Just as soon as the door clicked shut after A’isha I rounded up on my mother.
“Mum! You had no right! None whatsoever.” I released her and put enough distance between us. I didn’t trust myself not to do anything I’d regret.
“I have every right! You’re my son and I have a say in your life. That girl is not right for you. I told you severally not to marry her but you refused. Alhamdulillah, Allah exposed her, although it took 5 years but…”
“Mum, listening in on our conversation was wrong. Besides whatever it is A’isha and I are facing now, we’ll overcome… together.”
She snorted. “I can and will help you… I’m your mother after all and know what’s best for you. What does she know? Nothing except how to lie and betray her husband and pit him against his mother. Look at what she made you do to me earlier and the way you’re speaking to me now…”
“Mother please…” Just then I was interrupted by the purr of an engine coming from the garage downstairs. I looked out the window just in time to see A’isha’s car preparing to leave the premises. No! A’isha why would you leave when I specifically told you not to?
She didn’t hear me.
“You see I told you. She’s gone to her lover. I’m sure she must have been waiting for this to happen so she’d have an excuse to leave…”
I left Mama standing by the window and raced out of the room and down the stairs, shouting A’isha’s name all the way. I rushed out the front door just in time to see the car’s tail lights disappearing through the gate.
“A’isha! Wait!” I ran towards the gate to no avail. She didn’t hear me. The car didn’t stop but continued its journey down the street. What was A’isha thinking? Going out so late at night, without a word to anyone. Suddenly, an idea struck me. If I go after her now, I’ll still catch her.
Quickly, I sprinted back into the house to fetch my car keys. They weren’t in the usual place on the shelf in the sitting room, so I figured they were upstairs in our room. Taking the steps two at a time, I reached our bedroom in seconds, snatched the car keys from the bedside drawer. My mum was no longer in the room, so I went outside to check. I found her in the second room, where A’isha was supposed to be waiting for me.
Mama was staring into the waste bin and smiling. No doubt happy that A’isha had left. A frisson of anger rippled through me, but I clamped it down. My main priority now was getting A’isha back.
“Mum.” She jumped, then turned to me. The smile disappeared from her face to be replaced by an emotion difficult to name. Guilt? No. Mama would never feel guilty about any of this. I pushed the thought away and continued. “I’m going after A’isha. Don’t wait up.”
Not bothering to wait for a response, I turned to leave. Before I could take another step, Mama was in front of me, blocking my path.
“You’re going nowhere! Do you know what time it is? It’s 2.a.m…”
“I don’t care. Mum, please get out of my way. Every second I spend in this house puts A’isha further out of my reach.”
“Let her go! Good riddance to bad rubbish. Don’t you see that this is what Allah has ordained? I’ll get you a good girl – Mrs. Lanre’s daughter will be a good candidate. You’ll marry her, she’ll give you children…”
I couldn’t take anymore. I raised my hand to push her aside, but a voice inside my head stopped me. She’s your mother, Gaffar.
Seething, I lowered my hand and tried instead to sidestep her. She was on me in an instant.
“Lailai, Never! You’re not going anywhere.” She grabbed my shirt in an iron grip. “What is wrong with you? I’ve been trying to make you see reason, but you insist on being stuck with this girl. Because of her you almost beat me and I didn’t say anything. Now you want to go after her in the middle of the night? I won’t allow it!”
“Mum, A’isha is out there, alone without her phone, purse or any other means of contact. God, I don’t even know where she’s going…!”
“Nor should you care. She left of her own accord, did she not?. She disobeyed you and that’s enough reason to cast her aside!”
“Release me mum, please! I don’t want to be rough with you!”
“You mean more than you already have?” She burst into tears again. “You’ll have to kill me to go down those steps, it’s that simple!”
Frustrated, I tried to free my shirt from her grip but she only tightened it. An undeniable urge to push her out of the way overcame my entire being. It was so tempting that I almost gave in, but the voice in my head wouldn’t relent. Don’t do it, Gaffar. You’ll regret it.
I heaved a sigh, then closed my eyes. Trying to calm my self down. Trying to cool down the boiling larva sizzling through my veins. Trying to stop the tremble in my hands, the pounding of my head. Several deep breaths later, I opened my eyes.
“Be reasonable, please mum. What if something happens to her? Her family will not be pleased.”
“Nothing will happen to her! Besides, I’m more concerned about your well being!”
My phone began to ring right then. It was our neighbour, Mr. Nelson on the line. I rolled my eyes. I’d been afraid something like this would happen. Trying to inject a bit of cheer into my voice, I took the call.
“Hello, Mr. Nelson.”
Mr. Gaffar. I heard raised voices. Have been for a while. Then I saw your wife’s car drive past a few minutes ago. I hope everything’s ok over there?.
“No there’s no problem.” I gave Mama a pointed look, to lower her voice, but she ignored me and kept on wailing.
That noise in the background. Sounds like someone crying. Are you sure everything is fine? Perhaps I should come over or call the…
“No! I mean, no it’s nothing. It’s my mum, she-she fell – nothing serious of course. And – and my wife, she – she had to rush to the pharmacy to get her some medication.”
Okay. If you say so. Don’t hesitate to call if you need any help at all.
“I won’t. Thank you for your concern and I apologise for disturbing your sleep.”
As soon as the call ended, Mama released my shirt. I stared at her in shock. She shrugged.
“You can’t go anywhere now, Gaffar. You’ve just told your neighbour that you have an injured old woman in the house and that your wife is absent as well. Would you want to risk Mr. Nelson see you leave the house? Moreover, A’isha would be long gone by now. I doubt you’d be able to catch up. No sense going on a wild-goose chase.”
I was loath to admit that Mama was right. A’isha would be long gone and Mr. Nelson would no doubt call the authorities if he thought I was leaving my injured mum all alone in the house. He was nosy like that. The last thing I wanted was for all this to blow out of proportion.
What if it has? What if something has already happened to A’isha?
No. I shook my head. I’d have to continue praying that she’d be fine. First thing in the morning I’d start my search, beginning with Hadiza.
Glancing over at my mum and seeing the look of victory in her face was the last straw for me. I couldn’t bear to be in her presence anymore. Slowly, I walked back to our room. Before stepping inside I spoke, without looking back.
“You got what you wanted, mum. I hope you’re satisfied.”
With that, I left her standing there in the hallway, and slammed the door. This time I turned the key in the lock.
Read Chapter 27.
Mama has done something naughty! Can you guess?
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