Read Chapter 22 here.
Jamal entered the office of a bespoke men’s tailoring shop.
“Hi, I’m Jamal and I’ve an 11am appointment with Mr. Bediako.”
A door opened and a man stepped out.
“You must be Jamal coming to take your measurements. Hon. Omar called to say I should be expecting you. You are welcome,” Bediako said, shaking hands with Jamal.
“Thank you, sir.”
“Come on in.”
“Hon. Omar tells me you’re going to be his in-law soon. You are one lucky dude.”
“I guess I am. His daughter is a wonderful lady.”
“Ayesha or Nadia?”
“Oh so Hon. Tariq’s girl? Great. She’s one fine woman. Congratulations.”
“Yes, she is. Thanks.”
“Kindly fill out this form for me.”
After he was done with filling in his details, Bediako took Jamal’s measurements. After going over a few details, Jamal thanked Bediako and left the place. He called Ayesha when he settled into his Bolt ride.
“Hey love, left Bediako’s?”
“Yeah. Felt really pampered.”
“Aww…you deserve it, dear.”
“Where are you?”
“With the girls’ squad at the designer’s.”
“I see. Judging from the background noise, I can tell you’re having fun.”
“Oh yes, we are.”
“Can’t wait to see you in a white dress. Is it possible to send me a photo?”
“You’re not to see me in the dress until the day, Jamal. Are you trying to jinx it?”
“Sorry. Call it impatience and curiosity. Please relay my sincere appreciation to your uncle since I can’t reach him directly,” Jamal said.
“Will surely do. Got to go. Talk soon.”
“Love you more, bye.”
“I think you should try this one, dear,” Bibi suggested.
“Yeah, not bad,” Ida seconded.
“I can’t tell how different it is from what I have on. Anyway, please help me out of this, sis,” Ayesha said to Nadia. Nadia hugged her friend from behind and they smiled at each other in the mirror.
“How I wish we were doing this together,” Ayesha said.
“I know but it’s better this way. So I’ll have your full attention for my big day like you’re having mine.”
“That’s true. Love you, sis.”
“Love you more.”
“Um girls, we don’t have all day,” Ida said.
Nadia zipped down Ayesha’s dress.
Tariq and Ida sat together in the kitchen, having a nightcap.
“Where are you coming from, the gym?” Tariq asked.
They stared at each other.
“Seriously Ida, why are you doing this?”
“Why am I doing this? Do you know the last time your best friend touched me?”
“Why don’t you talk to him about it then? You two had no problem talking about things like this.”
“He’s hardly home, T.”
“It’s the MP job. He’s been placed in a committee and you know these committees like to meet a lot.”
“Come on, T; don’t tell me it’s just the committees taking away all his time. Can you honestly look at me and tell me he isn’t still messing around?”
“You know that even if he is, I couldn’t tell you,” Tariq said.
“Yeah, I know. And here I thought you have my back.”
“You know I do, Ida. I love you like a sister and I wouldn’t want you to get hurt. That’s why I’d advise you to break it off with this gym guy.”
“The same way you advise Omar to stop chasing skirts and pay attention to me?”
“Then at least be smart about it. What is it about him that you’ve been going back to him all these years? Are you in love with him or something?”
“Of course not. He’s a cool guy but no deep feelings.”
“You sure? For you to be sleeping with him this long sounds more like a relationship than a fling, Ida.”
“I’m sorry if I’m unable to play the game like you and Omar; who like to sample girls like ice-cream.”
“We don’t do that anymore, Ida.”
“Oh yeah, so you have your own steady side chick entertaining you guys? Who’s Omar’s girl, huh? You know her, don’t you?”
“There isn’t anyone, Ida.”
“Yeah right. Ah, I forgot you’re newly married so you’re still enjoying her. Speaking of which, Bibi is proving to be quite a nuisance, isn’t she?”
“Observant is what I’ll call her.”
“Whatever. So I guess I’ve to change my tactics now,” Ida said and took a sip.
“What about you retire the poor guy? Haven’t you used him enough?”
Ida laughed. “Come to think of it, I have, haven’t I? Maybe you’re right. I should find myself a new boy toy,” Ida sighed.
“Maybe you should concentrate on your husband. I can assure you, Omar is all yours.”
“Really? Did he retire his latest girl or did she retire him?”
“All I can say is, you have nothing to worry about with your husband. End things with the guy and work things out with Omar. Everything will be fine,” Tariq assured Ida.
“If you say so.”
Bibi walked in.
“Hey. What a surprise to see you at this time, Ida.”
“Hi. Yeah, just decided to pass by after my time at the gym. Where are you coming from? You look nice,” Ida said.
“Thanks. Coming from a dinner event. Unfortunately, my dear husband was unable to come with me,” Bibi pouted. Tariq drew her closer to him and wrapped his arm around her waist.
“I’m sorry; had important work to see to.”
“Riq tells me you came over to the gym recently,” Ida said with a smile. Bibi glanced at Tariq.
“Oh yeah, but I didn’t stay for long.”
“Oh you should have. It’s a really good place. Let me know next time you plan to pass by. Will introduce you to the lead trainer. He’s my friend.”
“I see. Will keep that in mind.”
Ida emptied her cup and got up.
“Thanks for having me, Riq. Will be on my way now.”
“Thanks for passing by. Always appreciate your company,” Tariq said as he hugged Ida.
“Goodnight, T. Goodnight, Bibi.”
“Goodnight, Ida. My regards to Omar.”
“Will tell him.”
“Will see you to your car,” Tariq offered. They went outside. Tariq returned a minute later.
“You told her about seeing me her with the trainer at the gym?” Bibi asked.
“Of course not. What am I, a kid? I could never tell on you. We are a team, remember?” Tariq said, hugging his wife.
“Why did she come over at such a late time?”
“She usually does after working out. We just sit and talk like the old friends that we are.”
“And does Omar know of this routine?”
“He gets to…on a need-to-know basis. Come on, let’s go to bed.”
“This is to all the lovely ladies and gentlemen who happen to be the freshest graduates in town,” the DJ said. The crowd cheered, Ayesha and Nadia among them. The Sandbox Beach Club was filled with people having fun, enjoying lots of drinks and food.
“We made it, girl!”
“Yes, we did!” They screamed in delight and continued dancing. Ayesha noticed a guy checking Nadia out. She whispered into Nadia’s ear and Nadia turned to look in the guy’s direction. He raised his glass and winked at her.
“Don’t let cupid waste his arrow tonight. Go for it,” Ayesha urged her.
“Don’t take your eyes off me.”
“I won’t!” Ayesha said as Nadia made her way towards the guy.
They both sighed when they sat in the car hours later.
“Wow! That was fun. Are you sure you’re okay to drive?” Nadia asked.
“Oh yeah. Drank a lot of water in the last hour,” Ayesha said, pushing the button to start the engine. She froze.
“My ring? I’m not wearing it.”
“Were you wearing it when we arrived?”
“I think so. I wear it all the time.”
“Maybe you took it off.”
“I don’t think so…oh gosh, I hope I didn’t misplace it,” Ayesha said, looking around anxiously.
“I don’t think you did. It perhaps fell in the car. Or should we go back inside and check?”
“Check where? The whole place? Oh no, how could I be so careless?”
“Calm down, Ayesha. We’ll find it. If push comes to shove, we could always buy a replacement. I have a photo of the ring on my phone,” Nadia said. Ayesha gave her a puzzled look.
“Please tell me it’s the booze talking.”
Nadia chuckled. “Maybe, maybe not. I don’t think we are in the right state of mind to be looking for a ring right now. I’m missing my bed.”
“You’re not helping,” Ayesha said, reaching out to open the glove compartment. Her purse was in it. She took it out and opened it. She sighed in relief.
“You found it?”
“Yeah,” Ayesha said, putting it on. She put the purse back into the compartment and shut it. She strapped in her seat belt. Nadia did same.
“Please don’t speed.”
“Wasn’t planning to.”
Tariq and Omar were having drinks and sharing laughs on the porch when Ayesha joined them.
“Hello, good evening Honorables,” she greeted as she sat.
“Hi sweetheart. What’s up? How are preparations going?” Tariq asked.
“Really well, I must say. Thanks to Auntie Ida, Bibi and Nadia all chipping in. And thanks to you two as well. Your support for Jamal has been really great. Thank you.”
“Anything for our baby girl,” Omar said.
“One thing though…Jamal mentioned you offered him a job at your agency?”
“Yeah, I did. I figured he’d need a stable job so you two can lead comfortable lives but he turned it down. Saying something along the lines of, “I want to be my own man and carve my own path.” Young men of today…full of ego and empty of vision.”
“I know you meant well, Uncle Omar and I appreciate your good intentions but try to understand him as well. He is ambitious and likes to achieve things on his terms. First, offering to sponsor the wedding and then offering a job in your company might seem a little too much controlling to him hence the refusal. So please simmer down on the generous offers before you scare him off,” Ayesha said.
Tariq and Omar shared a look.
“If you say so. What about you though? After school, what would you like to do? Manage your father’s business, work at mine or set up your own?” Omar asked.
“Well, a combination of all three. Perhaps work at your agency for a while, then at dad’s and finally run my own startup. Let’s see. For now, I’d rather concentrate on graduating well.”
“Good. Might have a surprise for you if you do,” Tariq said.
“Yes, daddy. Okay, thanks for your time and enjoy your catching up time. Will join the ladies inside,” Ayesha said, getting up.
“Sure. How much longer will dinner take by the way?”
“Not much longer. It should be ready in a few minutes. Going to set the table.”
“Okay. We are patiently waiting.”
Nadia killed the engine of her car inside her parents’ compound.
“Please don’t tell me you’ve planned a surprise bachelorette party for me, Nadia.”
“And if I have?”
They got out of the car.
“I guess I’d have to endure it. But I wish you rather didn’t. I just want to have a quiet evening with you and…”
Nadia opened the door and gave way for Ayesha to enter. Ayesha gasped as she looked around the living room. Nadia closed the door behind her. Ayesha turned to look at her.
“What’s going on here?”
“I knew you didn’t want a party with loud friends but an intimate moment so we thought, why not have a cozy night together?”
“Yes, we,” Ida said, coming into the room with Bibi.
“How about we have a girls’ sleepover while we talk all things marriage?”
“Hmm…I think I could use all the advice I could get since Jamal and I couldn’t make it for all the counselling sessions scheduled,” Ayesha said.
“Great, why don’t you two get robed up while we fix the nightcaps?”
“Sure. Thanks, Auntie Ida and Bibi. I really appreciate it.”
“Hurry up and change. Too early for us to get all emotional.”
Ten minutes later, all four ladies sat on blankets on the floor, holding mugs.
“So what would be your number one advice for all-time marriage?”
“Don’t go in with high expectations, honey. Having high expectations is recipe for disappointment and heartache. Boyfriend Jamal and husband Jamal will not be the same person so get ready for some surprises,” Ida said.
“Tell me about it,” Bibi said.
“Any surprises from Uncle T?” Nadia asked.
“Yeah, some. But more pleasant ones than otherwise. Tariq is great but he’s still a man.”
“Of course. Anything you’d like to share, Bibi?” Ayesha asked.
“Marriage is work, dear. From the day you say ‘I do’ till death do you part, you work at it every day. Some days are easier and better than others but you keep at it. There are no leaves of absence in it. You work at it every day…through the good and bad.”
“Have you been married before? You sound more experienced than your short stint with my dad,” Ayesha said.
Bibi smiled. “It’s a long story.”
Ayesha and Nadia shared a curious look.
(c) Josephine Amoako 2021
Read Chapter 24 here.