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The two gallons gripped tightly in both hands were obviously heavy for his small body, though years of undergoing this rudiment chore had made him accustomed to it.
He stopped for a while and dropped the heavy yellow gallons and wiped the sweat off his forehead. Reluctantly picking up the gallons, he made his way out of the large building. After a while, to Aneesah’s exasperation, the young boy came back again for the thirteenth time.
Aneesah murmured. She had been sitting beside the window in her room, working on her blog. It was Saturday, a free day for her to blog for long hours. The young boy from the next compound had politely requested permission to fetch water from the tap beside the umbrella tree. Now Aneesah watched as he came back for the thirteenth time.
Wasn’t it just pure wickedness?
The young boy couldn’t be more than eight, and he was working more than he was required to. Aneesah made a mental note to find out who the boy was. A notification from her laptop drew her attention from the young boy. Congratulations had been pouring into her email after Petra had posted several pictures of the award ceremony and shared them to her blog; Pride. Videos had been dropping from enthusiastic women congratulating her for the latest feat. She read stories about women whom she had previously helped to leave abusive marriages and relationships and felt a deep sense of joy and purpose.
Aneesah was happy she had touched the lives of thousands of women and children. This was the fourth award she had received in two years. The gushing of the water made her turn to look at the young boy who had come back again, the abrupt turning off her head made her winced. Getting up, she grabbed a cream beside her table and applied it on her neck meanwhile observing the purple patch beside her eyes making her sigh.
Was she now a punching bag?
Sitting down behind her laptop, she wondered how she could help thousands of women and still couldn’t help herself. Why was it so easy to advise another woman but so difficult for her to take action? Was she getting addicted to Faisal’s violence? Previously, she would cry all through the night if he’d hit her, but she hadn’t shed a tear last night. Was she becoming accustomed? She hoped not. Thinking of Petra, she felt guilty for she was subtly pushing her friend away.
An anonymous message came into her private space on her blog. Aneesah’s eyes lit up. Previously, a strange thing was happening on her blog, someone was leaving a series of weird and strange messages. At first, Aneesah had thought it was a random follower who just wanted attention on her blog from her, but no. She observed that it followed a pattern, a careful pattern that corresponded with events in her life. Was she been stalked? Isn’t stalking a bad thing? This however didn’t feel or look bad.
Quickly, she clicked to read today’s message.
Platinum on a wedge
Placed on black mahogany
Received with stress smiles
Smiles draped with violet….or should I say violence?
Aneesah gasped, highly intrigued. This time, it hadn’t taken her time to figure out the meaning of this riddle. The award she received was made of platinum placed on a wedge. When she entered her room last night, she had placed it on her wardrobe made of black mahogany. The dress she wore was violet. But why the referral to violence and the stressed smile? This was someone who was definitely at the award ceremony.
Did this person have an idea of what she was going through in her home? Was it Petra? But how could Petra know where the award was placed? And if Aneesah knew Petra well, she wasn’t the one for such games. Who was this person playing mind tricks with her? She knew it couldn’t be Faisal. This wasn’t the way he acted. He was usually straight forward so who could this be?
Aneesah sighed deeply, the thought of Faisal took her back to her present predicament. How could she leave this marriage? How could she face the world and tell them she had been in an abusive relationship for two years? What would happen to all the awards she received? Aneesah suddenly hissed. Here she was putting everyone else’s happiness before her’s.
Looking at her screen again, she tried to decipher the gender of this stalker but there was no clue. She tried to remember all the faces of the people that were at the ceremony but no one had seemed interested in her. Who could this be? Her head was already hurting from a mild headache.
“Come in” Aneesah muttered glad for the distraction. It was her housekeeper who came to work twice a week around the house. Querah was a beautiful forty-year-old lady from Togo. She was a single mother and that was all Aneesah knew about her. Over the two years they’d been together, they had developed an understanding and a strong cord of friendship.
“Hey, Aneesah. I’m done for today. Just came to check on you” Querah said, her little body wedged between the door, round bulging eyes that further enhanced her beauty.
“Thanks, Miss Querah. I’ll see you some other time” Aneesah replied. Although she desperately wanted to talk to her, her fears wouldn’t let her.
“Merci, Merci” Querah turned and left.
Aneesah quickly went to the video she once made on her blog about facing fear. When would she have the courage to face her own fears? Life was indeed an irony. She heard the water gush and she knew the boy had come back again.
It was a cold and windy evening and students were walking around the campus. Most of them are already done for the day. Petra and Aneesah were seated outdoors in the school environment gisting.
“I can’t believe you’ll be leaving me soon Aneesah, I’ll miss you” Petra started. It was Aneesah’s final year in school, despite being best friends they studied different courses. Aneesah was in microbiology while Petra was a medical student.
“Stop saying it like I’m leaving tomorrow, 400 level just started”
“I know” Petra replied, pausing to take a sip. “But you know how time flies”
“You’ll be fine Petra, Dave will keep you company” Aneesah replied with a mischievous smile.
Petra gave her a mock horror look “Stop it Aneesah, there’s nothing between Dave and me. He wants to be more than a friend, but I just want to focus on my books now”
“Yeah I know, but he really seems like a nice guy. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt if you give him a chance. He seems to like you.”
Petra paused for a while. “Well, enough of me, won’t you tell me about the guy you met during your IT?
A warm blush quickly spread across Aneesah’s face.
“Oh, you’re blushing” Petra squealed excitedly.
“I’m not blushing. Stop teasing me about Faisal, he’s just a friend.”
“Just a friend, hmm we both know what just a friend means. So, do you like him?”
Aneesah thought for a while “Well, yes. He’s nice. But he’s very quiet you know, really quiet. He doesn’t like to talk.”
“Hm, he sounds like the guy in the book “Dark, Handsome stranger,” Petra noticed.
“Well something like that. Anyways would you be at Faridas kamu later?” Aneesah asked.
Petra noticed how swiftly Aneesah had changed the topic but she let it slide. “Of course, I’ll be there. I would make my henna later.”
“Alright then, I already made mine. Let’s go.”
They stood up simultaneously and walked back to their hostel hand in hand.
Faisal issued out orders to some workers beside the street, he was worried they would do a lousy job. He came forward to inspect the tar they had spread on the road two days ago. The tar glistened brightly in the sun, Faisal was impressed. The job turned out good more than expected. Nodding to some workers he walked to his truck and brought out a handkerchief to wipe his face. He gulped a large amount of water and sighed heavily resting his back across the car seat.
The name abruptly floated through his mind. Why was she constantly in his mind and thoughts? Everywhere he went, her name followed him. The sweet smell of her perfume evaporated his sense and clogged his nostrils.
No doubt, Aneesah was beautiful. She had a sandy tanned complexion, with beautiful squinted eyes. He remembered what she said on their first date.
“Faisal, I’m reluctant about dating you. Men are just not what they seem to be. I’m scared”
He loved her innocence and purity and the way she carried herself like royalty. If she would get over her fears and commitment issues, he would like to marry her.
Even though Aneesah looked like a local girl, he knew he could “wash” her up. There were a lot of things he would like to change about her. Bringing out his phone, he went to his gallery and quickly swiped to her photo. Her beauty sparkled. Her jovial nature is reflected in the picture.
“I would get Aneesah for myself ” he silently resolved in his mind. “I would make her mine”.