My aunt pretended as if nothing happened and was the first to welcome my husband with a cheerful smile on her face.
“oh! My in-law you’re welcome” Aunt said cheerfully but Ahmad ignored her and walked to the bedroom. I knew what it means and I hurriedly followed him. I met him already seated on the bed tapping his foot on the floor, an action he does when he’s extremely angry. I sat beside him and whispered my greetings .
“Asalam Alaykum Warahmotullah Wabarakatuh. You’re welcome, how was your trip, hope it wasn’t stressful?” I asked but he ignored me. “Honey I am greeting you” I asked but instead of responding he threw a question at me.
“Has it degenerated to you inviting your family member to cause a chaos in my house?”
“It’s not like that………….” I tried to explain but he interrupted me.
“How is it? I heard everything. Anike this is not you, don’t be inhumane. The other day she told me Mummy sent her guest away because she didn’t greet you. I don’t understand you any longer, you’re beginning to listen to negative influence and it’s not good for you” He said bluntly.
“Subhanallah! You mean Raheemah actually told you that Mama sent her guest away because she didn’t greet me?” I asked not able to hide my surprise and shock
“Yes she did, or is the story different?” He asked indifferently
“You don’t need to ask me since you already believed what she told you.” I said with teary eyes and walked out to go meet my aunt but before I got to the living room, she was already gone. I called her on phone and she was begging me to forgive her should her action have caused me undeserved agony. I told her she shouldn’t worry that we’ve resolved the matter amicably. We ended the call and all I could do was cry. Resolved amicably my foot, I am sadly being given what I do not bargained for. Was Raheemah not the same person that was begging me not to tell hubby what transpired that day? Because she knew I won’t talk about it, she now went behind my back to snitch on me. She double crossed and back stabbed me and the most painful part is that Ahmad believed her and used her words against me.
I locked myself in my room and cried very bitterly. It wasn’t my turn and so he didn’t even know I was crying blood. I found it very difficult to come to terms with Raheemah’s behavior. All I’ve been to her was a good co-wife, stabbing me at the back was the least I expected from her. God knows what other lies she might have cooked for him about what happened today. I cried myself to sleep and waking up the following morning which was a Sunday, I decided to pay her back in her own coin. I resolved to be so mean, she wouldn’t be able to stand it. If all she could repay me for my goodness is harming and defaming my person so that I’ll lose my husband’s love, then I’m so ready for her. After the morning Sallah, I entered the kitchen to make breakfast. I made for my kids,hubby and myself alone. I took it to my room and called my kids into the room. I put hubby’s food in the warmer after which I served and myself and my kids ate. I asked them to return to their room since it was a Madrasah free day.
Moments later, hubby entered my room and asked if I had no intention of cooking that morning and my reply was firm and cold.
“I have cooked, this is yours” I replied handing him the warmer in which I put his food.
“What do you mean by that, aren’t you supposed to cook for the whole house?”
“Really? The last time I checked I am only obliged to cook for my husband and kids. Any other is an excess luggage and I’ve decided to do away with excess luggage in my life. It’s giving me a whole lot of headache” I replied him coldly.
“I know you won’t do that, come on get up. Members of your household are hungry” He said with humour but I wasn’t in for any jokes. He won’t sweet talk me into going back on my decision.
“I have already made food for my hungry household members that I am obliged to, whoever remains should get into the kitchen and help herself. I am no slave to anyone. There’re no longer fools in Idanre, all the fools in Idanre are now wise.” I said unperturbed.
“Anike! Are you for real, is this really coming from you?” He asked in amazement.
“Anike o go, Anike is not a fool, she’s just an obedient wife who’s seeking Allah’s pleasure and that of her husband. Let me ask you a question my dear husband, I’m I obliged to cook for my co-wife, I mean is it part of my duty as your wife to cook for your other wife? Please I need a sincere answer.” I asked looking at him eye ball to eye ball.
“Actually, there’s no rule binding you to cook for her, but you know she’s too weak to cook in her condition plus she can’t eat the food she made herself. This you’ve been doing before without complain, why the sudden change of mind” He asked with a serious look on his face.
“Because I’m done being nice to a venom who only know how to stab me at the back. I’m done being nice to a betrayer, who has betrayed my trust in her. I’m done being nice to a green snake who only smile at you in your presence but spit venom in your absence. All I’ve been to her is a good co-wife but I think she wants war, and I’ll give her just that” I said with excruciating pains.
“You’re still speaking in parables, how did she stab you at the back. Take me out of this misery”
“My body is tired and my heart is weak, you guys are taking me for a ride. Instead of being appreciated, what did I get in return? A slap on the face. When you called on Friday didn’t I tell you I was not feeling alright?. When you came back yesterday you were too blinded by anger to ask how I was feeling. I came close to my mortality yesterday, if not for my aunt quick intervention, I would have died of hunger because I couldn’t even get up to do anything. She came and made something for me to eat, she was happy that I was able to finish it and hurried to the kitchen to get the remaining portion, she was surprised when she met Raheemah eating it and was only scolding her for being rude when you came in.” I explained.
“You wouldn’t blame me now, I heard her saying she would beat her and I would not be able to recognize her when I returns, I was furious because I thought she’s got some nerves, saying she would beat up my wife in my house. I’m sorry for misunderstanding the whole scenario. How are you feeling now, do you want me to do anything for you, do you need my assistance with anything?” He went on and on trying to buy my forgiveness.
“Do you know what I’ll like you to do for me?” I asked with my gaze fixed on him.
“What is that my sweetheart?”
“Please anytime Raheemah say anything about me to you, I am begging you always ask me first before you start judging me, you accused me of being inhuman yesterday simply because she told you Mama sent her friend away because she didn’t greet me. God knows that was not what happened, She lied, I wasn’t even home when her friend came. I won’t tell you the detail because I already promised her that I won’t tell you, but believe me, whatever she might told you is all lie”
“How would I have known that she was lying. She made it so real that it’s difficult for a sane person to doubt her.”
“How would you have known that she was lying? Of course by asking me to say my own side of the story but instead of you to do that, you believed her tale hook line and sinker. What did Allah say about that in Suratul Hujuraat verse 6:( In jaakum faasikum binabain………………). ‘Look carefully into a report, lest you harm a people in ignorance, then be sorry for what you have done’. That would have solved the problem” I explained.
“You can’t harm a wife who’s versed with the word of Allah, She’ll always hold you responsible for your action. I’m so sorry, I know I’ve wronged you, forgive me ehn. Anike mi, eleyinju ege. I’ll be more careful next time. I also need your prayers so as not to go astray”
“Apology accepted, but I’m not cooking for her again”
“I know you’re still angry, I’ll excuse you for today and for the next three days. You need a break I understand, more so because of your health but saying you won’t do it again is strictly disallowed.”
“I am not joking at all, I mean exactly what I have said, I’m not cooking for her again. Let her be taking plate to Iya Bola down the street” I said undaunted while hubby walked out to avoid further argument.
I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing. Even my own heart was not comfortable with that decision. One part of my mind was telling me to hang on and exercise a little more patience. It may be difficult but the reward is undeniable. Another part of my mind was telling me to go with my decision and refuse being a slave. I laid down on my bed, I could hear the sound of cooking coming from the kitchen. That must be Ahmad cooking for his wife, i was engulfed by guilt but then I quickly discarded the feeling of guilt. After all he put her in the family way and not me.
All of a sudden, I remembered there was a big Sister down the street who not only has one co-wife but three of them, and the four wives all live under a roof. I decided to go meet her so she can share her experience in handling issues with me. I got dressed and told hubby I wanted to get something down the street. I narrated my ordeal to her while she listened with rapt attention. She started by calling me a fool and my mouth went agape.
“I’m sorry to call you a fool but that’s exactly what you are. Have you ever heard of Rabatul-bayt” She asked
“Yes I have, every wife is a Rabatul-bayt.” I replied with confusion
“That is where you got it wrong. Not every wife is Rabatul-bayt. Only the first wife has that title. You are the only Queen in your husband’s life and house regardless of whether he has other wives or not. Take a proper look at me. I rule this household, I’m in charge. My mates do the cooking while I am the only person who has the right to serve his food. I decides whose turn it would be to have my husband. When any of my mates offends me which she dares not, my husband listen to whatever I tell him and that mate is doomed. You see my dear I’m in charge, they all lick the very ground I walk on. None of them dare challenge my authority in this house. Stand up now and go take control of your house, be a Queen with a domineering feature. Most of these children our husbands are marrying always come with cruel intention. If you’re not so tight in your game, they will override you. Did I hear you say you cook for your mate, what a pity. As a matter of fact, it’s a man who is rich that decides to be polygamous, so help him spend his money. Order food from big restaurants like Tantalizers, Mr Bigs and co. She should be the one cooking your meal and worshipping you and not the other way round. Get up now and go rule your world” She said with a final note and I got up to leave.
Many thoughts ran through my poor head. This is obviously a misleading advise which I must dump in the waste bin. I don’t pray to be that kind of a first wife. Why did I even go to her in the first place. These big Ummus you see around and thinks they are saint and role model, they are nothing but a bad example. I was still walking home in my thoughts when I heard someone called “Umm Aisha” from behind. I looked back and the person was running towards me. I paused to wait, she caught up with me and was panting heavily. She was one of the co-wives of the woman I just left her place.
“I have been calling you since you left our house” She said panting.
“Oh I didn’t hear you” I replied.
“I heard everything ‘Our mother’ told you, please don’t listen to her. Our hearts are not pleased with her because she’s denying us our rights. She has become a god whom we all worship and I know Allah is not pleased with a wrong doer. Please don’t act on her advise, go back home and fix the loopholes with love and compassion. It’s better to be a Queen in paradise than be a tyrant Queen on earth and end up in the pit of hellfire.” Look my sister I have to hurry back. She said and left me standing in awe. This is serious, you can’t use another person’s home as a yardstick for yours, you may lose it completely.
I continued my walk home with a million thoughts on my head when I suddenly remembered that the following day is Monday. Due to my ill health I wasn’t able to iron the children’s uniform. Their Homework is still there. I remembered Abdurahmon told me on Friday that he was given an assignment to mould a clay object. From where will I start all these now, where will I go in search of clay this late evening. The thought itself gives me migraine.
Upon stepping into the house, Abdurahmon came to welcome me with stories of how small mummy went to the next street to fetch clay and moulded a clay pot for him. He was so excited and told me how he had waited all day for me to return. He had to go meet small mummy for assistance and they went to fetch the clay together. He told me how they were denied entry into the compound but small mummy begged and told them that her son needed it for school assignment. His face was lit as he narrated the story. I asked him if he had said thanks to small mummy to which he answered in the affirmative. I got into my room to pick the uniform for ironing but to my surprise they were already neatly ironed. I called Aisha to ask her if it was daddy that ironed the Uniform but she replied it was small mummy.
“Wow!!! Small mummy is really our hero for today o and she deserves some accolade.” I said to Aisha and she smiled. She has really relieved me of a burden and I am so glad. It’s true that a bad child also has his good side, and whoever hurt you today may please you tomorrow so it’s not really good to say NEVER.