Read Chapter 7 and 8 HERE
“Hmmm” “Hadizat sighed. She was tired. She hardly slept the night before. It was one of those nights when thoughts of Deola ravaged her mind. She wandered why it was so. Rasheedat moved on after two weeks. Hadizat had moved on now but she still felt very connected to Deola after seven weeks. Perhaps, it was because she admired Deola’s quiet lifestyle and her devotion to her God.
Hadizat was quiet but when it came to religious devotion, she was very far away. Rasheedat was another story. Even her friend in class – Bola was a Christian but she wasn’t as serious and committed as Deola had been. In fact, Hadizat had caught her lying on more than one occasion. She had boldly affirmed that it was her ‘weakness.’
Hadizat had come to the library as usual ‘to read herself to stupor’ as Deola had jokingly termed it one day. Hadizat didn’t mind. Her great strength was in her brain. She needed to educate it sufficiently. Still tired from last night, she rubbed her eyes and continued reading. Even if Deola’s memories still haunted her, she had to keep up with her first class position. Even Deola would have wanted her to excel.
Hadizat looked up to see Timi’s smiling face.
Timi pulled a chair and sat close to her. “How are you Hadi, really?”
Hadizat smiled ruefully and nodded. “I’m okay.”
“Look at me Hadi”, he pleaded softly.
Hadizat sniffed and turned to face him. He took her hands and enclosed them in his.
“It’s going to be okay Hadi.”
This wasn’t the first time Tim was consoling her. When she had first heard the news of Deola’s demise, she had cried almost constantly.
One day, she had been studying in the library and crying unconsciously. She only discovered when Timi came close and asked her in alarm.
“Hadi, why are you crying?”
Hadizat had quickly swiped her face with the back of her hand and discovered she was in tears.
That day, she had narrated everything she felt about Deola. Before she knew it, she had told him of her dreams and the fact that she usually heard Deola speaking to her.
When Hadizat was done, she felt like a fool. She thought Timi would laugh and call her crazy. Instead, he nodded in understanding and consoled her. That was when she discovered that Timi was a lot like Deola. She had not come across a lot of Christians. But from the ones she had interacted with, none of them came quite close to being all that they professed to be except Deola and Timi.
Since that day, she always opened up to Timi and told him of her fears and worries. Timi never tried to preach to her. He usually nodded and assured her that he was praying for her.
His soft call brought her out of her reverie. Hadizat shook her head slightly. “I’m sorry. You said?”
Timi laughed softly. “You were gone for what….. 4 minutes?” he raised his four fingers. “I’ve caught you ‘mind travelling’ severally. Perhaps, you’ll teach me.”
Hadizat chuckled. It sounded refreshing. She felt a weight of sadness lift off her shoulders. “How do you do it?” She whispered.
“Do what?” Timi whispered back.
“I don’t feel so sad anymore.”
“Perhaps it’s due to my skills as a comedian”, Timi smiled.
Hadizat chuckled again.
“Or… perhaps because I asked the Comforter to comfort you” he added softly.
“Stop the noise!”
Hadizat faced her books instantly. Looking out from the side of her eyes, she noticed Timi had done the same. She didn’t know when the library attendant came close.
“Timi and I must’ve been disturbing a whole lot”, she thought. “But, if I had the chance, I’d do it again.”
Hadizat felt good. She hadn’t felt so good since the news of Deola’s death. “Perhaps, Timi will take Deola’s place”, she thought. That moment, the library attendant walked away. Timi looked up at her and winked.
Hadizat smiled. “Perhaps…”
Hadizat could not believe a journey of five years was almost over.
“Where did the time go?” She joked with Bola, her classmate.
They were now in the second semester of their final year – 500 level. Hadizat had started her project work on Intellectual Property law since the first semester. She was working on the third chapter in the library when Bola walked in to sit beside her and lament over the difficulties involved in the research for her own project.
Hadizat encouraged her to keep at it as that was the only thing standing between them and their LL.B degree. Bola nodded and moved to the shelf to browse through previous project thesis and dissertations for hints.
Hadizat sighed contentedly. She had thoroughly sourced materials before she began her own project work. Now, all she had to do was to put bits and pieces together for the actual result to emerge.
She relaxed in her chair as she thought about all she had been through since she arrived at ABUAD. She had grown…emotionally, academically and even physically. She had maintained her slim build throughout the five years but her face had gained a more mature look. She smiled as she remembered the stares from the male folk that greeted her during a cousin’s wedding in Yola a month ago.
Hadizat remembered Rasheedat and her love for boys…. and Yoruba movies. Rasheedat had graduated a year ago. She was now serving in Bayelsa. They chatted on WhatsApp once in a while. Mahmud had also graduated a year ago. He had grown tired of chasing her. Last she heard, he was in a relationship with a politician’s daughter. Hadizat couldn’t be more glad.
“If it’s Alhaji Maisuya’s daughter, well, there goes an arranged marriage”, Hadizat smiled.
The smile on her face disappeared as she thought of Deola. She breathed deeply and looked up. After a while, she had stopped hearing Deola in her dreams but everytime she remembered, it was as though she could hear those words. They had become so entrenched in her that she mouthed them now, in the library. “I love you but Jesus loves you more.”
Hadizat knew she could never become a Christian but she knew she’d always have them as friends, especially ‘real’ ones like Deola and Timi. She was determined that anywhere she went, she’d find real Christians and make friends with them. She could not become a Christian but there was no harm in being friends with them, right? After all, she was in love with one.
As though on cue, Timi walked into the library. Hadizat could swear her heart skipped a bit. She watched as he waved to some students, nodded at others and greeted the library attendants.
He looked up and saw her. She smiled. She knew he would always walk over to say hello. That was part of the reason why she never changed her seat in the library. In fact, since her 100 level days, no one else had sat on that seat. There was an unwritten rule that no one else could sit on the last chair to the left in the right wing of the school library. It was Hadizat Dankore’s spot and no one else’s.
“Hello Hadi.” Timi greeted as he walked close to her.
“Hello Timi.” Hadizat replied. She still wore a smile when he settled on the seat beside her.
“What’s up?” He gestured to the books in front of her.
“Chapter three”, she replied.
“Oh….. this project work ehn. God will help us. Hadizat show your boy the way nau.”
“You’re just teasing”, Hadizat chuckled. “Baba hot brains like you.”
Hadizat couldn’t help but stare. She had felt something for this guy since 100 level. Her feelings had been hidden for a long time. Timi was a Christian so there was no future with him but could it hurt to let him know how she felt?
She bit her lip and turned to a book. “That would be stupid”, she chided herself. “In this part of the world, a man talks first, never a woman.”
Her heart screamed, “Tell him!” But, her mind knew better. If she told, their friendship could end. “Besides, there can’t be an us. Not now, not in the future”, she sighed.
Against her better judgment, she looked at him again and stared. She noticed the fine cut of his eyebrows and his chiselled jaw. He always had this caring but determined look.
These were all things Hadizat had noticed before. But now, she studied him as if trying to permanently etch his memory in her subconscious.
“Tell him!” Her heart screamed again and Hadizat opened her mouth to do just that.
“T….” Hadizat noticed he was looking ahead. In fact, his eyes had been fixed on something else for a while. Hadizat followed his gaze and looked. What she saw unnerved her.
She noticed Timi was staring at a young lady talking to the library attendant. The lady was light skinned, that complexion that was typical of those from the Eastern part of Nigeria. After conversing with the library attendant, she walked slowly towards them. Hadizat noticed the lady’s gait. She walked so confidently like one sure of herself.
As if aware of the pairs of eyes on her, the lady looked at them and came closer.
If Hadizat had thought the girl beautiful, she realized that was an understatement. The girl was breathtakingly beautiful when she smiled and playfully spoke, “Brother Timi.”
Hadizat looked at Timi and gasped. Timi was actually blushing! In all the years they had been friends, she never saw Timi spot the look he did now. Hadizat looked from the girl to Timi and back again.
“He loves her!” She screamed inwardly.
Timi mumbled an introduction and the girl went on her way. She was well out of sight before Timi came back to himself and spoke to Hadizat.
“Sister Grace is in 300 level. She’s studying Agricultural Science.” He muttered.
“Hmm…mmm”, Hadizat feigned disinterest.
“Hadi”, Timi called softly.
Hadizat turned to him.
“I like her. A lot. I hope…. I hope that someday…you know…” Then he laughed.
He was back to his normal self.
“I hope that someday, I could marry her.”
Hadizat smiled. She had to show she was happy for him. He could never know. He could never discover that she – Hadizat Dankore, the muslim scholar from Adamawa was head over heels in love with him. He could never know…