Hadizat sat still as her father talked. She knew he was pleased but as usual, he had a hard time showing it. A week ago, she had been offered admission to study law at Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti. She informed her father who was away on a business trip then. He had promptly sent her school fees and enough money to cover other expenses. They were sitted in the large sitting room now with her mother and two younger sisters – Rukayat and Munirat. Her father had returned from his trip to Abuja. Hadizat was to resume school in two days time.
“You are very quiet Hadizat”, her father continued. “But what you lack in conversation, you made up for in brains. You are very brilliant my daughter.”
” Nagode papa”, Hadizat smiled.
It was not everytime her father heaped praises on anyone. It was best to enjoy it while it lasted. Hadizat did not really think of herself as brilliant. She felt she was just book-smart. Since kindergarten, she had always come first position in her classes. In her SSCE examinations, she had emerged as the best in her school with 6A’s and 2B’s. Her UTME scores was very high too. She had a 297, the highest in her school too.
She decided to study law, not because of love for the profession but because she felt it was a worthy challenge to her academic prowess. Besides that, she wanted to please her father. Her father – Alhaji Dankore had secretly admired the legal profession for years. He was the founder of a business conglomerate. He knew all about business management and administration as that was what he studied in the university. However, he was quiet ignorant when it came to terms of agreements and legal obligations. He usually complained that his lawyers milked him of huge sums of money annually and if he was not already too old, he would have returned to school to study law himself.
He felt Allah had answered his prayers when Hadizat decided to study law. So, he promised to get her the best legal education possible. That was why he insisted that she fill in Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) as her first choice in her UTME form. To him, ABUAD was the best university for undergraduate legal education in Nigeria. Hadizat didn’t think so but she wisely kept her thoughts to herself. After all, ABUAD was a great school and she had no objections.
Her father also promised to send her abroad for her Masters degree after the completion of her LLB programme at ABUAD. Hadizat was pleased. That was her father’s goal and she knew her father well. Whatever he wanted to do, he would always do.
“Have you packed your bags?” His voice interrupted her thoughts.
“No papa”, she replied quietly.
“Well, what are you waiting for?” He thundered. Hadizat jolted and without looking up, she knew her mother and two sisters did too.
This was her father’s default tone at home. The voice he used to shower praises on her had evaporated. He was back to being Mr. Terror.
“Ye…yes papa”, her sisters replied in unison as they stood up.
“Go help Hadizat pack up.” He ordered.
Hadizat stood up from the couch and walked towards the door.
“Hajiya?” Her father called out to her mother.
“Did you help her buy new things with the money I sent?”
Hadizat heard her mother’s soft “Yes” as she left the sitting room with Rukayat and Munirat following closely behind.
Hadizat and her sisters folded clothes and arranged shoes, cosmetic products and several personal items in silence. Her father’s shouts had done its usual job – put them all in fear.
Hadizat jolted again as she felt a hand on her shoulder. She looked up and saw her mother. She dropped the cloth hanger in her hand and hugged her mother – Hajiya Dankore.
Her mother wiped a tear off her cheeks. “It’s alright masoyi na. You’ll be fine.” Hadizat nodded.
“You all will be fine”, Her mother said, looking at Rukayat and Munirat who were also ready to cry.
“Now, let’s cheer up”, her mother clapped. “Cheer up and pack.” She picked up a lavender-coloured hijab and began to fold it. Then, she dropped it abruptly and made a funny face. They all laughed.
“Now, that’s better”, she smiled.
They all continued packing in silence.
“Hadi ma soyi ”, her mother called.
“Yes, mama”, Hadizat replied.
“I’ve told your Aunty Fatima to be here today to do your henna . You need to go to school looking beautiful”, she smiled.
“ Nagode mama”, Hadizat smiled broadly.
“That reminds me Sister Hadizat”, Rukayat cut in with a wink at Munirat. “Are you going to find a husband at school?”
“Well, Rukayat”, Munirat replied with a mischievous smile. “If you were the one going off to school so far away, I would be worried that you would get married and be pregnant before returning!” They all burst into laughter.
“I know my big sister Hadizat”, Munirat continued. “She is nothing like you. She does not love boys more than her own life.”
“Stop teasing Munirat”, Rukayat smiled. “Boys are…”
“Hadi, have you told Mustapha about your admission?” Her mother cut in.
“Yes mama”. Hadizat replied. Her elder brother – Mustapha Dankore had gotten married a year ago. He lived in Zaria with his wife.
“That reminds me”, her mother began. “You girls know Abdulmahmud, the son of Hajiya Rumatu?
“Yes mama”, Hadizat replied. “Who doesn’t know Mahmud?”
“He is the one who finished secondary school since two years ago and has not gained admission, right?” Rukayat hissed with disgust.
“Yes that Mahmud”, her mother laughed. “His mother called to say he has finally gained admission.” She looked at Hadizat “…into your school Hadi.”
“What?!” Rukayat and Munirat said in unison.
Hadizat’s eyes almost bulged out. She did not want to go to the same school with Mahmud. He had disturbed her life enough when they were in secondary school. She definitely did not want a repeat performance.
“That was exactly why she called”, her mother continued. “She heard that Hadizat was going there to study law. She couldn’t help out but call to gloat over the fact that her son was going there too.”
“Is he going to study law too?” Munirat asked.
“Last I checked he was a science student”, Hadizat said.
“He’s going to study Architecture just like his father”, her mother replied.
“Oh well, I hope his faculty is far away from mine. I do not want his trouble”, Hadizat stated matter–of–factly.
“I do hope…”, her mother began. But just then, a bell rang.
“The bell”, Rukayat gasped. “It’s time for prayers.”
They all left the room hastily except Hadizat. She quickly stepped into the bathroom for ablution. When she walked out of the bathroom, she pulled out her prayer mat from the wardrobe and spread it out at a corner of her room. Then, she knelt down to pray. “Allah…”
Read Chapter 3&4 HERE