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The Thin Line: Chapter Two-The Arrival

Updated: Dec 25, 2023

The Arrival 24/12/2023

 
Black man in a navy blue suit
 

WARNING!

“This series and the characters in it are fictitious. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and specific other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law."

Copyright © 2023 by Hadiza Bagudu.

 


Usman and his son watched Hadiza run back and forth, trying to make the house look better. It is a week before the arrival of the Abubakars, and Hadiza is slowly losing her mind. He called twice after the first time to inform them of their arrival date, and Hadiza tensed up. She is trying to be the best host she can be. The previous day, they went to the market to shop for foodstuffs, to make a special dish for their guests.

She had cleaned the house about five times already and was making a lot of changes. An extra bed was also added to Abba’s room for the guest. One or two new pieces of furniture were added to the living room. New green curtains were put up, and matching throw pillows were added to the sofa to revamp the room; unfortunately, they didn’t match the carpet. So she changed the carpet too. Then that didn’t match the chairs, so she ended up changing everything in the living room. Still not satisfied, she keeps asking him if this fits or that fits. Flowers of different blooms were also added to the decor of the room to add freshness. After that, she tried pottery.

Usman and Abba tried to help, but she didn’t make it easy for them. First, she wanted their help, but when they helped, she complained that they were doing it all wrong. She seems to have a certain procedure, which they can’t understand. So, they only observe and comment.

“Do you think the vase is too much?” she asked.

“The vase is fine, honey.” Her husband replied.

“What about the rugs? Does it go with the curtains?”

“Yes, honey, you have excellent taste.”

“They are not coming to inspect the house, are they, Dad?” Abba asked his father—more of a statement than a question.

“Do you think we should knock down that wall?” she asked.

“No!” father and son replied in unison.

“Ok, already!” she said. “It’s not like I am asking you to build a new house. I just thought it would be worth a shot. You know.”

“Honey, relax,” Usman said gently, walking towards his wife and turning her around to face him while cupping her face. “You don’t need to do all that. They are our friends, and I am sure that they will just be so glad to see us that they won’t even notice all these things. Believe me, all they want to do is come back home. They won’t care if the throw pillows don’t match anything in the room…” He quickly stopped, hoping that she did not catch the last thing he said.

“What?” she asked, looking disappointed.

“I didn’t say anything.” He lied.

“I knew it. You guys were not totally honest with me.

“Come on, honey. The pillows are fine. Everything is fine. Let’s just pray for their safe arrival, ok?” He pleaded with her.

“I am sorry, honey; I didn’t mean to be such a pain; I just want things to be perfect when they come.” She said this, turning around to face her husband.

“They won’t even notice.” He said he was holding her close to him. “All they care about is being back home and seeing us.”

“Alright. I am sorry.” She apologized. I guess I am being paranoid. I am really nervous about their arrival.

“Me too. We all are. Let’s pray that they get here safely. Ok?”

“Ok. Amen.” She replied.

“I am going to get something from my office; I’ll be back in an hour’s time. Bye.”

“Bye.” She kissed him, and he left. Meanwhile, she continued to clean and arrange.

She thought about the Abubakars and how she missed Binta, Abubakar’s wife her cousin and friend. They were so close, and that is because of the way their husbands were then and not just because they were cousins. In addition, when Binta died, she took care of Ahmed as if he was her son. He grew up together with her Abba like brothers. They went to the same schools, wore similar clothes and did everything together. She wasn’t happy they left, and for so long too. That is why she is so excited about their arrival. 



“I swear, I am going to leave without you two!” shouted Mr. Usman from the car. It was the D-day, and they were getting ready to go and receive the Abubakars at the airport. The plane was due to arrive at 6:30 p.m. It was already six p.m., the airport was about 40 40-minute drive, and they had yet to leave the house, thanks to his wife and son, who liked to waste time dressing up as if they were going to a beauty contest.

He pressed the horn impatiently, and his wife came out of the house trying to tie her head tie while her son followed her behind, holding her handbag and veil.

“I cannot believe this. You are still not ready. What have you been doing?” he said, surprised and angry at the same time.

“Let’s go!” she said, opening the rear door and entering to sit beside her husband while Abba started the engine and drove them to the airport.

An hour and a half later, they were at the airport, and the plane had yet to arrive.

“I told you there was no need for all that rush,” Hadiza said to her husband as they waited in the lounge.

“They said 6:30 pm," he replied.

“African time, baby.” She said, laughing. She knows her husband is pissed.

“Well, it’s better to be early. We wouldn’t want them to come here and wait for us now, would we?”

Just then, there was an announcement that Nigerian Airways Flight 744 Lagos to Kaduna had just landed. They immediately became excited. They have been waiting for that plane. The Abubakars are to stop at Lagos first because Air France only stops at Lagos International Airport. Then they will take the evening flight to Kaduna from there.

“I just can’t wait to see them.” Abba said.

“Me too.” His mother replied.

Five minutes later, the passengers started trooping into the arrival area. Usman and his family craned their necks in order to see through the crowd. Mallam Usman was the first to see his friend.

“Habu. Over here!” he shouted.

“Usman!” Abubakar shouted back. And walked in a hurry towards them. He hasn’t changed much. Dressed in a gray suit, he still looked as devilishly handsome as he did fourteen years ago. Although he has put on a little weight and spotted a few gray hairs on his head, which, by the way, gave him a mature and even more sophisticated look,

“Habu.” Mallam Usman said, hugging him with tears in his eyes. “So I get to see you again before I die. God is great.”

“I missed you too, Usman.” He replied, with tears in his eyes also. “It’s been so long. How are you, my friend?” He spoke with a slight American accent.

“I am fine. And you?”

“I am doing great.” He replied. Turning to Hadiza, he said “Usman, who is this lovely lady, and what is she doing with you?”

“Ah Ah!” Hadiza said. “Don’t you recognize your own sweetheart again?”

“Darling, is this you? I can’t believe this.” He said. “You are still as beautiful as the last time I saw you. But you shouldn’t stand next to this old man. Uhgg.” He said this, making a face.

“Yeah, I know. I am glad you are back, so I can finally ditch him,” she said in a whisper.

“Who is old?” Usman said. Pretending to be angry. “A fine young man like me. Full of life and vigor.”

“Yeah, right.” They both said

“Plus, I am rich, too, you know.” He added, and they all laughed.

Turning to Abba, he asked “And who is this handsome young man?”

“It’s my uncle. You are welcome.” Abba replied. And they hugged.

“Wow! You have grown so big. I cannot believe this. I wonder who is taller between you and Ahmed.”

“By the way, where is he?” Hadiza asked.

“Oh, he is taking care of the luggage.” Abubakar replied.


Black flip shoes on a street

Just then, Ahmed appeared, pushing a trolley full of suitcases. Dressed in a brown blazer and black trousers, he looked every inch like his father. Although he was much lighter in complexion, you could easily mistake him for Abubakar if you knew him a few years ago.

“Hi.” He said it shyly.

“My baby!” Hadiza said. Hugging him. “Look at you. You have grown so big and handsome, just like your father.”

“Oh, stop.” Abubakar said. Waving his hand and pretending to be coy.

“Aunty!” Ahmed said it shyly. “I missed you. How are you?”

“I am fine, my son. You remember your uncle and friend. “

“Yes.” He said that, hugging them one after the other.

“Hmn. Doctor Ahmed.” Usman said. "Congratulations, my son, your father told me.”

“Thank you, uncle.”

“Congrats Doctor.” Abba said. And they shook hands.

“Thanks Engineer!” He replied, and they both laughed.

“Well.” Usman said, after a while. “We should get going now. I am sure you are both tired and hungry.”

“Ah! You have no idea. I couldn’t eat the food they served us on the plane.” Abubakar replied. And they walked out of the arrival area towards the car.

"Wow, it’s hot here!” exclaimed Ahmed…

“Welcome to Nigeria.” His father said, and they all laughed.

At home, Mrs. Usman served them pounded yam and vegetable soup with beef, just as she remembered Abubakar liked it. And he didn’t disappoint her as he ate and ate. “Oh my God, I missed this.” He spoke. And they all laughed. Ahmed, on the other hand, was having a little difficulty with his own plate, so Hadiza, knowing this, had prepared a separate fried rice and chicken for him and kept it aside, just in case.

“There you go, honey.” She spoke. “Try this.”

“Oh, thanks; you shouldn’t have.” He spoke.

“No, no," she replied. “I imagined you would not be able to eat the pounded yam, as you are not used to it. So, I made this for you.”

“Well, he better start learning. Because we are going to be here for good.” Said Abubakar.

“I am sure he will in time.” Hadiza replied.

“So, Habu.” Usman asked. “You said you wrote a book? What’s it about?”

“Oh, yes, the book.” He replied. “It’s about THE EMERGING IMPACT OF NON-STATE ACTORS IN THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM. It took me about a year to write. But I had a great time. And also, great reviews.”

“Wow, that’s lovely.”

“Thanks. I have brought copies for you. I would like to hear your opinion.” Abubakar said, laughing nervously.

“Thanks. But I'm sure it’s great. Common, I have always known you to have the gift of writing; it’s just that you never took it seriously and tried putting something down. Thank God you came to your senses now.” Usman said, and they all laughed.

“I will also like to open a supermarket here to earn some extra income, as I don’t think I will want to make a living from writing.” Abubakar said. “And I am not going back to lecturing either.”

“But Dad, we have talked about this.” Ahmed said, looking upset. “I have a good job, and I will take care of you.”

“I know, son, but you will get married someday and have your own family. I don’t want to be a burden to you.”

“You can never be a burden to me. You are my father.”

“I know, son," Abubakar replied. “I just like providing for myself. That’s all.”

Usman noticed that Ahmed was looking really upset, so he tried to break the ice. “You know, son, you should know by now that your father is a very stubborn man. Once he makes up his mind about something, you can’t change it.”

“Yeah. Stubborn and proud.” Hadiza added. And everybody laughed.

“Anyway.” Usman said. “Ahmed, have you made up your mind about where you want to practice?”

“Yes, Uncle. I was thinking of working with ABU Teaching Hospital. I heard that it is a very good place to work.”

“Yes, it is. What is your area of expertise?” Hadiza asked.

"Pediatrics," answered Ahmed.

“Oh, that’s lovely.” Usman said. “And you are in luck. I happen to know the medical chief there at the hospital. I will talk to him about getting you a job there. And with your qualifications, I don’t think that will be a problem.”

“Thank you very much, Uncle.” Ahmed said.

“Thanks Manu.” His father also joined in.

“Oh, no problem. Ahmed is my son too.”

“Yeah, he is," Abubakar said.

"Inna," Ahmed said, after a little while turning to Hadiza. “Where is Sameera?” he asked, referring to Hadiza’s second child. Abba’s younger sister

“Aah! You noticed your wife is not around, huh?” Hadiza replied. “She is at school. They are writing a lot of tests, so she could not come to welcome you guys. But she sends her love.”

“Wow.” Abubakar said. “These kids have all grown so fast. It seems like just yesterday I was carrying her on my lap. Now she is in the university?”

“Her final year too,” Abba announced.

“Wow. This is amazing.” Said Abubakar.

“Is she still fat?” asked Ahmed. And they all laughed again.

“Well, I will leave that for you to guess… But we will all go visit her tomorrow; how about that?..” Replied Hadiza.

“I can’t wait.” He spoke.

After dinner, the boys went to their room to catch up on the past. Hadiza is in the kitchen doing the dishes, while Mallam Abubakar and his friend went to the balcony to talk.

“So, Habu.” Mallam Usman started. “I see you are still single.”

“Aah! I see you noticed.” Replied Mallam Abubakar.

“Come on Habu, this is not good for you. Even tradition and religion are against this. You know staying single opens the door to all manner of temptation….”

“I know, Manu. I am trying.”

“How, exactly?” Mallam Usman said. “Are you telling me that you could not find one good woman in the whole of America, in all these years? My God, how did you manage to raise this boy on your own?”

“Well, I had a nanny.”

“Ok, so, the nanny…”

“Oh, she is 60 years old.” Mallam Abubakar cut him before he could finish his sentence.

“Fine. But are there no women at your place of work, or the library or something... I mean, anywhere?”

“Haba Usman, common. I will when the right person shows up. Ok?”

“Ok. As you like.” Mallam Usman said he was disappointed. “But just know that I am only bugging you so much because I care about you.”

“I know; I am sorry. It’s just that it’s so hard. You know.” Mallam Abubakar said.

“I know.” Mallam Usman said, rubbing him on the back, and feeling sorry for his friend. “I want you to know that I and my family will always be there for you and Ahmed. Ok?”

“Ok.” Replied Mallam Abubakar.

“So, Ahmed, do you have any white girlfriends?” Abba asked Ahmed. It was 11.30 Pm and they were up in their room and jisting for more than two hours. They had so much to catch up on.

“No, not really.” Ahmed replied. “I don’t really fancy white chicks.”

“Really?” Abba asked in surprise. “Are they not pretty? Or is it true that there is still a lot of racism in America?”

“No, it’s not that, really. Actually, I have dated white girls before, but for a serious relationship, I will prefer my own kind.”

“Me too.” Abba replied. “Are you in one now? I mean a relationship.” He noticed that Ahmed flinched a bit before replying.

“Nope. Still single and searching.” At that moment, his mother yelled from outside the door for him to allow Ahmed to sleep, as she imagined he must be very tired. So, they lowered their voices.

“What about you?” Ahmed asked. Do you have anyone serious?”

“Well, yes. There is this girl I am seeing now. Her name is Maryam. She is from Zaria; we met at school. And I hope to marry her after my service year.”

“Wow, that is good.”

“Yeah, I know. I really love her.” Abba said. “And I can’t wait to get married to her.”

“Does she work?” Ahmed asked.

“No, she just finished ABU. She read geography. But she is still waiting to be called to service. That’s why I want to marry her in time. So she will be posted to Kaduna, where her husband resides.”

“Don’t you want to work for some time first and save some money? I mean, where are you going to live and stuff? Marriage is a lot of responsibility, you know.”

“I know. But I have been saving some money from the part-time job that I was doing, and I also have a job waiting for me in a chemical factory. I did my industrial training there, and they promised to hire me there as permanent staff after I graduate. And as for a house, well, I will rent an apartment where we will live before I save enough money to build our own house. And she will work too. So we will be fine.”

“Wow,” Ahmed said. I really admire your courage. “I wish I was that flexible.”

“What are you talking about? You have done a great job. All you should be worried about is finding the right girl. And that’s it.”

“Yes, Abba. It’s that simple, I know.” For about a minute, Abba noticed that Ahmed seemed unhappy.

[End of Chapter Two]


 

Thank you for reading Chapter Two of The Thin Line If you enjoy it, please leave me a like, comment below and subscribe to my website. You can read chapter three below:

 

Diamond City
 
Hijab and pillars
 

 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 


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