Thursday 24 June 2021

Life and Everything in Between (Episode Eleven)


Tension filled the room as we sat down with tear-filled eyes. We sat in silence and stared at the letter lying on the table.


What would become of us? What would happen to this family? Would it become one of those scary stories that appear on Instablog?


“Rasheedah, why??? Why did you do this behind our backs?” Dad screamed at Rasheedah. “Do you think we had no genuine reason for calling off the wedding?”


Rasheedah sighed deeply and broke down in tears. “I’m really sorry. I’m sorry for putting the family through these. It’s because of me all these are happening. I was the one that chose to get married to the son of a politician.”


“And you didn’t heed our warnings. I can’t believe you still went out with Khalid behind our backs,” Mom said with tears. “Do you think I wouldn’t be excited to see you tie the knots? I’ve been looking forward to this moment all my life, and now, we decided to suspend the whole process because of our safety…but what did you do? Follow Khalid around Lagos like a jobless person!” she snarled.


“I’m so sorry…I’m really sorry,” Rasheedah said as she bawled her eyes out.


Dad stood up and walked towards the TV stand, where he kept his phone. “I need to report this to the police. Tomorrow morning, Rafiah and I would head to the police station. No one is leaving the house after that. We’re going nowhere until this matter is resolved!” he said as he walked out of the living room.


Minutes later, I was sitting on my bed while I drafted a mail to the company’s HR. I explained that I would be absent from work because of a threatening message my family received.


I had just clicked on the send button when Rasheedah appeared, looking disheveled and pale. “Rafiah,” she said with a forced smile as she settled on the bed.


Her eyes were sunken, and her voice cracked. “I’ve failed our family. Look at what I’m putting us through! I cannot believe that I’m the cause of all these. Rafiah, I’ve never seen dad look that worried. Mom cries most of the time. Do you know how bad I feel?”


“I understand, but this guilt feeling won’t change things now. I think you should call Khalid and ensure he reveals all that is happening. It is so not fair. We deserve an explanation. He came weeks ago to inform us that the wedding has to be postponed because of a matter of life and death. Now, we’ve received a letter of threat. It makes no sense that we don’t know what’s happening, and that’s what you need to find out,” I said.


“He doesn’t even know about the letter. I haven’t been picking his calls,” Rasheedah blew her nose.


“Well, you need to. And we all deserve an explanation, I stated.


Rasheedah nodded as she stood up. “I need to go to the bathroom.”


But we both knew that she was looking for a quiet place to cry.


Dad explained the current situation as he drove out of the police station.  However, my thought was clogged with a lot of things. Mostly fear. I hadn’t taken Khalid’s statement too seriously until I saw the letter last night. I wonder what would become of my family. I wished I could cry away the fears and uncertainties.


“Rafiah?” Dad tapped my arm.


“Yes, Dad?” I replied, cleaning my wet eyes.


He glanced at me with sympathetic eyes and returned his gaze to the road. “I understand how you’re feeling. I would be lying if I say that I’m not frightened. But we have to put all hope in ALlaah. No matter how well evil-doers conspire to harm us, we’ll be unharmed by ALlaah’s mercy. So, let us fast and pray. Wake up for tahajjud and relay our fears to Him. He is the only One that can bail us out of this dreadful situation.


I forced a smile. “You’re right, Dad. May ALlaah keep protecting us.”


“Aameen,” he responded as my phone chimed in my bag.


I brought it out to know who had messaged me.


What happened? You’re not at work today. I can’t find you anywhere.

-          Munir.


Yes, something really urgent happened. I sent a mail to HR last night.

-          Rafiah.


Hope you’re fine?

-          Munir.


I was trying to respond when he his call came in. “Asalamu ‘alaykum, Rafiah. What happened? Are you okay?” he said in a worried tone as I answered the call.


“Wa’alayumu salam. I can’t talk now. I’ll call you back later.”


“Okay. I hope everything’s okay? Nothing bad happened, right?”


“Yes. Talk to you later,” I said and hung up.


“Are you seeing someone?” Dad asked.


“Err….no. He’s a friend.”


“But you like him.”


“Sometimes I think I do, and sometimes I don’t. He’s a nice person, though.”


“As far as his parents aren’t politicians,” Dad chuckled, and I joined. “Rafiah, we didn’t conclude our discussion yesterday. This is really not the best time to do so. I just want you to know that you are a smart and ambitious woman. I’m sure you have reasons for making a decision,” he smiled at me.


“Thanks, Dad,” I smiled back.


Dad drove silently throughout the rest of the journey, and I stared out the window, wondering what would become of my family.


Munir listened silently as I explained all that been happening for the past three weeks. How Khalid had paid us a surprise visit and talked about postponing the wedding and how we received a threatening message last night. Worry was evident in his voice as he asked about the steps we had taken.


“Life is so unpredictable. These are events I watch in thriller and horror movies. Look at them happening to us,” I said as I stared at the ceiling.


“That’s how scary life is. I thought of something similar when I lost both parents in a day. I read about things like that on the news. But it happened to me.”


“SubhanaLlaah. I’m so sorry, Munir. I had no idea.”


“It’s fine. Time truly heal wounds. It doesn’t get better, but it doesn’t get worse. As time goes on, you’ll realise that you just have to live with grief. And it becomes the new normal,” he said.


I thought about my parents and prayed that ALlaah keeps them safe and grant them a long life.


“What Khalid and his parents are doing is not right. You deserve to know what’s happening,” Munir said.


“You’re right…”


“I’ve got to go, Rafiah. Mrs. Bola wants me in her office. I’ll talk to you before the end of the day. Take care of yourself,” he said and hung up.


I stared around the room and wondered how long these would last. How long we had to remain indoors to protect our lives. I opened Instagram to realise that Asmau had sent a message.


I’m visiting this evening. Hope you’re fine?

-          Asmau


I’m trying to be. Visiting? Would it convenient for you and the baby?

-          Rafiah


Jamal will drive me down. PS- Munir sent a plate of jollof rice and ogunfe for you. Love is in the air!

-          Asmau


The same love that’s making me sit at home instead of being at work? Please oo!

-          Rafiah


That’s Khalid. Munir is different. What colour are we looking at? Should we go for gold and purple?

-          Asmau



-          Rafiah

For the wedding.

-          Asmau


You’re unbelievable. Why did you even send a message via Instagram?

-          Rafiah


I need to update my WhatsApp. Please, be fine. I’m genuinely worried for you and your family, and I pray that ALlaah keeps you safe.

-          Asmau


Aameen. Thanks, babe. I appreciate it.

-          Rafiah.

Don't miss out on the previous episodes:

Episode One

Episode Two

Episodes Three & Four

Episode Five

Episodes Six & Seven

Episode Eight

Episode Nine

Episode Ten




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