TURMOIL- CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN
TURMOIL- Chapter 27
My mother-in-law stepped inside our room. Her eyes never left mine. The expression on her face was triumphant. ‘I have you exactly where I want you’, it said. Without a doubt, I knew she’d heard the conversation with Gaffar. Only God could save me now.
“Mama”. I breathed.
“Mother!” Gaffar said from beside me . He took a step towards her. “You should’ve knocked. Aisha and I were discussing something extremely important and…”
Mama held up her palm. “I know. I heard every word.” She said, gaze still fixed on mine. Cold, calculating. I wished the ground would open up and swallow me. Suddenly she smiled, a small stretch of her lips that didn’t reach her eyes.
An involuntary shiver travelled down my spine.
Mama nodded, obviously satisfied with my reaction, before turning her attention to Gaffar.
“My son, I told you this girl isn’t good for you. She’s a liar, a thief and a cheap harlot who’d no sooner betray you…”
“Mother.” Gaffar warned. Mama continued totally ignoring him
“… and take everything you own. She’s kuku done it before. Hiding a child from you. Thank God my son is not a fool. Mi bi omo ode. If you hadn’t found out soon enough I’m sure she’d have plotted to kill you so she can elope with her lover…”
“Stop this mum. You’re my mother, but I won’t tolerate you speaking about my wife that way.” Gaffar spoke through clenched teeth.
“Wife?! This one? She’s not your wife any longer. In fact, she’s leaving this house this instant!”
“A’isha is NOT leaving this house. Mum, I think you should leave our room and allow us to work this out on our own.”
Gaffar was breathing hard now. I rarely ever saw Gaffar in a state such as this as he was always careful to control his temper. But now, I wasn’t so sure.
Slowly, I reached out and touched his arm. “Gaffar, please…”
Mama was at my side in an instant. She yanked my arm away from Gaffar’s, then proceeded to pull me towards the wardrobes. “I won’t allow you to cast another spell on my son. Oya, start packing your bags and get out of here. Iwo omo irankiran yi!”
Without thinking, I moved to do her bidding. Mama even helped me by pulling out a box and opening it. “Fill it, fill it, fill it.” She said over and over again. I wiped away the unending tears clouding my vision and began to throw my hijabs, clothes, and shoes into the bag.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Gaffar come towards the both of us. He positioned himself between his mother and me and grabbed his mother’s hand, which was filled with my clothes. Without looking at me, he said.
“A’isha go outside and wait for me in the other room. I’ll have a talk with my mum.”
“Egbami o! Help me!” Mama screamed. She tried to pry her hand from Gaffar’s grip but he wouldn’t budge, “My son wants to beat me because of this useless woman!” She pointed a finger at me.” You see what you’ve done! You’ve turned my son against me. You’ve destroyed the relationship between a mother and her son. Haven’t you caused enough problems and pain in this family?! Please release him from the bondage you’ve put him in.” She finished, bursting into loud tears.
Her words hurt me, but there was an element of truth in them. Gaffar was acting unlike himself, because of me. My actions caused all this. If I didn’t leave now, the ‘drama’ would only escalate and I shuddered to think what Gaffar would do. I certainly didn’t want him doing anything he’d regret later.
“Gaffar, please. Let me go. This is all my fault. We’ll – we’ll work it out after…”
He turned to me then, eyes bloodshot. “I said NO! Drop the bag and clothes and go wait for me in the other room.” When I opened my mouth to protest he shook his head and pointed at the door. “NOW!”
My feet carried me to the door of their own accord. Mama’s taunting words followed me even after I’d closed the door behind me.
“Go! Leave o, ehen. Do not think about coming back. If you do, one of us will go and meet their maker, I promise you!”
As soon as I entered the room adjacent, I slumped into the bed and buried my head into the pillows.
What have I done? The very thing I worked so hard to prevent is already happening and worse, Gaffar is at odds with his mum. I’m a home-wrecker just as she said. A liar and betrayer as well.
The voices of Gaffar and his mother arguing filtered through the walls into the room. I raised my head from the already soaked pillow. This has to stop. I have the power to stop it. In that instant, my path became clear to me. Miraculously, the garment I’d been holding before leaving our room was a hijab. In my haste to leave, I’d neglected to drop it.
I donned the hijab, splashed a little water over my face in the bathroom. I took a pen and paper and left Gaffar a note.
There’s no excuse for my actions. I can only say I’m sorry and hope that you can forgive me. Your mother is right. You deserve better. However, I don’t want you to ever doubt my love for you, Gaffar. I love you and it’s precisely the reason why I have to let you go for now. I’ll be at Papa Baasit’s. Perhaps when this whole fiasco has cooled, we can talk. I promise to tell you everything. I hope we can work this out.
I love you.
As quick as I could, I descended the stairs, snatched my car keys from the shelf in the living room and left the house.