Alhaji Alhaji Abdul returned home that night and was disappointed to find out that Fatimah had not prepared anything for him.
Alhaji Abdul: “hello, he said as soon as he got into the house”
Fatimah came out from her room and greeted him respectfully.
“sannu da zuwa, maigida (welcome, the owner of our house” she greeted him respectfully)
Alhaji Abdul: “thank you my dear. I expected to start perceiving the aroma of your food as soon as I stepped into the compound. How comes I cannot perceive anything?” he said sniffing with his nose.
Fatimah: “ah…I..erm” she stuttered, suddenly losing her voice.
“what is it? Don’t tell me that the food is not ready yet? Didn’t I tell you during the course of our courtship that the doctor advised me not to take late dinners?” he asked.
Fatimah: “actually, I haven’t started cooking”
“what!” Alhaji Abdul asked, unable to believe his ears.
Fatimah: “I didn’t know what to cook for you” she said afraid of what his next reaction would be.
Alhaji Abdul: “you are kidding me right? How can you say you don’t know what to cook for me after I told you to see the menu?” he asked going to sit down.
Fatimah: “I actually slept off after you left. When I woke up, hajiya whom you said I should get the menu from was not in the house” she explained.
Alhaji Abdul: “you slept off? I asked you to cook for me for the first time ever and you say you slept off? What sort of a wife does that” he asked his anger getting irked.
Fatimah: “I am sorry, I was very tired and wanted to take only a short nap, I didn’t know that I would sleep off like that”
“why didn’t you call hajiya to ask her what today’s menu says? She has been doing it for so long that she knows everything by heart” he said.
Fatimah: “I don’t have her number”
Alhaji Abdul: “that is still not enough reason. Why didn’t you ask the other women for it?”
“I asked the second and third wife and they all ignored me”
Just then Jemila who was walking away before she heard her name stormed into the sitting room.
Jemila: “so you are not only rude, you are also a liar?” she barked.
Alhaji Abdul: “what is this supposed to me, Jemila? Do you know eavesdrop on my conversation with my bride or what?”
Jemila: “I am sorry, alhaji. It’s just that I have to speak up. How can I refuse to show her where the menu is when I know that she is cooking for you?”
Fatimah: “but I personally came to you and you refused me”, she explained.
Jemila: “why are you lying? Is that what you plan to do? To turn our husband’s heart away from us by lying against us? Why would I refuse to give it to you when I know you will tell alhaji as soon as he returns?”
Fatimah: “you have to believe me, alhaji. If you think I am lying, ask the second wife” she suggested.
Alhaji sent for the second wife and she came in and bowed respectfully.
“you sent for me, my husband” she said.
Alhaji Abdul: “yes, Shafa. I actually sent for you. Is it true that Fatimah here asked you for the menu list for my dinner tonight?”
Shafa: “me?” she asked feigning ignorance.
Alhaji Abdul: “who else is called Shafa in this place? Of course it is you I am talking to”
Shafa: “she did not ask me anything o. If she had asked me I would have described where it is in the kitchen for her if I cannot go there myself” she said.
Fatimah: “but I knocked on your door and you refused to open it” she protested.
Shafa: “why are you lying? First you said you came to ask me about the menu list and I refused, now you are saying you knocked on my door and I did not open the door. Please say one thing and stick to it, in this house, we don’t lie to our husband”
Jemila: “alhaji, have you seen that this girl wants to cause problems for us? I have an advice for you Fatimah, if you cannot cook, why don’t you just say so instead of cooking up lies from nowhere?”
Alhaji got up and went into his chambers with Fatimah trailing him.
Fatimah: “you have to believe me alhaji, there are lying against me”
Alhaji Abdul: “that is not the most important thing. If you had not slept off, you would have gotten the menu list from hajiya before she went out. Also, you said that my son came to check on me, you could have gotten hajiya’s number from him so that you can call and ask her what to cook for me. You had all these alternatives but you didn’t use them. You folded your legs and sat in the sitting room watching TV knowing fully well that I was returning home to eat”
Fatimah: “I am sorry, alhaji” she said.
Alhaji Abdul: “it is not about you being sorry. Sorry will not go into the kitchen and cook for me, I don’t joke with my stomach. At this age, I cannot afford to starve myself”
Fatimah: “it is not too late. I can cook for you tonight. I will go to them and get the menu, I am sure they will give it to me now that you are around” she said.
Alhaji Abdul: “It will be late by the time you finish cooking and I don’t eat late, it is not good for my health” he said.
Fatimah: “then let’s go out and eat. I promise to cook whatever you want for you tomorrow”
Alhaji Abdul: “I don’t eat out in Nigeria, my social status will not allow me take that risk. I could easily get poisoned you know” he said and went to take his shower.
Fatimah went into the sitting room to pick up her phone from where she had left it and she saw the two women giggling and talking in low tones. As soon as they saw her, they exchanged glances and giggled mischievously.
Jemila came close to her.
“So, you think you can report us to our husband and get away with it right? Don’t worry, we have more surprises waiting for you”
Shafa: “don’t mind her. By the time we are through with you, you will carry these your two mosquitoes legs and run away from here” she said and they retreated to their rooms still laughing.
Fatimah sat on the chair and cried her eyes out. When she heard her husband’s voice calling her, she cleaned her face, plastered on a smile and went in to him.
That night, alhaji made love to her like it was going to be the last thing he would do on earth. The physical food that she denied him, alhaji took more than enough from her body. At the end, he fell off her and fell asleep immediately, leaving her to nurse her physical and psychological pain.
Question: the fire is getting hotter…can Fatimah scale through? Will Alhaji be able to save her from the evil his wives are planning against her?
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