BEHIND THE COLD CURTAIN CHAPTER 1

BEHIND THE COLD CURTAIN CHAPTER 1
She twirled on the spot then stretched her neck to look ahead. She turned again and walked towards the security this time scrutinizing the floor carefully still searching for what she had lost.+ She finally got to the security and asked him if he had seen it but he shook his head in a 'no' manner. She almost stormed her feet in annoyance but remembered she was in the airport surrounded by many people. She had just aced her WAEC exams (West African Examination Council) so her father granted her wish, which was to visit her cousins who live in Benin.1 Along the line while checking in and moving to the waiting hall she lost her national identity card and she was about to freak out.2 She was sure she showed it to the security at the waiting hall before she passed. So now she's trailing all the path she followed since she walked in there. She leaned on the wall almost about to give up, then she heard someone call her name. Maryam Waheeda Ishaq! He called. She snapped her head to the direction of the caller and just in cue he turned to look at her. He looked to the card in his hand then looked back at her. A smile slowly made its way to his lips. He walked graciously towards her. He was wearing a yellow FAAN vest. Indicating that he works at the airport. "Excuse me, does this belong to you?" he raised the national ID card to her face. She sighed in relief and nodded. " Yes please. That's mine." She reached for it but he pulled it back. She looked at him confused. "How do I know you are telling me the truth. Prove that it belongs to you" he insisted.8 "Uhm. Lemme see. ... how about the girl in the picture that looks exactly like me?" She pretended to think before stating the obvious.10 "She could be your twin sister." He shrugged. She resisted the urge to roll her eyes. He was beginning to get on her nerves but she was trying to hold down her temper. She searched her bag for her ticket and showed him the name to prove that the ID card was hers.1 "Azman Airways. Where are you travelling to?" She wanted to reply with what's your business just give me my ID card but she thought better than to be rude. STORY CONTINUES BELOW  "Benin" she said simply. "Oh. My cousins too. Actually I came here to see them off." His eyes sparkled. He had a gap between his front teeth, Waheeda thought it made him look ..... different when he grinned. She has never really found that teeth gap attractive. She thought it made people look weird.28 Her flight boarding was announced and she turned her expression to a serious one. "Our flight is boarding. Can I have my ID now?" She said sternly but with a polite smile. "Oh yes. Maryam Waheeda Ishaq. Hope to meet you again. Have a safe flight. " he gave her the ID and she muttered a thank you and walked away.1 "I pray it would be safe." She muttered under her breath as she walked away. She didn't like aeroplanes. He watched her fall in the long boarding queue. The moment he picked her ID on the floor was the moment he picked an interest in her.10 When he saw her,he realized she was even prettier in person. She was chubby, curvy and cute. She was wearing a long flowy skirt with a tucked in top and a jacket over it. She matched it with a colorful shawl and flat sandals.30 He watched her till she disappeared from his sight, ignoring his phone vibrating in his pocket.2 "Wettin nah? I was just having the time of my life." he complained the moment he decided to finally pick up. "Olori buruku. The list has been pasted." His colleague, Dami broke the news to him after insulting him in Yoruba.3 "Aye mi ooo (Oh my Life.) For transfer? And..?" He asked. "Your name is on the list bro." "Don't sh*t with me oo Dami" "Wallahi no be lie ( It isn't a lie). Come and see for yourself." "On my way." Abdulmajeed soon forgot about the curvy African beauty he saw and ran to his office.5 ๐ŸŽช Waheeda safely landed in Benin. There was no need for her to elaborate on what happened in her flight. She didn't want to tell her cousins about her fear of flying and heights. What happens in the plane stays in the plane.4 The Capital of Edo state, Nigeria. Benin was a beautiful place. Her cousins came to get her from the airport. With their eldest brother, Samir driving and the rest chatting their way back home.7 Her mother's brother has 5 children. Hamma Samir, Fatima who is a year older than her, Ilham who is a year younger than her, then Sagir and Sadiya. They are her favourite maternal cousins. She always spent the most time with them during family gatherings. She believed if they were to start a reality show, it would beat 'Keeping up with the Kardashians'. They would receive two times the hate and three times the love.3 She enjoyed staying at her uncle's. Waheeda got along well with her cousins. They skyped with her sister, Sajida from time to time. Sajida is married and lived in Abuja with her kids. The rest of her siblings called her on the phone too. There was no chance to miss her brothers and sisters too much because they were almost always chatting in their small family group of seven on whatsapp. She had so much fun with her cousins. She even got to attend two proms. The first one was Fatima's prom which she went with Fatima as her second date. Fatima's boyfriend was her initial date she was basically a third wheel but a comfortable one since there was no holding hands and smooching or smushing. They were keeping it halal.. ... somehow.15 The second prom, Waheeda went as Samir's date. He was invited to a high school prom by an old friend whose brother was part of the graduates. Coincidentally Ilham too was invited to the same prom and she took Fatima as her date. Samir took Waheeda to every nook and cranny of Benin that he knows. From the Oba's palace to Museum of Benin city to the famous King Road, Samir had burnt petrol, money and car tyres on the hard asphalt roads of Benin just make his cousin happy.2 In the company of her fun and loving cousins, Waheeda forgot her worries and pain.2 The night time she thought was always scary, lonely and dark became calm, lovely and beautiful with the moon giving her hope and the stars showing her the beauty of the dark. She thought the company of others was burdensome and irrelevant but she found it soothing and helpful. She pondered over alot of things in life and she realized that sometimes all a person needs is a little break and things will settle in. Just little more love and all your worries will vanish even just for a while like the beautiful night that settles peacefully before the break of dawn.3 Her holiday in Benin was one of the best she has ever had. Uncle Sagir and his family were the only people she knew in Benin. And for all the days she spent with them she was never lonely or bored. Every night she would call her father and tell him how much fun she had. He would laugh and tell her that he is jealous that she's having fun without him. When she was going back home, her uncle and his wife showered her with lots of goodies for herself and her siblings. ๐Ÿ’ Abdulmajid had always had a passion for art. Two years ago he went to art school for six months and learned the basics of art and craft. He loved drawing but unfortunately he couldn't have it as his career so he made it a hobby. He sat in front of his plain white canvas in the art studio. His eyes were close as he tried to imagine what to paint. Different colours appeared but they didn't make any sense. He wondered how much longer it will take him to finally decide on what to paint.5 His friend was getting married soon so he thought he could paint something nice and give it to her as a wedding gift. Zainab was his childhood friend, eventhough she was younger than him she was still his close friend. They attended the same high school. She never missed a chance to praise his painting and she was the one who encouraged him to go and learn more about it. He had the picture of the couple infront of him but he knew he couldn't paint them. Not that he can't but he shouldn't because it was forbidden in Islam to draw a living thing. Like the light bulb had been lit, an idea popped in his head and he began to mix the colours to paint. Deciding to just paint anything since art never actually made sense anyways, but always finds a way to people's heart. He thought.5 ๐Ÿ’Waheeda hurry up and finish that salad. We have to decorate the cupcakes."+ "Okay. Just one more minute." Waheeda answered Amira.5 After spending a whole month at her uncle's in Benin, Waheeda returned home but soon decided to stay with her sister in Abuja so she could join a famous catering school. She made a few friends there and Amira was one of them. Abuja had always been fun for her, she finished her high school there so she had alot of friends around. There is a big wedding in town and her catering school had been hired to serve in all the events that would take place. A young pharmacist was getting hitched to a handsome pilot. Their pre-wedding pictures were everywhere. They are both young and bellaNiaja named them the cutest couple of the year. They were basically the talk of town.12 Waheeda knew the bride personally. She met her a couple of times during her holidays in Abuja or in school when she came to visit her sisters, Sakina and Safiya H. Adam6 The event that took place a day before was the brides' Kamu and it was taken care of by the staffs. So tonight would be dinner party hosted by the bride's mother. Their catering mentor had given the trainee students the privilege to serve at the event tonight but of course with the supervision of a few staffs. Waheeda and the other girls were super excited about it. They quickly finished making the dishes. All through the work Waheedah tried to memorize some verses of the Quran. She joined an Islamiyyah recently and it was very competitive. She hated losing, she hated being left behind so she always tries her best to achieve the best. She's been trying to memorize some particular verses for almost 24hours now but her brain just wasn't cooperating .3 After everything was set and ready, the caterers who would be serving at the party all ran to hit the shower and get ready in thier uniforms before going to the venue of the event. Since they arrived earlier than anyone, they got to see the entire wedding dinner. The groom, Ibrahim Khalil held his bride's hand as they walked down the aisle. She is totally a black beauty. Everyone admired the couple as they passed. On reaching the front, the floor was given to the couple to dance.9 Khalil sprayed Zainab with any currency that came out of his pocket. It didn't matter, whether it was Naira, Riyals, pounds or dollars because he believed she was so much more worth than all those pieces of paper.18 The party had started, the bride and groom had danced and finally got to rest. Saif and Zakiyya served them their dinner, they were also in charge of serving the bride and groom's parents. Waheeda and three others were in charge of the couple's friends and the rest would serve the others at the event.1 There were people everywhere. Kids jumping around, bride's maids dancing their heads off and relatives chatting away and moving from one table to another so as they greet each other. And everyone got their phones out snapping away. STORY CONTINUES BELOW  In a gathering filled with unfamiliar faces, Waheeda feels uncomfortable and awkward. It gets worse when a stranger talks to her. So without minding who she was serving, she placed the plates in front of either the bride's or groom's friend. She dropped the last plate on the table and just before she could turn and make a leave someone spoke to her "Oh, it's you!" A male voice said sounding surprised. She wasn't sure if he was refering to her so she just kept walking trying to make her escape.1 He followed her and stopped her. "Wait, don't you recognise me? I'm the ..."6 "I'm sorry. I don't know who you are and right now I'm working so if you could please excuse me." She cuts him off and without waiting for his answer she walked away. He was dumbfounded. He couldn't believe that just happened. The bride's maids here would die to have him to talk to them but he was just brushed off by a caterer.8 He watched her with a cocky smile on his face. She arranged some plates and warmers, with the help of her colleagues she took the empty food containers outside. Abdulmajid stood by the door and waited for her to return. The other girls came back into the hall but Waheeda was out of sight. He gulped down his cup of juice before heading out to look for her. She was sitting on the pavement outside the hall. She stared at the Quran app on her phone before deciding to open it and check. Once again she had the verse completely wrong. Why was it so hard to memorize a single page in the Qur'an when you can memorize a whole music album without even trying she thought.23 She was getting frustrated and impatient. She would be given out her hadda (memorized part) in two days and she still couldn't recite half the page correctly. And the music coming from the hall just wasn't helping. Knowing that she wouldn't be able to concentrate due to her burning temper and the blowing music, she gave up and locked her phone then tossed it in her apron pocket. She covered her face with her palms trying to subside the burning feeling in her chest. Her sister had told her many times that her temper would not help her in any way. It sure wasn't helping her today. She decided to become a hafiza after hearing her sister's story. "I've fooled myself all my life hida. I knew l wasn't very knowledgeable when it comes to Quran but I never took measures. I thought I was good enough. I deceived Daddy and Mummy, they thought I had learnt the whole Quran because I went to an Islamic secondary school and we even had a Qur'anic graduation. But it was all a show. I didn't take it seriously until the day I was totally mortified. Two weeks after our wedding, Munir asked me to recite with him I agreed but unfortunately for me he opened a random surah that I couldn't recite. I could recite Bakara (the second surah in the quran) and I could recite the last surahs too about maybe last 5 hizbs but not a random surah in the middle. Thankfully Munir was understanding. He has been teaching me the Quran and Hadith since then. I am Lucky Hida, that I married a hafiz and a practicing muslim. But that doesn't happen to anyone. Look at me, I thought Umar was the same but I was wrong. I wasnt lucky the first time you know. You might not be as lucky, so before you totally embarass yourself or end up with a guy that doesn't even know the basics of Islam or marriage learn and help you both and your future kids." Her sister, Adda Sajida had advised her. Suddenly she felt the presence of someone behind her, carefully and slowly she raised her head to see who it was. A young man probably in his mid twenties stood beside her. He was smiling at her. He is not all that bad for the eye sight she thought.1 STORY CONTINUES BELOW  "Can I help you" she asked when he didn't say anything. "Earlier..." he pointed back at the hall "You know what never mind. What are you doing out here alone" Noticing the I-don't -have-your-time and frustrated look on her face, he dismissed what he was about to say. She sighed and stood up. Standing in front of him in her trainers, she felt very short. She looked up at him "What do you want?" She asked lamely. "Your number ....... maybe?" He grinned.11 Waheeda resisted the urge to roll her eyes. She closed her eyes to suppress the rising anger. "And why should I give you my number?" She asked calmly. "Because I asked for it." Abdulmajid answered nonchalantly12 This guy must be kidding me she thought. "And what would you do if I give you my number?" She asked. Normally she would have ignored him and walked away but this guy just seemed particularly interesting. "I will call you and chat with you" "And then what?" "We will become friends" She laughed out sarcastically. Abdulmajid felt pleased. He was glad that she wasn't fuming in anger anymore. He grinned satisfied. Waheeda noticed a gap between his teeth. Unlike the usual times, she thought it didn't look bad but he still looked so much better if he didn't show his teeth. She always thought it made people look weird. But this particular guy didn't look ugly, it was just her preference.9 "So you want to be my friend?" She continued with their conversations. "We could be more than friends" he beamed. "What if we become more than friends?" "Then one day just like the people in there"he motioned to the hall " we will get married and live happily ever after" he concluded.10 She looked at him with a bored expression. "Do you even know the first thing about marriage?.... how old are you?"4 He looked at her shocked. Like 'What!!' "I will tell you what I hate the most in life. Its playing games. So you think you can just meet any girl and lure her into accepting your ridiculous proposal? Well I'm not the kind of girl." She fired up. "If you are going to marry me, how much do you think you can bring as dowry price? I'm not as cheap as you think I am." She continued1 "Wait.. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to sound insulting or anything. It was just a sincere conversation. And I just really fancied you." He said honestly. "Well 'Mr. Fancy me' how many hadiths do you have up here" she pointed at her head. "Have you memorized the whole Quran... wait even half the Quran would do. How many sunnah of the prophet do you follow? Have you graduated from university, do you even have a job or are you planning on living off your father forever?" She stated rudely.15 Abdulmajid was hurt by her words but he tried not to show it. He knew no answer would make her cool down now. If he answered No to her questions, that would be like adding firewood to the burning fire. If he answered 'Yes', that would be like setting up a whole new fire. So he chose to shut his month.1 "Come back and ask me to marry you again when you meet that standard, then maybe I will think about it. For now please can you excuse me?" She hissed.2 He moved aside letting her pass by. Abdul watched her chubby figure disappear into the hall. He was speechless. He has never been challenged like this his whole life. Any synonym of shock is an understatement of the state he was in.2 STORY CONTINUES BELOW  His interest in Waheeda just grew. He had to admit she was rude but he also didn't want to judge her so easily. He became curious about her story. Abdulmajid is a person that believes everyone has a story and a reason why they are what they are. He was willing to find out what Waheeda's story is.2 But first thing first, how is it that she couldn't recognize him? He met her at the airport in Kano about a month ago and just now he spoke to her in the hall but she still couldn't recognize him. He had a feeling that in her brain he was three different people.4 He smiled mischeivously "This will get interesting" he muttered to himself.4 ------- "I invite you to my sister's wedding but you decide to come as a caterer koh?" Safiya attacked Waheeda the moment she walked into the hall.1 "Sofie... I am so sorry. Look at the bright side. I still came to the wedding." She grinned and batted her eyelashes prettily. "Don't do that. I still won't forgive you. " Safiya huffed. "Hida!!" Sakina came holding a baby. "You made it." She hugged Waheeda.3 "Yeah in her apron" Safiya rolled her eyes and Waheeda threw her an apologetic look. "Is this my namesake? Pretty baby" Waheeda played with the baby Sakina was holding. "No silly. Can't you see this girl is way younger than your namesake but then she looks older than her age. She's too fat" Safiya chuckled. "And heavy too" Sakina added. "Oh. This is Baby Zee koh? Your brother, Ahmad's daughter." Waheeda collected the baby from Sakina. "How adorable"7 Before she could play with her more, the baby started crying and extending her hand towards her aunt Sakina. "Sai kwuya" Sakina laughed and collected back the crying baby. "She's more than a year now but she still can't get used to people. She still can't get used to Amrah although she likes Zayyad and Mama (ummul Khaltum) and she plays with Amrah's new baby, Sadiya (Sadie) because she's almost her mate." She added.2 "So many kids in your house. Masha Allah." Waheeda commented. "Let's go. You have to greet Mummy and Ammi" Safiya dragged her and Sakina followed them with Baby Zee.1 Baby Zee is Ahmad and Mufeeda's fourteen months old daughter. It's been almost three years since Sakina and Safiya's oldest brother got married and he was blessed with baby girl whom he named after his late mother and the paternal half sister, who is today's bride Zainab.1 Amrah is Ahmad's full sister who is married and lives in Kaduna with her husband and three children. "Ammi ga Maryam Ishaq." Safiya introduced her when they reached their parents's table. "Aahn. Isn't this Waheeda?" Mummy smiled at her. She greeted them and they offered her a seat. "Waheeda, why are you in the waitress uniform?" Mufeeda who had joined them asked her. Sakina did her the honour of explaining why she came in as a waitress instead of a guest. Mummy likes the idea of her learning about kitchen and all. She suggested that Sakina and Safiya join to which they annoyingly grunted at. Waheeda enjoyed the view in front of her as the friends of the bride and groom danced like no tomorrow. "Please someone should take this chewing gum away from me." Intisaar whined as she joined them on the big family table. "She hates people and gatherings. Wallahi she's just like her father. " she picked her two year old daughter and kept her on the table.13 STORY CONTINUES BELOW  "She should have inherited the new social Ammar genes instead she gladly accepted the old introvert genes." Amrah teased.2 They all laughed. Miriam Na'ima, was named after her mother's mothers. Intisaar couldn't pick between her birth mother and adopted mother when Ammar gave her the chance to choose a name for their daughter. They decided to name her after both her mothers.1 "Muf muf I saw Uncle Ahmad over there he was looking for you." Intisaar said to Mufida as she pointed to the place she saw her husband earlier. Mufida sighed and sunk in her chair. "I ran away from him. I need some fun. I'm sure Zainab invited them to torture us." She accused as she eyed the bride that was enjoying herself oblivious of her stare. Amrah abruptly stood up. "If we are here to have fun then what are we waiting for. Let's go and dance jorh. Our sister is getting married." "Easy for you to say. Abdullah is not here to drag you out of the dance square." Intisaar said sadly remembering the time she went to a friend's wedding dinner with Ammar and he literary dragged her out of the dance floor. Yes, she got so frustrated she decided to leave the party early. He wasn't happy either because she was dancing amidst alot of strange men. In her defence, she wasn't dancing with no one but the bride and her girl friends.3 She was scared the same thing might happen again today at his sister's wedding. "Please forget those men. You guys should go and have fun" Ammi, the bride's stepmother and Safiya's mother, encouraged them. All the girls including S2 and Maryam Wahida left the table to dance their heads off.1 The groom's best friend, Nurayn who is also a brother to Intisaar gave a really nice speech about his friend. Both the groom's and bride's sisters wore the same type of attire, Anko.3 The bride's maids wore pink and black lace to which the groom's men wore black coloured fila caps to match with them. It was a dream come true for both the couple and thier families. Maryam found out that other members of their class came so with the permission of her catering supervisor, she enjoyed her time with her friends. The very famous Nurayn was finally introduced to them by Safiyya and Sakina. Everyone member of their class knows alot about Nurayn so it was exciting and fun to finally meet him. He exchanged Instagram usernames with them.5 Nurayn still hasn't found 'the one' but he was still searching hoping that sooner than later people would gather for his wedding too. But for now as his best friend goes for honeymoon and ignore his existance for a while he would take a leave from work and go to perform Umrah with his brother, Ali (Chote) and spend the rest of the holiday in Austria with him before school resumes.3 Abdulmajid went up the stage to take a picture with the couple. On his way down he sighted Maryam chatting and laughing with Zainab's sisters and a few other young girls. He smiled knowing that if she was friends with Safiya and Sakina then he can always meet her again. The bride, Zainab and her groom, Khalil stayed in Khalil's family house in Kaduna for a while before they left for thier honeymoon in Maldives. Khalil resides in Austria with his friend Nurayn. He wasn't ready to return to Nigeria any time soon so he took his new bride to Austria to live with them. Zainab too had decided to do her masters and work over there. She didn't forget to take a frame of her family picture with her. Her brothers Ahmad and Dr. Ammar with their daughters and wives, Mufeeda and Dr. Hafsa Intisar respectively were standing at the two ends of the picture. Then Amrah was beside Intisar while Engr. Adnan who has been getting ready to marry soon( to Ammar's Friend's sister in-law - Dr.Naseer) stood near his sister In law Mufeeda. Architect Abubakar stood beside him with Safiya and Sakina then finally their 13 year old youngest sister, Aisha in the middle. On the chair was Abba their father with thier youngest Auwal sitting on the arm rest. Mama was at the far end holding Ummulkhaltum (her grand daughter) and Zayyad was on the arm rest next to her. Ammi sat next to Pharm. Zainab who was in her embroided gown sitting between Ammi and Abba with Amrah's last born on her laps. 14 It was truely a full and complete family picture. Ofcourse the bride didn't forget to send a thank you message to the people that attended. Including Waheeda who she saw online on Twitter. She sent her and a couple more people a direct message to thank them. Ofcourse after receiving her art piece from Abdulmajid, her long time friend, she couldn't resist but tweet about it and the photo of the painting. Waheeda had to comment on how beautiful the painting was. She even followed the person Zainab tagged as the painter because of how impressed she was. 7 He quoted Zainab's tweet with "I'm glad I came to the wedding. I think I've found 'her' ๐Ÿ˜‰ That was my souvenir . Might need your help in the future. HML Zee zee. ❤"6 Waheeda read that and laughed while shaking her head. "Men" she said.3 ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿ’ƒHe manipulated the gear of his new SUV Convertible, using his left hand he twirled his steering wheels like a pro. He drove down the streets like a play boy. Well that was how most people thought of him, a play boy. He didn't blame them, he really looked like one and acted like one ..... sometimes.6 He slowed down as he reached the all so familiar corners of 5th avenue. He drove carefully and majestically looking amusingly at the place he knew best as a child. He knew every nook and cranny then. He would play hide and seek with his siblings and friends and no one would get lost. He drove left and came across his Islamic school. He laughed hard when he remembered how they stole their Malam's shoes by the masjid because he punished them for being late. After classes they went and kept the shoes by the door of the malam's house and since he lived alone no one could bring him another pair, he had to walk home with cartons tied beneath his feet as slippers.12 He was stubborn and playful but he was also the most innocent boy in his clique. The image of him playing on the street with his friends flashed before his eyes. The kiosk of malam Bala was no longer there, the gutter they loved to jump over recklessly has been covered with a lid. The road has changed but it wasn't looking any better than before, it was one of the places the government has neglected.1 Many things looked so different yet so familiar. He finally reached the place he used to call home. It was still the same. Not even the painting had changed. He parked his car and aligned. He decided to walk around a bit. As he passed by he said Salam to the people that were either passing by or chatting in groups, hoping that he would see someone familiar or someone might recognize him. Subconsciously, he walked to the house that was like a second home to him. The sight of it warmed his heart with various emotions, it had a cordial feeling and look. Flashback. "Muhsin, come lets eat. Mummy is waiting for us" called Suraj.2 All the kids ran into the house. A big tray filled with Jollof rice and salad with fried meats was set on the eating leather mat for them. Adda Sajida made them all wash their hands with soap before giving them each a clean spoon to eat with.2 They finished eating but Muhsin didn't get meat. He complained to Mummy and she gave him hers but before he could eat it a younger kid called Usman ran and snatched it away from him, without hesitation he threw it in his mouth and chewed.3 STORY CONTINUES BELOW  Muhsin wasn't happy about that but he didn't worry thinking he would get another one but unfortunately that was the last piece of meat that was cooked for lunch. He turned and glared angrily at Usman like a lion about to attack it's prey. But before he could attack him a pair of doe eyes cut in between them. She passed him a piece of meat. There was no emotion shown in her facial expression. But for some odd reason Muhsin felt very happy because of her gesture. That was the first time the six year old Maryam had done anything nice to him or since he'd known her.6 She was known as the 'boss lady' among his peers, she does whatever she likes and deals with them how ever she wills despite the fact that she was way younger than them. She wasn't mean to them atleast but they know her as Suraj's sister who is neither nice nor not nice, to them she was just not -not a nice girl. She warmed his heart with that simple gesture. He collected the meat from her hand and smiled at her. She didn't smile back but looked a little embarrassed. She walked away.3 End of Flashback. Muhsin knocked on the door and a young girl opened. "Sannu da zuwa. Welcome. " the young girl greeted him. "Baba na baya nan. My dad isn't around. " She smiled showing off her lost canine and growing permanent incisors. "Okay. What's your name pretty?" He asked her. "Fatima"1 "There was a girl that used to live here. Your smile looks like hers. So pretty and innocent. " "Oh. Really? What's her name?" She asked with an innocent smile. "Maryam." "Wow. Nice name. My sister's name too is Maryam. People say my sister and I look alike even our smile is the same. " she exclaimed. "Really? I would love to meet her." He smiled. "But then have you heard the lizard story? " "What lizard story?"7 "The one that says if you let a lizard see your toothless smile your tooth won't grow back again." She laughed heartedly.1 "Do you believe that story? "She asked him. " Don't believe it. It's a myth. People made up that lie to scare children. I hope you also don't believe that if you keep your tooth under your pillow a fairy god mother would take it in exchange for money."4 "Huh?" "Don't believe it. If you ever found money under your pillow then it was either your mother or father that put it there. Allah Sarki. " she laughed harder. Muhsin joined her and laughed too.2 "So witty" he commented. "You are smarter than a girl I used to know" "Who? Maryam?" He smiled and nodded. After walking around for a few more minutes Muhsin finally bumped into someone that recognised him. He was one of the friends they used to play football against. His team where really good players. They had a little update chat and he promised to visit again. He got back to his car and drove away. Adda Sajida had given him their new address and he wanted to see the place atleast before he decides an official visit. Sajida, Muhammad, Suraj, Maryam, Hanif and Hanifa. He could remember them all but so far Sajida was the only one he met. While strolling on the streets of Abuja one faithful evening he noticed a chubby mummy pushing a baby carriage with three young boys beside her licking their cone ice cream and playing around. She stopped to wipe the face and hands of the youngest boy who has got Ice cream all over him. STORY CONTINUES BELOW  Muhsin moved closer to them, his eyes on her. She looked very familiar but way thicker.4 She finished cleaning the boy and rose to continue walking when she noticed a young man staring confusingly at her. She adjusted her veil uncomfortably and made all her kids come closer to her, protecting them like a mother hen.2 He was tall and good looking. He had no facial hair and his dressing was casual. He didn't look suspicious but the way he was staring at her and her kids was suspicious. She knew she was pretty but she was also a fat mama with four kids. Or is he here to steal her kids? But he wasn't looking at them his attention was only on her. Dude I'm married and you are too young for me she muttered to herself. He walked closer till he was only a meter away from her. He smiled cheekily. "Can I help you?" She asked but he didn't answer his smile only widened. She turned to her kids "lets go boys" she said and started pushing the trolley that carried her baby girl inside. Muhsin snickered. "Adda Sajida" he called and went to stand in from of the trolley preventing her from moving further. She looked at him shocked. How did he know her name? She thought. Does he know her? It was her turn to stare at him. "Do I know you?" She asked. "Maybe" he dragged. She kept quiet and observed him some more. He had that typical fulani look in him. The slightly coily hair, pointed but a little big nose, chocomilo complexion ... she laughed as she thought of the chocomilo complexion.7 Flashback. Muhsin and Maryam walked into the house licking choco milo on their right hands and the sachet of the all so nice and delicious combination of powdered milk and milo which kids love so much was on their left hands.1 Maryam had the chocolate milk all over her face, hands and dress while Muhsin was just a tad bit neater with just little around his mouth and hand. "Inna lillahi. This kids" Adda Sajida exclaimed on seeing them. She got a handkerchief and started cleaning Maryam's hand and face as she scolds her. "Why are you only scolding me. Even Muhsin has spoilt himself too" She pouted. "Not as bad as yours. And his isn't showing very much. " "It's the colour of my skin." She smiled his famous cheeky smile. "Your skin colour is like choco milo?" Maryam was surprised. She's never heard anything like that so it was hard for her young brain to comprehend. Suddenly she laughed finding it funny. "Choco milo.. chocomilo..... choco milo colour" she nudged Muhsin to answer his new name.2 End of flashback "Choco milo?" Sajida asked smiling. Muhsin frowned. "Cmon that's not my name." He scrolled. "It's really choco milo. Ka girma. You are all grown up " she squealed happily. "Muhsin" "Adda" he smiled. "Hey guys. Greet him. He's my brother. Uncle Muhsin" she instructed the boys that had only been observing them all the while. They were also tensed at first but relaxed when they noticed their mother relax. They greeted him and he walked to their house. He stayed till dinner chatting with Sajida. He got information about everyone in the family and so did she of his family. He met her husband who seemed to be a no nonsense kind of man but yet very friendly. How he managed to be these two opposite characters, was facsinating to Muhsin. He told Sajida he woyld love to pay Maryam a visit so she should not tell her that she met him. She warned him though that Maryam might never recognise him till the very end unless she gets a full introduction. She complained that her sister's brain is that slow but he was fine with it. He thought it would be fun. So here he is now, on his way to the address Adda Sajida had given him. He drove to the area and when he found the house he decided to park at a distance. Thinking that he would visit them next time not today. As for this moment he would only look from a far. A rickshaw came to park in front of the house. A plumpy young lady aligned from the rickshaw and gave the driver his money. He didn't collect it, instead he came out of the rickshaw and started shouting in rage. Muhsin couldn't hear a word so he just observed. He knew Maryam's temper was no joke too. Unless maybe she has changed. She didn't say much to the driver, she tried to give him his money again but he flinched his hand almost hitting hers. She was begining to flare up too. She kept the money in the rickshaw and set to go. Maybe she has really changed. Muhsin thought. She was about to open the gate door when the man held her shoulder to stop her still saying somethings angrily. Muhsin was about to run and teach the man a lesson when something not so surprising happened.2 She held that dirty hand of the man and twisted it hard. He tried to attack her with his other hand but she held it too effortlessly. She put her leg behind his and hit it forward making him lose his balance and fall on the ground. The expression of the driver read 'pain'.16 She kicked him and paused her lips and clenched her teeth which Muhsin understood it was a form of hiss which wasn't audible to him. She turned and finally entered the house.1 Muhsin stood by his car and laughed his head off. She still is a boss lady. She can take care of anything herself. That was the Waheeda he knew.1 He can't wait to meet her again. She used to be his favourite person. He wondered how long it would take for her to recognize him.6 ๐Ÿ‘พ๐Ÿ‘พ๐Ÿ‘พ๐Ÿ‘พ๐Ÿ‘พ๐Ÿ‘พ ๐Ÿ˜†

0 Comments