Seedy and Haddy are newlyweds who were living in bliss until a sudden adversity rocked their world. Seedy would be forced to make a bargain that would drive a wedge between them and worst, could lead to the destructions of not only their marriage but their lives as well.
“She said what?”
“You heard me. Apparently, I am standing in the way of her happiness with Seedy. She wants me to end my marriage,” Haddy said to her younger sister. They were sitting in Mustapha’s living room but their cousin was upstairs with the twins. She leaned back against the sofa and regarded her younger sister closely. Agie Fatou looked different, more mature. Taking care of kids will do that to you, she supposed.
“That woman is unbelievable,” she said in a voice filled with anger. “Why haven’t you told Seedy about this?”
“What exactly will I say to him, Agie? By the way, the only reason Mariatou invited me to her house was so she could threaten me into leaving you? I can’t tell him that. She behaves like an angel when he’s around.”
Ajie Fatou placed her chin on her drawn up legs and considered her elder sister’s words. Her hatred for Mariatou was soaring to new heights. The blasted woman was hell bent on making Haddy’s life miserable and she didn’t know what to do to thwart her evil plans. They didn’t even know what those plans involved specifically. “What are you going to do now?”
Haddy shook her head. “I don’t know. What can I do instead of just continuing to live my life like I always have? I can’t let her rattle me, Agie. I’ll be letting her win if I do so.”
“You can’t just sit down and wait for her to hit you with whatever she’s got planned.”
“What do you propose I do then?” she asked.
Ajie Fatou closed her eyes on a sigh. “I honestly don’t know. I just hate how she’s messing with your life.”
Haddy smiled at that. “Hey, don’t worry about it. I can handle Mariatou. You’ve got enough on your plate as it is. Taking care of Adama and Awa can’t be easy.”
“No, it isn’t easy but it’s fulfilling. Their father worries me more,” she suddenly confided in a whisper. “He’s trapped in his grief, unwilling to let the ghost of his late wife move on. Nobody expects or wants him to forget her but the way he’s living isn’t healthy. It seems as if he doesn’t want to let go of his pain, has no intention of moving on.”
“Everybody deals with losing a loved one differently,” Haddy put in. “I’m sure he’ll break out of his melancholia. He’ll heal with time.”
“Haven’t you heard a word I’ve said? He doesn’t want to. That’s what’s worrying. I mean, if for nothing else, he should think about his daughters. No woman will be able to replace their mother but they need a female presence in their lives.”
“They have you,” her elder sister pointed out.
“Yes, for now. I’m going to have my own family one day, Haddy. Then, who will look after them? If Mustapha continues in this state, he’ll never consider remarrying, let alone doing it.”
“You clearly have strong issues on the matter,” Haddy observed, looking at her intently. She’s never seen her sister talk about anything with such passion. “Have you talked to him about it?”
Agie gave a laugh of disbelief. “Talk to him? That would only be possible if the man was interested in actually striking a conversation with me. He only talks to me when he has instructions to give me concerning the twins. I can count the number of conversations we’ve had since I moved into this house.”
“He did seem rather closed off when I greeted him earlier. I have to say that his behavior doesn’t surprise me at all. I really don’t know what I would do if I were ever to lose Seedy. Just be patient with him. I’m sure he’ll come around.”
A few minutes after Haddy left, Agie Fatou went upstairs to check on the twins. She found their bedroom door half open and when she heard Mustapha’s voice, she leaned against it and peered in. Mustapha was sandwiched between his two daughters on their bed. The twins were listening attentively while he read them a bedtime story from one of their fairytale collection of books.
Agie stood there, watching him. She marveled at the expression of joy and serenity on his face and felt a smile forming on her face. She felt happy seeing him like this. While she was puzzling over the reason why, he looked up and their gazes connected. She inhaled sharply and still felt out of breath. It was as if someone had knocked the wind out of her and left her flailing in an airless bubble. She suddenly bolted like a spooked rabbit and didn’t stop running until she was in the safety of her room. She knelt down on the floor and placed her forehead on the wall. She was slowly beginning to realise why Mustapha’s behavior disturbed her so much and she didn’t like the reason. Not in the least.
Mariatou packed her car near the Senegambia junction and stayed in the dark interior of the vehicle. It was the tourist season and the area was brimming with life. The night clubs were packed full and so were the nearby restaurants. Live bands were in full swing and twinkling lights flashed every few seconds. The man she was meeting with should have arrived by now. She was running out of patience.
Someone was knocking on the glass window of the front door. She leaned over and opened it. He climbed inside and closed the door. She didn’t bother with pleasantries.
“So what’s your decision?” she asked flatly.
“I’ll do it,” he said in a gravelly voice.
Mariatou was glad he couldn’t see the expression of relief on her face. “Do you need me to go over the details?”
He shook his head. “I still remember everything you told me from our last meeting.”
“Good.” She took out a large amount of cash from her handbag and handed it to him. “You’ll receive the rest of the money after the job is done.”
She stared straight ahead as he greedily counted the money. “Satisfied?”
He grunted a yes. “No matter what, never contact me. Always wait for me to do so,” she told him firmly.
“You’ve got yourself a deal. I won’t let you down.”
“Oh, I know. No one ever does.”
Mariatou drove home in an excellent mood. She found Seedy watching a football march on the flat screen TV in the sitting room.
“Where did you disappear to?” he asked, his gaze glued to the TV.
“I went to see Rohey. We needed to talk about the fashion show I told you we’ll be organizing,” she lied smoothly and laid down on the sofa, placing her head on his laps. “Is your team winning?” she added, sighing in contentment as he caressed her temple.
So amA I, she said to herself. So am I.
by Adam Nyang