Monday 25 October 2021

Life and Everything in Between (Episode Seventeen)

My heart thumped fast as Farouk picked up the call. We were silent for close to a minute, listening to each other’s heartbeat.


Farouk broke the silence a minute later by clearing his throat. “Asalamu ‘alaykum, Rafiah.”


“Wa’alaykumu salam. How are you? Did you get home on time?”


Farouk responded with a chuckle. “What’s up? Can you explain what happened back there?”


“I’m sorry. I was…I was so nervous that I didn’t know how to react. I’m sorry…”


“It’s fine. I totally get it. And like I said, I’d understand if you say no. But it will break my heart,” Farouk tried to fake-cry.


I laughed hard as I got up from the chair and paced around the verandah. “I like you very much, Farouk. To be honest, I also got attracted to you at first sight. And yes, I would really like to spend the rest of my life with you,” I said with a deep sigh.


Farouk squealed in excitement. “Oh my gosh! This means a lot to me. Thank you so much for this call. Now, I can sleep in peace,” he said with a bright tone.


“Really? You wouldn’t have slept?”


“Well, let’s call that being love-sick. And I spoke to Munir when I got back. I told him about my proposal. So he’s happy for us, Rafiah!”


My lips trembled slightly at the thought of Munir. How did I forget all about him? “How did he react?”


“He hugged me tightly and wished us well. But I told him that I hadn’t gotten a positive response. He laughed hard when I revealed what had happened.”


“What?! You told him?” I giggled.


“Of course,” Farouk was saying when I noticed a black figure standing opposite the building, watching me.


The figure appeared as a long-limbed man, dressed in a black hoodie and pair of trousers. I tried to get a closer look when the figure suddenly disappeared.


“Are you there, Rafiah?” Farouk asked.


“Yes…I’m sorry. I thought I saw someone strange. It’s fine. Are you attending the wedding?”


“Of course, I am. I’ll clear off my tasks to grace your sister’s wedding.”


“Okay. Thank you so much. We’ll see tomorrow then.”


“Okay. Bye!” I said as I hung up the call and sent a message to Munir.



-          Rafiah.


Munir replied instantly.

Hey bighead! I mean, sister-in-law.

-          Munir.


LOL. Are you serious? I haven’t said a ‘yes.’

-          Rafiah.


But you will. Oh, come on. It’s obvious that you like Farouk.

-          Munir.


Are you really okay with this?

-          Rafiah.


Rafiah, you deserve to be happy. Stop feeling bad because you’re uncertain someone is displeased with what you want. I don’t have feelings for you. I don’t mean you’re undesirable or unattractive. I am not just in the right place, at this moment, for a relationship. I was previously scared that you being close to my brother would affect our friendship, but to hell with that! You deserve to be happy. I have witnessed all that happened with Tolu, and I want you to be with someone who sincerely loves and cares for you. Someone who would never break your heart. And I believe my brother is that person.

-          Munir.


JazakaLlaahu khayran, Munir. I really appreciate your message. It means a lot to me.

-          Rafiah.


It’s my pleasure. I’ll see you at the wedding!

-          Munir.


I dropped my phone on the table and grinned widely, recalling all that transpired throughout the day. I had never felt that happy in a long time. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing!


Everything went wrong the next morning when we were all preparing for Rasheedah’s wedding day. Rasheedah had briefly left the house to see Khalid but never returned.


“She told me that Khalid was outside the gate and needed to see her before the wedding. I waited for close to thirty minutes, but Rasheedah did not return. I tried calling her number, but it was not reachable,” Aisha said in tears and continued. “I saw a glimpse of a man dressed in black. But the man disappeared immediately he caught me staring. I don’t know if this is related to her disappearance,” she added.


I recalled seeing a black figure last night and realised that someone might have been studying our movements. “I saw him last night.”


Mom fell on the floor and whimpered in despair. “What are all these? What is happening to this family? Why now?”


Dad stood up and walked towards the window, deep in thought. He turned towards us and tried to talk, but what came out were breaths of air. I also noticed that his hands were shivering.


“Maybe it is not connected. Rasheedah might have gone out with Khalid…and they might be stuck in traffic. Her phone battery could be flat.”


“Rafiah!” Dad bellowed at me. “We were threatened not to go ahead with the wedding? Don’t you understand what is happening?”


“SubhanaLlaah,” I gasped in fear, and I felt the blood rush to my heart with a thud.


Was Rasheedah safe? Was she kidnapped…what could have happened?


“We saw a note at the gate,” Zainab, one of our distant cousins, came in with a wrapped piece of paper.


Then, the living room was filled to the brim with friends and relatives, pacing about in fear and murmuring in hush whispers.


“Read what is written,” Dad ordered.


“You were warned!” Zainab read, her eyes widening in fear.

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

Episode Eleven




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