12th June 2015
Kano state, Nigeria.
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Amirah felt like she was going to faint, her head was throbbing and her eyesight blurry, all she wanted to do was lie down immediately, the thought of the huge mattress in her mother's bedroom was what kept her going.
"Ya Amirah, Hajiya said you should come outside immediately, the hairstylist has been waiting."
Her immediate younger sister, Zarah said blocking her way and as if on cue she heard her mother's voice from the mini parlor,
"Amirah how long do you want to keep the hairstylist waiting before deciding to grace her with your presence?"
Amirah closed her eyes taking in deep breaths to help her from snapping at her family and cancelling this whole wedding nonsense. In two days, she was to get married to Muhammad, they'd met during her final days of NYSC at the ministry of works where she'd served, and seven months later, they were ready to spend the rest of their lives with each other, or maybe Amirah was a little unsure and not fully ready.
She felt seven months was too short for them but she had gotten no say, she had been arguing with Muhammad on the phone about his incessant need to come see her father and talk marriage, unknown to her, Fareedah her younger sister had overheard the conversation and being the gossiper that she was, she'd gone and told their mother who in turn had told their father and seven months later she was stuck in a wedding where she wasn't even feeling like a bride. All she wanted to do was lie down and sleep for 12 straight hours because that was how much this whole unnecessary event exhausted her down to her bone marrow.
At twenty three, Amirah had a lot to live for and even more to look forward to, starting a family now isn't how she envisioned her new freedom from the walls of a higher institution to be like but Baba was strict. He ruled his household fiercely, at sixty-two with two wives and nine children, Alhaji Aliyu Balarabe exuded the aura of power wherever he went, being a former millitary general, such is to be expected.
He was still a powerful figure in the country and as such, hosted politicians that regularly come to him for advice, his first wife Hajiya Lolo had five kids; Adnan, Hamidah, Amirah, Zarah and Fareedah.
His second wife, Aunty amarya had three; Lawal, Samir and Khadijah.
The last born of the house was from the third wife who died while birthing Na'eemah.
Amirah's father could be considered rich having the biggest house in Tudun wada local goverment area of Kano, he was feared by all his children.
"Hajiya can't I rest for a little while? The hair stylist can just come back tomorrow." Amirah said as soon as she met with her mother in the mini parlour which was full with her mother's friends and associates, the women were talking and laughing amongst their selves over a tray of masa and bottles of chilled kunun aya. Her father was also hosting his friends in the main parlor as they talked politics.
Before her mother could reply, a friend of her mother, mama Umaimah did, "All these young girls, you behave exactly the same when it comes to your wedding. This was exactly how Aisha was acting when she was getting married, even worse for at one point she stuck her foot down and said she wasn't interested anymore but look at her now, flying abroad vacationing twice a month with her husband."
Amirah sighed, Aisha had gotten married to an ex governor's son two months ago and her mother never ceased to use any opportunity to boast about how lavish her daughter was living and it was making everyone's ear bleed.
"Oho! this one's own is not even about not getting married, she just wants to sleep for a very long time." Just as soon as she said that, Hajiya Lolo turned with an admonishing glare at one of her friends shrewdingly putting two bottles of kunun aya into her big bag, "Aah toh mama Rashida, may Allah heal you from this act of kwadayi- greediness, you should just go to my bedroom and pack the whole of the kayan lefe -things gifted to a bride by her groom that Muhammad brought for her, it's in my wardrobe."
Everyone laughed and Amirah pitied the embarrassed look she saw on Mama Rashida's face, that was low, even for her mother but she wasn't surprised, that was how Hajiya was.
"You can have the time to sleep all you want, that is if you want to come back home to meet your parents, women are everywhere now and divorce isn't hard for men these days you know." Aunty Samira, another of her mother's friends said but no one laughed for the hard look Hajiya sent her way.
"So I invited you here to join me in celebrating this joy in my heart and you are here wishing my daughter will get divorced, ba komai- no problem, now I know what's truly in your heart, please leave my house."
Amirah watched as aunty Samira left the house without a word, just as Alhaji Aliyu exuded power and command among his friends, his first wife did exactly the same with her peers.
"Toh you'll keep standing here staring at me or you'll go outside so she can start the long process of making this bird nest of yours look presentable."
"I really can't believe my little Mira is getting married, I remember when..."
"Please don't start that one with me this night Khadijah, I no get energy."
Khadijah was her favorite sister and also her best friend, they were just two months apart and that alone made them very close for they've been together all their lives, they even had similar features, both tall with Khadijah being dark and Amirah fair, both slim with pointed nose, the girls turned more than a few heads whenever they entered a room.
"Alright ya Adnan's sister." She winked and continued, "tell me what's wrong? I thought strong, fierce women like you don't get wedding jitters."
"It's not wedding jitters anything, I just want to sleep but that Muhammad said he wants to talk to me this night so now I have to wait for his call." Amirah said with a roll of eyes.
"Ke! Is it my future brother in-law you are addressing as that Muhammad? Such disrespect!" Khadijah huffed.
"Wallahi Khadijah I am really tired, why must everything be grand in this family? I would've been perfectly okay with a small wedding in the masjid in front of the house, but no! everything must be big big, people must come from all over, if it was a small event now, I wouldn't be this stressed and I'd have enough rest."
"Laaa... you are just too lazy for this life, I wonder how ya Muhammad would cope with you, that one doesn't know what he's just signed up for."
"That one is blinded by his supposed love." Amirah sneered.
"But honestly, Muhammad really loves you. Are you sure you are ready to do this knowing you don't feel as strongly as he does for you?"
"What does it matter? Love is just an illusion Dee, it's a word people use to describe the feeling of lust they have towards another person." She shrugged nonchalantly.
Khadijah was about to object and dive into a long sermon about love when the door to Amirah's room opened and Na'eemah ran in and jumped on the bed hugging Amirah before giving Khadijah a peck. Na'eemah was ten years old, five years younger than her immediate elder sister- Fareedah.
"Baby of the house, how was your outing and where is that big head ya Samir? Hope he bought me the fried meat?" Amirah asked as she stood up and went out her door followed by Na'eemah and Khadijah, tuning out on the chatters of Na'eemah about how their outing had gone, she entered ya Samir's room.
"I knew you'd be the only one to enter my room without knocking, one day you'll see what isn't meant for your eyes." Samir warned.
"What haven't we seen before?" Khadeejah asked entering the room, "Remember when you used to run around this house naked as the day you were born."
Samir turned red in embarrassment, "for Allah's sake it's been thirteen years and I was down with chicken pox, you witches should just take the fried meat and leave my room. I have work to do." He said dismissively as he headed to his bathroom. Na'eema giggled and picked up the packaged fried meat from the top of his mini fridge and they all went out.
•••• •••• •••• •••• It was the next day and Amirah's headache still hadn't dulled and everyone knew the day before the wedding was usually the busiest. She was woken up by Ya Adnan's estranged wife, aunty Samha."Wayyo Allah na!" Aunty Samha exclaimed as soon as she entered and saw Amirah was still on her bed, she immediately dropped her son from her hips and gave Amirah a harsh slap on her leg, Amirah flinched and cursed Samha in her mind."Will you get your lazy ass up! So you are still sleeping because Hajiya has gone out? You just wait till I tell her."Amirah groaned, "Ummi Abdallah do you know how stressed I was yesterday? Even Hajiya knows that's why she hasn't sent anyone to wake me up so I advice you just let me rest unless you all want to watch me sleep throughout tomorrow." Amirah warned before lying back down."Get up you lazy girl!
•••• •••• •••• •••• It was her wedding day and Amirah had tried avoiding having 'the talk' with her mother but, Hajiya found her and dragged her to her bedroom."Toh Amirah, you are not a kid and I really shouldn't even say more regarding this issue of marriage, you've seen enough failed marriage as it is, from Halima's son, Lawal to the one we are trying to resolve between Adnan and Samha but your brother has refused to come home. All I want you to know is that marriage is all about patience.As a woman, try to be patient with your husband, guide his secret as thou yours, since you like running your mouth anyhow, I have to warn you, men are a breed of different species, egostical and very prideful. We women have to always remember our husbands are our king, be ready to bow to him when the need arises, men hate to be wrong so do not hesitate to agree to be at fault even when you know you aren't." Amirah bowed her head listeni
•••• •••• •••• •••• "Is my Amirah shy all of a sudden?" Muhammad asked in a teasing voice. At twenty nine, Muhammad was a surgeon, he stood tall and handsome. His face had been what drew Amirah to him at first but she had a problem, she easily got bored with people, she rarely had any attachment to men and was a strong disbeliever in love unlike her sucker for love new husband."I'm not shy, just hiding my tears from you." She replied using her veil to shield her face more as she turned away from him. He bent in front of her."Hey, it's okay to be sad, I don't hold that against you after all I'm the one who's come and taken you from your family. This is a new journey for the both of us, scary but exciting and I want you to know how glad I am that I'm starting this journey with you. We might face many obstacles along the way but I want you to know that we'll be together every single step of it In Sha Allah and I'll never let g
•••• •••• •••• •••• They both decided it'll be best to have separate rooms for now, Muhammad had said,"I'll wait for however long it takes for you to get comfortable with me but be warned, once you do, you won't be able to keep your hands off this hunk."They both bursted into laughter, "hunk is a muscular man, see your thin arms, no be only hunk, you that have the face of hulk."His eyes widened in horror and she laughed hard at his reaction, now retired back in her room, Amirah smiled at the memory as she arranged her clothes in the wardrobe, Muhammad was just something else. When they had met, she had been blown away with how much this good looking man was staring at her and when he had walked up to her to make her laugh and collect her number, Amirah had already began crushing on everything about him.It took her four months to get bored and irritated
••••• •••• •••• ••••Amirah opened the door angrily to reveal Muhammad dressed in a black thawb, water dripping from his beards."Assalamu alaykum." He said."I told you I was unclean, why in Allah's name are you here again?" She spat."I thought you'll be clean enough to pray, I'm sorry.""I'm not clean today, I won't be tomorrow neither will I be the day after nor ever. Just go ahead and perform your prayers letting me be.""Do you know Allah said the convenant that distinguishes us from the disbelievers is the prayer, so whoever abandons it has committed disbelief?""You want to teach me my religion now huh?" She asked with a sneer.
12th August 2014•••• •••• •••• ••••The days that followed their dinner date had Amirah terribly missing home, Muhammad was back to work, her only companion for a few hours was Mrs Jane and she tried to keep the woman longer than necessary."Is there anything else you want me to do?" Mrs Jane asked her eyes twinkling with amusement, Amirah groaned."No, I'm afraid I have to let you go.""I don't have anything else to do today so I'd be going to the market, would you like to join me?"Amirah's eyes lit up with mirth and an excited nod followed."Finally! An opportunity to leave this place."Mrs Jane laughed, "it's quite a fun estate, some of the doctor's wives are really nice."
12th August 2015•••• •••• •••• ••••Weeks had gone by since their wedding and now it was two months, some days Muhammad felt he had gotten through to Amirah and other days, he wondered what was wrong with her.His main problem with her was her refusal to perform the fajr salat with him, he had no idea if she performed the rest of the prayers but he was certain that she never woke up during the time of fajr prayers to perform it, even in her room.Her actions baffled him, prayer shouldn't be a problem for her, she'd been raised in the north and in a Hausa home for that matter so why was she acting strange?Tomorrow would be marking their two months wedding anniversary, he'd unfortunately forgotten the first month but he wanted to make up on their second, maybe he should take her out, somewhere fancy, buy he
•••• •••• •••• ••••Muhammad would have loved her to lash out at him, at this point he'll appreciate her rude way of talking to him, he'll appreciate anything but the silence.He saw the tears that gathered in her eyes right before she shut the door to her room, retreating.It's been two days and yet he had barely seen her, she wasn't out of her room before he leaves for work and she was already in her room when he gets back, the only sign she was in the house was his dinner that was always waiting for him on the table.He'd decided he couldn't take it anymore, the silence was killing him, the thought of not knowing what Amirah was feeling, how she was mourning. So that evening when he got back from work, he stormed past the dinning table where his dinner was and went straight to knock on her door.