What followed was him going through the medical ritual (follow ups with his indigenous doctor), then turning into Sherlock Holmes until he got all remaining info he needed about Aisha.
An 'expected occurrence' took place next.
Its was on one those signature hot Kaduna afternoons he said, he’d knelt down pouring Chairman a cup of tea.
It was the General. Before he was even acknowledged he’d cleared his throat said “Salam alaikum” and barged in.
He was immediately followed by what Umar in his suspended animation (due to the Azathioprine I presume) thought was an albino with the longest brunette hair covered in a veil he’d ever ever seen.
Except it wasn’t. It was Hajiya Saeeda. And boy! Was she beautiful.
The next thing that followed was far from convenient.
Effects of the drug (as he put it anyway, but you and I know better) had him in suspended animation. To make things worst he caught a glimpse of Ms.White Rose, that very instant, he nearly burnt his dad’s foot with the tea that was supposed to go into a cup.
It didn’t. Thank god.
And lucky for him the general along with his second-in-command tuned out chairman’s rage and yelling as they started doling out caution, instructions and advise all in unison.
“You know should be taking it easy fah Umar. What is the rush? Besides why tea in this hot weather. You should let your younger ones handle stuff like this.”
He didn’t get a millisecond to answer/remark.
His face just went red. And he did in fact blush. Oh yeah!
He had been pale and lost ample amount of melanin. Now his own face was giving him away.
He greeted them in generality and excused himself.
He needed to clean up. No one had noticed he got his trouser soaked.
15mins later Yassir came knocking- He pointed towards Chairman’s parlor. It was the General that wanted to see/talk to him.
“Come sit here!”
‘Here’ was right beside him.
“Young man how are you feeling? Hope much better? I hope that for your own sake you are adhering to the doctors’ instructions and prescriptions? You dare not eat or drink what you’ve been prevented from! We are all lucky and fortunate you’re father is a repressed hypochondriac and didn’t waste time in getting proper evaluation. Else only god knows… be very mindful of all you’ve been told”
“The guy just kept questioning and ordering. It’s a good thing I know how deal with his type.”
I just kept going “yes sir, yes sir, sir!, sir? Yes sir, yes sir, sir, alright sir…”
And when he paused for a breath I appended it nicely with a “thank you sir!”
He checked his watch and told me to go get ‘the family’…
I strutted towards Hajiya’s parlor just to have my eardrums in awe of what was going on.
My mom was conversing in the most fluent of Hausa with Dr.Saeeda!?!
I kept wondering… “when did she learn to speak to like that?”
"Earlier in Chairman’s parlor and with the tea-incident she spoke in English. It was only natural I’d assume it was her primary language of communication."
As they saw me approach they all looked towards my direction and said- “Ai ga Umar din ma!” (Ah there he is!)
Of course they were talking about me. I thought.
I quickly reached for the chair backing the hallway so I balance my hands and move on with the pleasantries and deliver my message.
Before you knew it, Dr.Saeeda was all over me with doctor like questions.
(Yup! She was doctor. That’s how they met with the general. She was with one those UN, WHO, whatever programs and he was a MILOB.)
I indulged her questions while trying to look anywhere but towards Rosa Blanca (white rose in Spanish- he was trying to impress me. It worked!)
Funny thing was… there was another person sitting on the chair. God knows I didn’t notice her till she leaned forward to put down the now half glass of water.
“Who?” I ask
“Yasmeen! I didn’t notice nor acknowledge her presence with all the drama that had happened earlier. And even though it was her chair I was holding onto….”
I interrupt him- “Yeah right! But you saw and drooled over Rosalina or is it Blanka?! Tisk tisk tisk. Anji kunya! (You shamed yourself!)
Then came flying a pen. I blocked it with my pillow.
It was as if he’d given me a cue to continue- “Its true nowwwwww. Poor lil Yasmeen. Leaving the comfort of her home to come and check up on you yet… you didn’t even…. UMMH!”
He stares at me.
“You know what? In the spirit of brotherhood you should really hook up a brother with that Yasmeen. Its only natur…!””
I see a teaspoon coming straight for my head. I dodge.
We laugh and take deep breaths.
He shakes the mouse to stop the screen saver. Then checks the time.
“You know your man. Lets go munch something before we see ‘made in china’.”
We decided to join Bunz for some grub in the other room. My room, the nostaligic H-116.
I didn't have an appetite.
Well... I did.
But not for food.
Had to be patient with him before he rushes a good story or even worst yet, exaggerates.
So I went ahead to pour us some tea, in a knelt down position while winking at him. This time there was nothing in the air. He just shook his head.
Ahmad (the cousin who had no access to ‘My Oracle’) comes in with plastic and glass bottles- them things you call soft drinks.
He offered them to Umar and Bunz.
Bunz was quick to grab one. Umar on the other hand was nonchalant about it.
I noticed that he very seldom drank them. It was then he told me that he used to be addicted to them- coke especially.
But scared for his life while on the hospital bed, he had been commanded a military doctor to stop OR DIE. That was even before he had the biopsy.
Another thing we had in common, I thought. No! Not the complications. The no-soft-drinks-policy. I’ve never been a fan.
However, before he became repentant- he was a stubborn addict. He would have Yassir, his brother, smuggle coke in a juice carton.
Room 116 was in Red Light mode. The default.
Good for eating. Lounging. Sleep. And entertainment. The CD player shuffled. Disk 2. Track 7.
It was the group Soluna. (His CD)
"…i love this song. Especially the Spanish version. She gave me that CD and much more on my birthday"
*he sighs deeply*
"…where were we?"
In my mind- ‘I thought you'd never ask!’
“You. Living room. Yasmeen. Them leaving.”
“Oh yeah! Soon as they saw me enter they were like “ai ga Umar dinma” (here's the Umar even.)
“I greeted the Doctor properly this time. She asked all her doctor-like questions. When we finished, I told her d general has summoned.”
It was then she frowned on her two girls- “cant u even greet him?!”
I just smiled and stared towards the red carpet. We greeted a tad bit formally.
And they got up to leave. But not until we had that moment. That glance-like stare. It seemed to last like the trip from Abuja to Toronto. Yet wasn't enough.
She 'deliberately' went out last... and her eyelids fluttered like wings or was it petals. Yeah… that’s right. Petals. They fluttered like petals momentarily revealing those hazelnut eyes.
My heart simply went- LUB DUBB!
I smirk. Then daydreamed as well.
For a moment in my mind i thought- “jokes aside… this guy should really hook me up with this Yasmeen, she should be older now...”
“After they had left. I thought to myself it’s finally time I man up and ask her out…”
I found Engineer under the hood of Chairman’s new official vehicle, the Peugeot. He was fine tuning or whatever. You know how he is with cars. Always has to look for the tiniest wahala to ‘fix’.
I asked him point blank- ka san gidansu? (Do you know their house?)
He sheepishly smiled and told me he’s ready whenever I am.
“It was that obvious!? Everybody including my reflection knew I was into that girl, except me.”
I laughed at him. And shouted out- "shege love!"
We both laughed.
It wasn’t until after two days before I could get him finish the story. He was working on his project, it was 2nd semester after all, and he was in 500level (5th and final year). I, on the other hand, had a light timetable- i was in my 2nd year (200level).
To tell you the truth I ended up offering to type the remainder of the thesis for him. And I did. Learnt a lot about urban and regional planning because of it.
I made us custard and brought in a plate of munchables. Then kindly asked him to please finish/continue the story. He saw it in my eyes and gestures that I was desperate
He does a ALT+ F4 on the game- it was 3D Ultimate Pool if I remember correctly.
“From then on….”
“What is from then on?” I interject.
“You have to start from when? where? how? Engineer took you her house.”
[Engineer (who's real name was Mohammad), was one of those... 'yan gida' (house-helps) that became like family. He was originally Chairman's driver, still is, if I'm correct.]
“Kaih Mallam. Baka da mantuwa ne?! (Aren’t you ever forgetful Mallam?!)”
I nodded in the negative. "Nope."
"I’m sure it went this way… we set a day for a weekend that seemed an eternity. When it finally came I wore a white shirt and black wrangler jeans.”
(I forgot to mention that Umar was a Nigerian cowboy! He loved everything country. At times he’d get carried away and think himself a Texan. Thus the Wrangler products. The rock and country music. And the attitude.)
When they got there he really did man up. Because Lord knows I wouldn’t go 'guns blazing', I would employ some tact.
He just made sure the General’s car wasn’t there and proceeded to knock.
Yasmeen came yelling… "Coming!".
He was busy ‘fixing’ his collar and scrutinizing himself via the reflection of the tinted glass panes on the door.
I’m sure at some point he must’ve gone "Oh shit! They could be seeing me doing ‘make up’."
She opened the door and had this look of surprise on her face, which even made Umar more concious of himself.
"Sannu da zuwa" (You’re welcome)
"Thank you. Is your mom in?!"
I was stunned- "Huh? Mom kuma?!!"
"You just didn’t expect I’d ask for Aisha head on now did you?" He defended.
I smirk and shake my head at his false attempt towards bravery.
"No. She isn’t but she should be back in say… *checks her watch* 20mins.
You can wait for her if you want."
"Okay that will be fine."
How conducive!? I thought.
He would later tell me that the homework, or should i say 'Sherlock Holmes' he pulled the week before was all to do with her parents working schedules and Islamiya (Islamic Schools) they attended.
Yasmeen was no one’s dully. She disappeared from his and ran straight to Aisha's room.
"You! Dear missy have a guest!!" she shouted.
Who is it?"
"Your window-seat hater lover mana!" She blurted giggling and sticking her tongue out.
Aisha dropped the paint brush and pointed at her slim sister with a dirty finger- “....stop messing around and let me finish this!”
"Wallahi (I swear) I’m serious!"
"Here come peep for yourself."
She was skeptical about her sister, who had a reputation of pulling practical jokes on everyone including the General.
But a part of her wanted it to be true even though it wasn’t likely.
She got up. Dabbed her hands on the bemired beige colored dashiki she wears whenever she paints. And gave her sister one last warning with her red index finger- “if I don’t see anybody there be sure to find another house to sleep in tonight!”
Yasmeen just shakes her head in self-pity. As if to say its high time I stop crying wolf.
Rosa Blanca now uses her shirt as a glove then held on to the edge of the wall so she properly balanced and leaned forward to see who it was on the two-sitter. All was going well, she could now see a white collar and half a head. A little further and she could get a side elevation, that was when Yasmeen decided it was time Cupid was a girl. And she wanted that role.
She pushed her sister!
Made her lose balance. Scream. And fall.
My guy told me he was already looking at his watch every 2 seconds, paranoid as ever with ever tic and toc of the massive wall-clock behind him, just to be startled by the thud and scream from behind.
Bissmillahi! He exclaimed.
In a second he was already offering her his hand and whispered- “Are you alright?”
----TO BE CONTINUED----