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.
Ajie Fatou Saine was stretched out on their plush black leather couch, deftly tapping away on her Smartphone. A very heated debate about the merits and demerits of the dating scene was going on in one of the several WhatsApp groups she belonged to and she was deeply engrossed in the discussion. That was why she didn’t notice her mother walking in and sitting down on the adjacent arm-chair.
‘’You haven’t expressed any desire to have classes while you wait for your results,’’ Isatou said to her daughter.
Ajie Fatou sat up straight, crossing her legs at her ankles. ‘’That’s because I don’t want to have any, Mum. I want a chance to relax after all those sleepless nights I spent preparing for WASSCE. I’m sure my days would be anything but idyllic once I start at the university.’’
Her mother’s eyes narrowed strictly. ‘’If you think I am going to let you sit around here all day, spending all your time on social media, you’re gravely mistaken, young lady. I would have you enrolled in an institution by the end of the week.’’
‘’That’s not fair, Mum,’’ she complained indignantly. ‘’Give me a little more time to enjoy my holiday.’’
Her mother held up her hand. ‘’I’ve said my last on the matter.’’ She took out a few hundred dalasi notes from her purse and handed it to her. ‘’Take these to the market. Your father wants you to cook ‘Palasas’ today. Make sure to get all the needed ingredients.’’
A very annoyed Ajie Fatou got up from the couch with a huff. She slipped in her slippers and stepped out of the compound. Her holiday was not going as she had envisioned it. Now that she wasn’t going to school, she was the one who did all the household chores. She didn’t have the freedom to go out and have fun. As if that weren’t enough, they wanted to add classes to it now. Well, at least that would mean she didn’t have to cook every day.
‘’That is by far the most delicious Benachin I’ve ever eaten!’’
Haddy smiled at Basiru’s fervent compliment. On every Sunday, her husband’s friend usually come for lunch at their apartment and she always basked in the praises the two men heaped on her about her great culinary skills.
‘’She outdoes herself every time, Bass,’’ Seedy put in with a smile.
‘’I aim to please,’’ Haddy said to the men and cleared away the empty plate and spoons. She walked back into the sitting room with refreshment drinks which she poured into three glasses. She handed one to Basiru and another to her husband then she sat beside him with her own.
Sitting opposite his best friend with Haddy leaning against him, Seedy felt relaxed in a way he never had since the news of his mother’s illness. His mind briefly went to his boss and what his response will be to his proposal but then he decided not to dwell on it. It would be better if he just enjoyed the pleasure of his wife’s company and not fill his head with morose thoughts.
‘’For a bachelor like me, your home-cooked meals are always a treat, Haddy,’’ Basiru said, sipping on his glass of juice.
‘’If you would just go ahead and marry Aminata, you will get to eat home-cooked meals every day,’’ Haddy said, referring to his long-term fiancé.
‘’I wish it were that easy,’’ Bass sighed, looking pensive for a moment. ‘’The huge amount of money her family is asking of me for the bride price is even giving me second thoughts about our engagement. Where do they expect me to get that kind of money from? I would have thought that my character and the fact that I would be able to provide for their daughter would be enough for them to get us married; but no. I can’t even begin to talk about the long list of demands they’ve imposed on me.’’
‘’Getting married has become even more expensive than a pilgrimage to Mecca,’’ Seedy observed. ‘’I think they miss the whole point about what it should be about. Instead, they obsess over the things that are least important. Everybody wants their wedding ceremony to be the talk of the town.’’
‘’You’re lucky it isn’t something you have to worry about anymore,’’ Basiru said to him. ‘’You’ve been blessed with in-laws who really understand the things that should be considered when giving away their daughter.’’
‘’Bass, my parents knew that if they had objected to Seedy’s proposal, I would have found a way to get married to him without their knowledge or approval,’’ Haddy said in all seriousness.
The two men laughed at that. ‘’I don’t doubt that for even a second, Haddy,’’ Basiru said with a grin.
There was a sudden knock on their front door. Mariama Saidy, the woman who lived in the apartment next to theirs walked in.
‘’Haddy, can I borrow you for a second?’’ she said after greeting them.
‘’Sure,’’ she replied, getting up from the settee. ‘’Excuse me for a moment,’’ she said to her husband and Basiru before walking out with Mariama.
Seedy’s eyes followed his wife’s figure until she disappeared. Basiru was watching him closely with an intent look. He knew his friend well enough to know that something was on his mind.
‘’Do you have something to say to me?’’ Seedy asked him.
Basiru shrugged. ‘’Not much. Just wondering whether you know how rare it is to find a woman like Haddy.’’
‘’Trust me when I say I do. Why are you telling me this?’’
‘’I want you to keep this in mind whenever you’re tempted to give into Mariatou’s seduction attempts.’’
Seedy stiffened, suddenly very annoyed with his friend. ‘’Do you really think I would ever allow that spoiled brat to come between Haddy and me?’’
‘’Don’t get me wrong, I know that you’re fully committed to your marriage,’’ he hastened to reassure, ‘’but you’re still a man and women could be relentlessly cunning when they’re determined to be. I just want you to be careful.’’
Seedy nodded. ‘’I appreciate your concern, buddy. But you don’t have to worry. I’m never going to fall into Mariatou’s trap.’’
Seedy had just finished having a meeting with an advertising agency when his office door was pushed open and Momodou Gumaneh walked in.
His pulse leaped to his throat as his boss sat down to face him.
‘’I’ve finally come to a decision, Seedy,’’ he said, hitting the nail right on the head. There really was no beating about the bush with this man.
‘’What is it, Sir?’’ he asked, trying to keep the fear he felt out of his voice.
‘’Consider this a deal that would benefit both of us,’’ he began, his face expressionless. ‘’If you agree to my terms, not only will I gave you money for your mother’s operation but I would also provide you with the funds that would enable you to take her to a first class Western hospital and a retreat for recuperation after the surgery and I won’t even have to deduct this money from your salary. I would be giving it to you as a gift.’’
Seedy was screaming to say yes inside but somehow, he had this foreboding feeling that the thing that was going to be asked of him in return was going to be something he wouldn’t like one bit.
‘’What are your terms, Sir?’’ he enquired. ‘’What would you be getting in return?’’
Momodou’s eyes bored into his sharply. ‘’My daughter’s happiness.’’
He was truly baffled. ‘’I beg your pardon?’’
‘’In order to save your mother, you’ll have to get married to my daughter, Seedy.’’
To be Continued;
by Adam Nyang