Monday, 14 January 2019

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (Movie) - My Thoughts

 
I started reading the novel (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han) but didn’t read up to three pages because of the font size and the format of the book. I’ve read several positive reviews but my squinting eyes prevented me from proceeding with reading the book. Late last year, I watched the trailer of the movie on Netflix. It meant that the story had been adapted into a movie!
Not long after, I watched the movie and concluded that it’s a lovely story. Lana Condor and Noah Centineo did justice to the story because their acting and chemistry were superb.
 

What’s it all about?
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a 2018 American teen romance film directed by Susan Johnson and starring Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Janel Parrish, Anna Cathcart, Madeleine Arthur, Emilija Baranac, Israel Broussard and John Corbett. Based on Jenny Han’s 2014 novel of the same name, it was released by Netflix on August 17, 2018. (Wikipedia)

Major cast:
Lana Condor as Laura Jean



Noah Centineo as Peter Kavinsky

My Thoughts:
-          Never underestimate yourself
Lara Jean was an introvert who hardly kept friends. She had only a friend and whenever that friend wasn’t around, she found it hard to relate with her classmates, converse and hang out with them during lunch period.
Situations later made her realise that it pays to relate with others and become friendly.

-          You are attractive
Well, she had no idea that she had admirers who wanted to be with her. It took those letters to prove to herself that she is attractive.


-          Family is everything
The love that Lara Jean and her sisters share is overwhelming. Her dad also cares for them more than anything in the world. Lara Jean’s family displays a definition of true love.

-          Do not judge
Sometimes, it is when we get closer to someone we’ve despised for long that we realise that they actually have a good heart.

-          Shoot your shot
Imagine if those letters weren’t delivered to the boys she had once loved? Lara Jean had the habit of writing letters to boys she had loved before, and stacking them in a box without sending them out. It was when these letters accidentally got sent out that she realised that sometimes, your true feelings needs to be expressed.

-          Pain is real
Lara Jean’s bears the pain of losing her mother and learning that she would never see her again. The movie displays love and also pain felt from losing someone really precious to you.

-          Share your thoughts
Sometimes, all you need is someone who you can share your thoughts with; someone that can be relied upon and trusted.

-          Defend people’s dignity
When you see your friend’s image getting tarnished, stand up and fight to protect his/her dignity.

-          Some things are not meant for you
It took the short period Lara Jean spent with Peter for her to realise that Josh (her sister’s ex) wasn’t the one she had true feelings for…but Peter himself.


-          Give room for explanation
Lara Jean never gave Peter Kavinsky the chance to explain what really happened when Jen visited his room. It was much later that she knew the truth about what happened.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a great movie and it is worth watching!




Post-vacation Blues


Post-vacation blues! That’s how I feel right now. The feeling that you should be sprawled on the bed, binge-watching a TV series instead of sitting on the office chair, typing away. The feeling that you should be boiling rice in the kitchen instead of wondering when to buy lunch from the nearest restaurant. The feeling that you should sleep till 11:00 am without leaving very early to face the Lagos traffic.

That’s how it feels to back to work after having a two weeks break. A friend had teased me a night before resumption.

Eeyah…you’ll resume work tomorrow morning. Don’t cry too much ehn!”

I was less concerned. The two weeks break was fun and relaxing…but surprisingly, I had missed sniffing the carbon emission from buses and scampering down the busy road. So yes, I was eager to resume!

Monday morning was a bit of a disaster. I was used to waking up late and reaching for breakfast…then settling down to read a novel and watch a novel. It was entirely different. I had to take my bath and cook breakfast very early in preparation for going to work.


The ‘after-prayer’ sleep I’d been relishing for the past two weeks almost cost me an extra transport. I was ‘sweet-dreaming’ in the bus when the shrill sound of ‘Oshodi fifty naira! Oshodi fifty naira!’ filled my ears. I opened my eyes suddenly to see the glaring sign of ‘OJOTA BUS STOP!’

‘I’ll drop here! I’ll drop here.’ I screamed, clutching my bag and jostling towards the entrance. A man had greeted me but I was too much in a hurry that I just muttered some words in return.

Grateful that I wouldn’t face the stress of going past my bus stop, I walked swiftly towards the next bus stop.

Believe me, work was fun. I was glad to see my colleagues again and be in a working environment. I was excited to sit on my special chair and complete my daily target. Even when I was leaving for home, I felt thrilled to view the streets of Lagos and buy snacks from my regular customer.

But it all changed the next day. Life felt like a routine again. I experienced writers’ block. Cooking very early in the morning was cumbersome because I wasn’t used to waking up very early in the morning. 9-5 work (8-6 actually) felt like a prison. I would go to the restaurant for lunch and wish that I could remain there till evening. I would check time intermittently, wishing that seconds would turn into minutes and minutes into hours. I had a project to submit at the office but ideas were not forthcoming. I would imagine myself sleeping at home and making up for the hours I’d spent on the road. I admired business owners and students (students would think they have no freedom but your schedules will become tighter when you’ve turned into a working-class person).


I would entertain myself with things like this (taking a picture of one of my favourite shoes!)

Then I stumbled on an article dealing with the feeling of facing your 9-5 job again after spending weeks at home. Surprisingly, the feeling was peculiar to every working-class individual. The article gave guidelines such as spending time with colleagues and creating conversations with them. Yes, that I had done. It talked about having snacks (I have eaten chicken, chips, chocolate, peanut, sausage roll...just name it). It talked about going to the restaurant to unwind. That had also been implemented.

Okay… I decided to give myself a break and not get pressured. I triedddd my best to submit a project and wrote articles halfway.

I was discussing with a colleague last week and he said that he was facing the same challenge. Really? So it is completely normal!

It was at that moment that I decided to give myself a break…Here I am, typing away and concluding that my post-vacation blues is over! But it isn't over. With time, I'll get over this instead of having the thoughts of running away.























Monday, 7 January 2019

Flaming Home (Synopsis)



Najwa Mukhtar
I’m Najwa, a successful and famous TV presenter, and a relationship coach. Everyone sees my life as being perfect. They wish they can be Najwa; with a loving husband and a successful career.
But it’s a lie! I’m on the verge of losing my job and my marital home is on fire. Sometimes, I wish that I can kill my husband…well, literally get him out of my life!
I’m Najwa and I do not love my husband.

Anas Mukhtar
I’m Anas, a Financial Journalist. I own a house in a residential area and can boast of a sustainable income. I also have a wife and a beautiful daughter.
My friends are jealous of my life…but I am jealous of theirs. I am married to the wrong woman and my house is on fire. I’m getting too attached to one of Najwa’s co-worker, Mutmahinat; a single mother of two. But I’m scared…scared that all women are the same!
I’m Anas and I do not love my wife.

#Starts this week.


Friday, 4 January 2019

The Precious Figure (Finale)


Episode Eighteen

“He said that I’m too short and my nose is flat…that our children won’t be beautiful,” Rofi’at said in a high-thin voice and we all yelled in disgust.

“Really? You mean he called off your marriage because of your looks?” Zuwayrah widened her eyes in shock and disbelief.

The room fell silent as we were all perplexed and flabbergasted. “You’re surprised abi? Oyaa, hear my own. My own fiancé said that getting married will be a waste of genotype. Because we’re both AA.” Aisha said and we all burst into laughter.

“Na lie!” Zulaikha laughed in disbelief. “Hear my own. He said that I’m fake. That my hair, my eyes…everything is fake. The surprising thing is that he didn’t return my texts or pick my calls. It was when we called for a family meeting that he said all these. The question is, didn’t he see me before proposing?”

I cleared my throat and processed what to say. “He said he hates the hijab. Ejo, was his eyes blind when he approached me for the first time? Didn’t he see me putting on the hijab?” I rolled my eyes and the ladies yelled in anger.

Shey he thought that he’ll be able to convince you to remove the hijab when he wins your heart? Men sha!” Mu’minah twitched her lips in rejection.

It was the ‘Ladies’ Night’organised by the Muslimahs’ society and we all gathered in ‘Aatiyah’s room to hang out and discuss personal issues. She occupied a room in her uncle’s house (who was also a lecturer in the university) and her room was wide enough to accommodate ten women.

Plates of biscuit, prawn crackers and groundnut was placed in front of us and our paper cups was filled with cold zobo drink.

“I didn’t experience any of these oo. I met my husband when I was in my second year and we got married some few months after. We had our twins last year,” Zaynab smiled and the ladies cheered in excitement.

“Same here oo. I met my olowo ori mi through my elder brother. He assured me that his friend is really nice…and he was right. We got married last month and I’ve found no fault in him. I know there’s no perfect man, and we’re also not perfect. But Allah has joined us to perfect each other,” Sumayyah narrated.

“I agree with you, sister. One brother that I have boasted about spending the rest of life with called me one afternoon. I thought he wanted to introduce me to some of his relatives but guess what? He said that he cannot proceed with the wedding preparations because he had fallen out of love with me. Allah replaced him with someone better.”

“’Alhamdulillah. Aatiyah, you nko?” Summayah pointed at her as she took a handful of groundnut from the plate.

“I’ve never been in a relationship. I haven’t found the one yet… but I would, In Sha Allah, with Allah’s guidance. I think all these balls down to istikharah…seeking Allah’s guidance…”

“I need to go to the corridor,” Raqibah whispered, showing me her phone.

Munib had been calling since we arrived there.“See…ten missed calls. Let me pick up before he comes here looking for me.” She chuckled as she patted my arm and wore her hijab.

I watched as Raqibah left the room, knowing fully well that my friend had found love and she had never been happier.

It was just then that my phone started to vibrate. It was Habeeb calling. I felt a frisson as I took my phone stalked off gingerly to join Raqibah in the corridor, trying hard to hide my excitement from the ladies.

I started a new relationship with Habeeb some few months after we met. That was how he became a part of my small family. He either visited with loads of goodies or took me to restaurants I’d never been to. My mom liked him instantly and she was sure that he was the right one for me.

Habeeb was different…different from the other men I’d met. He had a character like a halcyon; calm, peaceful and unruffled. He hardly made eye contact with me; he took care of me like a precious gem and maintained simplicity. Habeeb worked as a copywriter for an advertising firm and he lived with his parents. He didn’t own a big house nor did he drive an exotic car. But he was worth more than any material quality money could buy.

I continued attending the Muslimahs’ society every Wednesday afternoon and improved my religious activities. When Mallam Sanusi gave a lecture on the significance of istikharah, I had no idea that it was really important to seek guidance before going into an intimate relationship.

When Habeeb proposed to me, I cheerfully accepted. It was a dream come true. We visited our families and a natural bond was created between us. I knew that he would make me the happiest woman. I knew that he would complete half of my deen.

“Asalamu ‘alaykum warahmatullah wabarakahtuhu Fareedah.” Habeeb greeted on the phone.
I could picture a wide smile plastered on his face; his eyes lightening up like the first time I had met him.

The sound of Habeeb’s deep and resonant voice made me shiver down to my spine. “Wa’alaykumu salam warahmatullah wabarakahtuhu. How are you?”

“Ah…well, I’m ravenous. Momma is still making amala and ila and I’m almost drooping saliva here. I haven’t eaten since afternoon. I only took doughnut and bottled water for lunch,” he grumbled in an amusing way.

I couldn’t help chuckling. “You ehn! You’re still eating late. You want to grow a large tummy before our wedding. Can’t you eat something lighter, like boiled plantain and vegetables?”

Plan-what? You know what I ate for breakfast? Two slices of bread and tea. If I appear looking like kwashiorkor on our wedding day, will you agree to marry me?” he was laughing and I joined him, hardly noticing that someone was tapping my shoulder.

“The sisters have been asking of us. We need to return now.” Raqibah whispered.

“Habeeb…I need to return now.”

“Alright…have fun and do not leave till in the morning. I can’t afford that you walk along the dangerous path when it is tar-black…”

“Okay…”

“And I’ll pick you up by 10:00 am tomorrow. I want us to go on an outing…anywhere fun and serene.”

“That’ll be great. Bye!” I hung up and turned towards Raqibah, who was grinning from ear to ear.

“We’re really lucky. We should get married on the same day.”

“Yes, we should.” I nodded in return as we held hands and returned to the room.
***
I couldn’t help but glance at Habeeb as he was driving the car. He had picked me up thirty minutes earlier and my mom insisted that he ate from the beans and plantain she made for breakfast.

“You’ve been stealing glances at me since we started this journey. Can you perceive the stench from my fart?”

I narrowed my eyes and furrowed my brows. “You’ve been farting?”

Habeeb cracked up. “Of course. I ate beans!”

My eyebrows puckered in concentration. “Do you promise to become the best of husbands when we get married? Will you keep loving me more than you do now?”

“I’ll try my best, Fareedah. I know I’m not perfect, but I’ll try my best to be the best husband for you. With Allah’s assistance, I will try to always make you happy and proud of me.”

I looked gloriously triumphant as I stared out of the window, knowing that he had said it from his heart.

When I asked what got him attracted to me at first sight, I was flabbergasted when his reply was, “It was the precious and innocent figure in a green wet hijab that attracted me to you.”

THE END.


Epilogue
Najib’s Point of View
Yes! My life is a mess…a big mess! Filled with regrets, sorrow and sadness. I had lost a precious figure just like that…I let a precious gem slip from my hand without fighting.

I regretted the day I stepped into Tantalizers and shattered the heart of an innocent soul. I regretted the day I had met her…walking beside a pudgy lady who happened to be her friend. I couldn’t pull my eyes away; from her. I was surprised because she was one of those women I had tagged as ‘Out of bound.’ She was putting on a long hijab and was fully covered from head to toe in a modest dress.

When I approached her, I knew why she had captured all of me. Her eyes were big, lovely and bright. Her soft luscious lips were tempting to touch. I wished that I could brush my lips across hers…right there in the scorching sun.

But I knew that my soul was corrupt. The lady never thought of all these. Her smile was innocent and she could hardly look me in the eyes.

I wished that I hadn’t walked towards them that afternoon. Maybe I wouldn’t have been filled with regrets.

All through our short time together, I was eager to taste her lips and feel the texture of her skin. I wanted to see how straight her legs were and how fair her hands looked. But I couldn’t. I felt too restricted. I wanted more. I wanted her!

I couldn’t help it when Moyo started to mock me every day…walking into my office and asking questions like, “How fun is your relationship?”

To me, my relationship was no fun. I wanted more than just calls and visits to the restaurant. The first day Rahima started work in the company, I grew attracted to her. She was everything I wanted…more than what I wanted. Also, I knew that it would be a great opportunity to spite Moyo and get her off my chest.

Rahima said yes without much hesitation…courtesy to my good looks, money and sweet accent. Now I regret that I am attractive and rich…maybe I wouldn’t have felt full of myself.

I could play with Moyo’s braids, kiss her deeply and hold her hands while we walk on the street. I didn’t have to stare repugnantly at a hijab because Rahima didn’t wear one (how much I hated the hijab!).

We started planning our wedding and my mom agreed to come over to Nigeria. I was really happy. Despite Fauziyyah’s pleas and advices to end the relationship, I turned deaf ears. It was all about what I wanted. She was very glad that she would see our mom again…and because of that, she stopped pestering me.

Rahima walked away on our wedding day. I had spent a lot of money on our dream wedding but she never showed up.  I stared around the well-decorated hall with a perpetually disdainful expression. I felt queasy. I wasn’t angry because she walked away on the most memorable day of my life. I was furious because my mom was sad…sad to witness all of that. I could picture her dressed in a white laced-iro and buba, a red head gear and silver high-heeled shoes. Her make-up-filled face had turned moist and she was pacing back and forth in confusion.

“It’s okay, Najib. She is not the one for you. You’ll find someone better. You’re a good man.” She held my face in her hands and cleaned the tears that were streaming down my face.

I winced and quelled a shudder. “No mom, it’s not okay because I let you down. I am not a good man.” I yelled in anger and frustration.

She looked really beautiful and slender, a carbon copy of Fauziyyah. “Don’t you say that. Everything happens for a reason. You’re a good man. I raised you the right way.”

“No mom, I broke the heart of a precious woman…. I let my happiness away. I should be getting married to Fareedah…. I should have been the happiest man today.” I said in a strangled voice, occasionally punctuating the air. I placed my head on her chest and cried loudly.

It was three months later and I had still not gotten over what had happened. My mom had travelled to Dubai and I’m left with Fauziyyah, whose stare makes me feel a pang of guilt always.

I tried…believe me, I tried to win Fareedah’s heart again. The same woman that I had truly fallen in love with. The face that comes to my mind whenever I open a bar of chocolate. It was too late. She was with someone else…someone better than me. His name is Habeeb and they would be getting married soon.

I was scared of facing her…the same woman that I had walked away from, after revealing the dreadful news. Even when I was called back to help her to the hospital, I frowned my face and walked drove out of the compound.

When I parked by her street to watch her, I couldn’t control the tears that filled my face when I caught sight of her. Her usual radiant face and breathtaking smile. The same hijab that I had prevented her from wearing. It made her the most beautiful woman I had ever set my eyes on. She was with someone else. I am hapless and downcast. I should have been the one, making her smile and promising her a lovely future. I should have been the one planning our biggest day with her. But I took the wrong step and now, I’m filled with regrets.

Yes! My life is truly a mess… a big mess!

 A/N: Yayyy!!! The Precious Figure is finally over. Thanks to everyone who have read, commented, publicised the story...and contributed in one way or the other towards the success of the web series.
You're all appreciated. I'll be updating the synopsis of our new story (Flaming Home) this weekend and it'll start next week in sha Allah. 
Till then,
Xoxo💕💕

Don't miss out on the previous episodes:


















Monday, 31 December 2018

2018: My Top 10 Posts


The posts this year were all thrilling and captivating…but there would some of them that will pull you off your feet and make you glued to your screen. There would be a lot that will make a smile linger on your face and fascinate you.
I’ve decided to give you my top 10 posts for the year. I really enjoyed writing these posts, I got amazing feedback from readers and they made my year!
Below are my top 10 posts:

This is my best write-up this year. A story based on my life in Lagos, the hopeless romantic (Fine guy in kaftan) narrated my experience with a nice man, who decided to assist me when a conflict occurred along the road because our bus hit a car.
The story taught me that we have men that assist with pure intentions; without any ulterior motive. Yes, there are men out there who render assistance without expecting anything in return. A man helping you doesn’t mean he likes you, ya know?

2.      The Precious Figure
The Precious Figure centres on the life of a Muslimah (Fareedah), who sought love the wrong way. Soon, she learnt a bitter lesson and understood what it takes to find the right man. It preaches the essence of abiding by Allah’s commandment and being proud of the hijab (which is compulsory on all Muslimahs).
The Precious Figure became more popular than Love by Fate and had a wide fan base. The positive feedbacks were also amazing!

3.      Ifeanyi
Ifeanyi (The story of a shoe seller) set the foundation for writing on Facebook. Based on a colleague’s advice, I decided to write directly on my wall rather than share from my Facebook page.
This advice shaped me and created a building block for the blog page. Ifeanyi is also an interesting article on ‘Life is an Art’ segment.

4.      Theft
Theft was told from the viewpoint of me and my sister talked about theft stories and various incidents of theft in Lagos. Every reader had one or more story to tell.

5.      Caribbean rice
The recipe is great…and I still look forward to preparing the food. Looking at a picture displaying a plate of Caribbean rice makes me salivate!

6.      Unnoticed
On Love Prose segment, Unnoticed talks about a poor man and his love for a lady who comes from a wealthy home…and their love will never be noticed.
Readers, who had experienced something similar could relate to the prose.

I interviewed a popular and prolific Barbadian actor. It was a great experience and I felt honoured that she accepted my interview invitation.

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella was filled with lots of lessons.  I didn’t hoard the lessons I gained while reading the novel. I decided to share it with my blog readers!

9.      Popcorn Crush
I love snacks so much (plantain chips, potato chips, biscuit, cake, popcorn, chocolates…just name it!) My bags would always contain one or two of these. So I wrote on my deep love for Popstar popcorn and how I broke the heart of my former lover (plantain chips) to be with Popstar popcorn.

Akara and Bread’s story got people asking lots of funny questions and colleagues teasing me for weeks!

Friday, 28 December 2018

The Precious Figure (Episode Seventeen)



“Hey, Sis. I’m really surprised to see you at my doorstep. What brings you here?” Mustapha grinned at me. His eyes gleamed and his face was a rictus of sheer delight.

He was putting on a red t-shirt and a white pair of shorts. He didn’t seem shy and reserved…like he used to. He sounded very cheerful and confident.

I floundered words as I wondered what I was doing there and what I was going to tell him.

That I am interested in giving him a chance into my life? “Asalamu ‘alaykum Mustapha.” I smiled shyly, staring around the surrounding of the yellow-painted bungalow and trying hard to avoid his gaze. My mind was a whirl of confusion. I felt really ashamed of myself. I wished that I could turn back and run to my house…but I was there already!

“Wa’alaykumu salam Fareedah. What brings you to my house?”

“Well…. I…was just…” I prattled.

“Who’s there, Musty?” A female voice called.

The door was wide open and I took a peek inside the living room. A young dark-complexioned lady, dressed in a black veil and skirt was sitting on the couch with a magazine in one hand and a bottle of Maltina in the other. She gave me a glacial stare. I knew that she wasn’t Mustapha’s sister because Fatima, Mustapha’s sister was reading on the table.

“Come inside please,” he said in a low tone.

I entered the small living room composed of a small TV, a large couch and a small centre table. The green rug complemented the white-painted wall. Fatima stood up immediately I entered the house.

“Asalamu ‘alaykum sis. How’s the holiday going?” We were in the same level and she was also a member of the Muslimahs’ society (and a close friend to ‘Aatiyah).

My heart plummeted and my palms had started to sweat. All I could see was the petite-looking lady sitting on the large couch. Her brown eyes, dark skin, pink-coloured lips…

“I should go inside,” Fatima said, leaving the living room briskly.

“I have to check the rice I’m boiling.” The lady said almost immediately and hurried out of the living room.

Mustapha heaved a long, shuddering sigh and said, gesticulatingly. “Please take a seat.”

“Okay.” I kept a distance from him and lowered my head, staring at the fashion magazine that displayed celebrities flaunting their body figures and accessories.

“I’m sorry about what happened. He isn’t worth it Fareedah, you’ll find someone better.” Mustapha stared at me with sympathetic eyes.

I wasn’t surprised he knew…everyone knew about what happened. That Najib broke my heart and I had fainted in Tantalizers.

“It’s past. So…is that your fiancée?” I dabbed my eyes with a towel.

“Yes. She’s in 100 level. I met her last two months.”

I was crestfallen. It was too late. Mustapha was with someone else. I regretted coming here in the first place. I humiliated myself by coming to see Mustapha. What did I think? That he would be here waiting for me to love him? That would only happen in a dream.

“I’m sorry, Fareedah. You’ll find someone better.”

I fought the tears that stung my eyes from dripping as I carried my bag and stood up immediately. “I need to take my leave.”

“Do you care for a drink or…”

I didn’t wait to hear the last of it. I stormed out of the house and entered the busy street; people walking by, buses grinding and cars hooting. Mustapha’s house was only a few blocks away from my house…and I knew that I had to get over the fact that I was rejected from a man I’d be seeing on my street virtually every day.

My mom mustn’t have an idea that I went to see Mustapha. Same with Raqibah. I cleaned my tears and whisked down the road. It was then that a hand pulled me from behind.

“Fareedah!!!!” a loud voice called from behind.

I knew at once that it was Fauziyyah. She was the only one who would scream from the top of her lungs and dance on the street. Fauziyyah was very crazy and weird…in a good way though.

“Fauziyyah!” I turned and she pulled me into a tight hug. I could feel my bones preparing for a fracture.

“I’ve missed you so much, sis. Where are you coming from?”

“Err…I went to visit a friend,” I stammered.

“Okay. I got back from Lagos last week but I’ll be returning again tomorrow. I knew that I needed to pay you a visit before leaving,” she smiled at me with brightened eyes.

I stared at the caramel-skinned lady dressed in adire gown and jean trousers. And I knew that I was wrong. She was completely different from Najib…. why did I ever compare both of them? Because they’re siblings?

“I missed your peppery noodles. Please let’s hurry home before my stomach starts to rumble,” she said liltingly, holding my hand in hers and swinging them as we were walking towards the house.

She narrated her stay in Lagos and I listened enthusiastically. Being with Fauziyyah was really different. I was someone else. Someone who could laugh and talk freely without being judged.

Fauziyyah gushed about a movie she watched last night as I was serving the noodles into a plate. Some minutes later, we were eating in the dining room.

Fauziyyah licked her lips and dipped her fork into the plate of noodles. “I’ve missed this…I’ve missed our talks…I ‘ve missed us.” She rambled as she chewed and poured water into a cup.

My eyes grew wistful. “I’ve missed us, too.”

“I’m really sorry about what happened to you and Najib…”

“It’s okay, Fauziyyah. It’s all past now. I’ve moved on. I’ve even forgotten that I met someone like Najib.” I gave a deadpan look.

“I understand, but I want you to know that Najib is stupid…very stupid to have left you. You remember when I told you I was surprised he chose you? Najib dates trendy and fashionable women with great fashion taste. When I asked him why he chose you, he said that he wanted to settle for a good woman…someone he could spend the rest of his life with. But I guess he didn’t know what he wanted, because he started flirting with Rahima, a colleague at his workplace.
Soon, they started a relationship and he said that she is now his soulmate. They are getting married by December and my mom is coming over to Nigeria to grace the wedding. At least, I’m glad that I’ll spend time with my mom again. They spend their time kissing and displaying affection at home… dancing to Ed Sheeran’s Perfect. Rahima post every picture of them on Facebook…and guess what? She tags Moyo to every new post.” Fauziyyah said, scrolling through her phone and handing it over to me. “Check this out.”

Rahima and Moyo had a lot in common. The only difference was that she was light skinned. Najib wrapped his hands around her shoulder or waist in most of the picture.

“Najib wears this look of pride because he sees the look of sheer horror on Moyo’s face whenever she sees both of them in the office.” She reached for my face and cupped her hands around it. “I know Najib is my brother but you deserve better…better than him. You’re a beautiful and virtuous woman that deserves someone who would love and cherish you for who you are.”

“Thank you, Fauziyyah. I really appreciate. I’ve gotten over your brother and I’ve moved on with my life.”

“I’m glad to hear that…so where did we stop?”

“The noodles is already getting cold.” I laughed, pointing to the food on the table.

“Oh, right. I brought some movies. I won’t leave here till dusk.”

“Great. I’ll have a good company today!” I cheered as we continued our meal.
***
It was exactly three months after the encounter with Najib and I tried to move on with the notion that someone better would find me.

I had accompanied Raqibah to the market to shop for her introduction. We had spent over three hours in the market and Raqibah still hadn’t settled on what to buy.

The sky had turned gray and it was evident that it would soon rain. We needed to leave the market as soon as possible to prevent getting drenched in the rain.

“We’ve been parading this stuffy place for hours and you haven’t bought a single thing, ehn Raqibah!” I eyed the sweaty lady that was scrutinizing every item in the shops we visited.

“Please oo! I must pick the best for my introduction. The vegetables must be green and very very fresh. I haven’t seen anything that matches my expectation,” Raqibah said with a frown. She looked wearied and frustrated.

I had managed to buy some few items to make lunch and I needed to leave the market as soon as possible. “I’m leaving oo!”

Oyaa na, bye. I will go to Oja-oba if I do not get what I want here.” She said, strolling deeper into the market like a lost child in search of her mother.

I had just left the marketplace when the rain suddenly started. There was no hiding corner as it was in the middle of the road. I placed my hand over my forehead as I tried to flag down a taxi. All efforts turned abortive because the cars that appeared in the shape of a small boat sped on the road without stopping.

I was in the rain for about five minutes and I was getting drenched. I was tired of raising my hand. I started finding it difficult to see clearly and to stop whatever figure I could glimpse. It was at that moment that a cat halted beside me.

I hesitated for a minute but as the rain increased in intensity, I hopped into the car.

“Asalamu ‘alaykum.” A voice greeted.

I turned to the grinning face of a handsome young man clearly in his late twenties. I also didn’t miss the sight of his milk-coloured, neatly arranged set of teeth and his bright eyes.

“Wa’alaykumu salam.” I replied as I gnashed my teeth and shivered.


I felt very cold and weak…nothing mattered to me more than getting home and drying my body.

“I’m sorry about your condition. Where do you stay?”


“Down…down…the…street.” I pointed with my trembling index finger.

“Okay then, I’m Habeeb.”

“Fareedah.”

I gave him a description that he followed as he was driving to my house. The sonorous recitation of Mishary Alfasy’s Suratul Waqi’ah’s recitation rented the air and I rested my head on the seat.

About twenty minutes later, he got to my street and parked in front of the gate. When I attempted to come down, he was already at the door with an umbrella.

We walked quietly into the compound and my mom was surprisingly by the door, waiting for us. She welcomed him warmly despite my companion being a stranger.

I dashed into my room to change my clothes. My clothes were deeply soaked and I had to hurry to the bathroom for a warm shower. Afterward, I changed into a new clothe and emptied the contents in my bag.

I could hear giggles and chatters from the living room as I dried my hair in the room. To clear my doubt, I entered the living room.

My mother had prepared hot cocoa for him and they both sat like mother and son. A wide grin appeared on their faces as they were talking and laughing.

“I am greatly enjoying the company of your new friend,” my mother winked at me.

“I have to take my leave now. My mother gets worried when I do not get home on time.” He smiled at my mom, his hands folded together.

“Okay, Habeeb. My regards to her. Thanks so much for bringing my daughter home. Fareedah, see your guest off.” She smiled graciously.

The only time my mom smiled that way was when she was extremely happy…and I wondered why Habeeb made her that way.

“Bye ma.”

“Bye, my son.” My mom waved at him as we were walking towards the door.

A/N: Hello everyone! I trust your holiday is going well. I sincerely apologise for the late update. I was so overwhelmed with the two weeks vacation that I forgot The Precious Figure's document at my workplace. Now I have to re-write again, despite my tight schedule.😡😡
We have one episode to go...and I'm glad that we'll end The Precious Figure and focus on a different story.
They'll be a Q&A session...so start sending your questions (about the story, characters and the writer) before the end of next week. As a guide, you can read this: Dhakiyah and Hayrah's Q&A
Have a great holiday and happy reading!!!💖💖


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