Love is the strangest of emotions. Unlike anger that passes after a short while, love lingers like the August rain: it may start and continue to fall slowly but will persist for a long, sometimes, undesirable of time. And believe it or not, it is true that sometimes we do not choose the people we fall in love with. That was what I tried to make my bitchy friends comprehend when they decided it was their place to loathe the way I had chosen take; to roll their cursed eyes at the choice I had elected to make.
I started liking Baba the day he came home and met Tanimu and I talking away in the compound, under the cool shade of that tree nobody really knows the name but call it fruit.
He really made an effort to look alluring that day, my Tanimu. And perhaps that was what enticed Baba; how Tanimu’s well-washed, well-ironed cap lay proud and firm on his bushy head, and how his dark face contrasted sharply with his white, slim kaftan.
Baba was particular about my education and morality and stuff, and that was why he was averse to the idea of me talking to men outside or inside the house. That was why I was taken aback by his calm for behavior.
“Dan nan,” Baba called as Tanimu approached and squatted before Baba, as was proper.
I didn’t hear the back and forth of the exchange that followed but I could tell by the shy smile on my man’s face that the conversation was good.
Time passed slowly after that; after Baba accepted Tanimu, and mother shrugged off her misgivings.
There was the rush of excited adrenaline that I suffered whenever I hear his deep manly voice greeting mother, or some family member downstairs when he comes to call.
There was girlish laughter that quaked through my lungs whenever he reminded me of how beautiful my eyes were; how pure and milky white, like two full moons.
There were the painful days of seething irritation when I don’t get to see him because he was out of town for some only-God-knows-what reason.
And there was the joyous embarrassment when father called me in front of witnesses and asked if I was interested in becoming Tanimu’s wife because they, Tanimu and his Wali, have brought my bride price.
I posted the story on Snapchat, and the ex decided he wanted me back. At first it felt gratifying until I felt his seriousness grow into desperation. It was like the further I pulled away the more he hurried towards me. He came to our house one evening but this time he lowered the tinted glasses of chic car, and when I won’t come out to see him, he came into the house to see me.
It must have been faith that brought Tanimu to our house at that very moment, and I came down to meet my man. My exploiter was mad beyond reproach. Time seemed to slow down so that I noticed in the eyes of the man who played me something I did not like, something that sent shivers of fear down my spine. It might have been a flash of fiery vexation I saw in his eyes that filled me with premonitions that suggested that the omen was not good. If I had acted upon that feeling perhaps I would have saved Tanimu.