Tuesday, 18 December 2018

The Precious Figure (Episode Sixteen)




The weather was frigid and misty. I could feel the effect of the weather in my bones. I could hardly sleep... or should I say, I didn’t sleep. I knew when the Muadhin had climbed the mimbar to call for prayer. I knew when the sun rose and the cock’s crow resounded at every corners of my room. I knew when my mom was praying for the welfare of herself and me...praying for the blessing of our union...I mean Najib and I! Was there still love? What do I tell her?

I didn’t have a ray of hope for what was to come in the next couple of hours. I decided to face the truth and accept whatever comes out of the meeting...but it was hard...hard not to think of Najib’s bright eyes and beautiful smile. It was hard to accept that things may not be the way they used to be.

I wore a simple black gown and gray-coloured hijab. I didn’t have the time to impress Najib. All I wanted was the truth and nothing more.

I could barely take three spoonfuls of the jollof rice I made for breakfast. I kept wondering what would become of our relationship after the meeting.

When I was very convinced that I wouldn’t be able to eat the food, I took the rest to the kitchen and placed a lid over the plate of rice. My mom had praised me that the jollof rice tasted like wedding rice she ate last week Saturday in Mama Ibukun’s daughter’s wedding. They had hired a well-experienced caterer at an exorbitant price. Only if she knew that I had burnt part of the rice because I was lost in thought, and to me, the rice tasted like it had no salt in it.

I sipped water and reached for my bag. As I headed to the street, I flagged an okada to take me to the school area. (I would have normally walk down but my anxiety wouldn’t give me the chance to walk for long).

When I got down, I could feel the throbbing in my chest as I scampered along the path that led to Tantalizers. On getting to Tantalizers, I heaved a deep sigh of relief and remained in the same position for close to a minute before attempting to enter the building.

I would see Najib’s radiant face again; the same face that I had longed to touch. The same eyes I’d longed to stare at. The same luscious lips I had wished to feel.

I entered the building with my arms around my chest. One would think that I was shivering in cold...but I was literally burning.

 As I walked into the room, searching for him, I surprisingly saw Najib at our usual spot. He was sipping from a paper cup and re-adjusting himself on the chair.

I strode towards him with wobbly legs, knowing that he was as nervous as I was. He arrived earlier than I did, which was unusual of Najib.

 He couldn’t sit still to one position and there were beads of sweat around his forehead, despite the fully air-conditioned room.

“Asalamu ‘alaykum Fareedah.” He smiled weakly at me.

Seeing his lips twitch into a smile almost made me melt. He was putting on a blue-striped shirt and a pair of denim trousers.  His usual gleaming eyes looked dark and unhappy. I had missed him...missed him so much. I couldn’t imagine how much I had missed Najib until I saw him again. He was my first love...the one that had captured my heart completely.

“Wa’alaykumu salam. May I sit?” I asked with trembling voice.

“Make yourself comfortable Fareedah.”

The way he called my name made my chest hurt. He always called me chocolate!
 I sat on the oversized seat in our usual restaurant and my favourite seat felt hot all of a sudden. The man I had fallen in love with looked so strange that I wondered if all that had occurred in the last few months had been a dream.

“Would you like to have a drink...or food?” he was saying, turning towards the counter to hide his anxiety.

“I’m fine, Najib. Let’s get straight to the reason we’re here,” I managed to say while controlling the tears from trickling down my face.

“Okay Fareedah...,” he cleared his throat, “...let’s get straight to the point.” He sounded bold but I could still see the beads of sweat forming around his forehead and the way he covered his trembling hands by holding his phone.

“Najib, tell me it’s my biggest dream...that we still love ourselves...and would get married...” I let out the words from my dried throat, wondering if there was still a speck of saliva in it.

“It is impossible. I’m a normal Muslim and you’re too ‘Muslim’ for my liking.” He blurted and my spine ached from within.

I was shivering and my bones felt weak. I was only wishing that everything would turn out to be a nightmare.

“Aren’t we both Muslims? Why are you just realising this after you’ve captured my heart?” I said, trying to hide my face from him.

It was still obvious that was face was tears-soaked and my nostrils had become moistened.

“I don’t like the hijab, Fareedah. This is a new age and globalisation has changed everything. We all ought to be trendy. I want my woman to open her cloak and show her beauty. I’m sorry if I hurt you but I’ve found someone who is just what I want.”

With that, he grabbed his car key and stormed out of the building.

Without a goodbye... Without taking me back... Saying that I’m too religious...that he hates the hijab...that he has found someone else.

My head was spinning round and I was wailing in pain. My eyes started to feel dizzy and suddenly, I fell to the ground with a loud thud. And everything went blank.
***
“Imagine oo...he hates the hijab. What kind of a man is he? Was she not putting on the hijab when he approached her for the first time?”

I could hear faint voices from the background. My eyes blinked repeatedly and it was suddenly wide open. I woke up to find myself in my room, Raqibah and my mom sitting at both corners of where I was laying.

Their eyes widened as they caught sight of the fact that I was awake and started to stifle praises in the air.

‘AlhamduliLlaah’ resounded everywhere as they held my hands, my mom shedding tears uncontrollably.

‘What had happened? What am I doing here? Why are they both staring at me with pitiful eyes?’I thought.

I had a serious migraine and I held the back of my head, groaning in pains. It was then that I started to recall all that had happened...Najib telling me that he had found someone else...Najib walking out on me...

I began to cry again when I realized all that had happened.

My mom hugged me tightly as a sharp pain emanated from my back. “I’m glad to see you awake,” she cried.

“What really happened? I was at Tantalizers...”

“You fainted but you were rushed home. You’re fine now,” my mom caressed my hands.

 “I’m sorry, Fareedah.” Raqibah was also sobbing.

“It’s not the end of the world, my love. Allah has clearly shown that he is not the right man for you.” My mom whispered softly as she caressed my hands.

I couldn’t say a word. I laid on the bed and stared at their blurred vision one by one.

“I’ll be in the living room,” Raqibah glanced at my mom with a look of understanding.

Shortly after, she left the room, leaving me with my mom, who stared affectionately into my grief-stricken eyes. Slowly, I began to shed more tears.

“My dear child...what you’re shedding tears for is not worth it. It is clearly written in the Glorious Qur’an that hijab is a commandment of the Almighty Allah for all believing women. Any man that tells you to go against the commandment of Allah is not a true believer, and therefore, does not deserve to be your husband. You have to take heart, my daughter.” She hugged me tightly and I sobbed on her shoulders.

We remained there till what felt like hours. Being in my mom’s arms had made me feel better. Knowing that someone could share my pain made me feel loved at that point in time. I was so wrong...I could have confided in her before all went loose. I could have listened to all her warning about our ‘too-perfect’ relationship. I could have sought Allah’s guidance. I shouldn’t have worshipped Him less because of a man...whom I thought loved me. I could have prevented all these from happening but I was blind and stupid in love!

I remained in my mom’s arms, crying till what felt like hours. It was then that Raqibah entered the room, saying that she had made noodles and fish for dinner.

“You have to eat something ehnn...Fareedah. I saw that you covered your breakfast and only ate a part of it.” My mom begged me.

I couldn’t imagine myself tasting any food. I wished that I could just sleep and erase all the memory of Najib. Maybe my life would be back to the way it used to be...studying earnestly and performing religious activities.

Because I didn’t want to disappoint her, I replied, “I’ll try.”

My mom supported me to the living room, and I sat on one of the dining chairs. Shortly afterward, she started feeding me spoons of noodles.

I scrunched up my face in a deep frown. “I’m satisfied. I cannot eat more than this.”

“Just one more spoon.” My mom encouraged.

A minute later, I was in the bathroom, puking and throwing out all I had eaten. My breath became heavier and I poured water over my head.

“Are you okay now?” Raqibah stared at me with sympathetic eyes.

“I’m fine.”

“Let’s get some cool breeze from the balcony,” she said.

We laid on the mat, staring at the sky and communicating in silence. Raqibah didn’t say a word as she held my hands. The silence laid more words than actually talking. We remained that way till the call for prayer.

My mom came out to call us for prayer, after which, she served me fried potatoes, eggs, and hot Lipton tea. I could eat half of the food because I was getting better.

After the ishai’ prayer, I prayed nawafil and opened the Qur’an. I felt at peace after laying my worries to Allah. I read:
“And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms, and do not display their ornaments except to their husbands or their fathers, or their sons, or the sons of their husband, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or those whom their right hand possess, or the male servants not having need (of women), or the children who have not attained knowledge of what is hidden of women; and let them not strike their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may be known; and turn to Allah all of you, O believers! so that you may be successful.”
Suratul Nur, Verse 31.

****
Raqibah and I returned to the room to watch a movie afterward.  We completed the movie in an hour and I saw her off to the gate.

“I’m really sorry,” Raqibah muttered, hugging me tightly and sobbing on my shoulders.

“I’ll be fine.” I assured her, smiling and waving at her as she walked out of the compound.

I returned to my room and bawled out my heart. I called it the ‘last cry.’ It would be the last time that I would cry for Najib. That would be the last tears I would shed for him. Never again!
A/N: Hmm-mm.... I'm speechless! What are your thoughts on this chapter?

Don't miss out on the previous episodes:

Episode One

Episode Two

Episode Three

Episode Four

Episode Five

Episode Six

Episode Seven

Episode Eight

Episode Nine

Episode Ten

Episode Eleven

Episode Twelve

Episode Thirteen

Episode Fourteen

Episode Fifteen


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10 comments:

  1. Hmmmmm this is getting hot, but he saw her using hijab before asking her out, this is so sad. Can't wait for the next episode. Thanks sis jazakumullahu khairan.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is really sad. Thanks for reading, waiyyakum💞💞

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  3. At least, she knows her stand, before it is too late.
    Better for.
    More ink to your pen.
    Looking forward to next episode soonest

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    Replies
    1. Yes, she does now.

      Aameen sis, thanks for reading!!!

      Delete
  4. Best Decision for the both of them. She shouldn't be made to change for anyone. I love this!!!

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    Replies
    1. She shouldn't be...and this is the best decision.

      Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  5. Soo sad but alhamdulillah she knws whr she stands now wt Najib,kudos Maryam

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  6. Alihamdulillah she can now set her records straight no room for disturbance she can worship her Lord the right way nd dress modestly not reducing her hijab for a guy who doesn't worth it

    ReplyDelete