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G*I*G*O*L*O

A STORY BY LATEEFAH ADEWUNMI JUMAH – LAJFINGERS

EPISODE EIGHT

Jameelah was speechless after her aunt dished out her advice. The woman said another thing after that but she didn’t even hear it because her mind was now far away.”Are you still there, Jameelah?” Her aunt asked when she didn’t hear her voice again and this jolted her back to the conversation.”I’m still with you, ma’am,” she replied softly with a sigh.”Really? Why are you quiet? Did you hear the last thing I said?” The woman asked, dismayed.”I don’t think so. What was the last thing you said?” Jameelah asked.”Why are you so absent-minded? Are you thinking about your predicament? See, don’t get yourself worked up over it. I said the other time that I’d been looking for your number and wanting to call you before without knowing you’d call me this morning. Your mother’s best friend, Mrs Akanmu, reached out to me. Do you know her?””Hmmm … faintly,” Jameelah replied.”Okay. She was your mother’s best friend during her lifetime. Last week, I got a call from her. She explained that she’d been trying to call me but my number wasn’t available. I told her that my phone was stolen. She said she got my new number from one of our mutual acquaintances. To cut the long story short, she informed me about a land which your mother bought during her lifetime …” At the mention of the land, Jameelah’s ears became more attentive. “Really?!” She expressed anxiously.”Yes, that’s what she told me. She informed me that she sold the land three years ago, a few months after your mother’s demise …”Wow! She sold the land?” Jameelah marvelled.”Yes, she said she sold it. Apparently, no one knew about the land except she and your mother. So she sold the land with the intention of usurping the money and she did spend the money, everything …””Wow! The heart of man is desperately wicked. So why is she now calling you after she’d usurped the money?””Because her life has been experiencing turmoil. Because she’d been dealt with by the almighty. Because she has been afflicted with an adversity which has taken more than she sold the land from her pocket ….”(“And give to the orphans their property, and do not substitute worthless (things) for (their) good (ones) and do not devour their property (as an addition) to your own property; this is surely a great sin.” (Surah An-Nisa verse 2))”Hmmmmmmm! The almighty God that doesn’t chase a sinner before catching him,” Jameelah reflected. “Exactly! Probably she was told that she has taken what doesn’t belong to her and only when she returns it will she find peace. Since then, she’s been running from pillar to post, trying to get my number. My darling, I got an alert of 2 million naira from her last night ….””2 million what?” Jameelah’s face lit up.”2 million naira,” her aunt responded. “That’s the amount she said she sold the land. And if it’s more than that, she should be ready to experience another unrest. Please send your account details, let me send the money to you …”Jameelah was dumbfounded. It felt as though she was dreaming. Her eyes blinked rapidly due to disbelief. Two million naira, just like that?! Haaaaaaaaaaa! Is this what people mean when they say miracles still happen? She thought as her heart entwined with surprise, happiness, anxiety and disbelief. She couldn’t believe her ears at all. “Are you still there?” Her aunt asked when she refused to say anything.”Yes, I’m still here, ma. I’m just amazed. As in, I wasn’t expecting this kind of miracle. This is too good to be true. Two million naira without working?! Haaaaaa! Oh Lord, I’m grateful. Oh Allah, bless my mum for me. Forgive her shortcomings and shine your light upon her grave. It’s like she saved this money for me because this is the time I need it most. I’m short of words,” she broke down in tears.”Hmmm! Aamin to your prayers. Your mother’s friend might have thought she duped you, but she had actually kept the money for you in my own opinion. I agree with you that this is the best time that you need the money. You complained about your husband’s inability to give you money for baby things. Use part of the money to get baby things for your unborn child. Buy nice clothes, shoes, bags and jewellery for yourself to rock on the day of your child’s naming ceremony. Eat good food and fruit in preparation for delivery. Save the remaining money for business which you can start after your child is three months old. For now, ignore your husband’s irresponsibility and focus on yourself and your unborn child …”Jameelah gave a louder cry.”If I ignore his irresponsibilities now, won’t I continue to ignore it forever? She cried.”He’s going to change …””And if he doesn’t change?””Then face your children and ignore him completely. Do you want to be jumping from one man to another? Do you know the next demon you’re going to meet? The devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know. Work hard and take care of yourself and your children. God has already blessed you. All you need to do is use this money judiciously. If you invest this money wisely, you’d become a millionaire in a year or two, I promise you …””I’m too young to carry the responsibilities of two people alone ..” she cried again.”My dear, that’s probably your own trial. There’s no one in this life that doesn’t have one trial or the other. You need to be patient and prayerful. Then you should also be hopeful that things will get better …””This is not good advice …” Jameelah shook her head.”Really? Okay. Leave your husband. Leave him in that state and become a single mother. Your situation will surely get better after leaving him,” the woman was sarcastic. “Leave him and start living alone. Then see how different men will be harassing you and demanding the unspeakable from you. Leave him and go marry another man, have another child and if that one also misbehaves, leave him and continue to have children for different fathers …””May that not be my portion,” Jameelah rebuked.”Really? You don’t want that to be your portion but you said I’m giving you bad advice? Should I tell you to leave your husband? Is that what you want to hear? You don’t know that being married and under a man is an honour on its own. It provides security and companionship for the woman and it shields her from harm and harassment from men ….””Is being married a do or die affair? Must I stay in a marriage because of honour, companionship and protection even when the man is not financially responsible?””Honour, companionship and protection are a whole lot, my dear. Go and ask widows and divorcees and other single mothers. They’ll tell you how lonely they are. They’ll tell you how badly they crave a man’s companionship. They’ll tell you how badly they need a man’s touch. They don’t mind feeding a man as long as they can get these three things that you don’t value in return. The ones among them who are not God conscious will start sleeping around, changing men like clothes. You either stay in a man’s house or leave and start fornicating like animals. Is that the life you want for yourself? Do you want to sleep around?””God forbid!” She replied sharply.”God can only forbid it if you don’t leave your husband because of a flimsy reason. See, Jameelah, your husband won’t be like this forever. No one knows tomorrow. Like I told you earlier, you signed a live contract. It’s just been a few months and you want to pull out because of challenges? Don’t you know that whatever will turn out good will first be riddled with challenges? You should also pray for him that he gets a good job. Pray for him instead of complaining all the time ….””Hmmmmmmm! You mentioned something about a naming ceremony the other time, should I also do my child’s naming ceremony with this money?” Jameelah quipped.”If your husband can foot the naming ceremony, fine. If he can’t, there’s no big deal in celebrating the birth of your own child. It’s your child, after all. Whoever has the means should do it. You’re not God that directed this money to you at this time. It won’t kill you if you use it to do what your husband is not capable of doing. Either the wife does it or the husband does it, the most important thing is for the ceremony to be done …””Wow! Hmmmmmmm! Mummy Enugu, I know you’re not giving me good advice. But no problem, I’ll consider it as my cross like you said and carry it. Thank you, ma. I’ll send my account details to you after the call. You can send 1.8 million naira to me. Use the remaining to buy drugs and food …””Oh my darling! A whopping 200,000 naira for me? Oh, thank you so much. You’re such a merciful child. May God bless you immensely. May everything you lay your hands on be successful …””Aamin.””I’ll send 1.8 million naira to you. Thank you once again. Please don’t leave your husband. Don’t leave your husband, please! Things will still get better, okay!””Hmmmmmmm. Thank you, ma. Let me end the call now. Please take care of yourself.””Thank you, my child,” Mummy Enugu replied happily and ended the call.Jameelah heaved a deep sigh after the call ended. She checked her phone and realised that she had been on the phone for 45 minutes. Her aunt said a lot but all she said only added to her pain. The only thing that gave her joy was the money. As soon as she remembered the money, she quickly sent her account details to her aunt. And a few minutes later, she got a credit alert of 1.8 million naira from the woman.As much as she would have loved to jubilate because the money was huge, she received the money with mixed feelings. Not too happy and not extremely sad. In all, she chanted Alhamdilillah Rabil’Alamin. In every situation, gratitude to the almighty is still very important. The money she wasn’t expecting came out of the blue and that alone should be worth jubilating over. A deep sigh escaped from her mouth as she reached for a pen and jotter. She wanted to write down what she needed for the baby and her personal needs. Even though she’d written them before, every plan made in the absence of money would definitely be replanned when money arrived. Then she would write down her plans for the future as well. The money met an already made plan because Jameelah had always dreamt of opening a snack outlet which could grow into a restaurant or eatery. That was why her choice of course was Food Science Technology in the first place. She planned to spend 200,000 for baby things and her personal needs. She would buy the important stuff for her baby and the necessary ones. Additionally, she would buy many things for herself and be happy. But she decided that she wasn’t going to do any ceremony with the money. If he had the means, he should do it, and if he didn’t, he should just leave it. Instead of spending the money lavishly, she would invest everything in her dream business. In fact, she wouldn’t even tell him about the money.Her aunt wanted her to ignore his irresponsibilities and face herself and her child and so shall it be. She would ignore him completely. Her aunt also talked about companionship, protection and honour and in order to have those, a woman should stay married no matter what in her opinion. She was ready to do that. Her aunt’s advice had clipped her wings, even if she wanted to fly before, she had now become wingless and unflyable. Even if she wanted to fight before, her aunt had advised her to sheath her sword and her sword would remain sheathed forever. She would work hard and fend for herself and her child and or children. She would exchange protection, honour and companionship for hard work if that’s the way it should be. All this decision was made in tears. The paper in her hand was soaked with her tears. She was still writing and crying when a knock was heard on the door.Thinking it was her roommates, she got up to get the door but alas, it was her husband, Ridwan. She was surprised to see him and it showed all over her face. He’d been calling her since the previous night that she hung up on him but she refused to pick up. Even that morning, he’d been calling incessantly but she ignored his calls. She had no idea that he was going to show up that morning. As soon as she opened the door for him, he embraced her tightly and didn’t let go for a couple of minutes. ‘Hmmm! Is this the companionship that my aunt is talking about?’ She thought as she dwelled in his embrace. Then she remembered what her friend, Halimah, told her: “A gigolo only has companionship/his body to offer you and nothing more.”True to Halimah’s words, that embrace was all he could offer her that morning. He came all the way to beg her not to leave him. The previous night that she threatened to leave him if he didn’t provide 50,000 naira for baby things, he was worried and tense. He’d been calling her without any response from her. That was why he came running to her that morning. He didn’t come with money. He didn’t come with a promise to get money either. All he fed her ears with was his dream and hope; apology and reassurance of love. Surprisingly, she didn’t get angry. She just smiled as he said everything he said. He was amazed at her calmness. Little did he know that God had buttered her bread. She didn’t tell him anything about the money. As soon as she opened the door for him and they both got in, she quickly kept the jotter under the bed so that he wouldn’t see it.After begging, apologising and assuring her of a better life, he told her to buy the baby things from her NYSC allowance and that he would make it up to her when things got better. She smiled and nodded her head. Still, her calmness and unquestionable acceptance couldn’t stop amazing him. He suspected that she had something up her sleeve but when he couldn’t place his hand on what it was exactly, he stopped bothering himself. Jameelah’s calmness gave him goosebumps till he left that evening. In fact, before he left, they even made love; was that not the companionship that her aunt talked about?After Ridwan had left, Jameelah brought out her jotter from under the bed where she hid it. She smiled wryly as she looked at the jotter; tears cascading her cheeks. She never wished to keep things from her husband. In fact, her dream was to share everything with her husband but how would she share this kind of financial information with a man who had no job and who kept demanding money from her?! He would definitely demand to have a share of the money and that might totally shatter her dream. Her friends returned on Monday from their weekend holiday. Jameelah informed them that her husband was around on Saturday and that he came to give her some money for baby things. Her friends exclaimed happily. They were happy for her. In order to cover her queer relationship, she would keep lying. She urged her friends to go with her to the market. So together, they went to the market. Her friends were surprised as she kept buying this and that. In fact, they were happy for her. Her husband must have dropped a lot of thousands; they thought. They calculated everything Jameelah bought and it was over 200,000 naira. Her friends exchanged glances. In their mind, her husband must have stood up to his responsibilities for sure because Jameelah’s savings couldn’t have bought all those things she bought. Her baby things were ready and the anticipation of the baby’s arrival was in top gear. Two weeks until her expected date of delivery (EDD), she returned home to her husband. No, he came to pick her up in a taxi because she had a lot of luggage. When they got home, he whispered in her ear to pay the taxi man, which she did. In fact, he was surprised when he saw all her luggage. He asked if they were all baby things and she nodded her head. He smiled, thinking she must have saved a lot from her allowance to buy as much as he was seeing. And once again, his mind was at peace, knowing he had a capable wife. Three days until her EDD, they welcomed a bouncing baby boy and the delivery bill was settled by her …..To be continued.Like, Comment and make use of the share button on this page but do not share this story on WhatsApp groups, telegram groups or any other closed platforms ❌ Thanks as you comply. LATEEFAH ADEWUNMI JUMAH – LAJFINGERS

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