” That girl is out of control ba abunda ta iya Sai fad’a! How dare she come barging in here and look at how she beat up khursum! Right in front of my eyes! I should have taught her some manners before she left!”
“It’s okay Fulani, calm down. Children are bound to fight it’s normal and it’s khursum that started it anyway!” Baffa countered.
” But whatever khursum did, doesn’t give her the right to barge into our house at 5am and create a scene. That girl and her family are nothing but trouble in this community!” Ammi kept shouting about what bad manners Maya has, this really isn’t new. Ammi like a lot of the people in this area do not approve of Maya’s family because they’re all hot-headed trouble makers and I can’t say I disagree cause she has been nothing but trouble since the first day I met her, but right now I just want to forget all this drama and get some rest so I tried to calm her down.
“Ammi please don’t let that insolent girl stress you out this early in the morning. Just forget about her Maya is who she is there’s nothing we can do about it. Khursum should stay away from her from now on and all will be well”
” I pity whoever ends up marrying that girl, with her temper she’ll end up stabbing him in his sleep!” Ammi said. “Auzubillahi!” Baffa exclaimed never say such things Fulani! If you wouldn’t say good things it’s better to keep your mouth shut!”
“What do you mean! I was just saying! I didn’t mean….” I tuned out their argument,moved past them, pulled khursum to her feet and lead her back inside. Baffa and ammi will no doubt spend the whole morning going back and forth. For a couple who love each other more than anything they love nothing more than to argue with each other about petty issues. Khursum was still sniffing at my side by the time we reached her door.
“Thanks bro” she said and tried to enter the room but my words stopped her in her track.
“What did you do to her khursum?”
“Nothing, she’s just being crazy” she answered quickly but I knew when my sister is lying.
“Look at me, I know Maya is crazy but she won’t attack you like that for no reason, so try again! What did you do?”
She thought about it for a while before she started blurting out a long winded story about how someone said something,that another person told someone something, who went to tell the other person.
“Stop! I don’t want to know, you’re making my head ache!” I told her “just stay away from Maya from now on or next time she might break your teeth!” After that warning I turned around and headed back to my room. After tossing and turning on the bed, sleep has finally started taking me when my phone started ringing, I ignored it at first but it just won’t stop. I knew it was Nurah no one else will be disturbing me this early other than him. He must have heard what his crazy girlfriend did already. God! The rate at which gossip spread in this area truly amazed me. No one was here during the fight but everyone has already heard. Tight buildings and short walls can do that, there is never any privacy. Anything you say in the courtyard the neighbors hear.
“What is it man! you know I like my morning sleep! Why are you calling this early?” I complained to Nurah once I picked up the phone.
“I know you need your beauty sleep but this is more important! So quit whining like a diva! Khursum told me Maya came to the house and beat her up! Please tell me she’s joking!” He exclaimed.
“Will you stop screaming! Now who is acting like a diva, your crazy girlfriend did come and beat her up! Apparently they had some argument about one gossip or the other, you know how girls can be” I explained to him.
“Maya has a bad temper but I really didn’t think she would touch khursum at least for my sake, you know ammi never liked her am sure she hates her more now” he said.
” Well, I can’t lie to you. Ammi is really pissed” I replied.
“So what do we do now?” He asked
“Who knows man.i don’t know what you see in that girl really, just leave her and find a better girl shi kenan! Case closed!” I told him for the millionth time, I’ve been trying to get him to break up with her for so long but he never listens maybe this will be the last straw and he’ll finally see sense.
“No Man,you know I can’t do that, I love Maya more than anything, she’s my soul mate I can’t leave her” I rolled my eyes at his answer as usual. I’ve been friends with Nurah since I could walk but sometimes I really wonder how his mind works. Why can’t he see what is right in front of him. Maya and him just don’t match. Period!
“Please Nurrain,you have to help me out, we need to figure out a way to get ammi to see Maya in a more positive light or else I’ll never get to marry her, you know if she doesn’t approve hajiya will never let me marry Maya” he keeps whining and it’s starting to get on my nerves, but I try to contain myself before I shout at him, from experience I know it doesn’t solve anything. Shouting will only antagonize him and we’ll end up arguing over that girl again.
“Look man am too tired to think straight, let me sleep. I’ll meet you in school later and we can discuss after the test” I said diplomatically.
“I knew I should have stayed home and studied with you rather than at the hostel with Ahmad. Maybe I’ll have been able to stop Maya before it got out of hand”
” It’s better you weren’t here or else your secret will have been revealed and if ammi knows you and Maya are dating na lahira sai ya fika Jin dad’i, especially if she finds out you’ve been keeping it a secret. You know how much she hates when her children keep secrets” I reminded him. Although ammi didn’t give birth to Nurah she has always considered him one of her children, ever since we became Best friends in nursery School. Because of our friendship his mum hajiya and ammi are now besties as well. We’ve been in separable ever since imran bullied him for farting just because his mom always puts egg in his lunch box and I punched him in the face for calling Nurah a fartboy. We’ve been tight ever since, we went to the same school and alternated holidays between my house and his house. We were in SS 1 when his father died and his mom had to move back home to Adamawa because the house they were living in here was rented and she couldn’t afford to pay being a housewife. She wanted to pull him out of school and take him with her to Adamawa but we begged and pleaded so much until she finally gave in. Ammi convinced her to let him finish school and he can be staying with us in the mean time. Ever since Nurah became more than just a friend and became my adopted brother. We do everything together, we even go to Adamawa together whenever he wants to visit his mom who has now remarried. When we finished school we both got admitted to BUK to study engineering so he continued living with us. Some people even think we are twins cause we are always together and our names sound alike although am two inches taller and he is fair where am dark we have the same build so I can see how they can think that. Our Attitudes are somewhat the same with the only difference being he’s such a drama queen and all he thinks about is that silly Maya, just look how he keeps going on and on about her.
“Will you calm down about this girl already, am taking a bath now and coming to meet you or you’ll never let me hear the end of it duk sai ka goge mun hadda a banza!” I snapped at him and cut the call before he could reply.
I really curse the day Nurah set his sight on that girl. Since they have successfully ended my rest as usual, I get up and start my morning routine. At least this morning I don’t have to waste time cleaning after hurricane Nurah since he slept at the hostel. We’ve been sharing a room for so long but every morning we always argue over cleaning, the guy just can’t tidy up after himself. I’m a clean freak and he is the most untidy person on the planet so I grumble as I clean and he throws his shit around just to annoy me more. Sometimes I really wonder how we are still friends.
No one was in the courtyard when I came out to head for school so I assumed ammi and the rest must have gone back to bed but then she called me from the kitchen just as I was about to open the gate. So I headed over there.
“You didn’t think I’ll let you sneak out without having breakfast did you?” She complained the minute she saw me.
” I wasn’t sneaking out, I thought you were asleep that’s why I left” I quickly defended myself.
“Hmm,which sleep. How can I go back to sleep after that racket, since that girl decided to disturb my rest with her nonsense I decided to get a jump on breakfast, here is yours’ she pushed the plate of pancakes to me “and don’t forget Nurah’s it’s in this flask, I don’t know why that boy insist on staying at the hostel during exams. Instead of studying here with you like normal people”
“You know how he is he likes doing group discussions he claims he learns faster that way and I don’t like noise when am studying so this works for us” I said while stuffing my face with the pancakes, they always taste better straight from the pan. I could see ammi giving me the side eye for eating while standing so I quickly sat on a stool before she can start ranting.
“Well, I guess that’s okay but Nurrain I hope when you lock yourself up in that room you are actually studying not sleeping, you sleep too much as it is and don’t forget this is your final exams you better get a good grades. Maybe you should be following Nurah to school he has always liked school better than you maybe you’ll be studying more if you’re together” she said as she got a mug and fixed my tea just the way I like it, strong with a dash of sugar and no milk. She handed it over to me and sat on the other stool next to me so we could continue our conversation.
“Ammi you know I like my space and the hostel is already crammed,we will be disturbing Ahmed’s roommate if we all move in during exams besides I can’t use that there bathroom just thinking about it makes me itchy. I promise you am studying really hard by myself” I assured her.
“If you say so, I’ll believe you but don’t forget once you clear this exams successfully Baffa will give you the seed money you need to start up your business just like you’ve always wanted but as I keep telling you school is more important than just earning a certificate to fulfill his condition, no knowledge is ever…
“Wasted!” I completed for her before she could say it, I’ve heard it a billion times already.
“Cheeky boy! You are imitating me now ehn” she said with mock furry.
“Ammi I’m 24 you really need to stop calling me a boy” I grumbled.
“You can be as old as the sun and in my eyes you’ll always be the boy that wouldn’t stop crying whenever we take his toy car away!”
” There you go again revisiting old history, I better get going Nurah’s waiting for me” I finished my tea and got up to go.
“Good luck with your exams and I need to get ready too so let me get back inside” that gave me pause and I had to ask “where are you going this early?”
“To Maya’s house obviously, although that useless father of hers will probably not do anything about it I have to report her behavior to her grandmother maybe she’ll do something about it, we can’t just let her carry on like this”
“Ammi please don’t go there, you know her father doesn’t like hearing a word against his children, you’ll just end up getting insulted for no reason and it’s not worth it” I implored her but from that stubborn glint in her eyes I knew she’d made up her mind and there’s no use trying to convince her, ammi never backs down once she sets her mind to something.
“That’s why am going to her grandmother not her father, she is a nice lady am sure she’ll see reason, just because the girls lost their mother since they were young doesn’t mean their dad should spoil them rotten, he’s not helping them by letting them get away with murder and that step mother of theirs is no better she only cares about her own children. Instead of sitting back and watching her ruin her reputation in the society I must try to reason with them”
“Well you know how that entire family is, they have no respect for anyone so I can imagine the grand mum isn’t all that different from her children so just think about it again ammi I don’t want them to insult you because then me and them are definitely going to have problems,you know I won’t stand for it” I told her clearly, nobody gets away with treating ammi badly, not on my watch.
I said my good byes and headed to the garage to get the car. I was about to drive onto the road when someone ran out in front of my car out of nowhere and i had to press down on the break so hard to avoid hitting them, my head thunked heavily on the wheel from the impact and I couldn’t help exclaiming in pain,I brought my palm up to rub at the spot and she took the opportunity to slid into the car and sit comfortably.
“What the hell are you doing I snapped at her I could have hit you” she didn’t pay me any attention just started grappling with the seat belt so she could clip it. Answering me dryly without even looking my way ” but you didn’t so it’s all good, I need a lift to school or I’ll be late for my exams. I’ve been waiting for you for ages but you took you sweat time I was about to go in and call you if you took ten more minutes”
I stared at her in disbelief, who the hell does she think she is. Sometimes when she does somethings I really think she’s high or some thing.
“Why in the world will I ever give you a lift, get out my car and find you own way to school am not your driver and your boyfriend isn’t here today so get down,I don’t have time or patience for your rubbish!” I snapped but she didn’t seem to care just gave me a dry look before she said “I’m not getting out, it will take too long to get adaidaita, I wasted my time on your sister or I’ll have gotten ready faster and beat the traffic so it’s only fair you give me a ride!”
“You beat her up! How does that translate into me owning you a ride to school”
“She deserved it! Don’t waste your breath I’m not getting out so you might as well start driving” she settled in and clipped the seatbelt on clearly she had no intention of going anywhere. I was tempted to park the car and wait out her stubbornness but I know ammi will be coming out soon and although the car has tinted windows and she might not see her I didn’t want to take any chances of her taking a closer look.
So I decided to drive, the faster I can get to school and hand her over to Nurah the faster I can get rid of her. Nurah totally owes me for this and I won’t let him forget it anytime soon.