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.
A few weeks after Agie Fatou moved into her cousin’s house, one thing became quite clear to her. Mustapha has two completely different personas. The way he behaves when he is around his kids is completely different from the way he is when he is with other people. As she tugged the twins into bed, she couldn’t help but think about their father’s strange behaviour. When the twins are around, he would laugh and smile and if you didn’t know any better, you would say he hadn’t a care in the world. But Agie Fatou had come to discover that it was just an act he put on for his children. In their absence, he was broodingly dismissive to the point of being rude. The only real conversation Agie Fatou has had with him took place the day she arrived.
After being introduced to the twins, they had proceeded to the dining table for lunch. During the course of the meal, he had questioned her about her studies in the university.
“I’m majoring Computer Science,’ she replied. “I’ll be attending classes three days a week which means I’ll have a lot of time to spend with the kids,” she added with a smile, looking in their direction. In the space of the few minutes she had met them, Adama and Awa had already endeared themselves to her. She and Mustapha had found them huddled together, staring guiltily at the shards of glass that was once a jug. They were lucky not to have gotten themselves hurt. She had wasted no time in clearing away the mess even though Mustapha insisted she shouldn’t have bothered.
“We also go to school, Agie,” Awa, the calmer of the two girls spoke up. She had told them to address her as such. “Dad drives us to school every day.”
“Is that so? Which school is that?”
“Excellence Bilingual Nursery School,” Adama boasted. “We can speak both English and French.”
Awa nodded to her sister’s words. “Dad said Mum could speak four languages. We want to be just like her.”
Agie Fatou was taken aback by that but recovered quickly and said to them. “Well, I’ve always been terrible at French. I hope you will teach me though.”
They nodded in unison. After the meal, she and Mustapha moved to the smaller sitting room. When they were both seated, he said to her, “While you’re leaving here, I’ve convinced your parents to let me take care of your expenses, regarding your education and everything else. I’ll give you a monthly allowance but that shouldn’t stop you from coming to me whenever you need extra money. I’ve been told that university life is filled with challenges here.”
“I could attest to that,” she answered. “And I truly appreciate it.”
He waved her gratitude off. “Don’t mention it. We’re family and I could never repay you for the care you’ll be giving my kids so consider us even. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, there are some ground rules I need to establish.”
“There will be no late night partying, no wearing of skimpy outfits and I am very picky about the kind of people I want my kids to be around. I am not telling you that you can’t have friends over but they have to be the kind of people that kids could learn good values from, not the opposite. Are we on the same page?”
She nodded. “Absolutely. I won’t give you cause to worry. Adama and Awa seem like lovely kids. I think I will get along with them just fine.”
“They are little monsters,” Mustapha stated with the trace of a smile. “They will drive you crazy if you let them. You have to establish your authority from the onset or else it will be impossible to get them to obey you.”
“Duly noted,” she replied.
After that conversation, Agie Fatou had gone up to the kids’ room and helped them with their homework. And even though Mustapha was cold and distant towards her, she didn’t regret moving into his home. She loved his daughters and every moment she spent with them was filled with laughter and joy. She loved dressing them up, telling them stories, taking them out or simply watching them sleep. When she was on campus, she was always eager to get home to them. If his cousin wanted to live his life trapped in his wife’s memory, that was his problem, not hers. As long as he kept his world of sadness away from the kids, the two of them will never have any problems.
Two months after Seedy’s marriage to Mariatou, Momodou promoted him to head of the entire marketing department in Gumaneh Industries. He was given a mammoth raise and a company car. And just like that, everything changed for him. He was a big boss now, as they say. He was on a higher step in the ladder of society. Being the son-in-law of Momodou Gumaneh truly opens doors. People who never gave him the time of day now clamored for his attention, his approval. Momodou took him along on business trips around the world and state dinners. Taking his friend’s advice had been a wise decision. He had come to accept his situation and his marriage with Mariatou had taken a turn for the better.
This wasn’t how he pictured his life would be but he had adjusted well to the change. He had a great job that enabled him to do more for his family and two beautiful wives who showered him with more care and attention than he probably deserves. It could have been worse. He wasn’t complaining.
He stood in the kitchen doorway of their London apartment, watching Haddy cook. He wanted to tell her something but wasn’t sure how to broach the subject. He was ninety percent sure she was going to say no but he had promised Mariatou he would ask her anyway.
“Spit it out,” she suddenly said, turning away from her steaming soup and facing him.
“Spit what out?” He walked into the kitchen, trying not to smile at the fact that she could read him so well.
She fixed him with an intent stare. “Seedy, what do you want to tell me?”
“Mariatou is organising a dinner party for the newlyweds, Bass and Aminata,” he said to her.
Her expression remained unchanged. “And what has that got to do with me?”
“She wants you to attend, Haddy.”
“Tell her that while I appreciate the invitation, I can’t accept it.”
Seedy crossed his hands against his chest. “Why?”
“Uh, let’s see. Perhaps it’s because she blackmailed my husband into marrying her,” Haddy retorted and turned away from him. She removed the pot of soup from the stove and turned it off.
He grabbed her by the arms and turned her around. “Haddy, that’s in the past. She’s not as bad as you think, really. I’m not asking you to become friends with her but it would mean the world to me if the two of you could at least get along. Doesn’t it mean anything to you that she’s taken the first step to make that happen?”
“You don’t know what you’re asking of me, Seedy,” she said in a low voice.
“Just think about it, okay,” he pleaded, not wanting to push her. “It’s on Friday. You have plenty of time until then to come to a decision.”
She nodded. “I would give it some thought.”
And Seedy knew that was the best he could have gotten out of her in that moment. He could only hope that the notion won’t even appear less appealing to her upon more deliberation. Even he wasn’t so sure how much he liked the idea of being in the same room with Haddy and Mariatou. Well, nobody said having two wives was going to be easy.
by Adam Nyang