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G*I*G*O*L*O

A STORY BY LATEEFAH ADEWUNMI JUMAH – LAJFINGERS

EPISODE TEN

Jameelah followed Ridwan as he walked to the bedroom.When he was about to enter the bedroom, she pulled his clothes from behind and quickly jumped in front of him to barricade him.”Tell me why you have suddenly resigned!” She demanded, staring straight into his eyeballs.He hissed and pushed her away, then entered the bedroom. She shrugged and allowed him to be for the time being. Maybe if he woke up from his nap, he would tell her why he resigned. She sadly thought and proceeded to the kitchen.

Inside the kitchen, she couldn’t concentrate on cooking. On the stool inside the kitchen, she sat gently as she thought about her life from the moment her paths crossed with Ridwan till the present moment and all she could mutter was: ‘Had I known! Had I known! Had I known it was going to be like this, I wouldn’t have agreed to marry him. What could possibly be his reasons for resigning?’ She couldn’t stop wondering.Impulsively, she made eba for two people again. She found it difficult to cook for herself only. Since they were only two in the house, she’d been used to cooking for two people. As much as she would have loved to cook for herself only in order to teach him some lessons, adding his own just came naturally. After cooking, she returned to the bedroom, by this time, it was time for the afternoon prayer. He got up and went to the mosque. She decided to postpone the discussion till after prayers.

Upon returning from the mosque, he demanded food but she wasn’t surprised. That had always been his way; dropping no money for food and coming back from wherever he’d been to demand food. Like a good wife, she served his food and as soon as he opened the lid, he grumbled. “Eba, again!” He complained and his complaint was met with a disdainful look from her.

“What? Why are you staring at me like that? Do you only know how to make eba? Is there no yam flour in the market to make Amala? Is there no semovita? And the king of all food, pounded yam, can’t you pound yam? Why must it be eba everyday?” He whined, causing her to giggle.”Did you seriously just spew that nonsense from your mouth?””Did you just say I spewed nonsense?””Yes, you just spewed utter gibberish. I don’t even know the right response to give you.

You’re just a shameless entitled freeloader!””Me?” He touched his chest with a mouthful.”Yes. You’re not only shameless, you’re an incorrigible criminal …””Really? Did I commit a crime against you?””You really don’t know? Hmmm! You’ve been committing a crime against me since I married you, no, even before I married you. You’ve always neglected your responsibilities in an unperturbed manner which really makes you a conscienceless criminal. All you want to do is sleep and relax and expect your wife to take care of you. Is that what a man should do? Isn’t the man the head of the home? Isn’t the man the breadwinner and provider? Why do you feel so much at peace with your wife feeding you and calling the shots? You’re so brazenly audacious to the extent of complaining about a particular food when you didn’t give me anything to prepare the food. The eba that you just complained about, did you give me money to prepare it? Have I officially become the husband while you’re the wife? Why should I feed you? And sadly, you’ve become so entitled to the point where you are no longer grateful but complaintful.

Should we just officially swap our roles? Let me be working for money while you stay at home and take care of the house and Hassan ….””Are you serious at all? Why should I take care of the home and Hassan? Is that my responsibility ….?””Really? If you claim domestic duty is not your responsibility, did you do your responsibility as the provider? Why would you not want to be domesticated when you’ve refused to be the provider? See his mouth like Amala, Semovita and pounded yam! King of food, my foot! You wanted pounded yam and you didn’t drop money. Will pounded yam drop from heaven? You got food to eat without dropping money yet you’re complaining. See, henceforth, there’s no food for you in this house unless you drop money. I won’t continue to feed you, never!””See, you’re not feeding me. You’re investing in me. By the time I land my dream-job, you’ll reap your investment in bounty ….””Abegiii!” She cut him short with her hand. “Don’t come again with that crap. I’ve told you several times, you don’t have the attitude of successful people …””Stop projecting your negativity on me …””I’m telling the truth. There’s nothing negative about what I’ve said. Successful people are always ready to take up any job opportunities because they know every opportunity counts and will be useful to them. Successful people don’t resign thoughtlessly because they know a lot of things will be at stake if they do …..””Why don’t you try to be on my side for once? Did you know why I resigned? Did you even know why I resigned?” He repeated. “Why did you resign, o,” she stared insolently at him.”I can no longer take the insults. Did I tell you that my boss is a woman? Oh, that woman is so uncouth ….””Really?” Jameelah pulled his legs.”Yes. She talks to me as if I’m her slave. She doesn’t have any iota of respect for me.

I can’t continue being disrespected by a woman. I can’t. The last straw that broke the camel’s back was what happened this morning. She arrived a few minutes after me. Then she called me so disrespectfully the way she always did. I hastened to her and the next thing she said took me off balance. She said: ‘Mr Elebu, why do you always behave like a moron? Me, a moron? I asked to know what I did and she replied that I left the door of her office open; what if a thief broke into her office? Haaa! Is that why I deserved to be called a moron? I hissed and left her presence to draft my resignation letter instantly. What nonsense!”Jameelah shook her head.”That’s absolute nonsense, indeed. Why would she call you a moron? How dare she call my husband a moron? Is she mad?” She massaged his ego and he was excited. “She’s really mad! Can you now see why I resigned?””Hmmm! Your boss was very wrong for calling you a moron. Haha! No matter what, workers should be respected. However, I think it’s better to be called a moron at work than to be called a moron at home. Breadwinners take all sorts of things including insults just to put food on the table. They know that it’s better to be disrespected at work than to be disrespected by their wives at home. A man who doesn’t take money home is prone to disrespect and that is why breadwinners will think twice before leaving the job that provides money for them. That’s why our people say that ‘uneasy lies the head that wears the crown …””What do you mean by that?” He stared hard at her.”How many people resign from a job because of insults? If everyone resigns from their job because of challenges then no one will work because there’s no job without a challenge …””Are you telling me to stay and get insulted everyday?””No. You have the option of leaving a toxic job but not without getting another one. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

You can tell your boss to her face that you don’t like what she said to you and how she’d been treating you with disrespect. You don’t just leave your job just like that …””You must be out of your mind! You want me to get insulted everyday because I want to be a man. No, I won’t do that, never!””Why? Is it because you think your wife will always fill the void? Would you have resigned if there was nothing to fall back on?””My dear, I’d prefer to starve to death than continue working where I’m not valued.””Is this only about you? What about me? What about your son? Are you not responsible for our upkeep?””ALLOW ME TO BREATHE!” He yelled. “I don’t even know if this food is going through my throat or coming down from my mouth.

You’ve not given me any breathing space since I started eating. Please keep quiet and don’t choke me!” He retorted, then ignored her and continued eating.Jameelah heaved a deep sigh and kept quiet. She watched on silently as he ate. After eating, he washed his hand, got up and went to the bedroom. She shook her head and packed the plates. At this point, she was totally lost. After dropping the plates in the kitchen, she sat on the stool and put her palm across her chin. She thought his boss was wrong but no one resigned from their job thoughtlessly. ‘Why would he resign just like that? Is it because he knew he had a wife who could feed him? Even though he wasn’t responsible for her upkeep and that of their baby since he started working, at least his own burden, minus food, was off her shoulders.

Now that he had resigned, she would feed him, cloth him and still do other things. ”Haaaaaa!” She breathed heavily. “Am I going to continue living my life like this?” Her soliloquy was loud. ***Since he resigned, Jameelah assumed the responsibility of feeding him and every other responsibility in the house. Somehow, she decided to be lenient with him because she thought it wasn’t really his fault that he resigned. Damn his boss! She cursed under her breath. Everyday, she went to the shop to make money. Before leaving, she’d cook and after returning, she’d cook. Her business bloomed and gradually, solely shouldering the responsibilities of two people was no longer a big deal to her. She focused on her business and ignored him. Funnily, she regarded her predicament as a cross she needed to bear. More reason she overlooked the burden was because her business was doing well. What if God didn’t bless her hands? Was always her reflection. God had been so good to her and He’d been taking care of her needs. Was always her consolation. Everyday, Ridwan stayed idle at home. Sometimes, he would leave the house and roam aimlessly around the neighbourhood. He had free food to eat and needed not worry about any responsibilities. His wife filled the vacuum so well. He became nonchalant by each passing day. And he degenerated from a gigolo husband to a deadbeat father; spending no penny on his son as well. A year after he resigned from his job, he had no clear cut job. And by this time, their son was 20 months old and another baby was on the way. In order to reduce her stress, Jameelah enrolled Hassan at pre-school and again, she was responsible for his school fee. The day Jameelah knew she was pregnant, she cried her eyes out. When she told Halimah about her pregnancy and how sad it made her, Halimah laughed.”What’s funny? Are you using my pain to laugh?” “No, I laughed because you are beating yourself up unnecessarily. Obviously, you weren’t using any protection.

So how does getting pregnant come as a shock to you? You always say it’s your cross, continue to carry it. May your neck not bend!””Why are you mocking me, Halimah?” She asked pitifully.”Wallahi, I’m not mocking you. I’m kinda cheering you on because you’ve passed the naivety stage. Everything is now clear to you and the ball remains in your court. May Allah ease your affairs,” Halimah prayed for her.Halimah shook her head after ending the call. Her attitude was typical of a sensible third party attitude. Friends and families of people going through marital challenges are usually careful with the kind of advice they dish out. Especially when the ‘victim’ is not ignorant of the magnitude of their own trial. No one would want to be an advocate of ‘negativity’. They’d rather hide the truth under their tongue and allow the ‘victim’ to figure it out by themselves. No one wants to be blamed for other people’s woes.Soon, Jameelah gave birth to another son. Ridwan’s happiness knew no bounds. He laughed proudly as people said he’d won his wife for the second time. Jameelah was happy for a safe delivery. By this time, she’d voluntarily joined the league of women who intend to survive marital challenges because of their children. And by this time also, she decided to celebrate the naming ceremony of her two sons together.

Hassan’s naming ceremony wasn’t celebrated because the father had no money. During that time, Jameelah had some money saved for business but didn’t want her husband to know about it so she refused to celebrate her child’s naming ceremony. But now, she was ready to celebrate the birth of her sons regardless of their father’s financial commitment or not. After all, the boys were hers too as much as they were his. In the light of this decision, she put a call through to one of her cousins who knew much about ram business, telling him she wanted to buy four rams. Two for Hassan and two for the new boy, Harith. She informed Ridwan about it. He didn’t ask where she got money from, he knew she was capable.Jameelah also provided money for other stuff and the naming ceremony of the boys was celebrated together. Family, friends and well wishers graced the occasion and there was much to eat and drink. Ridwan’s shortcomings were hidden well. No one knew he had no penny in the whole finances except his family and some insiders. Jameelah didn’t totally overlook her husband’s irresponsibility. She called upon his family from time to time to avail them with everything that was going on; how she solely provided food, clothing, rent and Hassan’s school fees, and the new baby’s upkeep, everything. She begged them to assist him to look for a job and also persuade him to accept the job. But as usual, no job was good enough for Ridwan.At some point, Jameelah was forced to call her aunt, Mummy Enugu, to inform her that her husband hadn’t changed. And the woman told her:”Please ignore him. God is blessing you because he has refused to be responsible. Don’t you know that when a man is not responsible, God will divert his blessings to his wife and she’ll continue to prosper while he continues to be wretched. It’s as simple as that. God directs His blessings to spenders and that is what is manifesting in your life.

When God has fought your battle for you, you need not run helter-skelter again. Just ignore him and face your children …””Hmmmmm!” Jameelah sighed. And so, she continued to bear his shortcomings. She was almost overlooking them because of how prosperous she’d become. In fact, aside from solely providing for the family, she also gave him pocket money from time to time. This continued till their third child arrived; a bouncy baby girl whom they named Hassanah. Once again, Jameelah celebrated the birth of her child unaided by anyone. She’d totally accepted her cross, especially the one which had to do with her children; she was determined to do anything for the little souls who didn’t beg to be born.Ridwan was supposed to sit up after becoming a father of three but no, irresponsibility had become habitual for him and gradually, he no longer saw any big deal in receiving from his wife. In fact, he waged war whenever she refused to give him.Before the arrival of Hassanah, Harith had also been enrolled in school and Jameelah’s bills doubled. After Hassanah was born, the people that were aware of her predicament advised her to close-up. If she wouldn’t leave him, she should at least prevent more responsibilities in which she’d be solely responsible for. And so, she decided that three was enough; at least till Ridwan came to his senses. To achieve this, she wouldn’t allow him unless he used protection. He would complain that only illegitimate partners use protection but Jameelah would stand on her feet. As time went on, apart from her snack business, Jameelah added the wholesales of flour and some other similar products to her business and sales were good. Ten months after Hassanah was born, on a Saturday precisely, she took home a cash of ₦500,000. The money was meant to stock the shop. Her personal assistant didn’t come to work that day so saving the money in the bank wasn’t possible and leaving it at the shop was dangerous. Therefore, she thought taking it home and returning it to the shop on Monday would be a better option.Upon getting home on that Saturday, she hid the money in a safe place and didn’t check it until Monday morning in which she was leaving for the shop and alas, the money was gone!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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