Wale announced he would be returning soon. It was supposed to a happy moment for Farida but of course she was distracted by Sam and all the attention he showered on her. Wale noticed she didn’t sound excited about it but he felt it was stress that caused it. When he asked her if she would be at the airport to pick him, she replied, “It depends on when” he became worried. For the first time he could feel the distance between them. She never spoke about any man so what was the problem? He knew he had to investigate. Something was definitely wrong.
Maami had been busy. Teaching and handling the hostel issues was quite tasking. She had major issues with the boys’ hostel. The boys were involved in every type of vices that can only be imagined. She thanked God her sons didn’t give her such headache. She was also doing a very good job. She dropped in unannounced at odd times which made them nickname her Madam BB meaning Busy body. She didn’t mind the nickname, in fact, she ensured she earned it.
Maami observed Farida had been distant for some time. She came home very late some days and most times she was alone in her room. She hardly interacted with them. When she asked her, she claimed she was tired but maami knew better. She was hiding something and being an adult, maami felt she should have her privacy.
One evening, maami went on a stroll. She noticed a car parked at a little distance from the house as she was returning from the walk. She observed the driver lean over to the passenger and after about a few minutes, the door opened and the passenger came down. When she turned, she realized it was her Farida. How can Farida do something like that in public? Why would a man drop her off on the street like she is a whore? Why didn’t she bring her date to the house? What were they doing in the car? She allowed Farida walk to the house while she followed a safe distance behind. She observed Farida had changed. Her dressing and sense of Fashion had changed. She noticed she had a new phone and wore expensive jewelry. She never had any problems with her because she contributed her quota to the family without blinking an eyelid but she shouldn’t be found behaving like a wayward girl. Maami’s heart was broken. Farida, the girl she bragged about has made her a laughing stock. How many other staff members have seen her get down from a man’s car a distance from her home? Even the guy was not responsible.
When she got home, Farida had gone to her room as usual. She knocked on her door and entered. She was undressing when her mother came in so she wore her outfit back and greeted her.
“Where are you coming from?”
“How did you come back?”
“Are you sure about that? Because I followed a girl, who I thought I had raised right, who highlighted from a man’s car parked close to the supermarket and walked home from there. I am with her right now”
Farida was shamefully silent. She had thought she would not be found out and now her mother had seen her. She had told Sam repeatedly not to drop her off near her house because of this but he would ask her if she was going anywhere else that she didn’t want to be dropped close to home. She wanted to avoid any misunderstanding that was why she agreed. Now, he has caused a rift between her and her mother. How would she explain it to her mother?
“When did you start lying Farida? You couldn’t even speak the truth to me. I believed the reason for your sudden change was due to work and the fact your friends were far away but now I have discovered it is because of a man. Is it an illicit relationship? Is that why you are hiding it?”
“No maami. I just wanted to get to know him well before bringing him home. I am sorry I lied”
“How long has this been going on?”
“Over a year”
“What? Who is this guy?”
“I would rather not say maami. I am not sure where the relationship is leading yet and I don’t want to raise your hopes or even mine”
“You are not sure where the relationship is going but both of you are kissing in the full glare of everyone. Are you having sex with him? Once you have sex with a man it becomes difficult for him to commit because he is getting everything for free. I taught you that and you are doing something else”
“We are not having sex maami. We are in a relationship. I like him and I wish it could lead to something serious but I am also skeptical it might not. I am not keeping my hopes up. It’s just that I like him very much that is why I am still there”
“And he sees you every time without committing? What do you both now talk about?”
“He is not in Lagos for now. He comes to see me at least twice a month. Maami, I want this to work but because of some people involved I am worried. I just don’t want to lose friendships but my heart longs for him”
“Who is this person Farida? Who are you talking about?”
“Sam maami, Monica’s brother”
“Monica’s brother? What are talking about? Didn’t Monica warn you against him?”
“She did maami but let me confess all that happened so you would understand” Farida told her mother everything from the Christmas holiday till that moment. Her mother was shocked at the story as it unfolded. How could Farida have hidden all this from her? This did not seem like the Farida she knew. She shouldn’t have allowed the intense friendship with Monica because it changed her. Now her
brother was frolicking with Farida without committing. Would Sam’s father allow him marry a Muslim Yoruba girl? There should be another option should that fail.
“Farida, what of Wale?”
“He is coming back soon”
“What is he saying?”
“Saying? I don’t understand”
“Isn’t he interested in you?”
“I am not interested in him as a lover maami. I only like him as a friend. That’s all”
“I prefer Wale to this Sam guy. You have forgotten so soon all Wale did for us without making it look like a hand out. This boy you are following, he is also from a broken home; I doubt if they will accept you. Broken home, Muslin, Yoruba, the family won’t agree. No matter how much they like you, when it comes to marriage, they are interested in alliances”
“We have not spoken about marriage yet o. We are still just getting to know each other. When we get to that bridge we will cross it”
“And you have started kissing;’ what else is left. Tell him to come to the house if he wants to drop you off. If I see you the way I did today, I won’t forgive you. Only untrained children do what you did today”
“I’m sorry maami”
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Farida had every cause to love Sam. Sam spoilt her rotten. He buys her the latest gadgets. When he travels, she gets jewelry, designer apparels and its accessories. He had an eye for fashion and ensured Farida looked exceptional each time they met. He chooses what she wore and told her how to combine the clothes with shoes, handbags and so on. She was one of the best dressed ladies in the office. Her competitors were on management level but even with that, her clothes suited her figure.
When Farida told him about her encounter with her mother, he knew he needed to quickly engage Farida before another man does. He was aware of Farida’s friendship with Wale and also knew Wale had interest in her. Farida’s mother being Yoruba would want a Yoruba man for her daughter. Wale had proved himself worthy and Sam wanted to do same but he needed his father’s blessings to do that.
Sam followed up with his father about his choice for marriage. His father had discussed with other family and community members about it. Many were not happy but they couldn’t force their will on Sam. They gave a condition to them accepting. He must marry an Ibibio woman later on as second wife. Sam didn’t like the idea but it was a condition put in place for him to marry Farida. He accepted but asked his father to keep it a secret which he agreed.