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Our very own Scarlet

I’d just opened the front door to let myself out when I found myself face to face with my friend Sa’adiya.

‘Assalamu alaikum, you are welcome. How come I didn’t hear you driving in?’ I asked, stepping aside to let her into the house.

‘No, I’m not coming in Bint.’ She stated, standing still at the door. ‘I can see that you are on your way out, there’s no need to stop you. I also happen to be in a hurry that’s why I even parked my car outside. I just came in to bring Faraha’s wedding invitation card.’ She added, looking into her handbag to bring out an envelope.

‘At least come in and let’s greet properly. ‘ I answered, collecting the card from her.  ‘It’s not as if I’m going for anything official that would require my keeping to time. As it is, I’m only on my way to the hospital to see my niece, who delivered two days ago. So do come in please.’ I urged, turning back to walk inside the hallway.

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‘And what can I serve you to drink, between Zobo and Kunun Aya?’ I asked, gesturing her towards a chair in the sitting room.

‘Id like some Kunun Aya, thank you.’ she replied.

‘Ok, so Faraha has presented us with a suitor, ma Sha Allah, may Almighty Allah grant them a happy home.’ I prayed bringing the card out of the envelope.

‘Amin ya Rabbil aalamin. We really need that prayer Bint. Faraha’s choice of a spouse has given me more nightmares than anything I’d had to deal with in recent times.’ she disclosed.

‘Nightmares, how?’ I asked, with surprise.

‘Well at first there were three young men. Eligible, educated, unmarried.’ Sa’adiya started.

‘Oh, so she found it difficult to choose one of them.’ I guessed aloud.

‘Not really. She was actually okay with any of them. It was their parents that raised hell over the issue. You see the first guy to come was my brother’s son. While he was showing serious interest and had already started talking marriage, my brother in-law’s son, that is the son of her uncle Habibu also showed up and declared his affection. As if that wasn’t bad enough, my sister’s son came home from his lecturing job in Malaysia to also declare undying love for Faraha and a wish to get married before his holiday was over. In no time at all, all three became aware of the presence of one another in her life.

I called her and said she should choose one of them and let me send the others away before it becomes an issue we couldn’t handle, but Faraha said I should choose for her because she wasn’t in love with any of them, though she likes them all equally since they were well educated, presentable and had good jobs.

While this was going on, the parents heard and all hell was let loose on us. My sister came and said she never thought I’d think twice about letting my daughter marry her son. So she’s amazed that we were taking our time to decide. My brother said his son told him he was here first so he couldn’t understand why we should even consider those who came later. Then my brother-in-law came and said the only reason I was favouring my nephews was because his brother was dead. He claimed that if my husband was alive I wouldn’t think twice before letting his son marry Faraha.’ Sa’adiya concluded, taking another sip of her Kunun Aya juice.

‘Wow, I’d no idea Faraha had become another scarlet.’ I said, jokingly.

‘Another Scarlet?’ What do you mean?’ she asked.

‘I mean she reminds me of Scarlet O’Hara, the heroine of epic novel “Gone with the Wind”. She was so popular with eligible young men that in a gathering of young men and women, the guys would all come and hover over Scarlet. And she never fell for any of them. For her, male attention was something she took for granted, because they followed her wherever she went. The story you told me of your daughter made me remember her, especially the part when you said she wasn’t in love with any of them. That was vintage Scarlet. So how did Faraha manage to choose this one?’ I finally asked.

‘This guy isn’t one of them. He’s a total stranger, a non-relative. When the tension in the family became high, with each parent accusing me of not siding with them, I told Faraha to break up with all three young men and pray for the best. And just a week after, she attended a friend’s wedding and met her older brother. The brother proposed immediately and Faraha came and told me a solution had been found.

She had said yes to the bride’s brother. I insisted on her rejecting him because the man apparently has two wives. But she said he was the solution she prayed for so she was ready to give him a chance. In any case, according to her, her friend has told her that her brother’s older wives live in different houses and Faraha too will have a house to herself. I tried all I could go dissuade her because I felt she was better off with any of her three cousins than settling for this older, married man but Faraha wouldn’t take no for na answer.

I had to give in, wondering all the time whether he had done some spiritual thing to make her choose him. And this is the reason I said to you we need your prayers in the run-up to this wedding. It doesn’t seem natural that a lady who easily turned down three highly eligible young men would prefer an older man with two wives and five children.’ Sa’adiya declared.

‘You are right, it certainly sounds mysterious. But let’s keep praying, like Faraha said, he might be the solution you both prayed for.’ I answered.

 

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