Friday 4 January 2019

The Precious Figure (Finale)

Episode Eighteen

“He said that I’m too short and my nose is flat…that our children won’t be beautiful,” Rofi’at said in a high-thin voice and we all yelled in disgust.

“Really? You mean he called off your marriage because of your looks?” Zuwayrah widened her eyes in shock and disbelief.

The room fell silent as we were all perplexed and flabbergasted. “You’re surprised abi? Oyaa, hear my own. My own fiancé said that getting married will be a waste of genotype. Because we’re both AA.” Aisha said and we all burst into laughter.

“Na lie!” Zulaikha laughed in disbelief. “Hear my own. He said that I’m fake. That my hair, my eyes…everything is fake. The surprising thing is that he didn’t return my texts or pick my calls. It was when we called for a family meeting that he said all these. The question is, didn’t he see me before proposing?”

I cleared my throat and processed what to say. “He said he hates the hijab. Ejo, was his eyes blind when he approached me for the first time? Didn’t he see me putting on the hijab?” I rolled my eyes and the ladies yelled in anger.

Shey he thought that he’ll be able to convince you to remove the hijab when he wins your heart? Men sha!” Mu’minah twitched her lips in rejection.

It was the ‘Ladies’ Night’organised by the Muslimahs’ society and we all gathered in ‘Aatiyah’s room to hang out and discuss personal issues. She occupied a room in her uncle’s house (who was also a lecturer in the university) and her room was wide enough to accommodate ten women.

Plates of biscuit, prawn crackers and groundnut was placed in front of us and our paper cups was filled with cold zobo drink.

“I didn’t experience any of these oo. I met my husband when I was in my second year and we got married some few months after. We had our twins last year,” Zaynab smiled and the ladies cheered in excitement.

“Same here oo. I met my olowo ori mi through my elder brother. He assured me that his friend is really nice…and he was right. We got married last month and I’ve found no fault in him. I know there’s no perfect man, and we’re also not perfect. But Allah has joined us to perfect each other,” Sumayyah narrated.

“I agree with you, sister. One brother that I have boasted about spending the rest of life with called me one afternoon. I thought he wanted to introduce me to some of his relatives but guess what? He said that he cannot proceed with the wedding preparations because he had fallen out of love with me. Allah replaced him with someone better.”

“’Alhamdulillah. Aatiyah, you nko?” Summayah pointed at her as she took a handful of groundnut from the plate.

“I’ve never been in a relationship. I haven’t found the one yet… but I would, In Sha Allah, with Allah’s guidance. I think all these balls down to istikharah…seeking Allah’s guidance…”

“I need to go to the corridor,” Raqibah whispered, showing me her phone.

Munib had been calling since we arrived there.“See…ten missed calls. Let me pick up before he comes here looking for me.” She chuckled as she patted my arm and wore her hijab.

I watched as Raqibah left the room, knowing fully well that my friend had found love and she had never been happier.

It was just then that my phone started to vibrate. It was Habeeb calling. I felt a frisson as I took my phone stalked off gingerly to join Raqibah in the corridor, trying hard to hide my excitement from the ladies.

I started a new relationship with Habeeb some few months after we met. That was how he became a part of my small family. He either visited with loads of goodies or took me to restaurants I’d never been to. My mom liked him instantly and she was sure that he was the right one for me.

Habeeb was different…different from the other men I’d met. He had a character like a halcyon; calm, peaceful and unruffled. He hardly made eye contact with me; he took care of me like a precious gem and maintained simplicity. Habeeb worked as a copywriter for an advertising firm and he lived with his parents. He didn’t own a big house nor did he drive an exotic car. But he was worth more than any material quality money could buy.

I continued attending the Muslimahs’ society every Wednesday afternoon and improved my religious activities. When Mallam Sanusi gave a lecture on the significance of istikharah, I had no idea that it was really important to seek guidance before going into an intimate relationship.

When Habeeb proposed to me, I cheerfully accepted. It was a dream come true. We visited our families and a natural bond was created between us. I knew that he would make me the happiest woman. I knew that he would complete half of my deen.

“Asalamu ‘alaykum warahmatullah wabarakahtuhu Fareedah.” Habeeb greeted on the phone.
I could picture a wide smile plastered on his face; his eyes lightening up like the first time I had met him.

The sound of Habeeb’s deep and resonant voice made me shiver down to my spine. “Wa’alaykumu salam warahmatullah wabarakahtuhu. How are you?”

“Ah…well, I’m ravenous. Momma is still making amala and ila and I’m almost drooping saliva here. I haven’t eaten since afternoon. I only took doughnut and bottled water for lunch,” he grumbled in an amusing way.

I couldn’t help chuckling. “You ehn! You’re still eating late. You want to grow a large tummy before our wedding. Can’t you eat something lighter, like boiled plantain and vegetables?”

Plan-what? You know what I ate for breakfast? Two slices of bread and tea. If I appear looking like kwashiorkor on our wedding day, will you agree to marry me?” he was laughing and I joined him, hardly noticing that someone was tapping my shoulder.

“The sisters have been asking of us. We need to return now.” Raqibah whispered.

“Habeeb…I need to return now.”

“Alright…have fun and do not leave till in the morning. I can’t afford that you walk along the dangerous path when it is tar-black…”


“And I’ll pick you up by 10:00 am tomorrow. I want us to go on an outing…anywhere fun and serene.”

“That’ll be great. Bye!” I hung up and turned towards Raqibah, who was grinning from ear to ear.

“We’re really lucky. We should get married on the same day.”

“Yes, we should.” I nodded in return as we held hands and returned to the room.
I couldn’t help but glance at Habeeb as he was driving the car. He had picked me up thirty minutes earlier and my mom insisted that he ate from the beans and plantain she made for breakfast.

“You’ve been stealing glances at me since we started this journey. Can you perceive the stench from my fart?”

I narrowed my eyes and furrowed my brows. “You’ve been farting?”

Habeeb cracked up. “Of course. I ate beans!”

My eyebrows puckered in concentration. “Do you promise to become the best of husbands when we get married? Will you keep loving me more than you do now?”

“I’ll try my best, Fareedah. I know I’m not perfect, but I’ll try my best to be the best husband for you. With Allah’s assistance, I will try to always make you happy and proud of me.”

I looked gloriously triumphant as I stared out of the window, knowing that he had said it from his heart.

When I asked what got him attracted to me at first sight, I was flabbergasted when his reply was, “It was the precious and innocent figure in a green wet hijab that attracted me to you.”


Najib’s Point of View
Yes! My life is a mess…a big mess! Filled with regrets, sorrow and sadness. I had lost a precious figure just like that…I let a precious gem slip from my hand without fighting.

I regretted the day I stepped into Tantalizers and shattered the heart of an innocent soul. I regretted the day I had met her…walking beside a pudgy lady who happened to be her friend. I couldn’t pull my eyes away; from her. I was surprised because she was one of those women I had tagged as ‘Out of bound.’ She was putting on a long hijab and was fully covered from head to toe in a modest dress.

When I approached her, I knew why she had captured all of me. Her eyes were big, lovely and bright. Her soft luscious lips were tempting to touch. I wished that I could brush my lips across hers…right there in the scorching sun.

But I knew that my soul was corrupt. The lady never thought of all these. Her smile was innocent and she could hardly look me in the eyes.

I wished that I hadn’t walked towards them that afternoon. Maybe I wouldn’t have been filled with regrets.

All through our short time together, I was eager to taste her lips and feel the texture of her skin. I wanted to see how straight her legs were and how fair her hands looked. But I couldn’t. I felt too restricted. I wanted more. I wanted her!

I couldn’t help it when Moyo started to mock me every day…walking into my office and asking questions like, “How fun is your relationship?”

To me, my relationship was no fun. I wanted more than just calls and visits to the restaurant. The first day Rahima started work in the company, I grew attracted to her. She was everything I wanted…more than what I wanted. Also, I knew that it would be a great opportunity to spite Moyo and get her off my chest.

Rahima said yes without much hesitation…courtesy to my good looks, money and sweet accent. Now I regret that I am attractive and rich…maybe I wouldn’t have felt full of myself.

I could play with Moyo’s braids, kiss her deeply and hold her hands while we walk on the street. I didn’t have to stare repugnantly at a hijab because Rahima didn’t wear one (how much I hated the hijab!).

We started planning our wedding and my mom agreed to come over to Nigeria. I was really happy. Despite Fauziyyah’s pleas and advices to end the relationship, I turned deaf ears. It was all about what I wanted. She was very glad that she would see our mom again…and because of that, she stopped pestering me.

Rahima walked away on our wedding day. I had spent a lot of money on our dream wedding but she never showed up.  I stared around the well-decorated hall with a perpetually disdainful expression. I felt queasy. I wasn’t angry because she walked away on the most memorable day of my life. I was furious because my mom was sad…sad to witness all of that. I could picture her dressed in a white laced-iro and buba, a red head gear and silver high-heeled shoes. Her make-up-filled face had turned moist and she was pacing back and forth in confusion.

“It’s okay, Najib. She is not the one for you. You’ll find someone better. You’re a good man.” She held my face in her hands and cleaned the tears that were streaming down my face.

I winced and quelled a shudder. “No mom, it’s not okay because I let you down. I am not a good man.” I yelled in anger and frustration.

She looked really beautiful and slender, a carbon copy of Fauziyyah. “Don’t you say that. Everything happens for a reason. You’re a good man. I raised you the right way.”

“No mom, I broke the heart of a precious woman…. I let my happiness away. I should be getting married to Fareedah…. I should have been the happiest man today.” I said in a strangled voice, occasionally punctuating the air. I placed my head on her chest and cried loudly.

It was three months later and I had still not gotten over what had happened. My mom had travelled to Dubai and I’m left with Fauziyyah, whose stare makes me feel a pang of guilt always.

I tried…believe me, I tried to win Fareedah’s heart again. The same woman that I had truly fallen in love with. The face that comes to my mind whenever I open a bar of chocolate. It was too late. She was with someone else…someone better than me. His name is Habeeb and they would be getting married soon.

I was scared of facing her…the same woman that I had walked away from, after revealing the dreadful news. Even when I was called back to help her to the hospital, I frowned my face and walked drove out of the compound.

When I parked by her street to watch her, I couldn’t control the tears that filled my face when I caught sight of her. Her usual radiant face and breathtaking smile. The same hijab that I had prevented her from wearing. It made her the most beautiful woman I had ever set my eyes on. She was with someone else. I am hapless and downcast. I should have been the one, making her smile and promising her a lovely future. I should have been the one planning our biggest day with her. But I took the wrong step and now, I’m filled with regrets.

Yes! My life is truly a mess… a big mess!

 A/N: Yayyy!!! The Precious Figure is finally over. Thanks to everyone who have read, commented, publicised the story...and contributed in one way or the other towards the success of the web series.
You're all appreciated. I'll be updating the synopsis of our new story (Flaming Home) this weekend and it'll start next week in sha Allah. 
Till then,

Don't miss out on the previous episodes: