5

5

Five minutes into our journey and I realized something.
With a smirk I turned to my husband
“Hey Muse something’s missing.”
He took his eyes off the road
“What?”
“Why don’t you tell me instead?”
“Look Tish, I’m not in the mood for games right now so just__”
Now I was smiling fully
“Wait where’s your Niqab??!(Veil)”
“Why are you asking me?”

I sneered
“Last I recalled it was in our room lying peacefully on the bed like the sweet little piece of clothing it was and YOU dragged me OUT of the house in a foolish haste to get away from your mother’s questioning gaze. So you’re gonna turn this car right back now and head home.”

He pulled the car over the road side.
I wasn’t bothered much by my unveiled face because the car’s windows were tinted but it wouldn’t hurt to rub his mistake in his face, would it?
Not at all.

Hitting his head against the wheel he muttered, “You’re a heap of stress Tish.”
Shrugging, I made to get down from the car.
The speed at which he switched to central lock was indefinable.
“Where do you think you’re going woman?”
I put on a smile.

“Home of course.”
“You’re not veiled”, he gritted
“And I’m going home to get my veil young man. So you’ve got two choices. Take me home or unlock this car.”
“Ofcourse I was going to drive back home before you tried getting out. “
“You sure? Cus it seemed as if you were ready to pass out.”
“Just please keep quiet okay?”

By then I was already laughing
Frustrating him gave me joy.
Immensely
“Okay bu_”
My voice was drained out by the booming voice coming from the radio he had turned on as soon as he realized I wasn’t going to stop talking.
Hmmmph!

……..

The sound of the doorbell roused me from my afternoon slumber.
“Yes who’s there pl_”,I was cut short by the shove from my supposed visitor.
“You!!”
That was my bestfriend of five years and still counting growling as she made her way in.
“Heyyy Aqsa buddyyy what’s uppp?”

Getting married without telling any of your friends and eventually seeing them afterwards can be prettyyyakward.

She huffed and puffed
“Really Tisha?? What’s up????”
“Huhhh yes? Ain’t that what long time friends greet themselves with?”
“No salaam no hugs no screams no nothing but a what’s up from my own personal goat??”
I shrugged
Lord knows I had enough on my plate already.
“I’ll tell you what’s up. My own like I mean my own freaking best friend dumped me for a man. Would you believe that?? A man Tish. You got married without hinting me even the slightest. I didn’t get a chance to be the MC and you know how much I was aiming to embarrass you so much on your special day. I didn’t take pictures of you in your wedding dress. Gosh I didn’t even fall on your wedding cake!! Life is cruel you know. So cruel it makes your best friend leave you in a foreign city to serve all alone.”

Is she crying??

I pulled her over to a couch
“No I need a cold drink not a pile cold bouncy leather.”
She sniffed
Typical Aqsa.
Always drowning her sorrows with food.
Into the kitchen we went.
I handed her a bottle of chilled Pepsi and watched as she drowned it in not more than 3 gulps.
“More.”
I blinked
I don’t think I’m ever getting used to her large appetite.
Reaching into to the fridge her left hand beat mine to it as she grabbed two more bottles.

Two minutes later she was done.
Her silent mutter of “Alhamdulillah” assured me she was still breathing after closing her eyes for minutes.

“Okay speak.”
“What?”
“You heard me Tee. Tell me what’s going on. Tell me why you left Abuja without even a goodbye. Tell me why you didn’t reply my one thousand and something messages for the past few months.  Tell me why you never picked any of my calls. Tell my why the hell you got married out of the blues when you never even talked to me about any handsome hunk. Tell me every damn thing habibty.”
“I….”, I faltered.

What was I going to tell her?
That I left Abuja because of a fake emergency call my own mother gave me at 10:00 in the night?
Or that she had my phone seized as soon as I landed in Lagos and replaced it with  a new one?
What exactly was I going to tell her??
I could have reached out to her on Social media but I just couldn’t bring myself to.
Was I going to type, “Hey bestest guess who the latest bride in town is?”
I was forced to get married for crying out loud.

I had forgotten I wasn’t the only one in the room until her voice brought me back.
“Tell me why you left and never reached out to me this instant!!! “, she screamed.
Something snapped in me

“Because I was ashamed!! What you think it’s easy being forced to bear someone else’s surname within the blink of an eye?? Share the same bedroom with the opposite sex who happened to be my husband yet a complete stranger. Bear the insults of his mother’s degrading acts. Live a life without having any one to truly talk to. I was ashamed Aq. Ashamed because I fell into my mother’s trap easily. Ashamed because I was against a decision on my own life and future.  I was ashamed for so many things bestest. And only Allah knows how happy I am seeing your ugly face again.”

I was in full tears by then.
She pulled me in for a bear hug whispering words of comfort.

“What’s happening here?”
Uh-oh
That voice.
My mother-in-law’s.

We turned around to see her placing her hands on her waist with a possessive posture like she owned every damn thing in the building.
I cleared my throat. 
“Salaamualaykum ma.”
“Is that his mother?”,Aqsa whispered loudly, ensuring the woman heard her loud and clear.
The way she said “his” made my bones tingle.
The look on her face was sure one face I don’t wish to see her direct at me.
Angry Aqsa is never a good Aqsa.
And I was a teeny bit glad someone who actually cared for me was by my side after a long time.
I would have been truly happy if she was about to spill trouble on someone else.
But my mother-in-law….
Nah
They’re gonna rip their hairs off.

“Heys iyawo eke (fake wife) who is this?”,she asked with scorn dripping from her voice.
I was about to give a reply when Aqsa’s  voice cut me off.
“No don’t give an answer. We’re leaving.”
What??

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