Taoheed watched as his wife served him breakfast, he smiled inside of himself, wondering how lucky he was in finding a good woman like her. He dipped his hands into the bag of bread she’d just laid before him and began to chew on one.
His wife, Shadiat, had been the one taking care of the whole family about this time last year when he’d had a terrible work-place accident that had almost destroyed his left leg.
She had done the running around to treat him, paid the bills from the money she made at her grocery business when the company he worked at- an Indian company- had given them a pittance and left them to their fate.
She had been always by his side in the hospital, never letting him go hungry or in want of anything. She had argued with the nurses when they neglected him, grumbled at the doctors when he was not showing sufficient signs of recovery- she had fought for him.
All that she did, while she still was running her business: she did not let it fail even in her frequent absence from it, their three children too had not suffered despite it all.
After he’d recovered enough to look for another job and he wasn’t successful at first, he could always count on her words of wisdom to keep him hopeful.
She easily was the best woman a man could ask for.
He had gotten a new job about a month ago and things were better now, but as yet, he’d not shown her how much he appreciated her. The coming Eid-al-fitr would help him do that, Allah’s blessings on him should be exhibited in her this time.
Shadiat, looked at the wall clock and saw that the children were almost late for school; their father always dropped them off at school on his way to work, and she knew he would not leave home until he’d had breakfast. As she hurried to serve him, her mind went on to how grateful she was to Allah for how life had gotten better for them all so quickly.
Her husband, Taoheed, still walked with a limp, but that was nothing, now that he was healthy and well employed. Last year, when he’d had the accident about two weeks before the end of Ramadan, she’d thought her life had ended. How would she cope with being a widow at her young age, or taking care of three children alone, but Allah had proved himself Beneficient and had restored all that was thought lost. She would show gratitude to him this coming Eid.
Money was tight in her shop as she was still trying to recover from the financial burden that whole thing had caused but she remembered that just before his accident, Taoheed had been sent to South Africa on a training workshop, and he’d bought her a shoe that she had not worn yet, it was even still in its box. She had thought of selling it during his illness to pay for his bills but she changed her mind and prayed to Allah that He made her husband well so that he could enjoy seeing her in it.
But now she decided that since she really did not need it, she would sell it and give some of the money to Alfa Sule who had stood by her in all the troubles, for the celebrations. Already, she had someone who wanted to buy it.
Taoheed was a man who believed in luck.
When his Mobile network provider had started a promo for their customers to win prizes ranging from a brand new Ford Jeep to iPads/ Tablets, Flat screen TV’S , and generators, Taoheed had promptly entered for the draw; that was two months ago.
That morning, he got a call from the network providers informing him that he had won a Flat screen TV and that he could pick up the prize in two days time. At first, he thought it was a scam by the ubiquitous ‘yahoo’ boys who would try to get money from you in redeeming your false ‘prize’, he called the company’s customer care to check, He got the confirmation he needed.
Ecstatic, he had immediately called his best friend and wife, Shadiat to tell her. He knew that she’d had to sell many of their house hold appliances to pay for his bills and now they just had a small, old-version TV at home. She too was happy, another restoration was happening.
It was minutes after the call ended that he realised he should not have made it.
He thought of how much the TV would be worth and how he was not very liquid at that time; he could sell the TV and use the money to buy what he would give to Shadiat and the Kids for the coming Eid, but she would not agree to his plan.
Still, he decided he would sell it without telling her, surprise her with the gifts. The more he considered it, the more he became convinced of the idea. But what could he buy for her, he thought. Haa! He remembered seeing her that morning with the box of shoes he’d bought for her before the accidents, those shoes were high-quality golden yellow Jimmy Choos and if she would be wearing it for the festival, it would be with old clothes. She deserved better. Suddenly he knew what to buy.
Shadiat had just finished selling the Jimmy Choo shoes when her husband called. She hefted the money from the sale in her hands and thought of how Allah had again blessed them with this win. She began to think of how best to spend the money. The TV Taoheed won was good, but she thought of how much he loved watching football on the old one she’d had to sell.
These days he would go to a friend’s house or a viewing center to see the football matches. The win could change that but they still needed a satellite decoder with the TV to be able to see the matches. And those satellite TV decoders also had channels she too would be able to enjoy seeing Nigerian movies on. With these thoughts on her mind she made a decision.
The eve of Eid, Taoheed drove home with what he’d gotten her but kept it locked in the car: if he brought it in, there would be no place to hide it from her since he was planning to surprise her in the morning. Of course, she’d asked about the TV repeatedly and he’d promised to bring it home on the Eid’s eve.
That evening as he got home he’d told her it was in the car’s boot but that he was too tired to carry it into the house, but that he would bring it in first thing in the morning. She’d been concerned that it could be stolen, but he’d assured her it was okay and she’d gone along.
Very early the following morning, Taoheed had sneaked out of bed while he thought his wife was sleeping to get what he’d hidden in the car out. By the time he got it and came back into the house, it was his wife he met first in the living room. She looked sleepy but had a smile on her face.
“Barka de sallah, ololufe” She greeted.
“Eid Mubarak, Dear.” He answered cheerfully.
He saw that there was a gift-wrapped box in her hands and she was coming to meet him with it.
“What is that in your hands?”
“It is for you…Open it and see, dearest.” She said chuckling.
He dropped the large shopping bag in his hands by the table, collected what she was offering and opened it.
It was a Startimes Decoder Box.
“yes, for the new TV now, so that you can now watch those your football matches at home instead of you going out to do so.”
He took her hands in his and began to laugh… Shadiat was confused, why was he laughing so hard.
“What now?” She asked
“Olo mi, there is no TV in the car!”
“What, you forgot it again at work?”
“No. I sold it.”
The confused smile evaporated from her face, replaced by shock and utter surprise
“Sold…why?” she asked
“Dear mi, I felt that we don’t urgently need a TV, we have a small one now but you deserve something nice for this small sallah. So I sold it and got you 4 yards of Swiss Voile lace and a small box of jewellery.”
He lifted the bag up to show her its content
She had begun to smile again. She brought out the items and saw the lace had been sewn already; as she began to ask how that was, Taoheed anticipating it, spoke:
“I had our tailor sew the lace into a very fine style that I chose myself, he has your measurements. I did tell him not to let you know sha. You can wear them with that shoe I got you last year from southy, I think I saw you with them some days ago. I felt you needed new clothes to wear on it ni.”
It was her turn to start laughing, and his to be confused.
“Ah…darling, I sold the shoes and used some of the money to get you this decoder. I gave the other part of the money to Alfa Sule yesterday, told him it was from us.” She blurted despite her laughter.
They both began cackling like teenagers in doe-eyed love.
“This is the kind of happy confusion that happens in a house where Allah blesses and love lives” Taoheed said to his wife. “What I was trying to say with this is: Thank you for being my wife, Thank you for loving me totally and thank you for staying with me always.”
“I am the lucky one.”She replied “Good men are hard to find, but Allah blessed me with you.”
He drew her closer to himself, brought her face up to his and kissed her passionately.
*Dedicated to my Muslim friends as they celebrate Ramadan
Story by ayomitans