She got back from school on Saturday evening to spend the two-week first semester holiday with her parents. Her school bag was full of the recommended texts for the next semester. She had bought everything before the end of the first-semester exam because she knew that the academic culture of tertiary institutions is that one must read and research ahead of the class. The bike man helped her unload her luggage and patiently parked for her to get off easily.
Her mother couldn’t recognise her from afar. She wore a black full khimar that covered the whole of her body from forehead to ankle. No one could see her fingers of melanin complexion. She had veiled them with black soft gloves designed with colourless flowers at the back. She concealed her charming leg chains and her grease painted legs and toes with plain black socks. The rainbow colour of her kitten heels was glowing under the brown evening sun.
“Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh”, she greeted her mother. She didn’t hear any response but had a feeling that her mother would have whispered it to herself. She repeated the greetings again and again for the third time, and her mother solemnly yelled at her to shut her mouth. She was startled and went to the sitting room to greet her father, only to be welcomed sternly again. She felt embarrassed and couldn’t eat dinner that night.
She heard her mother’s voice calling her name sullenly and caressing her leg to wake her up in the middle of the night. She awoke from the nightmare of how she used to dress immorally by wearing tight jean trousers and a mini top that would cover half of her upper body and leave her flat tummy and her tiny pierced navel uncovered; how she used to wear g-string and ordinary brassiere to all notorious beaches in Lagos every weekend; and how she used to enjoy life in bars with her crew wearing different wigs.
“Auzubillah!” she woke up frightfully and saw her mother sitting on the bed beside her. Her mother didn’t ask her about the nightmare she had for her to wake up in such a horrible manner, rather, she called her name three times and asked her to listen attentively to what she would say.
“I’m so disappointed in you! I didn’t raise you up to this age so that you could keep the magnificent beauty you are endowed with under the masquerade costume that you called khimar or hijab. As you can see, how I, your mother, dress in a way that even your father and his friends fondly call me kò sì arúgbó ni Ghana. Now, what do you want me to tell my friends? That my one and only daughter has embraced a new Islam apart from the one her father, who is also a cleric, practises? Ehn!” She paused, changed position and continued.
“Your father and I didn’t send you to university to join the kind of group that would tell you not to have fun on campus. This is just your first semester in the university; what if by the end of the session you have started covering your face? God forbid! Ọlọhun májẹ! Now, listen! Your father and I had concluded that it is either you set ablaze all the khimar in your luggage and go back to the normal way of life, or you forfeit the admission because we will never pay your tuition fee while you put on Eleha’s cloth. You’re not Eleha!” Her mother slammed the door angrily and went back to her room.
By: MOSHKUR AJIKOBI
….To be continued Bi’idhnillaah!