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After giving herself a nice cry, Jameelah got up and announced her intention to leave. Her brother-in-law promised to speak to her husband about the issue. He even gave her transport fare. She thanked him and left.On her way home, she sobbed quietly inside the vehicle. Her tears drew the other passengers’ attention to her but she ignored their peering eyes. She could only shed tears but her head was completely empty. In fact, she was confused about what to do. Leaving could be easy on the lips but practically, it wasn’t that easy. Her phone rang several times but she ignored it. The caller was her husband, he was angry that she was late. How could she go to the salon and spend hours there? He fumed.Jameelah’s tears dropped non stop till she got to her destination. She cleaned her face before exiting the vehicle. The short walk home was done with a heavy heart. When she got home, the first thing her husband threw at her was a question.”Where have you been all day?” He asked sternly.”I told you I was going to the salon,” she replied, trying hard to keep her fury at bay.”Are you telling me you have been in the salon for six hours?” He asked, removing the scarf on her head.He was angrier when he realised that her hairstyle couldn’t have been done for that long hours.”You mean to tell me you spent six hours in the salon doing just this?” He pointed at her hair. “And I have been calling you but you totally ignored my calls. What is wrong with you? You’re becoming more and more arrogant everyday. Where have you been all day because I know you can’t be in the salon all day …?”He continued pestering her and at this juncture, she thought it would be best to just tell him the truth.”I went to see your brother ….””You did what?!””Yes, I went to see your brother. I need someone to talk some sense into you ….””How could you visit my brother without my permission? Are you completely out of your mind?!” He yelled. “No, I’m in my right mind. You’re probably the one who’s not in his right mind because I can’t understand why a jobless man will refuse to accept a job offer. I need your family to talk to you because I can’t continue like this,” she replied and he hissed insolently. “Do you think my brother can force me? No, he can’t force me to do what I don’t want to do …””Really? Then it’s simple. Since you have decided to be irresponsible, I better leave before it’s too late,” she replied and went to the bedroom. He hissed again and sat down, somehow, he knew she was just bluffing.When she got to the bedroom, she sat on the bed and cried again. She completely had nowhere to go, nowhere at all. And the money in her account could not even rent a single room apartment. This made tears non stop. “What have I gotten myself into?” She lamented as her tears poured torrentially.She lay down on the bed and closed her eyes tightly for sleep to come.Ridwan entered the bedroom and saw her lying down.”Why are you sleeping? Are you not going to prepare something for dinner? I’ve only eaten breakfast today,” he said but she didn’t respond.He went to sit beside her on the bed.”Are you sleeping already? Won’t you cook?” He asked, touching her but she pushed his hand away angrily.”You’re not even sleeping. You just want to be rebellious. I don’t understand why you’re acting like this. You don’t expect a whole graduate like me to accept a job of 40k. Come on, that’s too ridiculous. If an offer is not starting from 200k then I won’t accept it. 200k is even too small compared to what my mates are earning. But I can just manage it for a start. See, I’m still going to make it, o. I’m going to make it very soon. Don’t stop believing in me. If by next month I didn’t get a favourable job, a friend of mine promised to introduce me to a business. The business requires just a little capital and the turnout will be so massive. Do you have any money that you can lend me?” He asked and this got her more exasperated. She suddenly got up to give him the piece of her mind.”Are you seriously asking me to lend you money? Like seriously? Have you no conscience? Have you no shame? Where do I get money from? After the wedding expenses and all, the money that was left in my account was three hundred thousand naira. I was hoping that our call up letter would be released earlier, and I’ll use the money to restock my wares and take them to camp for selling. But it didn’t happen as I planned it and I’d almost finished the 300k on feeding and other expenses. Out of that 300k, I lent you a hundred thousand naira. You told me you wanted to use it for business but till today, I didn’t hear anything about the business. Out of the remaining money, I took 10k to the market yesterday and what is left is not even up to 20k. Where do you want me to see money to lend you? How do we survive going forward?” She cried.”Don’t worry. We’ll survive. God is the Lord of sustenance. He’ll bless us with his sustenance. He’s sufficient for us …””God will not come down from heaven to sustain us, Mr man,” she interrupted him sharply. “We have to work to get sustenance. Why is accepting a job so difficult for you?” She cried. “Please stop frustrating me. Don’t let me regret marrying you. Your brother said you’d also turned down like five job offers …””He told you that? What a big mouth …””He’s not a big mouth, he’s a good person. Do you think I’d marry you if I’d known all this? What I was aware of was your unending fracas with your roommates due to your habits of evading bills. I was also aware of your parasitic attitudes towards me but I thought you’d not continue after marriage. How wrong was I? If I had asked your family questions about you prior to our marriage and your brother had told me everything I heard today, wallahi I would never have married you ….””Wow! I can see that my brother has fed you with lies. See, whatever he told you about me is a big lie. My brother is very bossy. He wants me to live my life for him ….””Mtcheww! ‘My brother is very bossy. He wants me to live my life for him, yehn yehn yehn …” she mimicked him condescendingly. “Is assisting your brother, living your life for him? Is being helpful to someone who made a huge sacrifice for you, living your life for him? Your train of thought just amuses me. How can you even receive favours from people and never willing to do anything for them in return? Your response made me believe your brother more. Someone who dropped out of secondary school so that you could all go to school is too bossy to you? Really? Does he even need to ask before you do everything you can to relieve him of burden? Ouch! It seems your freeloading attitude is inborn, wallahi!””Who’s a freeloader?” He asked, touching his chest.Jameelah burst into laughter.”So you don’t even know that you’re a freeloader? Wow! My dear, you’re the king of freeloaders …””Don’t call me that, please!” He snapped at her. “It’s true that when a woman feeds you, she disrespects you …””Yes, it is true. I’ve not even disrespected you because I’m a good woman. If you don’t want me to disrespect you, accept that job offer and be a responsible husband …””If it’s that 40k job offer, forget about it. I’m not going to accept it. I can’t labour in vain. How do you expect me to accept a job offer of 40k? It doesn’t make sense …””Haaaaaaaaaaa!” She exclaimed and shook her head when it dawned on her that he was never going to change his mind. “I have made a big mistake,” she shook her head.”Are you calling me a mistake? Let’s see if you’ll repeat that statement when I become a millionaire …””Just keep quiet for once!” She snapped at her. “Did you just shut me down?!” He marvelled.”I didn’t tell you to shut up. I just told you to keep quiet. Allow my ears to rest with your wish of becoming a millionaire without working. Millionaire my foot! You don’t have the attitude of a millionaire, no. Millionaires don’t become one in a day. They start climbing the ladder of success from the first step. You don’t want to climb at all. You just want to reach the last step with a miracle. No, it doesn’t happen that way. You have to start from somewhere. When you accept that job of 40k, at least, what will remain of the money after transport fare and feeding will be more than twenty five thousand naira. The company is just two bus-stop away from us so transport fare will only consume a tiny bit of your salary. I’ll also assist you with food. At the end of the month, we’ll be able to buy foodstuff and other necessary things needed in the house. I’ll manage with you and do all I can to assist you until a better job comes along. But for you to insist on not taking the job at all and waiting for a better job is what I won’t accept. We will definitely not open our mouths in the air while waiting for a better job. It doesn’t make sense …”He shook his head.”I’d rather not work at all than accept a job of 40k,” he was adamantly unyielding.”Really?” She was amazed.”Yes,” he replied.”Now I understand. It’s time to pack my things and leave.””Are you threatening me?” He asked her.”If it looks like a threat to you then so be it,” she replied and lay back to sleep.He resorted to emotional blackmail. “Wow! We’ve just been married for a month and you are already letting me know that you can’t suffer with me. It’s not even been six months. It’s not even been a year and this is happening? You want to leave me because things are not going well for me? You want to leave me because I don’t have a job? You want to leave me just in one month of marriage because I’ve not made it? Where’s for better for worse? What happened to your promises of staying by my side through thick and thin? Have you forgotten your vows of being my helpmate in both drought and surplus? Are your words of assurance only empty words with no substance?”She shook her head and got up again.”Your emotional blackmail cannot work on me. It is your decision to remain stagnant so don’t even try to guilt-trip me. I promised to stay by your side through thick and thin, in surplus and in drought and I’ve done all that like a good wife should. But your attitude keeps discouraging me everyday and I can’t continue any longer. You also promised to take care of me, is this how you’re going to fulfil your promise? By lazing around and refusing to work? You promised to be my head but I’ve been the one heading this marriage from inception. How do you want me to continue to trust you? See, I’m still standing on my words, if you refuse to take up that job then I’ll leave you,” she repeated and shut her eyes.”And you’ll regret your decision when you hear that I’ve made it. I’m going to make it. I strongly believe that I’m going to make it. And it’s going to happen very soon. If by that time you’re no longer by my side then it’s your loss. I’m going to the mosque to observe Maghrib,” he said and left.She got up after he’d left and heaved a deep sigh. Her heart became doubtful of her decision. His words tore her heart apart and made her reason for wanting to leave insufficient and implausible. She continued to breathe in and out. Confusion had set in and she no longer knew what she wanted. What if she left him and he truly made it? She asked herself several times.Sluggishly, she also got up to observe Maghrib. After praying, she returned to the bed and was on the bed till the adhan for Ishai was chanted. She got up and observed Ishai then went back to sleep. It was unusual that she had no vigour to do anything. She just wanted to escape her worries by sleeping. She wasn’t deeply asleep when she heard Ridwan’s footsteps. He was obviously back from the mosque. Upon entering the house, he went straight to the kitchen to see if something had been cooked. He opened all the pots and hissed in disappointment after empty pots were staring back at him. Then he entered the bedroom with lamentations.”She didn’t even cook anything. Oga o. Rebellious wife. She had started showing her true colours just in one month of marriage. How can I enter the kitchen and cook by myself when I have a wife?” She heard him but she didn’t respond. He left the room angrily after murmuring about soaking garri. She hissed and tightened her eyes.By the time he finished eating his soaked garri and returned to the bedroom, she had completely slept off. The following morning, he went to the mosque to observe the Subh prayer but she couldn’t get up. She woke up with a fever. He returned from the mosque and entered the room to see her still on the bed. It was very unusual of her so he moved closer to tap her. Touching her body made him realise how hot her temperature was. “Subhanallah! Your body is boiling, what’s wrong?” He asked worriedly as he tapped her gently and assisted her to get up.She groaned in pain.”My head is pounding,” she said weakly.”Oh, sorry,” he was empathetic. “Let me get you some hot tea and paracetamol,” he said and dashed out. She lay down again as she was very weak.Ridwan switched on the burner to boil water for some tea. Thankfully, they had some beverages at home. He made the tea and thankfully also, they had a sachet of paracetamol at home. He took it on the TV and together with the tea, he hurried to the room.He was surprised to see her lying down again. He put the tea down and pulled her up gently.”Please drink the tea so you can take the pain reliever. I’ll cook something for you to eat afterwards,” he assured her lovingly and fed her the tea when she was reluctant.She took a few sips slowly and he was happy. Later, she shook her head to signify that she was okay. He urged her to take a few sips more. They were still on this when she suddenly threw up and soiled his body with everything she’d taken in.He heaved a deep sigh and put the cup on the floor.”I’m sorry. It wasn’t intentional,” she apologised.”I know,” he replied and got up.He went to the bathroom and cleaned himself up. He returned with a bowl of water to also clean her up. Then he cleaned the floor afterwards and disinfected it. Admirably, she watched his movements with a melting heart. That was one of his traits she fell in love with – loving.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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