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.
Four months later…
The minute Mustapha Sanyang stepped foot on his homeland, an indefinable emotion stole over his being. A decade ago, he had relocated overseas and had never visited even once in that period. If it hadn’t been for his mother’s insistence, he might never have returned. He hadn’t seen the need. He couldn’t see any good being in The Gambia would do for him. It wouldn’t be any different from residing in the States. There wasn’t a place in this universe where the weight he carried in his heart wouldn’t follow him. But his mother was right when she said that his kids would benefit from being near his family. It was important that they got to know their relatives and their father’s roots.
After giving the idea much thought, he had come to the conclusion that it held a lot of merit. His five-year old twin daughters reacted to the news of relocating with delight and childish excitement. Mustapha had feared it wouldn’t appeal to them but the twins had surprised him. His mother had been overjoyed when he told her.
When he arrived at his recently purchased compound in Paradise Estate, he found his mother waiting for him. The caretaker and housekeeper she had hired had prepared the place for his arrival. The twins rushed into their grandmother’s arms the second they spotted her. She hugged them lovingly, looking them over affectionately.
“You are such big girls now,” she commented with a laugh. “I’ll have to keep you away from my husband before you snatch him away from me.”
“I don’t love Grandpa,” Awa said with a pout. “He is ugly.” Sallimatou Sanneh laughed at her granddaughter’s impishness.
“Don’t be rude,” Adama chided her twin as she usually did.
“I’m not being rude,” her twin sister retorted, sparing her father a glance to see what he’ll say to that. When Mustapha remained silent, she nodded her head, as if that decided the matter.
“Well, at least I get to keep my husband,” their grandmother said with a smile.
After exchanging greetings with his mother, Mustapha took the kids upstairs so that they could settle in. Their bedroom was decorated with all their favourite cartoon characters and this greatly pleased them. They let loud squeals of delight, jumping up and down the bed. He left them to it and proceeded to his own room. He looked around his surroundings, taking in the cream painted walls, the leather couch on the other side. When his gaze fell on the king-sized bed, his chest tightened and for a moment he couldn’t breathe, thoughts of Jainaba consuming his consciousness.
He closed his eyes, staggering to the floor, helpless to stop the relentless agony that squeezed his heart to the point where he couldn’t bear it. He had never imagined he would ever make another home without her by his side, loving and taking care of him, being the best wife any man could ever be blessed with.
He pushed these thoughts away and rose from the floor. After enjoying a delicious dinner cooked by his housekeeper, he tucked his kids into bed and went downstairs to talk to his mother.
“Mum, how long are you planning to stay here?” he asked as he settled himself opposite her.
“I am going back tomorrow,” she informed him. “This place is too quiet for my liking.”
Mustapha and the twins were to visit his family home the next day but he had hoped his mother would stay with him for at least a few months. “I thought you would remain a bit longer.” He didn’t try to hide his disappointment.
She smiled at that. “You will be able to see me as much as you want, Mustapha. There is no need to sulk over that.”
“Grown men don’t sulk, Mum,” he pointed out. “They grumble.”
His mother chuckled. “How you doing, my dear? Truly?” she enquired.
Mustapha thought of the best way to answer that question. He didn’t want to lie to her and yet, he couldn’t let her know the depth of his pain, a pain that would forever be a part of him. “I’m not constantly overwhelmed with grief, not like before,” he said in a small voice. “That’s an improvement, I suppose. The twins are a great help. They give me reason to carry on when it is the last thing I want to do.”
His mother looked down at her hands, her expression pained. “She would have made an amazing mother,” she murmured softly. “The very best.”
Mustapha swallowed the sudden lump that formed in his throat and struggled to maintain his composure. “I’ll have to hire a nanny for them,” he suddenly said, changing the subject.
“What nanny?” Sallimatou scoffed at her son. “This isn’t abroad. With all the relatives you have, where is the need to hire a stranger to look after the kids?”
“The housekeeper will need help with them, Mum. Trust me; they aren’t easy to handle especially Awa. That girl is nothing but trouble.”
“I agree and I have already asked your uncle, Musa, to let your cousin come and live here. It took some persuasion but my brother ultimately agreed to it.”
“Are you talking about Haddy? I doubt Seedy would allow that.”
“Why would I ask a married woman to come and live here? I’m referring to her younger sister, Ajie Fatou. She’s a very capable girl and she’s good with kids.”
Mustapha thought about his cousin. Ajie Fatou had been a slip of a girl when he had last seen her. She had to be around twenty now. “Are you sure she would be up to the task? She’s barely an adult.”
His mother nodded confidently. “Trust me when I say that she’ll be perfect for the kids. They would adore her.”
“Then it’s okay with me. She could move in as soon as possible.”
“Believe me, the kids will adore her.”
Haddy was in an excellent mood. After staying apart from Seedy for four months, he was finally back. Even better, his mother was fully cured. The operation had been successful and she had enjoyed three months of much needed recovery in a retreat. They had just returned from the village. Her mother-in-law had been eager to return to her home. Seedy had made his sisters vow that they would take great care of her even though it had been completely unnecessary given the way Haddy had seen them fuss over their mother during their brief stay.
Haddy snuggled against her husband on the sofa, feeling absolute contentment. “I’ve missed you so much, darling. Who knew four months could feel like an eternity?”
She felt him tensed against her, remaining quiet. She sat up straight. “Seedy, look at me.”
He did. His eyes held a wild look of desperation that chilled her to the bones. “I need you to tell me what is going on right now.”
He got up from the sofa and began pacing back and forth.
“Would you stop that damned pacing and talk to me!” She rose and faced him.
“Haddy, you need to understand, I had no choice,” he whispered, his gaze beseeching. “It was the only way.”
She was suddenly very scared, more scared than she had ever been in her entire life. She somehow knew that whatever it was her husband was going to say next would change everything. Life as they knew it would never be the same again.
He took a deep breath and swallowed. Holding her gaze with an expression of a condemned man, he said in a quiet tone. “I’m going to marry Mariatou Gumaneh.”
To be continued
by Adam Nyang