Sunday 17 November 2019

Her Last Breath (Episode Sixteen)

Tijani’s words flashed in my mind as I was having a cold shower. Maybe I had never seen it that way…maybe he was actually right. Wasn’t I the worst set of humans alive? Why would I decide to drag another person into my predicament?

It was no doubt that Taofeek loved me beyond measure…but he was human too. He would want to be with someone else when this whole charade dies down. He would want to have more children and be with his wife till old age.

Why hadn’t I really thought about this?

“Men are not to be trusted oo! I was still living with that so-called trust until he brought a wife one day. They had done the nikkah before I received the news. I spent three days at the hospital before I got over the shock.” Mama Shade, the obese woman with a fat face and protruded belly, remarked during our last meet up. She had said this as she chewed a greasy chicken drumstick. That woman! Always eating.

The other woman had nodded in affirmation as they narrated their own ‘mosino’ stories. I had shaken my head in disbelief when Iya Sikira warned me to keep tabs on my husband’s movements and the people he had conversations with over the phone.

Lai lai! My husband will tell me before he decides to take such a step.” I had said and they all roared in laughter.

“We thought the same…until those men shocked us. Men are unreliable oo! We are warning you before it’s too late.” Mrs. Yahya, one of the women, told me with a convincing look. She was the only one amongst us who wasn’t a housewife. She was working in an advertising firm and was currently on her two-week annual leave.

Well, …maybe they were right. But still, I couldn’t imagine Taofeek, who would wake me with a kiss and smile at me lovingly like he had just seen the most beautiful woman in the world, decide to betray me. Taofeek would ruffle my scanty hair and praise my beauty. Beauty? Beauty when I had woken up with bulgy eyes, saliva-stained cheeks, and foul-smelling mouth. Any man who would praise you when you look your worst definitely loves you!

Pulling my head away from the shower, I took deep breaths and washed the water that filled my face with my right palm. I could hear Taofeek’s voice from the living room, beckoning me to hurry up.

Rolling the white towel around my body, I stepped out of the toilet with my right foot first and muttered ‘ghufranaka.’

“I thought you’ll spend the whole day in the bathroom.” Taofeek’s voice startled me and I almost jump up in fright. I had no idea that he had entered the room.

His eyes trailed my body lustfully as I reached for my wardrobe to grab a simple clothe. I picked a pink tank top and headed to his wardrobe to wear one of his trousers.

He laughed softly, watching me with keen interest. “The way you steal my clothes still baffles me.” He stood up and walked towards me, his face very close to mine that I felt his warm breaths and perceived his favourite cologne from his t-shirt. “Now, I regret advising you to go out and socialize.”

“You shouldn’t. It is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received. I’m a different person now.”

“But you hardly have time for me. You see…my love, if I had the chance, I would quit my job and spend every second of my time with you."

My face creased in thought. “Can we sit?”  

After we sat on the bed, I held his hands in mine and stared at him thoughtfully. “You know you can’t keep doing this…trying to care and always being beside me because of the fear of losing me. It won’t change anything. I’m still a living corpse.” I said as my face streamed with tears.

Taofeek pulled me into his arms and hugged me tightly. “Don’t say that. I don’t see you that way.”

“But I am. I’m serious. I haven’t been this happy in a while. I want you to understand that this will make your wife happy.”

“Okay. You need to eat and take your drugs. I’ll warm your macaroni now.” He said, standing up. “Remember I told you it won’t be as fresh as this morning? You missed out on this because of that man.” He let out a frown.

“Are we still on this Tijani issue?” I furrowed my brows at him and giggled.

“Yes, we are. I haven’t even started.” He said as he sauntered towards the doorway. Just as he was about to leave the room, he turned towards me and smiled. “Gosh! I love you, Khayrah.”

I smiled sheepishly as I watched him leave the room. I was the luckiest. My husband was the best!
“Can we change this to another channel? I don’t understand these Yoruba movies. Why will someone’s bad temper be a spiritual problem? So, every problem we face is spiritual?” Taofeek sneered as he stared at the TV with disgust.

I laughed loudly as I snuggled closer to him, feeling the thumping of his chest. I always loved to be in his arms and lie on his chest. The smell of his cologne was endearing and I would always love to sniff his shirt.

“Really? Is that all you can do? Laugh? Let’s just watch the news. At least, we know we can benefit something from there.” He grimaced as he picked the remote control from the centre table.

I grabbed the remote control from him, laughing mockingly. “You don’t watch movies to learn. You watch movies to have fun.” I eyeballed, sticking out my tongue.

Just then did Taofeek’s phone start to ring. I raised my neck to view the caller ID but he had stylishly hidden his phone- or so I guessed. Tension crept on his face as he rose from the sofa and walked out of the living room to answer the call.

I sat upright, massaging my chin as I remembered all I’d heard within the space of a month. Could Taofeek have another woman? Was he planning on marrying another wife? I would make sure I find out what he was up to!

Some minutes later, he returned to the living room with a pale face. He forced a smile as he spotted my anxious look. “Just a call from work.” He muttered, returning to the seat and staring blankly at the TV. “I’ve told you to change the channel.” He muttered between his breaths as he turned away and stared at the ceiling.

Within minutes, Taofeek looked worked out and tensed. His temper had suddenly changed in an instant. His phone rang again and this time, he turned his phone backward. “Let’s not make this change our mood, jare.”

I tried to focus on something else but my mind was clouded with the thought of the person calling. I knew it was a woman, and I needed to find out who it was. I feigned a frown and glanced at Taofeek with a weak face. “I don’t feel too fine,” I lied.

Shock engulfed his face as he stared at me with anxious eyes. “How do you feel? Do you want to puke? Should I call the doctor?”

“I just need a glass of orange juice.”

Taofeek trailed my face suspiciously. “A glass of orange juice?”



When he was clearly out of sight, I grabbed his phone from the table and went through his call logs.

Rekiya. That was the name of the person calling him. That was the woman pestering my husband’s life. So, it wasn’t even Zainab. It was another woman!

I shrieked in fear as I heard footsteps approaching the living room. “Can you bring the bottle of groundnut from the fridge?” I called out, chuckling as I heard Taofeek groan in frustration.

“Are you really weak or you’ve just turned me into a houseboy?” he called from the kitchen.

I muffled laughter as I opened his messages and scanned through them.

I still love you. I hope you know.
Wait, Taofeek, you know that. Remember when we would profess our love for each other. You promised me forever.
-          Rekiya.

“Khayrah, you’re a case.” I heard Taofeek’s voice draw closer.

I gingerly replaced his phone to the table- the same spot it was lying a few minutes ago- and smiled sweetly at him. His scrunched-up face made me bellow in laughter.

“I can’t believe you faked that to get me into the kitchen. That’s not nice.” He was saying with a deep frown evident on his face.

On a normal day, Taofeek would fake a frown and we would laugh it off…but this night was different. He was indeed furious.

“It was just a joke. Stop acting like I have committed a grievous crime. It’s not like you were even enjoying the movie.” I rolled my eyes, taking a sip of the fruit juice.

Taofeek shrugged and growled at me. “Fine then. I’ll just go inside.”

He was walking out of the living room when my phone started to ring. I flinched in fear as I checked the caller ID. It was who I had guessed. Tijanni.

Taofeek stopped on his track and swiveled towards me. “Who’s that?” he asked anxiously.

“Tijanni.” I stated as I picked the call before he would protest.

“Loudspeaker,” Taofeek whispered as he returned to the sofa to sit beside me, searching my eyes for who-knows-what as I pressed the phone to my left ear.

“Khayrah! How are you?” Tijanni said excitedly from the other end, causing Taofeek to flinch in despair.

“Hey, Tijanni! I’m fine. How are you?”

“Words cannot express how I feel today…meeting you.”

I laughed uncomfortably. “I’m sure that’s because I’d reminded you about the importance of returning to the deen.”

Tijanni gave a paroxysm of laughter. “Deen? Oh, please Khayrah. None of what you said entered this my coconut head.”

“Ah, Tijanni! I will not give up on you. You must become a Muslim before you leave this world.”

“You wish. Anyway, I called to invite you on a date. I’m attending this art exhibition on Saturday and I’m wondering if you’ll like to join me for lunch when I leave the place. You really do make a good partner…I mean, as a friend. I know you’re married oo! We can visit a fancy restaurant afterwards to grab a few delicacies and glasses of wine drinks, and talk about life.”

“The food and drink part would be interesting but talking about life? That would be boring as hell.” I let out a loud laugh as I glanced at Taofeek, who looked like he would pass out.

“You are interesting, Khayrah. It doesn’t matter what we talk about. So, please. Don’t give a gentleman a no. Do we have a date?”

I stared at Taofeek and watched him mouth a ‘no.’ “Say no,” he whispered.

“Yes.” I replied with an evil smile.
“I want you to help me talk to my dad. He won’t answer my calls. I know he has every right to be angry, but I still need to speak to him.” Aliyah said over the phone.

I sighed deeply and stared at the ceiling. “You know what you did was very wrong. Your dad nurtured you from small. He took care of you as his when your mom left you. I’m sorry to bring up this story again, but you know your father sacrificed a lot for you. You shouldn’t leave him now.”

Aliyah sniffed from the other end. “Now you’re making me feel more guilty.”

“Well, you should. I’ll talk to him.”

“I’ll be very glad. Please try and convince him to speak to me. I have a lot to tell him.”

“I will. Not tonight though. Your father isn’t in a good mood.” I wriggled my nose as I remembered the way Taofeek had stormed out of the living room when I agreed to go on a date with Tijanni.

“Oops. One of those couple’s fights. I guess I’ll leave now. Talk to you later.”

“Bye Aliyah.” I replied, hanging up the call.

I rested my head on the pillow and went through my Instagram newsfeed. My heart jolted in shock as I saw a follow request from Tijjani Williams. I accepted his request and a minute later, my phone buzzed with a new notification.

Hey, pretty.
-          Tijjani Williams.

Oh, please! What kind of name combination is this? Tijjani Williams?
-          Khayrah Roqeeb-Adewale.

Hahaha. You’re a case, Khayrah!
-          Tijanni Williams.

“So, can you explain why you agreed to go on a date with him?” Taofeek’s outburst startled me as I shrieked in fear and threw my phone on the bed like someone who had been caught performing a bad act…well, I was performing a bad act by chatting with a non-mahram who was clearly interested in me.

“Because I want to go on a date with him.” I sneered at him, standing up from the bed and folding my hands, ready for a quarrel.

Taofeek stared at me incredulously like I was a different person. “What has gotten over you, Khayrah? When did you become like this? I should have stopped you from attending that cancer support group and becoming a member of the estate women’s association. They are a bad influence.”

I gave a soft chuckle. “Really? Bad influence? Why are you so selfish? You wanted me to go out, now you’re furious that I am socializing. What exactly do you want from me?”

Taofeek placed a hand over his face in frustration as beads of sweat formed around his forehead. “What I want? I just want you to stay away Tijjani or whatever he’s called.”

“Says someone who has been talking to women. First, we had Zainab. Now, we have Rekiya. I wonder if we have more.” I rolled my eyes and turned my face sideways, noting the shock that engulfed Taofeek’s face.

“You’ve been checking my phone…gosh! I know it will be that estate women’s doing. When did we start to have trust issues?”

“You could have been considering getting married to a second wife. After all, your wife might be leaving soon. Why would I be surprised, following your history of womanizing.” The words slipped out of my mouth and I instantly regretted saying it.  

“I’m sorry”, I muttered as I watched Taofeek storm out the room in anger.

I tailed him as we got to the living room. “I’m really sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”
“Well, you did. I can’t believe you’ll bring that up. Just take a look at this…” he said, giving me his phone. “Look at the conversations I had with these ladies. Was there any point where I showed an iota of interest in them? My phone is even without a password. What exactly do you want from me, Khayrah? Are you trying to get back at me with Tijjani?”

“I’m so sorry. I was jealous and scared…”

“Scared? Didn’t I have an idea of your health status before choosing to be with you? Where did all these come from?”

“I was wrong and I’m sorry. I promise you, it’ll never happen again.”

“Fine. How about your date with Tijjani. Will you call him now to call off the appointment?”

“I want to see him…maybe see if I can convince him to believe in Allah. He needs to say the sahadah before he dies. He was once a Muslim. I don’t want him to leave this world as an unbeliever.”

Taofeek chewed his lower lip as he thought deeply. “Okay. But you’ll spend just two hours with him. I’ll take you there and pick you up.”

“Okay,” I said in excitement, then remembered what Aliyah had said. “Aliyah wants to talk to you…”

“I’ve had a long day, Khayrah. Not tonight. I need to sleep. Goodnight.” Taofeek said as he left the living room.
Tijjani grinned excitedly as he talked about his cats and how he cherished them. He would turn a slice of pizza and start to chew as he rambled about this family; his cats.

We hadn’t started the main discussion- but I had to be patient. I had to wait for the moment I would talk about the reason I agreed to the date in the first place.

Tijanni was putting on a red and black shirt, and a pair of jean trousers. It was today that I saw him for the first- the fact that he was very fair in complexion and he had a black mole below his lower lip.

“Just try keeping a cat, Khayrah. You’ll understand what I’m talking about.” He stated, gulping down his bottle of yoghurt.

I smiled in return. “I’ll tell my husband about it.”

“Yeah…that reminds me. How did you meet your husband?”


Tijjani spilled his drink as he stared at me with an unbelievable look. “Facebook? Do we still have people that use Facebook?”

“Yes, we do. We’re one of them. We fell in love on Facebook and decided to tie the knots.”

“Wow! Amazing! Cheers to the Facebook couple!” Tijjani made a soft chuckle as he raised his bottle in the air.

“Hahaha. You’re a special case, Tijjani.”

“I wish I had met you before you got married. I would have been in your husband’s place, being the luckiest man on earth.” He remarked as he stared at me.

I cleared my throat and sipped my drink. “I want to talk to you about Islam. You see, life is short and it is shorter for us. You must believe in the Creator of the universe and the Provider of Sustenance. Your illness could be a test from Him. You should use this to worship Him, because you know that your time on earth is limited…”

“It’s okay. Seriously, this won’t change anything. I’ve made up my mind. You can’t understand what I went through and what I’m still going through. I can’t change, Kharyah. Stop trying hard because nothing will change.”

I swallowed. Taofeek was right. I shouldn’t be here. Tijjani had made up his mind. He would never become a Muslim.

“So…” he was saying but I cut him off.

“I need to leave now.” I said, grabbing my bag from the table.

“Why? We haven’t spent up to three hours here.”

“I have a couple of things to do at home.”

“Okay. I’ll drop you off.”

“You don’t need to. My husband came with me.” I said, pointing at the car that was parked outside.

Surprise stole over his face but he still managed to give a rictus of smile. “Okay then. Have a nice day. And I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay.” I replied as I walked out of the building.

“It was pointless. He has made up his mind.” I said as I sat beside Taofeek in the car.

“I’m sorry.” Taofeek muttered as he squeezed my left hand and drove out of the building.

I stared out of the window in silence, wishing that Tijjani would decide to become a Muslim. But it was his life and who was I, really? A lady whom he had just known in less than two weeks.

My phone rang in my bag and I took the phone to check the caller ID. It was Tijjani. I cringed as I swiveled towards Taofeek. “It’s Tijjani. I’m not talking to him.”

“You should. Click on the loudspeaker icon. Let’s see what he has to say.”

I did as I was told as I answered the call. Surprisingly, it was a lady’s voice that was heard. A shaky voice that seemed like the person on the other end was frightened. “You’re the last contact on his call log…he just slumped…he lost consciousness…we’re taking him to the nearest hospital...please, we need you. We’re on our way to Molly Hospital.”

My hands became wobbly as I widened my eyes in fear. “Turn the car!” I bellowed at Taofeek.

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  1. Subhanallah.
    Hope he will be able to make it and be a better Muslim at the end.
    Thumbs up for Taofeek

  2. Cool as always.
    I was glued to the screen.
    Thumbs up.