Monday, 22 July 2019

"QING- is not your mate"- A Creative Session With Mr Waduud


Q: Tell us more about yourself
Mr Waduud: My name is Abdulwaduud, mostly known as Mr. Waduud or QING. I'm a multidisciplinary artist, a poet, a photographer, a visual-therapist, a speaker, and a foodie. I'm a restless explorer which is obvious in my arts as I never limit myself to a 'medium' once I can harness it. My most dominant arts are my pen works and photography. Recently, I've been occupying myself with mural painting, face painting, making graffiti and telling stories bigger than me. I'm just as random as they come, an ordinary artist.

Q: How did you come about the name ‘Mr. Waduud’?
Mr Waduud: Many people cut-call my name “Waduud” instead of “Abdulwaduud” and I used to feel it was so rude (still feel it is) because it always sounded like they are calling their ‘baby brother.' So I woke up one day and decided that I was done with that. I changed my name across all my social media pages, slammed ‘Mr’ right in front of it with the intention that “When I turn up on the other end of your screen, you will at least learn what to call me with.” Till date, I still correct people who make the mistake, “If you can't call me by my full name (Abdulwaduud), call me Mr. Waduud or call me QING! Calling me Waduud is just rude!”



Q: How did you discover your passion for art?
Mr Waduud: You'll find me mostly enthused and interested in whatever magic pen and paper can make because back in 2012 after secondary school, writing unsent letters to my crushes in my journal and drawing SupaStrikascharacters were what I found comfort in. I never would have believed that they would transcend into something so much more today.

Q: What is art to you?
Mr Waduud: Coming Alive! To be seen by heart, to be heard by heart, to be felt by heart, even at a million miles away.


Q: What is your major source of inspiration?
Mr Waduud: My Mum. She always had a diary and wrote in it everyday. I use to wonder how she does that. I muse into how deliberate and beautiful her words and handwriting is, so I guess, wanting to be that amusing to others as she was to me is the major thing that drives me.

Q: What are your major fulfillments from being an artist?
Mr Waduud: Freedom! To be limitless in thought, space and time. That’s a superb feeling and to crown that, people appreciate it. I know friends that have been using my artwork as their dp from time to time for years, the feeling I get from the fact that one person out there connects with those arts, is priceless and that is limitless.


Q: What medium has been best used to reach out to your fans?
Mr Waduud: My DM! It’s always been open and I appreciate it so much that people can take out of their ‘zero social media patience' and just tell you in all honesty, “I appreciate art” “I love that drawing” “Did you really paint that?”It makes me wanna bond more with them than just a follow back button.


Q: Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Mr Waduud: Creating. Inspiring. Learning. Growing. And Loving. In sha Allah.

Q: Any plans for the nearest future?
Mr Waduud: Exhibitions to do, stories to tell, hearts to heal, minds to repair. So, yes! Many plans soonest.

Q: What is photography to you?
Mr Waduud: Stilling and stealing time. A moment, an expression, a burst of feelings to never be lost to time again.

Q: Do you think photography is related to art? If yes/no, why?
Mr Waduud: Yes. Everyday of our life is art; a constant curation of our movement in time and space. Stilling and stealing into the aesthetic feeling that comes with those movements, actions, reactions, and expression is what photography is about and that’s definitely an art.

Q: Your happiest moment?
Mr Waduud: Happiest? That day is yet to come. I sure have happy days, but my ‘happiest’? That day is yet to come.

Q: What is something about you that most people do not know?
Mr Waduud: I get motion sickness if I don’t eat before going on a bad road.”


Q: Who is your role model(s)?
Mr Waduud: Brother Ahmad Akinsemoyin (Co-Founder of ZockleShoes) and El-Seed (Calligraffiti Artist). They are my greatest inspiration; the former led me to the latter.

Q: Your favourite celebrity?
Mr Waduud: Will Smith.

Q: Your favourite quote?
Mr Waduud: “Kindly be kind.” – Mr Waduud


Q: Your favourite food?
Mr Waduud: Yam, Stewed Fish& Tea.

Q: Your favourite colour?
Mr Waduud: Black. Bold and beautiful!

Q: Your favourite choice of holiday destination?
Mr Waduud: I have this dream of visiting this beautiful village called Vernazza in Cinque Terre someday. It’s a picture-perfect town that never ceases to arouse my creative sense as an artist and a photographer for its scenic beauty and its old-world charm. A calm, enticing and beautiful place it must be beyond pictures and paintings. If there's somewhere I desperately want to travel to as an artist, it's Vernazza in Italy. For now, it's just still a dream.


Q: Your social media platforms for fans to reach you?
Mr Waduud: @MrWaduud (Instagram & Twitter), 08179134994 (WhatsApp)

Q: What advice do you have for upcoming artists?
Mr Waduud: Enjoy your art, and the world will pay attention someday, and even when they do, keep enjoying it, it keeps their attention.



"Creativity takes courage"- Henri Mattise.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Her Last Breath (Episode Four)


Taofeek
“Who do you want us to see this time around oo?” My father asked with a mockery expression playing on his lips as he sipped from his mug of tea.

We were having breakfast on a Friday morning and I had decided to bring up the topic of visiting Khayrah’s family. I had been very reluctant to tell my father because I knew this would happen…the dreadful moment he reminded me of my bad past and how I couldn’t run away from it.

“My fiancée, Khayrah.” I bit my trembling lower lip as I spread margarine on a slice of bread and fold it into two.

My father spilled tea on his shirt in astonishment. I could see my younger brother from the corner of my eyes, gasping in disbelief.  Aliyah sat beside the kitchen door, eating hurriedly as she dipped bread into her cup of tea. She had always tried to avoid my father…she never wanted to see the look of hatred on his face whenever he stared at her. My father had never showered any iota of love for my daughter, what with the fact that she was given birth to out of wedlock.

We were four in number; my father, my two brothers (my elder and younger brother) and me. Since my mother died last seven years as a result of a heart attack, my father had taken the responsibility of taking care of us without considering remarrying.

“Fiancée? Did I hear you right? Which fiancée again? You want to get married?” he wrinkled his forehead in confusion.

I stared at his small eyes and wrinkled face, the silver streaks of hair that filled his hair indicating that he wasn’t growing younger… I remembered when I used to be his favourite…when I would sit in his room and listen to him talk about the history of politics in Nigeria. It wasn’t an interesting discussion but I always yearned to spend time with him…to watch the way he demonstrated with the movement of his hands and the way his ‘Adam Apple’ bobbled whenever he swallowed saliva. Everything changed when I got transformed into a different version of myself.

“Yes, father. I have decided to get married and raise a family.”

“You want to turn Mr. Responsible after you’ve ruined your life abi? What happens to the three children that you have? Have you told your supposed fiancée that you have three children out of wedlock?”

I raked my uncombed hair and stirred the tea which now tasted like agbo. I shouldn’t have brought up the topic! I was wrong!

“I have decided to let go of my past and focus on the present. No, I haven’t told her but I will…”

“You will? Aren’t you scared that she would call off the engagement because of your past? Ha-ha! Do you think you can let go of your past? How can you do so when you have three children?”

I sighed deeply and stared at the ceiling, fighting the tears that filled my eyes. Maybe he didn’t realize that he was saying all these in the presence of my younger brother and my daughter!

“Father, I have realized my mistakes and I am ready to make amends. That’s why I want to get married to the woman I love…”

“I need to leave now so that I’ll meet up with my coding class.” Jaleel muttered, standing up from the sofa and holding his tray of food. He was already dressed in his usual black t-shirt and a pair of jean trousers. Jaleel, who was awaiting an admission to study Computer Engineering at the University of Ilorin, was currently learning software development in a techie company. I knew he was trying to escape another episode of our father’s nag. Jaleel was the type who would sit quietly in the living room and mind his business. He preferred to read books or get engrossed on his laptop instead of engaging in a discussion.

“Okay, Jaleel. Please, do not be like Taofeek. Follow the footsteps of your elder brother. You see that he is happily married and he has a legitimate child. Taofeek is too overwhelmed with his ‘fine face’ and that is what has been distracting him. Do not be like him oo!” he warned Jaleel, raising a finger into the air.

“Yes, father.” He said briefly, walking into the kitchen to drop his tray and leaving for the door.

I grabbed my cup of tea and stood up. It was a long day ahead and I didn’t want my father to keep making me feel guilty for the sins I’d sought repentance from Allah.

“I need to prepare for work and dress Aliyah up for school.”

“Okay, go and prepare your daughter for school. Baba Ibeji!”

I ignored his last statement as I beckoned for Aliyah to follow me to the room. I could see a teardrop on her face as she changed into her uniform. “What is wrong?” I asked.

Aliyah did not respond. She packed her books into her schoolbag and wore it at her back. “Can we start leaving?”

“I need to grab my tie. I’ll be back.”
***
I could see the stares of admiration and the winks from several ladies as we were walking down the road. The boldest amongst them had even stopped me to request for my number. I am handsome and good looking, no doubt about that and it was what had made me commit several mistakes.

‘Taofeek, you’re too handsome. I want to be your girlfriend… You can’t be single, Taofeek! If you are, I’m willing to date you…I’ll give you anything in the world if you agree to be my lover…’
Women had flocked around me since I was very young, gushing about my looks and fighting over who would win my heart.

“So you want to get married?” Aliyah finally talked after her refusal to say a word to me.

“Yes. She’s a good woman.”

“Will she accept me as her daughter?”

I cleared my throat and glanced at the yellow buses that were grinding and hooting on the road, the conductors hanging by the door and yelling at the top of voices to call out to people. Of course, passengers trooped in, fighting themselves in a bid to board the buses.

“Daddy?”

“Yes, I’m sure she will. She is very nice and understanding. She will make a good mother.” I prattled, hardly believing if Khayrah would accept my three children as hers…if she would still agree to go ahead with the marriage when she realizes the truth.

“When will you tell her?”

“Very soo…”

“Hey! Asalamu ‘alaykum Taofeek and Aliyah. I guess you’re heading to school. Let me drop you off.” Zaynab said, smiling as she parked her green Toyota Camry beside us.

Zaynab was a divorcee who also had a daughter that attended An-Noor’s College. She had proposed marriage to me but I bluntly refused. I didn’t want to join her to school but because we were late, I entered with Aliyah.

“I’ve told you that I can assist you in dropping and picking Aliyah from school every day but you just want to stress yourself.” She laughed, singing along as she was playing Maher Zain’s Paradise.

“Don’t bother ma’am. Shebi it’s just along the road that leads to my workplace? Aliyah is my daughter, so let me take care of her.”

“Okay oo!” Zaynab replied as I noticed my phone vibrating. It was undoubtedly Khayrah, the love of my life.

“Asalamu…”

Eku ise, ogaa. So you cannot even call to ask of my welfare?” She said in a sing-song voice.

My heart beat faster at the sound of her voice. Now, I understood how it felt to be in love…how eager one could be to spend the rest of his life with that person.

“I’m sorry, love. Shey, you’ll reply to my teslim first? Asalamu ‘alaykum.”

I could notice that Zaynab stopped singing and turned towards my direction. I could also notice that Aliyah scoffed in irritation, at the word ‘my love.’

“Wa’alaykumu salam. How are you?”

“I’m fine. Are you at work?” I asked.

“No, but I’m preparing for work. Are you prepared to see my family next week? You’ve told your dad?”

“Yes, I did. He can’t wait to see you,” I lied, biting my lower lip.

“I can’t wait to see him too. Fadilah sent her regards. I’ll talk to you later. I need to have breakfast and take my drug…” she was saying then stopped abruptly.

“Drugs? Are you sick?”

“Oh, no! I meant multivitamins. I take them to make me healthier.”

“Okay, will talk later. Bye!”

“Bye, my heart.” She said before hanging up.
“You’re now engaged?” Zaynab asked immediately I pulled my phone away.

“Yes, I am.”

“Well…a second wife is still allowed.” She smiled at me as she pulled into the school’s building.

My phone vibrated again. I thought Khayrah had called back but I was wrong. It was Funmilayo! I ignored the call and stepped down from the car, holding Aliyah in one hand.

A message notification popped up that very second. It was a message from Funmilayo.

“Hassanah has been vomiting since morning oo! She is not feeling fine and she needs to visit the hospital. We also need more money for their food oo…I’m sure Hassanah has fallen sick because of the ogi I bought from Mama Sulia last night. If you care about the lives of your children, reply ASAP and send money!!!”

My face was filled with sweat as I returned the phone to my trouser pocket. I was done for!
***
“If men were allowed to cover their faces, I’d have told you to do so too. You’re too fine!” Khayrah said, staring at me through her rounded spectacles.

I roared in laughter as I gingerly placed my phone on silent, to prevent the risk of Funmilayo calling to request for more money.
We were seated in a corner in Domino’s building, the same spot we had first met each other physically. Khayrah was putting on a brown hijab and black gown, glancing at me lovingly and lowering her eyes intermittently in a bid to lower her gaze.

I remembered how the weekend played out…how I had visited her family to seek their daughter’s hand in marriage. Khayrah’s family members were the opposite of what I had imagined. They accepted me with open arms and were very nice and hospitable.

Khayrah’s mother kept instructing their housemaid to add more salad and fruit juice for me and her father smiled all through the meeting, talking about how his daughter had said lovely things about me and how he had been eager to meet me in person. Her sister was also jovial and friendly. She told me about how Khayrah had laid sleepless on several nights, thinking about me. I had been honest with regards to my financial status. I told her father where I worked and how much I earned.

“I like the fact that you’re hardworking and ambitious. I’m not the kind of father who would want to choose a man for his daughter because of wealth and status. I’m a father who would want his daughter to marry whomever she loves and desires.” He had said while we were having a private conversation in his library.

“Do you love my daughter?” he had asked, staring at me with scrutinizing eyes.

I stared confidently, picturing the loving face of the woman I had fallen in love with. “Yes, I do. I love Khayrah.”

“Will you accept her even if you realize that she isn’t who she is?”

I quirked my eyebrows in confusion. I didn’t understand what he said…but what would make me stop loving Khayrah? No idea. “I’ll keep loving Khayrah for the rest of my life…no matter who she is or what she turns out to become.”

He smiled in relief, pouring more water into his glass cup and staring around the library. “Would you mind if I offer you a position in my company? It’s up to you to accept or decline my offer.”

“Can I get back to you on this?” I had requested and he agreed to wait for my response.

“Taofeek! Didn’t you hear what I just said?” she waved her hand to my face, startling me from my thoughts.

I laughed again. “I did. You said I’m too fine. What do you I do now, my heart? Should I wear a mask to shield my handsome face from ladies?”

Khayrah took a slice of pizza from the box. “I think that will do. Sometimes, I close my eyes and imagine the number of girls that have stared at you for that day. Gosh!” She grinned, revealing her milk-coloured teeth.

I imagined being her husband…waking up to her beautiful face and placing a kiss on her luscious lips. “Let’s get married and live on a deserted island. A place where it will just be the two of us. Imagine how amazing that will be!” I chuckled.

“Yes, it will be fun. I have a question for you.” She said, sitting upright and returning the half-eaten slice of pizza to the box. She wore a serious look and for once, I thought she knew about my children.

“My father offered you a place in his company. Are you going to accept it? I’m asking because I know you might not want to accept the offer, considering that he’s your father-in-law…but this will be best for us. We’re getting married soon, Taofeek. His staff earn a reasonable income every month and working there will create an avenue for you to advance in your skills and rise in rank steadily. Please, accept this offer,” she pleaded.

“I’ll think about it…” I was saying when I noticed a distraught look on Khayrah’s face. She gasped in fear as she shook her head and stood up abruptly from the chair.

“What is wrong? Are you fine?” I asked with an eager tone.

Her hands shivered as she widened her eyes. Without replying, she started walking at a fast pace towards the entrance door. Khayrah had just gotten to the door when she fell flat on the floor, her breath loud and faster.

I jostled towards where she laid, my heart juddering in my chest.

‘What could have happened? We were just talking and eating together…what could have caused this?’ I wondered, shaking her body and calling her name. Khayrah’s eyes were closed and her hands were numb. I felt like all that happened was a dream.
The security officials had called an ambulance and Mr. Lolu had entered the building, dancing in fear and dialing the numbers of her family.

I couldn’t do anything. I held her in my arms with moistened eyes. I had no idea what had happened but I didn’t want that moment to the last I would spend with Khayrah. I believed she would be the woman I would spend my old age with.

The ambulance arrived five minutes later and Khayrah was pulled into it, my thoughts wandering to the moment my mother was being taken away.

I didn’t want that to happen to someone I cared about…not again. Not Khayrah!  

Don't miss out on the previous episodes:




  Photo Credit: shutterstock.com




Monday, 8 July 2019

Her Last Breath (Episode Three)



Khayrah
I could barely close my eyes throughout the night. My mind was clouded with his face, his captivating smile and bright eyes. It was funny how a man would suddenly appear into one’s life and capture every part of the person. Taofeek had captured my heart and I couldn’t deny that.

‘But what would happen when he learns the truth? That I will be dying soon…that I’m like a dry leaf that will wither away?’ I thought.

I stared at my picture, my eyes feeling strained. I could have used my glasses but it was five steps away from the bed and I was too lazy to walk over to the cabinet. Taofeek looked different from what the picture had portrayed…in a good way. He was darker in complexion and he was more handsome.

I remembered what we had discussed…all we had discussed yesterday. His words sang in my head like a favourite song and the more I thought about them, the more I felt guilty for making him become a part of me.

“When are you planning to get married? Do you think I’m a suitable choice?” he had asked, watching me intently as if to find out the truth and nothing less.

I had smiled complacently, feigning confidence. “As soon as I get to know you better. Yes, Taofeek. You are the perfect choice for me.”

“Gosh! Alhamdulillah! I feel like the luckiest and happiest man on earth right now!” He had said excitedly, swinging his hands into the air. “I will love to spend the rest of my life with you, Khayrah.”

‘What happens when he learns the truth? That my time on earth is very limited? That if I am alive till we get married, we may not spend more than a year together? What happens when he discovers that he has fallen in love with a dying woman?’

“Khayrah.” Fadilah whispered, tapping me on the shoulder.

I shrieked in shock, hardly remembering that she was sleeping beside me on the bed. My phone fell to the bed like I was caught performing a bad act. “Yes? You’ve woken up?”

She rubbed her hands over her face groggily. “The light emitting from your phone disrupted my sleep but its fine. I know it’s all because of Taofeek. I acted worse when I first met Rasheed. I couldn’t sleep for close to three days. I was already picturing myself dressed in a wedding gown and travelling around the world with my hands in his.” Fadilah smiled.

I understood all she said. When she had first met Rasheed- a man whom she met through a close friend- Fadilah wouldn’t say a word without mentioning his name. It was a period I got very jealous of my younger sister.

“I remember vividly. I’m glad you’re back to normal.” I chuckled, yawning loudly.

“How did it go? I’m sure he is exactly the kind of man you want.”

“I should first ask you why Rasheed called you on an impromptu night date and why you came home…crying silently.” I said, studying Fadilah with scrutinizing eyes.

She had gone on a date yesterday and arrived very late in the night with red and puffy eyes. She had tried to act composed and normal but I knew that something had gone wrong; from the way she stumbled upon things and requested that we repeat what we were saying over and over again during dinner. Before going to bed, I had heard her sniff into her pillow to hide the tears that were streaming down her face.

“Well…I don’t think Rasheed and I can be together anymore. I think its better we go our separate ways.” She said in a strangled voice, resting her head on the pillow as she cleaned a tear that dripped down her face.

“Why? What happened?”

“He’s travelling out for his Ph.D programme. It’s a four-year programme. Would you advice me to wait for that long? Can you trust a man to wait for him for four years?”

“I’m so sorry, Fadilah. But this shouldn’t be a basis for breaking up. I’m sure you can work things out…”

“What is there to work out, ehn Khayrah? He has made up his mind oo! He is leaving Nigeria and he won’t return till after four years. I don’t trust a man to wait for four years…not even Rasheed. Tell me, do you trust Taofeek that much?”

I cleared my throat nervously. “Yes, I do. He’s a good man.”

“Okay oo! But what do you know about him sef? Someone you met on Facebook…”

Oyaa, it’s okay. Do not insult him because we met each other on Facebook. It does not matter where you meet your soul mate. What matters is how you’ll spend the rest of your lives together…”

“Speaking of spending the rest of your lives together…” Fadilah said, sitting up and staring at me with a serious look. “When are revealing the truth to him?”

I lowered my eyes and cleared my throat. The feeling of guilt crept in again. I knew that I was leading an innocent man to doom…but I couldn’t help it. “What truth?”

She rolled her eyes. “Stop all this, Khayrah. You haven’t told him you have cancer…that you’re dying…and you’ve made him fall in love with you? And you want to get married to him? Why are you acting so selfish?”

I stood up from the bed and marched towards the wardrobe, ignoring all she had said. “I need to pray tahajjud before the call to prayer is made.” I muttered, shuffling hijabs in my wardrobe and falling down pile of clothes in anxiety. I settled for my brown hijab and threw it on the chair, jostling towards the bathroom door before Fadilah would say another word.

Inside the bathroom, I turned on the tap and pretended to be having my bath. The water gushed from the tap with full force, as if struggling to fill the green bucket. But I didn’t think the water was as desperate as the tears that filled my face and soaked my blouse. I cried in pain…I cried in anger and frustration…I cried in disappointment…I cried till I couldn’t explain the reason for the river of tears that filled my body.

*** 
“If you don’t want me to accompany you to the hospital, at least allow Fadilah to do so.” Mom was saying as she was preparing hot tea for me.

I was going for my usual checkup with the doctor. The result of the meeting would determine if I would be undergoing another chemotherapy session.

“I will be fine, mother. No one needs to accompany me. I can go alone.” I remarked, glancing at Fadilah who was frying plantain on the electric cooker. Hafsah was standing beside her, sieving water from the boiled rice. Fadilah pretended like she couldn’t hear all that had been transpiring. We hadn’t said a word to each other after the incident that happened in the wee hours of the day.

Mom handed me the mug of tea. “I hope it turns out successful. Have you been having any side effects like nausea and anxiety?” she said, staring at my eyes and scanning my body from head to toe.

I sipped from the hot cup of tea. “I’ve been fine. I should be on my way. I’ve got some business to attend to before the end of the day. Bye mom!” I kissed her forehead.

“Khayrah! Aren’t you going to have breakfast…even if it’s just three spoons? Don’t tell you’re doing this stuff where you won’t eat for a day. You have to eat…you need to take your drugs. How will your medications work if you don’t eat healthy foods? Your doctor had advised that you consume healthy foods.” My mom said with a frown, worried that I wasn’t eating.

Maybe she hadn’t realized that Taofeek was now my food. That the thought of his face filled my belly. “I promise to eat when I return from the hospital. Bye mom…”

“Wait! One last thing. Your dad will arrive in Lagos tonight. He said he can’t wait to see all of us. I can’t believe he has been away from three weeks.” She said with a grin.

My father had been on a business trip to Abuja for the past three weeks. I was glad he was returning home. If he were to be around, I would have preferred that he accompanied me to the hospital. He never engaged the doctor in a series of questions…like my mother did always.

“I can’t wait too. Bye!” I grabbed my red bag comprising of bottled water, powder, lip gloss and my phone as I was walking towards the living room door.

“Wait again, Khayrah! I kept your lemon juice in the fridge. You should drink it before leaving. Hafsah please get her lemon juice from the fridge.”

I cringed internally, wishing that I could just run away, rent an apartment and start to live alone. As much as I appreciated my mothers’ care, her ‘over-care’ always got me irritated.

My phone beeped in my bag as I took the bottle from Hafsah and resumed marching towards the door. It was a WhatsApp message from Taofeek.

‘Good morning my princess. I hope your night was great? Mine was…well, I could barely sleep. Was thinking about you all through the night.”
-          Taofeek.

I chuckled as I placed my bag on my right hand and replied.
‘Lol, same. I could barely sleep. Is that what happens when a woman meets a man?’
-          Khayrah.

‘No, it’s what happens when a woman is in love…’
-          Taofeek.
Typing …

“Khayrah?” a voice startled me from the phone I was engrosses in. I looked up. It was Abdul Lateef.

“Asalamu ‘alaykum.”

“Wa’alaykumusalam, Khayrah. If I hadn’t called you, you would have collided into me. I can see you’re busy chatting with someone.” He teased with a smile.

Abdul Lateef was putting on a white sweater and three-quarter trousers. Bumping into him every time I leave the house is another reason I should consider renting an apartment of my own. Thankfully, his fiancée was not around.

“I guess it’s obvious.” I replied, feigning a smile.

“How is your health, Khayrah? I hope you’re much better?” he asked with a look of concern.

I laughed in my mind. I couldn’t believe he was asking that question after breaking up with me because of the same issue. Who asks a dying person if she is feeling much better?

“I’m on my way to the hospital.”

“Okay. Please Khayrah, can we hang out later…like have lunch or visit the cinema? We can still be friends you know…”

“I have an appointment to catch up with…”

“Are you seeing someone else?”

“Why do you care? Please, I’ll be late.” I sneered, walking towards the garage.

“Khayrah…” he called but I didn’t reply. It was not fair the way he called my name with so much passion. It was something I’d always loved him to say. Khayrah!

“Make we dey go?” Mr. Lolu asked as entered the car.

“Sharp sharp!” I screamed.

He started the engine and drove out of the compound as I watched Abdul Lateef stare at me from a distance.

I reached for my phone to reply the message Taofeek had sent.

‘What are your plans for today?’
-          Taofeek.

I noticed that he was no longer online. I replied, ‘I’ll stay at home all day and prepare for tomorrow’s presentation. My boss needs to be impressed!’
-          Khayrah.

I lied again. I had resigned from my place of work since I got diagnosed with cancer. I wondered how long I would keep lying to him.

Opening my diary, I scanned through my list once again. Go skydiving, read over a hundred books, go on a pilgrimage to Mecca, visit the Zanzibar, start a charity foundation, move closer to Allah and make Him my best friend, explore five European countries, fall in love and get married…

Falling in love was a feeling I wanted to experience before I die. But maybe Fadilah was right. Maybe I was just being selfish.

I broke into tears as I thought of my life before now, how I had envisioned my life before now…how I had big dreams and vision of how my future would look like. Life is indeed temporary.

“Madam Khayrah, no worry. Everything go fine…” Mr. Lolu remarked, staring at me through the inner mirror with sympathetic eyes.

 I cleaned my wet eyes and glared at me. “Can you just face the road? Don’t get me annoyed. Pretend like you’re the only one in the car…”

“But Madam…”

“This is your last warning!” I yelled at him.

He did not say another word after that. I rested my head on the seat and wept.

My phone rang that second. I checked the caller. It was Fadilah.
“Ah, thank God she picked! Can we watch a movie when you return from the hospital? I will prepare that spicy noodles that you love… I know you don’t like love stories anymore but I promise you that this story is unique. The movie is titled Midnight Sun. Are you in?”

I smiled amidst tears. “I love you, Fadilah. Thank you.”

“Is that a yes?” she asked excitedly.

“It’s a yes yes!”

“I love you too and I’m sorry for what I said this morning.”

 A/N: A lengthy episode to start off a fresh and productive week!💕💕💓

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