Sunday 14 November 2021

Life and Everything in Between (Episode Nineteen)


It was two days after the unfortunate incident, and Rasheedah was still nowhere to be found. We had spent hours at the police station and searched the nook and crannies of Lagos. But Rasheedah was still missing.


And I had to show up at work, struggling to concentrate while my heart raced faster with the fear of Rasheedah being in danger.


It was one of those lunch periods when Asmau, Munir, and I visited our usual restaurant and ordered plates of jollof rice while we caught up with the latest news and events.


But there I was, staring at my untouched plate of jollof rice and struggling to control the tears from streaming down my face.


“Rafiah, you have to eat. I know this is hard for you…but you must eat and work. Asmau and I have you in our prayers. We are very hopeful that Rasheedah will return home,” Munir said as he stared at me with pitiful eyes.


Asmau touched my hand. “Munir is right. Rasheedah will be home soon. We just have to do all it takes to bring her back. But, yes, you must eat!” she stated as she grabbed a spoonful of rice and tried to force it down my throat.


I winced as I got hold of the spoon and returned it to the plate. “Gosh! Let me be, Asmau. I will eat. You don’t have to feed me!” I rolled my eyes as I started to eat.


Tears stung my eyes as I tried to swallow a spoonful of the smoky rice that had no taste. How could a meal- I looked forward to eating every lunchtime- suddenly become tasteless?


“Farouk and I have plans we’re currently working on,” I said as Asmau grinned sheepishly.


“I know I shouldn’t be smiling…not a good time. But this is awesome! Awesome couple goals, innit Munir?”


“Ah, yeah,” he said, looking distracted as he kept staring at his phone.


“Any problem?” I asked with a look of concern.


Munir gulped down his cup of water and forced a smile. “Nothing really. I’m just expecting someone- a lady, actually. Bushrah,” he explained as he lowered his eyes.


Asmau chuckled. “Why didn’t you tell us about this? So she’s coming here?”


Munir gave a thin smile. “No. We’re meeting somewhere else. I can’t risk having you guys mocking me at a corner while I talk to a lady.”


I laughed at that one. “Woah. I thought you were not interested in starting a relationship with someone?”


Munir shook his head. “Not this one. She’s actually the reason I haven’t had an interest in anyone. I have been on this case for two years. It’s a long story, sha,” Munir said as he rose from his seat. “I’ll see you, ladies, later. And be fine, Rafiah.”


With that, Munir dashed out of the restaurant, leaving Asmau and me to complete our tasteless food.


“Rafiah, I’m resigning. I need time to take care of the baby. The doctor revealed that I have to avoid any form of stress…” Asmau was saying, but I could hardly hear a word.


“You’re resigning? Like, you’re leaving me here all alone?” I glared at her.


“It’s for the best. I know you will miss me…and I’ll miss you too. And we will surely keep in touch. You’re my best friend, Rafiah. I cannot do without you,” Asmau said, and I couldn’t help but burst into tears.


Why was everything happening so suddenly? Couldn’t these unfortunate events happen one at a time?


“We will talk every single day. You would forget I’m not here physically. And we will find Rasheedah. I can’t wait to grace her wedding…and yours,” Asmau smiled at me as she pulled me into a tight hug.


At exactly 05:00 pm, Farouk was already seated in the car, waiting eagerly for my arrival. My face lit up as I caught sight of him waving at me.


I ran towards where his car was parked and fought the urge to pull him into an embrace. “Asalamu ‘alaykum, Farouk,” I greeted with a cheerful face.


Farouk was putting on a blue t-shirt and black pair of chinos, and he wore a black face cap with the Spider-Man logo.


“Wa’alaykumu salam, Rafiah. How was work?” he asked as I sat beside him.


“Work went well. Mrs. Bola kept assigning me new tasks. Finally, I forced a plate of tasteless jollof rice down my throat. Munir went on a date with a mystery lady, and Asmau announced her plans to resign.”


“Oops. Such an eventful day,” he said thoughtfully as he turned backwards and brought out a large food flask.


I chuckled. “Are you going to do this every day? Cook for me?”


“Well, it seems that’s the only meal you enjoy. It’s the least I can do,” Farouk shrugged as he handed me the flask.


“Thank you so much. This means a lot to me,” I thanked him as I opened the flask to the sight of steaming afang soup garnished with fish and goat meat.


“But how can you cook all of these despite your busy schedule?” I asked.


Farouk ignored me as he gave me three wraps of fufu. “You have to finish all of these. It’s an order!” he said with a chuckle.


“Aye, sir!” I responded as I grabbed a bottle of water from the pigeonhole and started to eat.


Farouk glanced at me and stared out of the window. “I just…I really hope we spend the rest of our lives doing this. I look forward to the short period I spend with you every day, Rafiah.”


“Me too. But I hope you understand why we can’t start a relationship. Rasheedah is still missing, and I can’t wrap my head around giving love to someone else. I can’t even introduce you to my parents now,” I said.


“I totally understand. I’m patiently waiting. No matter how long it takes, I would be here waiting,” Farouk smiled at me.


“Gosh! I don’t deserve you. You are too amazing. Too perfect. This is too good to be true.”


“No, I don’t think I deserve you, Rafiah. You’re beautiful and smart and intelligent. I haven’t found anyone like you in my twenty-eight years of living on earth. Do you think I don’t feel the same way?”


I giggled as I stared at the road. “I guess we both deserve each other.”


“Yes, we do…” Farouk was saying when someone tapped the glass.


I widened my eyes to get a clearer view. It was Khalid, staring down at me with puffy eyes.


“Can we talk?” he asked.

't    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

Episode Seventeen 

 Episode Eighteen



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