Saturday 19 January 2019

Flaming Home (Episode One)

Najwa’s Point of View

“Grrr…” I mimic the sound of his snore in a squeaky voice as I watch him throw a leg over my stomach and drool thick-white saliva from his mouth. I can perceive the foul smell reeking from his half-opened mouth. It smells like the huge pile of refuse along Ojota road.

Disaster! That is one word I can use over and over again to describe Anas. I stare around the room; the blue-satin curtain I had ordered from London, the richly-furnished upholstery chair I usually sit on while rehearsing for the next day’s show, the brown-painted wardrobe designed with the best-quality and finest wood from Africa, the cream and brown-coloured wall that is usually the background of most of my Instagram pictures. So yes, our room is lovely and exquisite…the only disaster in the room is no one but Anas.

“Ahhhrrrhhhhhyyy,” he tosses his body and his hands reach to my face accidentally.

I gaze at the long-limbed man sleeping beside me on our Super King-sized bed. His chocolate skin, thick lashes and dark-thick beards. It is the same beards I had loved to run my fingers on.

Gazing at him is my daily routine at the early hours of morning… it is in fact the first thing I do when I wake up. I’ll place a hand on my cheek and stare at him, wondering how I ended up with him…how I decided to spend the rest of my life with the monster…I mean, my husband.

‘What is the best way to kill someone? Knife…ahhh, too bloody. Strangling? I’ve got no such power over a man. Poison…okay, this is pointless.

But I hate this! I hate to wake up every morning to see his face…his dark face scrunching up as he sleeps…like it’s the end of the world.

I wince in disappointment and regret as I recall what had happened in the past…the only decision I’ve regretted making.

Five years ago, I met Anas at a friend’s wedding. The feeling was magnetic. Gosh! His dark skin was glittering and his eyes were gleaming under the bright sun. I couldn’t pay attention to what my cousin was telling me. Just a breathtaking smile and I knew that he was the one for me. We went on a series of date and planned our wedding three months later.

Why did I smile on my wedding day…? I’d have frowned more if I knew what would be of us. I’d have run away and never agree to tie the knots with him!

 How stupid I was! Maybe I was charmed! Maybe I’d lost my senses! How did I say ‘I do’ to this man? Worst decision ever Najwa!

The phone starts to vibrate and he groans loudly, raising his hand lazily to turn it off. He yawns loudly and stretches his arms groggily, his opened mouth wafting the room with its foul odour.

Movies are totally wrong! You can never kiss your partner when you both wake from sleep.Never.

Anas, as if noticing my presence, widens his eyes in shock and disbelief. “Najwa, do you plan on killing me in my sleep? Are you a witch?”

I laugh sarcastically and roll my eyes, standing up from the bed and adjusting my nightgown. “I would have done so long ago if it was possible. Gosh…you sleep like a lazy man. What if a robber breaks into our home? You’ll be fast asleep to even realise that a gun is being pointed to your head.” I yell at him.

Anas replies by squeezing my mouth. I want to retaliate, I run after him but he quickly dashes into the bathroom.

“The day I’ll deal with you ehnn…you’ll know who you’ve been living with.” I splutter, pointing towards the bathroom door and walking to the side table to study my face in the mirror.

One thing I adore so much about myself is my face. Several people have stopped by to comment on my beauty…my pointed nose, wide eyes and soft lips. 

Here’s a little thing about myself:

1.      I am beautiful. I know I sound proud but it’s the truth. Whenever viewers call my show, they first comment on my beauty. My Instagram posts are filled with comments about my beauty. Anas is the luckiest man on earth to have me.

2.      I am a successful relationship coach. 90% of what I preach in my morning show are contrary to how I live my life. 

3.      I have a very loving daughter. Sahadat is the love of my life. The only regret I have is that she has part of Anas’s blood.

4.      I am very rich…richer than my husband. This is one thing I use in spiting him.

5.      Anas and I keep up a fake appearance outside…for the fame and publicity…

“Who is deceiving you sef? You’ll spend hours staring at face like you’re beautiful? I wish your fans would see you when you just leave the bed in the morning.” Anas re-appears in the room. He twitches his lips and roars in laughter, cleaning his wet face with a dry towel and reaching for a shirt from the wardrobe.

“What of your‘You look pretty even when you wake up from sleep’ phrase? The same phrase you used for years? So you were deceiving me all those times?”

He laughs mockingly and his face brightens in amusement. “I was only pulling your legs…and you believed me all those years? What a shame!” he shakes his head, picking the prayer mat and walking out of the room.

I grind my teeth and clenches my fist as I take my hijab and leave the room. It is Monday morning and no one will spoil my day. I remember the position I’ll likely be winning today…the position of Chief Media Executive.

“You’re the one that Mrs. Bola will choose jhoor! Who else is better than you? Don’t you see how fans call during your show? Be rest assured that you’ve already won the seat.” Barakah, my best friend and colleague had praised me yesterday while we were leaving for lunch.

 It is certain that I will win the position…who else please? I’ve been working diligently and my contribution in the media department has made a positive impact in the success of XYZ Media House. My TV programme won the Best Family TV Show last year. Who else deserves this position?
“I’ll be late for school, mom. Dad is waiting for you at the dining room,” Sahadat grumbles behind me, pulling her hands around my neck.

She is already dressed in her white shirt and blue pinafore uniform. The Nivea cream glows her skin and she smells of her strawberry shampoo.

“I’ll be there soon. I just need to apply more lipstick,” I smile at her reflection through the mirror.

“You are beautiful, mom. You don’t have to paint your face like an artist. Let’s have breakfast...daddy is waiting for you.” She says, walking out of the room.

Caramel skin, almond-shaped eyes and pointed nose, my daughter is a carbon copy of me. Sahadat, my daughter is the only good thing that has resulted from my marriage. 

It is getting late but my make-up needs to be superb. I’ll be standing in the front of everyone when my name is being called as the new executive officer!

“Najwa, fix us breakfast. It’s getting late.” Anas yells from the living-room.

“Your hands have suddenly become paralyzed abi? You cannot cook again.” I scoff, re-applying my lipstick and picking the newest heels from amongst my collection of shoes (the red high-heeled shoes with stone beads that I had bought from Barakah last week at a whooping sum of money).

Sahadat and Anas are already seated in the dining room as I march in. His eyes are fixed on his phone while Sahadat reads a storybook.

“Mom, what are we having for breakfast?” her eyes brighten in anticipation.

“We’re having cereal,” I reply, walking towards the kitchen to bring three bowls and spoons.

“Cereal again? Ah! This cereal will soon grow on my head oo. Don’t you know that this so-called cereal cannot sustain me before I get to work?”Anas sneers.

“Anas, read my lips…I don’t care. You can wake up early and make amala if you’re serious about having a good meal.” I raise my arms nonchalantly and pour milk into the small bowls.

Anas studies me for a while before replying, his lips pinned tightly together. “What is your duty in this house if not to cook? Cereal in the morning and noodles at night. Do you want us to have ulcer?”

“I do not have your time this morning. I’m only concerned about winning this position…which I’m sure will be mine.” I smile proudly.

“Daddy said that eating too much will make the worms in our stomach eat our intestines. Is it true?” Sahadat is saying, raising her eyes in fear.

“Don’t mind your dad. He’s bluffing.” I unlock my phone and take a quick picture of us.

Having breakfast before leaving for our daily routines… such happy family!

I write a caption and post on Instagram.

Some seconds later, my phone starts to buzz with new notifications.

You’re the luckiest Najwa. Your husband is really handsome and your daughter is cute.
I want to be like you when I grow up!
You’re my role model Najwa. I’m looking forward to listening to your show today. What will you…

I return my phone and smile satisfactorily, giving Anas a sly gaze to note his frustrating look.

‘He is jealous that I am more successful and famous than he is. He is jealous of me.’ I smirked, intentionally spilling milk on his shirt.
Anas is cursing between his breath as he is driving us to work. He is furious that I made him change his shirt. His upper lip curls up in disdain as he faces the road. Well, I do not care! He deserves more than that.

Twenty minutes after we drop our daughter at the school gate, Anas drives into XYZ compound and the gateman hails him.

“Our ogaa oo! The husband to the fine madam.” he raises his hands into the air and stamps his feet heavily to the ground.

Anas smiles in return and dips some pieces of notes into his palm. He hails loudly as Anas drives in and parks at his usual corner.

Barakah is already waiting for me by the entrance. I can see her wear an excited look. I too cannot contain my level of excitement.

This will be the happiest day of my life. I will get promoted and become much more successful than Anas. I succeeded in ruining Anas’s morning and I couldn’t help chanting ‘2:0’ while in the car with him. The day is perfect! Nothing will spoil it.

“Bye darling. I’ll miss you so much. I love you.” I place a kiss on his dry lips and pull my face immediately.

“I love you too.” He smiles at me, waves at Barakah and reverses out of the building.

We’re such good actors!

“You guys should audition for a movie!” Barakah laughs and pulls me into a hug.

“Asalamu ‘alaykum bestie.”

“Wa’alaykumu salam.” She pulls away and grins at me.

Barakah is very tall and skinny. She is older than me, yet still unmarried. She started working in XYZ media, long before I resumed work in the company. Barakah has always remained in the same position but she’s less concerned. As a sincere friend, she doesn’t spite me because of my success nor does she holds me in contempt because I hold a better position. Also, Barakah is the only one that knows my secret.

“Are you ready to lead our department?” she cheers.

I smile triumphantly. “Yes, I am.”

“Before that, there’s a new staff. She’s also a Muslimah and her name’s Mutmahinat.” Barakah says with curious eyes.

“Who?” I ask, eyebrows puckered in concentration.

 A/N: Hello everyone! How have you been? I've been away because of post-vacation blues. And I'm glad to be here again.
Thanks for your patience and happy reading!!!❤❤