“Hey, Iyawo Alhaji. How are you doing?” Aleena came out of the bathroom and heard her phone ringing. It was her best friend, Basimah.
“I am fine, babe. How are you doing too?” A smile spread across her beautiful elfin-shaped face and she sat on the edge of the bed, tucking the short towel between her smooth laps.
“I am fine. When are you travelling for your training again? You guys are going to Dublin right?”
Aleena just got a job with a fast growing global FMCG company as an Accounting trainee and they would be travelling to Dublin for the onboarding and induction training. It was a dream come through for her. The company’s headquarter was based in Dublin,Ireland.
“In the next two weeks. Our visa should be out in a week’s time. Alhaji has been fretting and complaining about the time I will be away from home. To him, 3 months is too long. I have been trying all I can to pacify him ooo.” She giggled with amusement.
“Like giving him special time in the bedroom to hold body till you come back, bah?” Both friends burst into laughter and laughed till tears came out of their eyes.
“You bet. He is the one that gets tired las las.” More giggles escaped her lips and she pressed her hand on her stomach. “I am also preparing all the soup and delicacies in the world and storing them in the freezer.”
“That is great. Well done, babe.” Basimah cleared her voice subtly. “Will you leave Jawaria with Alhaji when you are gone?”
Jawaira was Aleena’s 6 years old daughter. Aleena was an eighteen years old undergraduate when she had her baby girl. Jawaira’s father was never part of their lives because he was a distant cousin who took advantage of the young girl and disappeared after the dastardly act.
“No way.” Aleena’s voice dropped as she tiptoed out of the bedroom and peeped out into the long corridor. Her husband was nowhere in sight. She paced to the window and stared unseeingly out into the street. “No, she is not staying with him. I will take her to my mother.”
“Why? He has adopted her as his and it is obvious he really adores her. Why can’t you trust him with your daughter?” Basimah was truly puzzled.
“Men have been known to molest their biological children.” Her laugh was mirthless. “Not to talk of the one that doesn’t belong to them. No, I am not taking that chance. I can’t risk my daughter’s life that way. You of all people knew what I went through as a kid,basimah.”
Aleena grew up with her father and step-mother. She was a teenager before she met her biological mother and they bonded almost instantly but her father never allowed her to live with her until she got pregnant. She was molested several times as a kid by her step-mother’s relatives but each time she reported to her father, he never believed her. Her mother was a pillar of support when one of those incidents led to an unplanned pregnancy and didn’t allow her to abort the baby. She never ceased to be there for her and for that, Aleena would always be grateful.
Another person who was always supportive was her childhood friend, Basimah. Even though basimah was just 2 years older than she was, she was the sister she never had and supported as she tried to heal from her childhood trauma.
“I know, Aleena. I know but you can’t continue living this way. Why did you marry him if you don’t trust him? Has he ever given you a reason to doubt him? Did you see any sign that he was or has a tendency to molest your girl?”
“No.” She closed her eyes and pressed her finger to her eyelid. “Alhaji is a nice man. He is loving and caring and his adoration for Jawaira is quite obvious. My mother says her spirit accepts him.” Her mother had a strong intuition and she was almost always right.
“I can’t get it out of my head, Basi. If he changes when I am away and becomes tempted to touch her inappropriately, I won’t forgive myself if I find out. It is better I don’t allow the chance or give him the opportunity. It is safer and better that way for all of us.” She concluded in her heart.
“That is unfair to the innocent man, Aleena. However, It is still your decision to make. Think about it though so you don’t ruin your marriage.” Basimah’s sigh was heavy over the phone.
“Thank you,love. Send me the list of things you want me to get you when I travel. This girl is balling.” They both laughed and ended the call.
She turned around and came face to face with her husband, Haseeb. The phone dropped on the tiles with a clatter and the screen cracked but she never noticed.
“So that is the reason you always take Jawaira with you whenever you go out right? It is that bad,uh?” His voice trembled with pain, anger and disappointment.
“Haseeb, you don’t understand. Let me explain better please. Haseeb! Haseeb!” He had turned and walked out of the room. She looked around frantically for a hijab, dropped it over her body and ran after him.
He had driven out of the premises of the house and she sank to the floor as hot tears cascaded down her face. What had she done? Oh my God!
If you are Haseeb, what will you do?
If you are Aleena, what will you do?