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.
‘’So, how do you propose we do this?’’ Momodou asked Seedy, all business like now. After all, this was just like any other business deal for him.
Seedy gingerly sat down, staring at his hands for a moment, trying to get his bearings. Had he just agreed to marry Mariatou? His temples began to pound in anxiety. He was developing a migraine. He looked up slowly and stared into the calculating eyes of his boss and for a second, he hated the wealthy entrepreneur for putting him in this position. It wouldn’t have caused him much to give Seedy a loan. But no, he would rather use his money as a manipulation tool to indulge his daughter’s desires. What was the point with dwelling in such thoughts though? He had to see this through at whatever cost.
‘’You would give me the money I need to take my mother abroad for her operation,’’ Seedy bit out in a tone devoid of feeling. ‘’After I return with her, I will get married to Mariatou.’’
‘’Sounds like a viable plan of action,’’ Momodou said, nodding his head in agreement. He bent down and removed some documents from his desk drawer. ‘’I took the liberty of having papers regarding our deal drawn up.’’ He handed the said papers to Seedy. ‘’You see, I prefer to have everything in writing. You have to sign them.’’
With a heavy heart, Seedy perused the words written on the papers, staring fixedly at the spot where his signature was needed. He brought out his pen but froze mid-air. Was he really going to do this? His wife’s face flashed across his mind and for a moment, he couldn’t breathe at all. How was he going to explain this to her?
He scrawled his signature on the documents and handed them back to his boss.
Momodou examined them closely. ‘’I would have the funds wired to your bank account,’’ he informed Seedy, ‘’and don’t hesitate to contact me for whatever else you may need my help with.’’
Seedy nodded grimly and couldn’t leave his presence fast enough.
‘‘Mrs. Saidykhan, I have done my work.’’ Haddy looked up from the book she was reading and found one of her brightest students standing in front of her desk. The nine year old girl called Fatoumatta Jallow was holding out her exercise book. Haddy took it with a smile.
‘’Go and sit down,’’ Haddy said to her, ‘’I will give you back your book after marking it.’’
The small Fula girl walked away. Haddy took out her red pen and began to mark her work. Her classroom was spacious and airy, filled with vertical rows of benches and tables occupied by her pupils. The walls were covered with creative educational charts. The chattering of the kids was getting louder by the second.
‘’Will you keep quiet?’’ She shouted in a steely tone and an immediate stillness descended over the class although she knew it wouldn’t last.
She called Fatoumatta over and returned her book, instructing her to do her corrections on the small errors she made.
The blaring sound of the ringing bell for closing time resounded across the school. The kids eagerly packed their books into their bags and scrambled for the classroom door.
‘’Don’t forget to do your homework,’’ she reminded them, packing her own stuff at the same time.
As she vacated her classroom with her handbag slinging over her shoulder, she bumped into Victoria Gomez, a fellow teacher and one of her closest friends.
‘’You look harried,’’ she said to her colleague.
‘’How could I not be after spending several hours with students who are the definition of strong-headedness?’’ Victoria voiced out her usual complaint. ‘’I swear these kids would be the death of me.’’
Haddy laughed good-naturedly, pulling her along. ‘’C’mon, let’s go home.’’
Haddy and Seedy’s rented apartment was located in a neighbourhood of London Corner that was highly populated and as a result, it was always lively. There was always a wedding or a naming ceremony taking place in this compound or the other. Haddy especially loathed the tanabaerrs and furals that usually took place at night. They were a source of great disturbance.
She was surprised to find her husband home. Seedy was pacing across their deep red oriental carpet. He paused when he saw her enter.
‘’Why are you back so early?’’ she asked him.
‘’I have great news,’’ he said with a smile. ‘’My boss has agreed to give me a loan, Haddy. I was just making arrangements with a hospital in the United States for mother’s operation.’’
Haddy was flooded with relief and joy. ‘’Oh, thank God!’’ she exclaimed, clapping her hands in excitement. ‘’Have you informed Dr. Ceesay?’’
‘’I have. He is getting the necessary papers ready. We would leave as soon as possible.’’
‘’How long will you be gone?’’ she enquired, placing her bag on the table.
‘’Roughly four months,’’ he replied.
Without warning, he violently pulled her into his arms, hugging her so tight; Haddy’s lungs began to starve for air.
‘’Seedy, you’re squeezing the life out of me,’’ she breathed against his chest.
He reluctantly released her, the look in his eyes earnest. ‘’Will you promise me one thing?’’
The urgency in his voice slightly alarmed her. ‘‘What?’’
‘‘Promise me that no matter what happens, you will always remember how much I love you,’’ he spoke the words as if they were wrenched from the deepest part of his soul.
‘’What’s going on, darling?’’ she asked him, truly frightened by his strange behaviour.
‘’Just promise me.’’
‘’Okay, I promise,’’ she said.
Again, she had a niggling feeling in her gut that Seedy was keeping something from her but she let it pass. Now was not the time to get into it. Her mother-in-law was the priority. The time to have a real discussion with her husband would soon come.
Mariatou Gumaneh was standing at the terrace of one of her father’s mansions, her slender fingers squeezing the iron railing tightly. She stared down at the blooming flowers in their lovely garden, briefly captivated by the way the blood red colour of the Roses contrasted with the brightness of the yellow Sunflowers. She had just gotten word from her father that Seedy had left with his mother for the States. She suddenly laughed out loud, beyond thrilled that her plan was working so well. Seedy had fallen for her trap, just as she knew he would.
Mariatou still couldn’t believe that a mere four months from now, Seedy would marry her. She wondered whether he had told his wife the true nature of how he got the money he needed. At that very moment, was Haddy aware that she was about to get a co-wife or had Seedy decided to wait until the last minute to inform her? Either way, it didn’t matter. There was nothing she could do to stop what was going to happen. It was destiny. Seedy was meant to be hers and nobody else’s. This was only the beginning. By the time she was done, not only will she become Seedy’s other wife but she would be the only one.
‘’Oh, my dear Haddy Saine,’’ Mariatou whispered to herself, a devilish smile spreading across her face ‘’You have no idea what’s coming for you. No idea at all.’’
To be continued
by Adam Nyang