Aisha had just finished eating dinner of dan wake when Shamsu called and said he was coming over. She wanted to see him but she worried his coming may upset her again with his many concerns, and senseless fears about their future. She loves him so much she believes he doesn’t have enough sense to realize how deep and true her love is for him. He couldn’t see how when he is sad she becomes sad too, and when he is happy she feels happy or feigns happiness so as to keep him happy.
But Shamsu appeared weary of the relationship. Twice he had asked her to break up with him.
“If you feel you can’t continue to be in a relationship with me why don’t you break up with me yourself?” She had asked.
“Because I am in love with you. I can’t bring myself to do it but I know I am not good for you.”
Aisha could not understand the logic. She told Shamsu that much. She added that if truly he loved her, and was worried about not being good enough, he only needs to keep working on himself.
“I don’t need a perfect man,” she said. “I just need one who will never stop trying to keep me safe.”
Shamsu said nothing after that. Only the look on his face told Aisha that he was holding back more than he was telling, and she felt a deep worry in her gut.
Two weeks has passed since. Now Shamsu needs to talk –again!
They were sitting alone in her father’s living room now. Even though the coolness of Kano’s harmattan season was upon them, the atmosphere in the room was well charged so that the couple couldn’t contain the tension.
“My soul feels tired. Why do I have this fear that what you are about to say to me is going to break me?”
Silence followed after that. For a while they remained thus, as if they were both expecting the other to say something. It was Shamsu who spoke, and it wasn’t at all what Aisha was expecting to hear.
“Aisha, what is your take on polygamy?”
She looked at him with her mouth agape. Several thoughts ran through her mind until she found at last the words for him.
“We are not even married yet and you are already thinking of a second wife? Who is the bitch?”
“There is no bitch. Please keep your voice down.”
“Then why are we talking about polygamy?”
Shamsu took a deep breath and nervously shifted closer to the girl. He lowered his voice so that Aisha didn’t hear him the first time he spoke. Or maybe she did but wasn’t sure she heard right.
“What did you just say?”
Shamsu couldn’t bring himself to repeat it. He saw her eyes scintillating with excitement and wished he had not told her. She will leave him. Or, worse, she would expose him.
He looked away now to the TV tuned to MBC Action and after a while he turned to look at her. He saw that she was crying. In a broken voice she asked, “So, you don’t like girls?”
“I like girls,” Shamsu explained. “But I prefer men.”
“How long have you been this way?”
“Since I was a boy. Like twelve.”
“Who made you this way?”
“God, who else?”
“It can’t possibly be so. Do you not worry about the damnation of your soul?”
“God made me this way. He will judge me fairly because he made me this way.”
She opened her mouth to say something but the words won’t come. She wiped her tears and gave him a sad smile.
For a long time nothing more was uttered until, weary of the silence, Shamsu asked, “So what will you do now?”
To Be Continued…