Who Knows? A Pig Might Fly!
“Mention the name of Allah and eat of the dish what is nearer to you!” Sulaiman cautioned.
Toohir raised his gaze at him from his meal, “are you talking to me or reciting a verse?”
“I’m talking to you. That was The Prophet’s instruction to his stepson who was eating from all sides of the dish just as you’re doing now.”
“But I’m eating alone. It’s my food. I can eat anyhow I like.”
“What if someone decides to join you?”
“No one would join me, you’re fasting man!” He simpered, “don’t you think you should focus more on your love pursuit? You’re already losing man!”
Suleiman reclined on the chair. Maybe he was wrong, he had lost already! Just this morning, on his way to the lecture room, he had met Abdulwaris who engaged him in a confabulation about the girls. He expressed to him how seriously he would want Maymunah as his wife while oblivious to the fact that Sulaiman was among his competitors. Abdulwaris had sought Suleiman’s help to make his dream a reality, even if it was just by putting in some good words about him. The enthusiasm in his voice, the ardour in his demeanour, the intensity of his emotion – all had made him stood awe and submitted stupidly to his brother’s desideration, momentarily unmindful of his feeling and desire about the girl. On relating the occurrence to his friend when he got to the class, he had made a big jest of his stupidity.
“You’re disappointing me, man! How could you just stand before him nodding your head like agama lizard to his importunity when this girl is also who you desire.”
“What should I have said? I was carried away by how serious he looked. If I had said anything, it would hurt him.”
All Toohir could give as a response was a hiss which sounded across the class, unaware of the arrival of the ICT lecturer. The whole class had laughed and was later silenced by the lecturer’s impromptu continuous assessment. It was a 3 unit course, hence all contention was put aside until now when he followed his friend to the school restaurant to eat lunch.
“Maybe Abdulwaris would be better for her. You know he is older and more mature, also religious…”
“What are you trying to say? Are you giving up even without trying? Do you think Abdulwaris is the only one proposing to her right now? There are always competitors when it comes to fine girls on this campus because we have very few of them, which is why he wants your help to take a step ahead of others. Why can’t you forward your own application and allow the girl to decide? Does Islam forbid that?”
He shook his head, “only if she has accepted someone who’s a Muslim, then it would be forbidden for me to tender my proposal.”
“Then, tender yours and stop being a baby boy!” He grunted while munching a piece of meat in his mouth.
A set of guys arrived and among them was Yusuf who at first ignored them to greet the boys dining on a table behind them. The scene could only be watched by Toohir, though with half attention, as Sulaiman had his back on them. The table consisted of Kaka, an unknown girl in a red short dress and some other two infamous guys on the campus. Yusuf was seen whispering to one of them in the ears when afterwards, cash was exchanged.
“Hi, guys?” He turned to Sulaiman’s table and had a seat on a chair between them.
“Hi!” Replied Toohir.
“As-salaamu’alykum,” Sulaiman responded with the best of greetings.
He replied and immediately picked up a spoon from the cutlery tray, wanted to dig into Toohir’s food who without hesitation held his hand. The semester was about to end and these current days were the days known as the-end-days among the students when almost everyone was always low on cash. He hadn’t eaten anything since morning and he was already famished, he could eat a horse.
“If you know how many grains of rice has dropped from his mouth into that food, you wouldn’t even bother to share his meal.” Warned Sulaiman.
Toohir still holding his hand, Yusuf said, “Common man! Be your brother’s keeper. I still don’t mind because my stomach worms are already digging into my intestines. The food for two persons is sufficient for three, and the food of three persons is sufficient for four persons, said The Best of Mankind. So I say a meal for one is enough for two. Be generous akhy.”
“I think that should be for stranded people. You have money to buy yours, don’t you?” He gently dropped his hand.
Not that Toohir wasn’t willing to share his meal, he was just curious about what went on earlier that warranted the exchange of money and Yusuf also wasn’t willing to reveal his little secret so he said,
“The money with me has another purpose to serve. It seems I’ll have to wait till I get home, I still have some garri left. I’ll have to soak garri then.” He rubbed his growling stomach and sighed, trying to sound pathetic.
“What about your girlfriend? She isn’t cooking?”
“We broke up a few days ago. The reason why this semester’s end-days is miserable for me.”
“A lot! She wants marriage which a broke man like me can not afford now and she caught me cheating on her again.”
“Then go to your new girlfriend for the next meal. You know how we do this man!”
Sulaiman interjected, showing a lot of interest, ” what do you do? You date girls for meals?”
“Not really but you can also say that’s how it is. If you don’t want to die of hunger on campus, the best way is to show love to a good girl with a good cash flow. That way, you get good food, good sex and you even get your clothes washed! Almost for free, depends on how good you are at the game though. But if you’re rich enough to spend on the ones with low cash, it’s not bad either, the return is far better than your expenses.” Yusuf expounded and shrugged.
“And the experts catch them young.” Toohir added, “they target the innocent freshmeats who are still naive about the whole campus system, especially the get-inside girls who used to have their life monitored by their guardians. They used to have less social life and freedom until they get admitted to the higher institution. This opportunity gives them a lot of inexperienced freedom and easily, they fall for the campus men’s guile! Also, if you could get one to live-in as a couple with you. Congratulation! You just got married on credit!”
They both laughed.
“Poor girls!” Yusuf exclaimed. “Especially if you’re brainy or have a fine look or possess both like me,” he smirked, placing his face in-between his thumb and index finger, “they come looking for you even without an invitation.”
“Why do you think they organize tutorials for the freshmen? Not solely for God’s sake but to also showcase their brain.”
Yusuf laughed, “honestly, I can’t talk for others, I do have the intention to help. But that’s how exactly I got this my new girl. Although she’s a broke type, I can’t get much from her and I do not have much to give either. It makes me miss Sofiyah. Man! She’s a good girl, a great cook, independent and would give anything to satisfy me in bed. She would often tell me how she didn’t need my money because she knew I’m still a student but did want my love only all for herself. Poor girl, I can’t give her what she wants. Not even in 5 years to come.”
“Hmm!” Sighed Sulaiman, “I don’t know how you could feel proud spouting this. The girl was used by you. You robbed her of her money, dignity and time. What if she was your sister or daughter?”
“Drop that akhy! I robbed her of no dignity because she wasn’t a virgin when I met her. And time? We both wasted each other’s time. She can calculate all she spent, I’ll reimburse her in the future in’sha’Allah! Thank God, I have no sister and I don’t pray to have any daughter. So, do not curse me.”
“That isn’t a curse bro. He only asked a question. As for me, I won’t have wanted such for my only sister, the only girl in my family. Nor for my daughter too. I can protect them with all I possess!”
“Ummy always tell me…” he leaned forward, resting his arms on the table, “…that a woman’s wealth is for herself alone and if I want to be the man always, I should never debase myself to covet her properties and I’ve been building my life upon that. Not because I have the privilege. I grabbed, made use of the privilege I have and created more for myself. I don’t want to be the irresponsible man who has to depend on his woman for any of his responsibility to get done in the house because those men also started like this!”
“That’s a point you made there akhy and it has always been my own goal too. Not to be irresponsible like my pa.”
“Like my father too.” Toohir contributed, “he’s only good at spending on things that would show him off. Mum is even responsible for our school fees. Imagine that!”
“If you ask every student on this campus, 50% are sponsored by their mother while 20% are sponsoring themselves. I don’t know why fathers choose to be irresponsible but I never want to join such league because I know what it takes the vulnerable vessels to try to be the man in the house… But this is just a youth game brother. Let’s enjoy life a little before we really get serious.” Yusuf winked, “I’m dying of hunger here, remember?”
“Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said ‘the believer regards his sin as if he were sitting beneath a mountain, which he fears may fall on him. Whereas the sinner regards his sin as if a fly lands on his nose, and he swipes it away.’ A Muslim should be cautious of his daily life because he never knows when it’ll end akhy. Today is for the preparation of tomorrow. Youth is the foundation of old age and whatever you sow is what you reap. Reflect brother, you being responsible starts from now… Call for a plate, I’ll pay.”
“I’ll always have that in mind my brother, thanks.”
“Oh, man! You have to pay for mine too…”
Sulaiman glanced at him, he smiled and relaxed his back again, watching them savouring their meals as Toohir had ordered for another plate. Then he mused – his father also wasn’t that responsible, although always covered by his mother who would fulfil all his responsibilities in his name. It took him to become an adult before realizing that his father had stopped paying his school fees since he was in primary school. Being his father’s youngest and favourite wife, other wives would think his mother was the one in control of his father’s wealth, not knowing the entire family had often spent from his mother’s wealth indirectly. She was deaf and dumb, she was righteous and believed in the power of recompense which sadaqah could bring forth, so she wouldn’t complain. Even if she wanted to, she just wouldn’t be heard.
A conversation heard behind him brought his wandering mind back which made him turned his head to look at the group of Kaka and his friends. They were discussing an imaginary football match;
“Any match on your stadium recently?” Asked the first guy who was in the middle of eating.
The second guy replied while Kaka beamed, “yes but by Kaka’s new team.” He winked.
“Oooosheh! Kaka Baba mi (Kaka my guy).” He raised his hands in excitement and then folded them on his chest in a thuggery manner, “I told you the Maracana is so accommodating. You don feel am too? Give us the gist Baba. How did the jersey look, how was the captain and how did the match go?”
“The match was supposed to take place last weekend but the rain fell heavily, the field was slippery, so it was cancelled…”
“But there was no rain last weekend.” The girl among them interjected, confused.
Kaka laughed, “don’t mind us, babe. Continue with your food. We’re talking about an international match, not local match.”
He continued enthusiastically, “so it was rescheduled to yesterday. It was amazing but still can’t be compared to my old team. Which is why I would always cherish my old team no matter what. The jersey was white as usual. All players were sturdy. During the first half, as my guy dey come with ball and got intercepted by the C Ronaldo…”
Sulaiman shook his head while Toohir and Yusuf made a soft laugh. Who would tell the girl that her new boyfriend was narrating his sexual adventure with her to his friends? The field they were referring to was his friend’s bed, the rain that caused the wet field last weekend was her monthly period, the jersey was her underwears and the players were the parts of her body. While his old team was probably Mar’yam…
The girl stared at them amazingly, “only if men could take their girlfriends serious as they take football, relationships would have been better… But Ola, when did you watch football yesterday? We were together almost throughout…”
“We aren’t in the dark ages babe. I can watch it anytime on the internet.” He winked at her and she beamed.
Now, the duo let out the laughter they were holding. Girls easily fall for deception…
While they were preparing to leave the restaurant, the guy who had exchanged money with Yusuf approached and secretly gave him a small white envelope as they pretended to exchange shoulder hugs, but the envelope could still be seen by his friends who raised questioning looks. Caught, he quickly said his goodbye, took his bag and left hurriedly.
The question of what could be the transaction between Yusuf and the guy was raised while on their way home but none of them could give a definite answer. To avoid suspicion, it was immediately dismissed.
As they approached the gate, they spotted two latest model luxurious cars – a black Lexus LX 570 and a red Toyota Land cruiser Prado – parked in front of their gate and just as they were about to enter the gate, the Toyota Venza that was seen by Toohir yesterday came up. A man alighted from it and rushed towards the Lexus car. He stood obsequiously by the car window which was wound down and they could see a man in her 50s listening calmly to him. By this time, a bunch of students and passersby had stood around to understand what was going on. Sulaiman and Toohir hurried inside to check on their neighbours. Mutmainah who had been standing by their apartment’s door smiled as she saw them approaching. They exchanged tasleem and Toohir asked her about what was happening.
“Just a small family drama which my friend doesn’t like.” She shrugged, “it will soon be over, don’t worry.”
“Hope she’s fine?” Concerned Sulaiman asked.
She raised an eyebrow at his concern but ignored, “Yeap! She is. She’s inside with her aunt who has been trying to convince her to step out of her apartment and give her father the requested audience in his car or allow the man to come inside but my friend is too embarrassed and afraid to do any.”
“Why is she embarrassed?” Asked Toohir, “if my father was to come here with a Lexus and a Toyota Prado, I would carry myself with pride, man!”
“Not my friend! Especially when her father was the former minister of power of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. She wants no one to know that, especially in this school.”
“Maa’sha’Allah!” Sulaiman muttered.
“Wow! I can’t believe my ears.” Exclaimed Toohir.
“I’m only telling you because you’re good neighbours to us and you are good Muslims. Her father is so many things in this our dear country that I can’t reveal now. We supposed not to be here, especially she. The man got to find out where we finally are because of her sickness. He had thought we were with her aunt in Lagos. The doctor we visited yesterday blew the whistle.”
Just as she ended her words, Sulaiman’s mother called via Google duo. He had to pick it while he also wanted to continue listening to Mutmainah. But he couldn’t quit or ignore his mother’s call, it was never in his habit as a son who knew his Jannah lied at his mother’s feet. So he excused himself and picked the call. He signed and told her that he would call back because he needed an urgent matter to address with his neighbour. Quickly, his witty mother guessed the neighbour he mentioned would be the Maymunah he told her about. He blushed and ended the call, promising to give her the latest gist.
While he was on call, Maymunah was finally out with her aunt. The aunt who was also in a full hijab gave Mutmainah a sisterly hug and Toohir said tasleem to her which she replied.
“You need to talk to your friend more often dear. You are to guide each other. Your inseparableness should lead you to Jannah and not hellfire. Even though the man hasn’t done right by her in a while, he did it right this time by coming all the way here…”
“Uninformed and uninvited!” Maymunah interrupted.
“Will you keep quiet and allow me to talk? I don’t know why he needed to hear your permission before coming inside. Now he has left angrily. So you’re happy now!…”
Sulaiman joined them after ending his call, standing by his friend behind the rail.
She continued, “Had I seen these men around then, I would have asked them to bundle you out into his car for me.”
She smiled, “you wouldn’t have done that, mum. I trust you.”
“I would! So do not mummy me.” She turned to Sulaiman and his friend, “are these your neighbours you talked about?”
“Yes ma,” Mutmainah answered.
“Subhanallah Mutmainah! You’ve told her about them too. What else haven’t you told her?” She asked lightly.
“You make it sound as if I’ve gossiped.”
“I’m your guardian presently so I have the right to know I haven’t supported you to go astray. If you don’t want me to be aware of anything, then return to your father and his family.”
“That’s too harsh, mum.” She moved closer to her and held her arm, leaning on her shoulder. “I was only joking.”
Looking at them standing side by side now, Sulaiman could see the striking resemblance between them and he wondered what their relationship could be.
“Don’t mind them, brothers. Thanks for taking good care of my daughters. Jazaakumullah khairan… Please, help me look out for them more. They are completely innocent teenagers and I do fear for them coming here because I know what campus men are capable of. But a lion can’t keep her cubs forever especially after she has taught them how to survive in the outside world. I can see Islam in you as Mutmainah said. So please, help them against these hungry wolves and do not be the wolves either. I’m begging.”
“Aunty!” They both called.
“That’s embarrassing.” Said Maymunah.
Sulaiman only grinned while Toohir replied, “don’t worry ma’am. We promise you that they are in good hands.”
“That’s good to hear. Now I’ll take my leave… As-salaamu’alykum warahmatullah wabarakaatuhu.”
The woman left, escorted by the two girls to her car.
“Wow! She bought the Land cruiser. This girl is a big fish…” Toohir was amazed, “they’re retuning…”
They returned and met Toohir and Sulaiman waiting for them.
“Please don’t mind what my aunt said. We can take good care of ourselves.” Maymunah said, “we’ve always been. We aren’t as vulnerable as she thinks we are.”
“I understand that she’s only looking out for you. You’re lucky to have her.” This time, Sulaiman responded and mentally congratulated himself for being able to.
They both smiled.
“Thanks, brother,” Mutmainah said.
Toohir pinched him and he silently gritted his teeth.
“I saw you signing on the phone earlier. I didn’t know you could sign. I have an older brother who can’t hear or speak so I know how to sign too.”
“Oh, Ibrahim! I’ve missed his troubles.” Cried Maymunah.
“That’s my mother I was talking to. She’s deaf-mute too.”
“Oh Maa’sha’Allah! Hope she’s doing fine?” She sincerely queried.
“Yes, she’s fine. An ever happy woman who doesn’t even show it whenever she’s devastated. She’s a strong woman and a very friendly and cheerful one.”
“Wow! That’s my brother you’re talking about. I will be happy to meet her.”
They stood there beaming as awkward silent moment crept in. Toohir excused himself as he felt his backpack weighing on his shoulder – he collected his friend’s backpack too.
“Why aren’t you participating in taking the tutorial anymore? Our class has missed you.” Mutmainah ended the silence.
“I was only invited to take a few lessons and I’m done with it.”
“Everyone in the class does talk about how elucidatory your lessons were. Barakallahu feekhi.”
He replied, “wa feeki barakallah. Thanks, sis.”
“I hope you can help us too if we ever have any issue with any of our courses.” Maymunah chipped in, “and please, can I ask a question?”
He confidently asked her to go ahead thinking it would be academics.
“Can you please tell me what you know about these two men, Ameer and Abdulwaris? I can see you are kind of close to them and I believe brothers should know about each other. How religious are they and who has the best of character between them?”
“Maymunah!” Called her friend, communicating to her with the eyes.
“We’ll talk about that later bestie. I’m just curious so I need to know.”
Mutmainah folded her arms and watched while leaning against the wall. Sulaiman, thinking about the reason behind the questions turned into a deer in the headlight. Suddenly, he found a knot in his throat. Trying to clear his throat, a spit travelled through his airway. He coughed continuously while trying to talk,
“I… I know both… Both to be… Good. They…”
“Take it easy!”
“Take it easy, please. Should I get you a cup of water” Maymunah offered.
Finally saved by maghrib adhan, he replied. “Don’t worry… As-solat! We’ll talk… Later… please.”
“Ok akhy. Thanks very much for today. Take care.”
His eyes were red, watered and dripping as he left for his room coughing continuously. Today, he was able to escape, what about tomorrow? So now, he had to start selling his friends to his heart desire. His heart began to ache.
Jayeoba Kafayat Modupeoluwa, mostly known as Ummu Abdillah is a Technologist in Electronics and Telecommunication engineering but presently only active as an Islamic writer – so do not bother to ask her about diodes and electromagnetic waves 🤗. Happily married and recently gifted a princess.
She is a lover of teenagers and marriage and does make it her occupation to study them.
Also, she’s a knowledge seeker who loves to learn new things every second and teaches them as well to whoever cares to learn.