Sunday, 17 October 2021

Life and Everything in Between (Episode Sixteen) [Unedited]

 


Sweat dripped down my face as I stared at the busy road and wished that the day would be over. That I had washed the henna off my skin and seen Farouk. That it was night, and I already knew why Farouk wanted to see me eagerly.

 

The ladies danced in merriment as they looked forward to experiencing one of the glamorous weddings ever. But I couldn’t. My mind was clouded with the thought of Farouk seated in the local restaurant a stone throw from our house, waiting for my arrival.

 

About fifteen minutes ago, Farouk had sent a text to inform me that he had arrived. And there I was, waiting for the henna to get dried.

 

“Rafiah,” Rasheedah called my name. “What’s wrong?”

 

I waved a hand. “Oh. It’s nothing at all.”

 

“Farouk?” she asked. “Your hands are dried. You can rinse and get going,” she said as she sprang up from the chair and faced her friends.

 

“We’ll be back. First, I need to prepare Rafiah for her impromptu date,” Rasheedah chuckled as she shoved me into the living room.

 

“Gosh, Rasheedah. Who said it is a date? He just wants to see me,” I quipped.

 

Rasheedah stopped in her tracks and glared at me. “Why does he want to see you, then? To talk about writing again? Do you think Farouk would drive down here to talk about writing?” she said in a fit of laughter.

 

“Whatever. Let me just rinse my hands and feet and get going,” I was saying as we entered the room.

 

“Oh. Not so fast. Well, rinse them first, and we’ll dress you up,” Rasheedah said.

 

I ignored Rasheedah as I entered the bathroom to have a thorough bath. I was shocked to see a yellow floral gown on the bed when I stepped out of the bathroom.

 

“Whoa! Am I wearing that to see Farouk?”

 

Rasheedah opened her jewelry box and placed a silver bracelet beside the dress. “Of course!”

 

“I can’t do this, Rasheedah. It would be so obvious that I did it all for him. I’m just going to wear a plain gown. Thanks for your help, though.”

 

“But, Rafiah…”

 

“I’m serious,” I said as I wore a grey gown and black hijab. “I’ll see you later,” I waved at her and walked out of the room.

 

I’m on my way. I’ll see you soon!

-          Rafiah.

 

I sent a message to Farouk as I stepped out of the compound and crossed to the other side of the road.

 

Okay. Can’t wait!

-          Farouk.

 

I arrived at the cheap restaurant about five minutes later, easily spotting the long-limbed man dressed in a black t-shirt and hat. Farouk grinned widely as he whipped his head up and spotted me walking towards where he was sitting.

 

Asalamu ‘alaykum,” he greeted as he glanced at my henna-decorated hands with appreciative eyes. “It looks lovely.”

 

Wa’alaykumu salam,” I said with a smile as I took my seat. “Thank you.”

 

“So, tomorrow’s finally the D-day. How do you feel about tomorrow? I know there would be so much pressure on your family members to make the day perfect.”

 

“Oh, yes. My mom has been restless for weeks now. I can’t wait for her to have a long sleep when this is over.”

 

“I know, right? I’m sorry for calling you out at a period I know you’d be very busy. I just needed to see you and let this out once and for all,” he said, and I swiftly studied his face.

 

Beads of sweat formed on Farouk’s forehead, and his hands quivered. It was obvious that he was very nervous. Farouk Zubair nervous because of me? Wow!

 

Farouk had fair and clear skin the colour of papaya. His eyes were beautiful and bright. And his lips…

 

“Rafiah,” Farouk called my name, drifting me back to reality. I muttered ‘AstaghfirLlaah’ and stared at the table.

 

“I would have waited longer…or suppress my feelings. But, it is not something I want to do. I need to say exactly how I feel before it is too late. Rafiah, I really like you. I’ve been so attracted to you since the first day I set my eyes on you. And I love everything about you. Every single thing. You’re beautiful and smart and talented. You’re so amazing, Rafiah. I know this is fast, but I want to spend the rest of my life with you,” Farouk said.

 

“I...” I prattled, unable to find the right words to say.

 

Was this all a dream? Farouk Zubair just proposed to me! He talked about spending the rest of his life with me!


“Please, take your time. I know this is so sudden, and I apologise. Getting a no from you would hurt, but I would get through it,” he forced a smile.

 

“I need to seek ALlaah’s guidance and…talk to Munir,” I said, remembering our last encounter.

 

How would he feel if we eventually get engaged?

 

“Yes, Munir. I spoke to him before coming here. I needed to be certain that he had no feelings for you…and that he was fine with it. I wouldn’t want to come in between two friends.”

 

“Okay. I’ll also talk to him,” I said as I sprang up from the chair. “I need to leave Farouk. There are a couple of tasks to complete. I’ll…see you soon,” I said as I hurried out of the restaurant.

***

It was three hours later, and I couldn’t wrap my head around what had happened in the small-sized restaurant. I thought that his proposal would be like that of the movies and books- a proposal that would make me squeal in excitement and say ‘yes’ cheerfully. But it wasn’t. I had left someone that had driven a far distance to see me. I had run away like someone scared and uncertain. And I really was.

 

Rasheedah stared quietly at me as I bawled my eyes out. I didn’t know why I was crying and why I acted that way. But I couldn’t help but cry.

 

“You’re confused as to why you acted that way, right?” Rasheedah asked as she patted my arm.

 

“I don’t think I deserve this. I mean, this month has been one of the amazing periods of my life. I met Farouk. I don’t believe I deserve someone who would love me and be there….because I’ve expected it all these years, and it didn’t happen,” I said in tears. “I don’t think anyone can understand how I feel right now. You probably think I’m crazy for crying.”

 

“No. I don’t think that way. I totally understand. Before I met Khalid, I met a couple of men you’re aware of. I started these relationships with so many expectations. I thought we would end up together, but everything just turned sour. So, I felt Khalid was too good to be true. So I sent him away at first. Then, I realized that I deserve to be loved deeply by someone worthy.” Rasheedah pulled me into a hug, and I cried in her arms.

 

“I thought I was just crazy. I know Farouk will have his imperfections. But I’m just scared to be with him. How can Rafiah get someone so amazing?”

 

“You deserve more than Farouk, Rafiah. You are very amazing, and I’m not saying this because you’re my sister, I am…” Rasheedah was saying when Mom barged into the room.

 

“I need help with the drinks. I’m planning a big wedding, and you are here, idling away. E dide joor!” Mom rolled her eyes as she walked out of the room.

 

She was so preoccupied with the wedding that she didn’t realise we were both crying. This morning, I had spotted dark circles around her eyes. I hoped she got the chance to rest after the wedding.

 

Rasheedah and I chuckled as we walked out of the room, and assisted with the packs of drinks. I was returning to the room when I spotted Dad reading through the print copy of the programme of event. I sat quietly beside him and he whipped his head up with a smile.

 

“How have you been, Rafiah? You’ve been around, but it seems that you haven’t been around,” Dad said as he studied my eyes. “And you look sad and happy at the same time.”

 

“Well, you’ll start to see more of me when everyone gets less busy tomorrow. Of course, by the time tomorrow, it will be all over,” I smiled at him.

 

“Do you still want to write full-time?” Dad asked as he put down the wedding programme. “You want to give up your finance career for writing? Do you still want to do that?”

 

I forced a smile. “Maybe we should talk about this after the wedding?”

 

“Perfect!” he said with a yawn. “I’m so tired. I need to get some sleep. Good night, Rafiah,” he said as he walked slowly towards his room door.

 

When I returned to the room, it was filled to the brim with friends and relatives. Laughter rented the air as the ladies talked about their experience courting and getting married. Some also talked about their wedding night experience.

 

“Your husband has been calling you,” Aisha, one of Rasheedah’s best friends, who has attended the henna party, giggled.

 

I raised my brows in confusion. “Husband?”

 

“Farouk Zubair! He has been calling nonstop,” she giggled.

 

My heart raced fast in excitement as I grabbed my phone and walked out of the room. I sat at the verandah and dialed Farouk’s number, pressing the phone to my left ear and waiting eagerly to hear his deep throaty voice. 


A/N: Hi, everyone! Trust your weekend went well. I updated this episode on the blog because I didn't have time to edit it. I've been pretty busy, but I needed to update an episode this evening.

We'll be having a new episode this week. Till then, bye!


     Don't miss out on the previous episodes:

Episode One

Episode Two

Episodes Three & Four

Episode Five

Episodes Six & Seven

Episode Eight

Episode Nine

Episode Ten

Episode Eleven




Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Life and Everything in Between (Episode Fifteen)

 


I was seated on the green S-shaped chair, staring through the glass wall and searching the faces of every man that walked into the restaurant. I would flinch in anxiety whenever I caught sight of someone that looked like Farouk and let out a deep sigh when I realise that he wasn’t the one.

 

How could I want someone to be here and not be here at the same time? Gosh! Rafiah, you’re weird!

 

Five days, three minutes and five seconds ago, Farouk invited me to a lunch date. I remember vividly the remarkable way it had happened. I had just arrived from work and was about to take a shower when I heard my phone ring. I had dashed out of the bathroom and hurried to the bed to grab my phone. My heart juddered when I realised that it was Farouk calling.

 

He had requested to see me the following week to talk about some career-related issues, and I swiftly said yes. It was all I had wanted all week. To get a chance to see Farouk again. To sit beside him and watch him flash the nicest set of teeth I had ever seen as he laughed about a random issue.

 

And there I was, twenty minutes before the scheduled time, sipping from my bottle of Fanta and wondering how I would stay composed when I set eyes on Farouk again.

 

I took out a mirror from my bag and checked my face for the eleventh time. Mucus, dust, a stain on my teeth. Whatever. I needed to eliminate anything that would distract Farouk from admiring my beautiful face.

 

After confirming that my face was still in order (my face still glistening courtesy to my new brown powder and my lips still shimmering with my strawberry gloss), I turned on my data and went through his website.

 

I gasped in surprise, disappointed with myself for not realising that he had made a new update that morning. At 08:45 am, Farouk had published a new post titled ‘When I Find Love.’

 

I couldn’t help but wonder if it was a fictional or non-fictional work. Could Farouk be writing about me? Well, time will tell.

 

I was still scrolling through his older blog posts when I noticed someone enter the restaurant. Without looking up, I was certain it was Farouk that had walked through the door.

 

Whipping my head up, I caught sight of Farouk approaching my table with a bright smile, as always. He was dressed in a grey t-shirt and black pair of trousers.

 

“Asalamu ‘alaykum. May I have the honour of sitting in front of this beautiful lady?” he said with a grin.

 

I flustered and tried to hide it with a laugh. “Please sit, Farouk. Wa’alaykumu salam.”

 

“Thank you!” he replied as he settled on his seat. “So, what have you been up to, Rafiah?”

 

I sighed deeply and gulped down the last of my drink. “Well, I’m trying to withstand the pressures from my family members. Finding the right spouse is really challenging. But my family members believe it is much simpler than that. Like I could visit a website and download the right man automatically,” I said with a chuckle.

 

“You are beautiful and smart and intelligent. You shouldn’t be concerned about finding the right person to spend the rest of your life with. You will always find someone perfect for you. If not now, later,” Farouk said.

 

“Well, my younger sister is getting married this weekend. So I had to mute notifications on my phone so that I could breathe. Believe me, it is not easy at all. And some of the men out there have these patriarchal and orthodox beliefs. It’s crazy what these men see women as!”

 

Farouk laughed softly. “I think I understand what you’re saying. I’ve met a bunch of them.”

 

I continued. “And I’ve tried matchmaking websites. It was a disaster. We’ll stay here till evening if I relate the encounters I’ve had with men I met from these platforms.”

 

“I have been in a similar situation. One of my aunties tried to match me with a lady. The lady and I share zero interest. We couldn’t relate with each other at all,” Farouk laughed, and he sat upright. “For example, I have similar interests with you, you know,” Farouk said, and I wondered if that was a hint that we were a great match.

 

I cleared my throat and looked up at Farouk. “I have decided to become a writer.”

 

Farouk shook his head as he watched me carefully. “There is no rush at all. It takes time to make a big decision like that of your career.”

 

I rolled my eyes. “I thought we were here to talk about writing.”

 

“Well, you caught me. I actually wanted to spend time with you. What would you like to eat?”

 

“Oh, I really can’t eat. I’m sorry. I have to get to work on time,” I said with a frown.

 

Farouk raised his left hand and checked the time on his wristwatch. “Okay. We have twenty minutes to go. I promise to make use of that time judiciously. And I’ll drop you off so that you’ll get to work early.”

 

I smiled. “Okay then. I’ll have basmati rice and fried plantain.”

 

“Nice choice,” he grinned as he stood up. “Give me some minutes. I’ll get that right now.”

 

My stomach flipped in excitement as I watched him walk towards the counter.

***

About twenty minutes later, Farouk was driving into the company’s building as we laughed at his story of searching for amala in the UK. As Farouk parked his car, I noticed Munir walking past us with his bag of lunch. He turned sideways when he spotted us in the car and hurried inside the building.

 

Farouk and I sat in silence, knowing full well that we had witnessed the way Munir had totally ignored us.

 

“I’m not really close with my brother. But he has never ignored me in public. This is completely unusual,” he said and appeared to be deep in thought.

 

I pulled the seatbelt away and grabbed the bag of curry rice Farouk insisted I take along. “I need to get back to work. Thanks for lunch…and everything.”

 

“I should be thanking you for taking time to see me. I’ll be travelling to Abuja this evening. I should return next tomorrow, and I hope to see you again.”

 

“Me too. Bye. Asalamu ‘alaykum,” I smiled at him as I alighted from the car and walked into the building.

 

I had just stepped into the office when I noticed someone shove my hand. Asmau dragged me to the kitchen and placed my hand on her stomach. “Rafiah, the baby kicked!” she squealed in excitement.

 

“SubhanaLlaah. That’s amazing! Have you told Jamal?” I asked.

 

“Of course! I sent him tons of messages, and he replied with dozens of love messages. I am so excited!” she grinned at me. “So, how was your date?”

 

I smiled shyly and looked around. “I think I might have feelings for Farouk,” I was saying when Munir entered the kitchen.

 

Shock and embarrassment engulfed my face as I froze and stared at the ground. Why did he have to appear at that exact minute?

 

“Hi, ladies,” he greeted us as he grabbed a ceramic plate from the rack and set his lunch on the table.

 

“Hi, Munir,” I said as Asmau and I stared at each other and hoped he hadn’t heard what I said earlier on.

 

“Are you okay, Munir? You’re not your usual bubbly self,” Asmau said with concerned eyes.

 

Munir smiled at her, and for the first time in a long time, I saw him flash his set of teeth at us. “Not really fine. I have mild Malaria. I’ll take the day off tomorrow,” he said and turned towards me. “How’s preparation for Rasheedah’s wedding?”

 

“It’s going well. I think everything is perfect for the D-day,” I replied.

 

“I hope I’ll be invited…unlike Tolu’s own,” he chuckled.

 

“I’m sorry about that. If you hadn’t given me the go-ahead, I wouldn’t have attended with Farouk,” I said with a pleading tone.

 

Munir scratched his neck and rolled his eyes. “Did you really expect me to say no? I wouldn’t do that, nah,” he said as he rinsed the plate. “Well, I’m used to my brother winning my friends due to his charm and fame. So I signed for it before introducing you to him.”

 

“I’m so sor…”

 

“It’s fine, Rafiah. I’ll catch up with you guys later,” he gave a forceful smile and moved to the other side of the table with his lunch.

 

Asmau and I gave ourselves a knowing look as we walked out of the kitchen and returned to the office.

***

It was Rasheedah’s henna party, and ladies took out their phones to capture every moment.

 

Bottles of kunu tsagyi and trays of spring roll were placed in front of us as we stretched our hands and legs and gisted while the henna artist designed our skins.

 

I was ecstatic! Rasheedah would be getting married the next day, and we were all gathered to design our skins for the D-day. I smiled in excitement as a cold gush of wind tickled my skin. What could go wrong? Mom had collaborated with the wedding planner to ensure that the day would be perfect as planned, and Khalid’s parents had spent millions to make the wedding a grand one. Knowing that my sister would become a married woman in some hours’ time made me joyous.

 

“So by this time tomorrow, Rasheedah will be kissing Khalid with free will,” Maimunah, one of our distant cousins, said with a laugh.

 

Rasheedah widened her eyes and smiled shyly. “Maimunah! Don’t say that! You’ll start to make everyone picture Khalid and me kissing. And I don’t want that.” She gave a burst of throaty laughter. “Firdaus, did you tag me on your Instagram story? I want to repost.”

 

“Oh, I forgot. I’ll do so now,” Firdaus, one of Maimunah’s friends, said as she rammed her fingers on her phone.

 

Rasheedah was looking exceptionally beautiful in a blue gown and gold veil. I was still admiring her looks when a lady tapped my hand to inform me that my phone was ringing.

 

‘Farouk’ appeared on the caller ID. Unable to place the phone to my ears because my hands were painted with henna, I stealthily clicked on the ‘answer’ button and placed the call on the loudspeaker.

 

“Asalamu ‘alaykum, Rafiah. How’s the party going?”

 

“Wa’alaykumu salam. It’s going well. Have you returned to Lagos?”

 

“Yes, I have. And I really need to see you. I wouldn’t be able to do anything if I do not express my thoughts.”

 

“The henna hasn’t dried up. I cannot leave now. I’m sorry,” I was saying when I noticed that everyone was staring at me, especially Rasheedah, who wore a smirk.

 

“I’ll come over to your street and wait for you in an eatery…for how long it would take. I don’t mind. I’ll wait. Is that okay by you?”

 

“Yes, it is. I’ll send the address,” I said as my heart faced faster.

 

Is Farouk about to propose? Should I also be imagining walking down the aisle soon? Are all these a dream?’ I thought as I listened to Farouk talk about his flight and how the airline had delayed the passengers for more than one hour.

 

        Don't miss out on the previous episodes:

Episode One

Episode Two

Episodes Three & Four

Episode Five

Episodes Six & Seven

Episode Eight

Episode Nine

Episode Ten

Episode Eleven




Sunday, 26 September 2021

Life and Everything in Between (Episode Fourteen)

 


Rasheedah grinned at me with sleepy eyes as I adjusted my red gown- the dress I had ordered from Jumia specifically for Tolu’s wedding.

 

“You look amazing, Rafiah!” Rasheedah said as she stared at the red gown over and over again.

 

It was a sparkling gown with flowery patterns at the tip. I smiled in appreciation as I grabbed my black bag from the wardrobe.

 

“You don’t have to attend Tolu’s wedding. It will be perfectly fine if you just sit at home and read a book…or watch a movie,” Rasheedah stated as she looked at me with pitiful eyes.

 

“I am okay attending this wedding, believe me,” I said as I settled on the bed and wore my leather wristwatch. “No one will look at me with pity. My plus-one will be someone hot and famous,” I chuckled, and Rasheedah widened her eyes in surprise.

 

She jumped up from the bed and hurried to stand in front of me. “Who is that? Gosh! I knew you’ve been up to a lot of things, Rafiah. Those calls and chats you’ve been so preoccupied with,” she laughed. “Tell me. Who is it?”

 

“Farouk Zubair. The same popular writer,” I tried to stop myself from grinning, but I couldn’t help it. The thought of seeing Farouk again and spending time with him made my heart leap in joy.

 

“SubhanaLlaah! How is that possible? How can Farouk Zubair be your date?” she stared at me in shock.

 

“It feels like a dream, but it’s the truth. Just yesterday, I spent a major part of my day with him. And now, he’ll be attending my ex’s wedding as my plus one,” I smiled in excitement.

 

Rasheedah picked up the pearl earrings from the jewelry box and helped me put them on. “Show me the way, nah!” she laughed.

 

“You’re the one that should show me the way. You’re getting married to Khalid, the son of a famous politician,” I said.

 

Rasheedah continued smiling. “I cannot believe that, by this time next year, I would have become a married woman. How is that possible?” she sighed deeply.

 

I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, but don’t forget to brush your teeth as you rise from sleep. Your mouth stinks, Rasheedah!” I said as we both fell on the bed, laughing hysterically.

 

“I need to leave on time. I wouldn’t want to keep Farouk waiting,” I was saying when Mom barged into the room.

 

“Where are you going to, Rafiah?” Mom asked as she stood hands akimbo, her dress smelling of onion and curry.

 

“I’m attending Tolu’s wedding,” I said, but Mom scrunched up her face in anger and disappointment.

 

“That Tolu? I thought I’d never heard that name in this house again. You do not have to attend. Or did your boss make it mandatory for every staff to attend?”

 

“No, she didn’t. Asmau isn’t even attending the wedding. She has an appointment with her doctor.”

 

“You see?” Mom said, staring at Rasheedah to get her approval. “You shouldn’t attend that wedding. Or don’t you know the gravity of what that Tolu did?”

 

“She is not going there alone. A famous writer will be her plus one,” Rasheedah said as she smiled at me.

 

Mom sat on the bed and stared at me with eager eyes. “I’ve missed so much from your life, Rafiah. Rasheedah’s wedding preparation has taken all of my time. So, you’ve met someone else?”

 

“No, Mom. We’re just going as friends. I’ll explain everything to you later. But first, I have to leave.”

 

“Ah, no. You have to eat before leaving. I just finished preparing a pot of porridge.”

 

I stood up and protested, shaking my head. “I’ll eat at the wedding.”

 

“What if you don’t get served? Last month, I went to Iya Jelil’s son’s wedding with an empty stomach, with the hope of eating amala and efo riro till my stomach bulges. Instead, I didn’t get anything to eat…” Mom was saying when my phone started to ring.

 

It was the cab driver calling. “I think my cab is outside. I need to leave now. Bye. Asalamu ‘alaykum,” I said as I grabbed my bag and walked out of the room.

***

I arrived at the wedding venue about an hour later, struggling to fight the nervous thoughts that engulfed me. How could I possibly walk into the wedding hall with Farouk by my side? How could I possibly do so?

 

You will do this,” I muttered between breaths as I picked up my phone and dialed Farouk’s number.

 

“I’m in front of the hall,” I said.

 

“Okay. I’ll hop out of the car then,” he said, and I looked around the sea of cars parked, hoping to spot the car he was seated in.

 

Farouk descended from a black Mercedes, and he walked towards where I was standing, dressed in a kaftan and black kufi cap. “Asalamu ‘alaykum, Rafiah,” he greeted with a smile.

 

Wa’alaykumu salam. How long have you been here?”

 

“Thirty minutes. I didn’t want to step into the hall without you.”

 

“Thank you,” I said in appreciation. “And I’m sorry for keeping you waiting.”

 

“It’s fine. I left home earlier to beat the traffic,” Farouk said as he glanced at me. “You look nervous, Rafiah. Do you want to do this? We can always turn back…”

 

“It’s fine,” I said with a sigh. “Let’s get in.”

 

“Okay!” Farouk said in a frisson as we stepped into the wedding hall, filled to the brim with guests.

 

Maher Zain’s Paradise rented the air, and from a distance, I could spot the bride and groom, looking dashing and flashing their brightest smiles.

 

“Look! That’s Rafiah!” I heard someone say, and soon, a hundred pairs of eyes were fixated on Farouk and me.

 

I grinned from ear to ear as Farouk and I settled on our seats. “We should take a picture. Out first outing together,” he said, and my heart leapt in excitement again.

 

Could there be a possibility of Farouk and me becoming a couple?

 

“Hi, there! Rafiah!” Janet hurried to where we were sitting as I posed for the camera. “Is this not Farouk Zubair? Oh yes, he is. Oh my God. Good morning…good afternoon, sir. You’re here with Rafiah?”

 

“Yes, I am,” Farouk was saying, but several people had gathered at our table, literally begging for pictures.

 

It took more than an hour for me to get used to the fact that people would keep staring at us until the wedding ceremony ended. After that, I tried to drift my mind to something else, like eating from the tray of small chops and going through my Instagram feed.

 

Farouk seemed more composed than ever. He was probably used to people gushing over him as a public figure. But my face was literally filled with sweat, knowing full well that people were staring at Farouk and me.

 

“May I ask what happened?” Farouk drifted me back to reality.

 

“What?” I asked in confusion.

 

“You and Tolu. I know it must be so hard. I cannot imagine how challenging it must be, seeing your ex at work every day and learning that he is engaged to another colleague.”

 

“It is very hard, Farouk. One evening, I received a WhatsApp message from Tolu, explaining why we should end our relationship. I spent the night drowning in my tears and wishing that I could erase every memory of him. Everything suddenly didn’t make sense. I even saw a therapist. I still don’t understand how I managed to get through that dreadful experience,” I said.

 

“We all get through the experience. At one point or the other, we get through it. Not because we did something spectacular to get through it or grew strong. We get through it because ALlaah created us as forgetful beings. We do not remember things exactly how they happened years ago, and we don’t spend all of our time thinking of these events.

 

“I’ve also been heartbroken. Jamila. Smart and outspoken. She walked up to me at an event, and we connected. We would spend our Saturdays talking about writing and foreign authors. So it came as a shock when she ended our engagement and travelled to Canada. Jamila wasn’t the committed type. She wanted to write and visit countries. She couldn’t bear to be limited by love,” Farouk concluded.

 

“I’m sorry about what happened to you,” I said.

 

“And I’m sorry you have to go through this. No one else attends their ex’s wedding. No one!” Farouk shook his head, and I laughed in response. “Well, food is here!” he exclaimed as the usher placed two plates of jollof rice and garnished goat meat in front of us.

***

I stepped into the office on Monday morning, feeling confident and beautiful. I’d never felt that way in a long time.

 

My colleagues greeted me with smiles as I walked graciously in my new black pointy heels. Tolu and Najeebah had been granted two weeks leave to travel for their honeymoon. Tolu had always talked about spending our honeymoon in Kano, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he took Najeebah there.

 

News had been spreading that I was in a relationship with Farouk. Some bold colleagues had approached me to confirm it was true, but I only responded with a grin.

 

As I turned on my computer, my phone chimed with a new notification. My heart raced faster as I picked up my phone and realised that it was from Farouk.

 

Gosh! I had fun yesterday! It’s been a long time since a boring writer like me had fun. All thanks to you.

PS- Don’t forget to do that task I told you.

-          Farouk Zubair.

 

My face lingered with a smile as I reread the message over and over again. It took Mrs. Bola tapping my right arm to realise that she was standing in front of me.

 

“Good morning, Rafiah. How are you?” Mrs. Bola was staring at me with a big smile.

 

‘Good morning, ma.”

 

“Can you invite Farouk Zubair to our upcoming seminar? It will be a delight if he attends,” she said.

 

“I’ll see what I can do,” I replied.

 

“Thank you,” she smiled at me and walked to another table.

 

Asmau, who was trying hard not to laugh, ran towards my table immediately after Mrs. Bola left the office. “Was it not Mrs. Bola shining her teeth at you? Wow! I cannot believe a day like this would occur,” she laughed. “It’s obvious your outing with Munir’s brother went well.”

 

“He sent me this,” I said, handing over my phone to Asmau.

 

Asmau settled on a seat after reading the message and whispered in my ears. “Who do you really like? Munir or Farouk? Well, I know it is Farouk. What will happen to Munir?”

 

“Munir probably doesn’t like me. He sees me as a friend,” I quipped.

 

“Have you seen him today? He looks like someone who woke up on the wrong side of the bed,” Asmau said as she stood up. “Start practicing how you will face Munir during lunch,” she concluded and returned to her desk.

 

Before starting the day’s work, I decided to create the long-awaited list before lunch break. So I took a pen and paper and started to write:

 

Career Decisions

Why I Should Choose Accounting

1.      I spent 4 years studying accounting.

2.      I make quite a deal of money from accounting.

3.      Accounting is a professional course.

4.      People will look at me with admiration when they learn that I am an accountant.

5.      I will become one of the responsible Nigerian youth.

 

Why I Should Become a Writer

1.      I will become happy.

2.      I will be gain fulfillment.

3.      I will be actualising my dream.

4.      I will create my brand and better connect with other creatives.

5.      I will become a renowned writer.

6.      I will be able to share my works with a large audience.

7.      More opportunity to spend time with Farouk.

8.      More opportunity to connect with Farouk.

9.      I reallyyyy like Farouk.


       Don't miss out on the previous episodes:


Episode One


Episode Two


Episodes Three & Four


Episode Five


Episodes Six & Seven


Episode Eight


Episode Nine


Episode Ten


Episode Eleven








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