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Both Jameelah and Ridwan’s families met and a date was fixed for the wedding. As is the custom with African folks, the expenses of a wedding is usually jointly contributed by all and sundry. Jameelah and Ridwan’s wedding wasn’t an exception. Ridwan’s siblings were ready to foot the bills of the wedding. And since he had no specific job at that moment, his family didn’t expect much from him.Conversely, Jameelah’s family had no help to render her. She didn’t expect anything from a family that abandoned her financially after the demise of her mother so she shouldered her own expenses by herself. It wasn’t as if she didn’t ask Ridwan for money. They discussed the wedding expenses, especially their personal outfits but he always came up with stories of how his brother never paid him despite slaving for him. Funnily, she stopped asking him for anything. She understood that he didn’t have a job. She believed what he told him about his brother not paying him a dime despite assisting him in his electronic shop. Therefore, the items of the bridal list that her family gave Ridwan were purchased with her own money. Her wedding dresses, jewellery, shoes and bags were bought with her own money. Fortunately, she’d saved enough money from the business she did in school. She was ready to assist the man she loved, hoping that when he eventually got a job, she would be compensated. The only thing he gave her was an engagement ring and she was happy to be engaged to him. Also, they both contributed money to get a room self-contained apartment, with her money being the largest. She couldn’t task him much because even before she opened her mouth to talk, he would complain of being broke. The wedding was done low-key. The frontal of Jameelah’s uncle’s house was used as the venue. Two canopies were erected and in the presence of families and friends, they were both joined together. And merriment followed suit. The couple went to their rented apartment that same day. The house had no furniture but Jameelah didn’t mind. The only room in the apartment was thankfully graced with a mattress, bought by him; he did that. Jameelah bought the kitchen utensils – all of it. Her aunt advised her to buy those as a woman is the custodian of the kitchen and as such, she should be ready to equip the kitchen with necessary tools.Even though Jameelah had seen all the signs that her man was a freeloader even before marriage, she probably entered the marriage with the hope that he wouldn’t continue to live like that. She told herself that he was like that because he was financially handicapped as a result of his joblessness. Even when they were in school and his roommates complained about his parasitic attitudes, she believed they were not understanding of him. She believed they were being hard on him. Love truly blinded her eyes from looking beyond his fine face and thinking deeply about the future. Getting married to him opened her eyes but still not entirely. She still had the habit of cutting him some slack. Whenever she asked for money for the house upkeep and he said he didn’t have, she would just shrug and make use of her own money. After their marriage, he stopped going to his brother’s electronic shop. He told her there was no point of going again since he wasn’t getting paid. He told her he would intensify his efforts to find a good job. As a loving wife who wanted to be supportive, she understood him and assumed the responsibilities. He would sleep all morning then bath in the afternoon and go out only to return with nothing and stories of woes. Cooking and other expenses fell on her shoulder. The money she saved from the business she did in school was ‘entering red.’ And there was no money to restock her wares. Her NYSC was drawing closer so she couldn’t take up a job. Her husband, apart from his stories of always being broke also had a nonchalant attitude. It is one thing not to have, it is another thing to be satisfied that you don’t have. Ridwan was more than satisfied with his stagnancy. The passion to assume the role of a breadwinner in which God naturally gave to the menfolk was absent in his life. He loved his peaceful life devoid of disturbances. He was one person who had hope without making any attempt to work towards achieving that hope. Whenever he had a discussion with his wife, he would always tell her: “See, I’m optimistic of a brighter future. I’ll be great in life. God will do it.” And she would believe him.One day, precisely a month after their wedding, she went to the market to get groceries for the house. While at it, she ran into her former coursemate, Omolara. They hugged each other happily.”Oh, Lara, I’m really angry with you?” Jameelah said after the greetings.”Why? What did I do?” Omolara stretched her palm.”Why didn’t you come to my wedding?” Jameelah asked with a lopsided stare.”I’m so sorry. I travelled to see my elder brother immediately after our graduation. He lived up north and wanted to relocate to the southwest here. So I went to help him with packing.””Oh, really? I’m sorry for jumping into conclusion. But you could have called to tell me you would not be able to make it.””I’m sorry.””Apology accepted,” Jameelah replied with a smile and Omolara stared at her from head to toe now as if she’d just seen her.”Why are you looking at me like that?” Jameelah quipped.”Girl, you don’t look good. Has marriage not been good to you? You looked better than this when we were in school,” Omolara couldn’t hide her observation.”What do you mean? Of course I’m looking good ….” Jameelah was defensive.”No, you’re not. You look so lean and unhappy ….””Please stop!” Jameelah snapped at her.”I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m poking my nose in your affair. But I genuinely care …””Thanks for caring. I’m very fine. Has your brother moved?” Jameelah digressed. “Yes. In fact, I’m going to his office right now.””His office?””Yes. The reason he moved to the southwest is because of his business. He launched his company last month; a very big auto spare parts company …””Really? Is there a vacancy in his company?” Jameelah interrupted sharply.”Are you looking for a job? Our call up letter will be ready in a couple of weeks ….””It’s not me. Errmm … it’s …. my husband,” she replied without confidence.”Really?””Yes. He needs a job. Can you talk to your brother, please?! Since his company has just opened, he’ll still need staff …””Okay! I’m heading there now. Why don’t we go together?” Omolara suggested.”Can I really go with you?” Her face radiated a sudden glow.”Yes. I’ll introduce you to him and we’ll tell him about your husband …””Awwwww! Thank you so much, Omolara. I’m really grateful for your help. You know I used to think that you were a self centred person who cared less about others …””You’re entitled to your opinion, ain’t you?” Omolara shrugged.”Yes. And that opinion is about to change. Let’s go, please!” Jameelah urged her happily.The two ladies headed to the company of Omolara’s brother which was another bus-stop from the market. Jameelah had just bought a few things when she ran into Omolara. She decided to go with Omolara first then come back to get the remaining stuff.They eventually got to the company and Omolara gained entrance into her brother’s office without hassle. After all, she was the sister of the chairman. Jameelah followed her hastily. They entered the chairman’s office and a man in his early fifties welcomed them with smiles. Omolara did the introduction after which they discussed. Omolara’s brother gave Jameelah the company’s email address for her husband to send his résumé. The chairman promised to give her husband special consideration because of his sister. With a heart full of gratitude and happiness, she left the company and quickly returned to the market to pick the remaining things she needed. And joyfully also, she returned home with the good news. But before she had the chance to break the good news, Ridwan welcomed her with grumpy complaints.”Where have you been all day? Were you buying the whole market? I’ve been hungry all day with nothing to eat and no one to cook for me. Where exactly did you go?””I went to the market …””How can you shop for over seven hours? Where have you been?””Please be patient and hear me out. Where else would I have gone if not where I told you I was going? I ran into my friend in the market ….””I said it!” He interrupted her sharply, jumping out of the chair. “I said that you’ve been frivolous all day ….””I wasn’t frivolous. I actually came back late because of you …””Me? How?” He raised his voice.”Please calm down and allow me to explain.””Okay, I’m all ears,” he replied without interest and she explained everything to him but to her dismay, he didn’t look excited as he should be.”What’s wrong?” She asked. “I expect you to be happy. The job is guaranteed. The chairman himself promised to give you special consideration because of his sister who’s my friend.””I see,” he replied without vigour and went to sit down.She moved closer to him.”What is it? Don’t you want to work?” She asked, surprised.”Of course I want to work. Why would I not want to work? Do you think I like the fact that you’re feeding me ….?””So, what’s with that attitude that you’re giving me?””See, that company is a new one according to you. How much will they pay?””Wow! Why are you talking like this? Ain’t you supposed to make an attempt to secure the job before worrying about payment?””Look, payment is very important. I’ve been patient all these years and I wouldn’t settle for less now. I need a job with a fat payment. I desire to work in oil companies, telecommunications and bigger industries that’ll pay a reasonable salary and not all these small, small kiosks parading themselves as companies,” he said to Jameelah’s surprise. She couldn’t close her mouth. “But you have to start from somewhere, you know. If you desire to work in big companies and your desire has not come to pass, would you not accept the small job available at the moment in order to make ends meet?””I’m sure I’ll land a big job soon. Don’t worry. My dream job is closer and nearer. I believe and you should also believe. I don’t want to waste my talent with small companies who have less to offer me …””Really? So, what would we be eating before your dream-job arrives? Are we going to be eating sand? Are you aware that my account is almost red? And are you also aware that I could not restock my wares because we’ve spent all my money on feeding? Are you equally aware that I can’t take up a job now because I’ll be going for NYSC in a couple of weeks? I took ten thousand naira to the market today and these few things are all it could buy,” she said, pointing at the sack she took to the market. “Look, you have to send your résumé to the company and go for the interview and even accept the job. If not, I’ll report you to your older siblings to talk some sense into you ….””Are you saying I don’t have sense? Are you threatening me by telling me you’ll report me to my older siblings?” He yelled but she didn’t respond. She carried the sack and went to the kitchen to start cooking. Jameelah didn’t know the magnanimity of what she was in for. A leech is always comfortable taking from others. All they do is take from others because they’re parasites. They don’t want to give anything or better still, they are not willing to leave their comfort zone. Ridwan believed his greatest contribution to the marriage was marrying her. If he didn’t marry her, shebi she would probably still be outside looking for a husband. He was okay with being a house-husband. After all, he needed no extra requirements to be her crown. His masculinity was enough. As long as other people are there for a parasite, he doesn’t have to worry about bills. Gigolos think highly of themselves. They bank on a special characteristic which is their look. Come to think of it, why did she marry him? He would always think. If he wasn’t good looking, would she have fallen for him? His good looks were enough assets for her to bank on. A parasitic husband is okay with being docile. The wives that fall into their hands are either from rich backgrounds or a self-made hard-working woman. Another trait that accompanies gigolos is their spirit of entitlement. They do not drop money yet they want good food and good care. With time, they become so manipulative and unappreciative of their women’s efforts. After sweating in the kitchen to prepare the food she bought with her own money, she served the food and her husband ate it. After the meal, he wore a frown like a kid that was scolded for bedwetting. He didn’t speak to her nor respond to her when she spoke to him. Her dislike for a tense environment triggered her to apologise to him. She told him she was sorry for being rude to him. He accepted her apology and she decided to use the calm atmosphere to talk to him again about the job. She persuaded and urged him to apply for the job and not discard it without trying. She was able to work on his emotions and he promised to apply for the job. Her happiness knew no bounds. She hugged him and beamed with smiles.He indeed sent his résumé to the company. And since the chairman had made a mental note of his name, his résumé was perused without wasting time. And soon, he was called for an interview. Jameelah was excited at the news. The morning he was going for the interview, she woke up early to make breakfast. She helped him to dress up and showered him with prayers. He didn’t really show vigour as expected of a long-time job seeker going for a job interview. But Jameelah was hopeful, anyway. He left home and his wife bid him goodbye with another shower of prayers. She was home but her mind was with him, praying fervently for him to secure the job. Even though the job was sure, she still wanted to pray just in case. Her phone was steadily in her hand throughout that day. She couldn’t call him so as not to disturb any process but she just held her phone just in case he called her. Her mouth was moist with prayers for him.When it was 3:00 in the afternoon, she decided to send a text to him, hoping that the interview might have been over. He received her text and responded that the interview was over and that he was on his way home. She smiled and quickly went to round up the cooking. The food must be done before he gets back. Jameelah stretched her neck intermittently and raised the window blind at the same time to see if he was approaching. He arrived eventually and she ran to embrace him, also dotting over him with caressing and warmness. His face wasn’t looking good. But she decided not to ask anything but serve his food first. She served the food and they ate together, albeit silently. Jameelah couldn’t stop staring at him and the more she stared, the more scared she got. His face was giving bad news vibes. However, she refused to judge the situation by his face. He might just be tired. She told herself.After the meal, she allowed him to rest for a few minutes before asking him how the interview went. “It was really a small company …” he replied.”I’ve been there once and it’s not really small. But I didn’t ask about the size of the company, I asked how the interview went,” she replied softly and he raised his nose then began to brag. “Apparently, they couldn’t resist a brilliant man like me with a rich résumé and an abundance of prospects. I was given the job ….” She didn’t allow him to finish. She jumped up happily and danced around the room. She was still in that jubilation mood when he dropped a shocker.”I’m not going to accept the offer, never!” He shook his head.Jameelah’s happiness immediately flew out of the window. Her heart crumbled into pieces.”Why would you not accept the job?” She asked calmly.”Can you imagine? They want to pay a ridiculous forty thousand naira to a whole me!” He touched his chest “What will I use a chicken change of 40k to do?” He asked proudly and Jameelah was dumbfounded. She stared at him in awe with mouth agape.

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