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 fiancΓ©e?” 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!!!πŸ’–πŸ’–


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2 comments:

  1. Happy for Farida she will soon be happy with this her new Habib

    ReplyDelete
  2. So happy for her too 😍😍

    ReplyDelete