The Wife- An Episodic Fictional Story
The Story of a young African girl who sold her life in marriage to get education, she found friendship and faith but met with a tragedy that changed her life forever. Start reading story from 3rd of March 2018.
Aliyah sat patiently beside Laura listening to their jist as usual. No matter how tired she was every evening, she made sure she never missed branching at ‘Moremi hostel’ she gets to sell the remains of her groundnut and enjoys the jokes and jests that goes on among the students. Laura is someone she is afraid to call a friend, because she is prettier, richer and more fortunate.
‘Aliyah! Where did you go?’ Laura asked jokingly
‘me? I never went anywhere, I was here Aliyah replied
‘only in body, the real Aliyah was far away, what were you thinking about? Favour was telling us what happened at her house during the last holiday’ Laura retorted
Aliyah gave a faint smile, Laura was right; her mind was not in what they were talking about today. She was mentally calculating her profit for today and how much she was going to keep in the safe box. Before she could apologize Favour turned to her and drew her into the discussion.
‘Aliyah, tell me, would you forgive him if you were the one? I want you to speak honestly. I don’t think I can bring myself to ever forgive him’
Aliyah was startled; she never thought they would ever ask her opinion on anything. What does a poor, lowly half- educated girl like her know about anything? And she wasn’t really listening today.
‘Well, it depends’ she said. She tried to smile to hide her embarrassment.
‘She wasn’t listening’ Laura chipped in. ‘she was in another world’
‘No…t real..ly I..’ she stammered as a quick blush stained her cheek.
‘What is wrong Aliyah? Is Mama OK? Favour said with concern written all over her face.
‘I was just tired, don’t mind me’ Aliyah replied. She stood up abruptly and started counting her groundnut. The girls took the cue and started buying from her until they emptied the tray. She thanked them as she collected money and gave out change. She forced out a smile and said goodbyes to all of them. Laura caught up with her before she got to the gate.
“Aliyah! Aliyah! Wait!” she fall into step with her and laid a hand on her shoulder. ‘is it Mama again’ Aliyah shook her head dejectedly. ‘You need to borrow some money?’ Laura asked refusing to give up.
‘It is not Mama, it is me. I feel ashamed sitting among you girls sometimes, but I am really sad today. I am going to be 22 next week. I am even older than some of the girls but I don’t have the hope of ever going to school. I just want to save enough to get Mama a wheel chair this year and I couldn’t even do that’ she dabbed at her wet cheek with the sleeve of her top.
Laura was moved to tears by her friend’s outburst but she knew she has to be strong for Aliyah’s sake.
‘I thought I am your friend Aliyah, you never told me all this, so you just sat there pretending to be happy? We don’t really mind you coming to see us every day. We really like you. I admire you. So don’t ever feel sad again. And I believe God is not dead, let’s have faith. You can still go to school one day’
Aliyah looked at the girl that called her ‘Friend’ they have only know each other for three months. She would have loved to be Laura’s friend if her life has not been cursed.
‘Faith? I have been hawking groundnut for five years, I have never made enough to buy Mother’s wheel chair. If only that accident had not happened. If only we hadn’t lost Father and Desola, if only…
‘Aliyah, its OK’ Laura turned to stand in front of her and grabbed one of her hands. ‘I want you to have this” she squeezed a #500 note into her palm. “It is okay to be sad sometimes, not everybody is happy. I have my problems too and all those girls have one thing or the other that they are dealing with. I see you as a friend and I admire your courage. Don’t give up and take all the help you can get’
Aliyah opened her palm and allowed the money to drop ‘you have done enough. You fill your house with groundnuts that you don’t need everyday…”
Laura picked the money and squeezed it back into her palm. ‘Take it if you see me as a friend. Let’s talk tomorrow, I really need to attend a programme and I am running late’ she quickly dash away to prevent further argument.
Aliyah picked the money and straightened the #5oo note. She contemplated running after Laura but she has really gone far. Maybe she should just take the money and forget about pride, Mama could surely use some painkiller. She has been in pain since the raining season started but she tried to keep it away from her, her groans at midnight gave her away most times.
Aliyah entered the uncompleted building they lived in and found her mother awake. She was lying down face up.
‘Mother, how have you been? Did Tope bring you lunch? I gave her money before her left’
Moji tried to smile but it came out as a groan instead, she waved the sound away with her hand. “I am ok Aliyah. She brought lunch, how was market today? I can see that you sold everything, God has been good to us.” She tried another smile and succeeded this time around.
Aliyah threw aside the wrapper covering her mother’s body and looked at her wasted leg. She felt the usual painful throb in her heart: one leg is gone completely and the only good one is half gone, something that looked like a stump stood in its place. She averted her eyes so that her mother would not see the pain written there.
‘I got you some painkillers mother, I even got enough money left to cook us something’ she didn’t try to smile because she knew it was an impossible task.
‘We are going to be fine daughter. God will remember us one day…
‘How can you still say that Mother?! Can’t you see that He has simply forgotten us? He took away Father and Desola and shattered my dreams. I don’t want to hear anything about Him. We can barely survive and you cry every night…’she couldn’t continue as tears gather in her eyes. How can Mama cling to her foolish hope that someone will save them? She quickly pulled herself together and dropped her hawking tray.
‘I want to get dinner ready, I am coming Mother’ she picked up a nylon bag and dashed outside.
Moji shook her head and tried to sleep on her side but her body kept bumping with the rough ground. The mattress has become thinner and it has given her sores all over her body. If only they could get another mattress. She looked at the rough ground where Aliyah sleeps every night. It must be unbearable, no wonder she is angry with God
Otunba Funsho Philips sat on a cushioned chair under a shade in his compound to receive the evening breeze. Two maids and his live _in PA hanged around in case he will need their attention. A bottle of an expensive wine stood on the table before him with a glass half filled with drink. He is on the phone talking to one of his business associates.
‘Relax Chief, I told you this contract is a piece of cake. I will talk to Johnson when he gets home, you don’t need to worry about it’ he listened for sometime as chief spoke his mind.
‘The boy was born with a business mind, you can read the newspapers, they are filled with praises for my son. He just closed 50 million naira deal last week. I have been out of the business for some time, what does an old man like me know about today’s business world. Only our sons can handle today’s show’ he burst into laughter at chief’s reply.
Two cars drove into the mansion and Johnson alighted with four bodyguards. He moves to where his father was and waited for him to finish the call. Otunba ended the call and turned to his son.
‘Welcome son, how was your day?’ he glared at the body guards and they quickly move out of earshot to give father and son privacy.
‘Busy’ he replied and shot his father an angry look. Otunba quickly deduced his son’s mood. He picked up his drink and took a sip. “let them bring you a glass and a chair” he motioned to one of the maids but his son stopped him.
‘I have had a busy day father, I just need some rest’ he replied still looking angry.
Otunba looked at him, gave him a knowing look and grinned ‘spill it out son, it is bad for your health’ he adjusted his sitting position and raised the glass to his lips once more.
‘What game are you trying to play father? A man showed up at the company offering us a contract and demanded forty percent of the money. He said he is from your friend chief Collins. I tried to throw him out when he said it has been settled with you. How can you meddle in the company’s business like that?!’ He spat out angrily.
Otunba returned the glass to the table calmly and looked at his son with a tolerant smile on his lips ‘it was still my company last time I checked and I have a right to meddle as you said. Chief is my friend and we have settled it’
Johnson grew angrier and his look turned deadly
‘you made me the president father, are you saying I am just a figure head? I can’t even remember the last time you visited the company, what game are you playing now?’
Otunba break into laughter and took some time to answer his son.
‘You are a prince but I am the king son, you don’t get to wear the crown until I die which will be a very long time. I don’t understand what is getting you so worked up. I am getting bored so I can’t help but play some game as you said. You should do your duty by getting me an heir. Get a woman to marry, you are not getting younger. And stop glaring at me it is rude!’ Otunba snapped.
Johnson tried to calm himself down and gave a mocking laugh “so this is what this is all about? Point of correction father; I have a woman. She means more to me than your entire empire and I will marry her when she is ready. I won’t be pressured. Next time you meddle in the company affairs I will leave you to run it. If you are getting bored go to one of your numerous clubs and talk about old times with your friends” he motioned to the bodyguards to come closer. He bowed to his father and entered promptly with two of his guards.
Otunba tried to control the anger building inside him. He picked up his glass and drank the remaining content at a gulp. “A woman his more precious to the brat than a whole empire? Hmmm?” he muttered under his breath. It is obvious the woman has him under her wraps and he worships her. Otunba knows his only son hate him and he has managed to keep their spats away from the media but he has taken it too far. This time around he is getting more than bored and everything is becoming more interesting