DaysOfTaqwa: Rebirth Chapter V

Chapter 5: Thwarted Plans

The next morning found Naasir in the kitchen with his step mum and Nusrah preparing Sahur. Nusrah had come knocking at his door at 4:15 am sharp.
“Get up o. Dad has tasked me with waking you for the foreseeable future since you don’t have your precious sam.” Nusrah giggled at the last bit.
When he joined her outside, she gave him a look so serious, he was a little alarmed.
“You’re alive! It’s a miracle!” She placed her hands on her chest and gasped. It was obviously fake. “Wait, have you heard from Sholape and the boys yet?”
Naasir shook his head, hissed and walked away. Even though he was still pissed off at the unfairness of the whole situation, he managed to ignore Nusrah’s taunts. The floor was hers now. He was certain the tables would turn soon.
Later, Naasir found out from Nusrah that Jibike had travelled home to be with her mum last night.
A holiday at his own expense. Why his dad would add this to his punishments was beyond him. He resolved, however, to see it through no matter how stressful or awkward.
And it was beyond awkward. At least from his side of things. As for Nusrah and his step mum– they gisted away like sisters. He didn’t know what to do, so he just stood there and watched. It wasn’t that he never visited the kitchen, he used to help pound yam when the occasion called for it. Go in. Pound yam. Get out. That was it for him.
Being inside the kitchen, fetching and cooking and grabbing and frying was a foreign concept to him.
“Ace, please pass me the turning stick,” Nusrah asked. “Abi you will come and help me turn the amala?”
“Kayi, Nusrah, don’t tease your brother so,” His step-mum said with a small smile.
“I’m sorry, just one last time. It’s too good!” Nusrah said rubbing her hands in glee.
His step mum hit Nusrah playfully before she collected the turning stick from him.
“Go on. Wait outside. We’ll soon be finished here.”
Go outside and risk his dad seeing him out there? Not a chance.
“No ma, I’ll stay here and help.”
His voice came out colder and sterner than he meant to and he saw her face fall immediately and her smile disappear. Even Nusrah shook her head at him. He was gripped with the sudden urge to apologise and make her understand he hadn’t meant it like that but he stopped himself.
He’d never been nice to her, so why would she believe him?
Sighing, he said a silent prayer to God to help him through this.
At Sahur, his dad instructed him to run an errand for him.
“You will go to Lend A Hand and drop some donations. Mr Kazeem will take you and bring you back.”
“Yes sir.” Naasir fought hard to stifle his smile. This was an excellent turn of events. He’d take the opportunity to visit Femis place. He’d update them and maybe borrow his phone to call Sholape. Perhaps Femi would even find him a phone he could use in the meantime.
Finally. Light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
Later in the afternoon, Naasir loaded the items in the car and was waiting for Mr Kazeem at the door, who was still praying.
“I’m ready. Let’s go, Naasir.”
With a spring in his steps, Naasir joined Mr Kazeem by the car. As he opened the door he heard Nusrah say from behind him.
“Wait for me!”
“I’m coming with you. Didn’t daddy tell you?” Nusrah answered in a too-sweet voice.
Naasir couldn’t see Nusrah’s face because of the face covering but he could swear that she was smiling. When had his father planned this? He’d thought to simply bribe Mr Kazeem to make a stop at Femi’s place. Now the plan was officially ruined because Nusrah would never agree.
“Mr Kazeem, dad said to take us to Lend A Hand and straight back when we are done.”
Mr Kazeem nodded: “Bi won se so fun emi na niyen, that was what he told me as well.”
“That’s settled then.” Nusrah turned to him. “Let’s go!”
Naasir swallowed his scream of frustration and got into the vehicle.
“Ah Nusrah, Naasir, It’s always a pleasure to have you here.” Mr Philips greeted them when they arrived.
“Assalamu alaykum.”
“Waalayum salam warahmatullah wabarakatuhu sir.” Nusrah answered for both them.
“Thank your dad for us, the both of you. He sends us huge amounts every month and now this. May Allah reward him.”
That brought Naasir out of his sulky mode, How come he never knew his dad sent donations to Lend A Hand? Naasir had thought he was no longer interested in the charity since mum had passed.
“Naasir I’ve been trying to reach you.” Mr Philips asked.
“Erm,” Naasir scratched his head. “My phone is not with me at the moment…”
Nusrah came to his rescue just then. “ Mr Philips, how is everyone? The kids?”
“All fine, Alhamdulillah. We had new arrivals only two days ago. Naasir was with us when they arrived.”
“That’s good to hear.” Nusrah beamed.
“That reminds me, we have several new converts and would like to offer classes this Ramadan. Naasir the board has unanimously decided that you should take the classes for the males. Just the basics, nothing too deep. You can’t say no, please.” Mr Philips finished.
“Ahm, I can’t…”
“He will do it. Won’t you Naasir?” Nusrah chirped.
What has been happening lately? Why did everyone think they could just spring things on him?
How could they believe that he — Naasir Abiola, aka S.K, a.k.a Ace, trouble magnet and convener of The Rebels — could teach classes to new Muslims? What would he teach them or even say to them? There was no one more in need of knowledge about Islam than himself. That was a well-known fact.
This one time he was going to disagree.
As soon as he opened his mouth to say so, he was interrupted:
“Sis Nusrah is that you? Subhanallah, it’s so nice to see you again.”
The voice belonged to a girl in a flowing hijab much like the one Nusrah used to wear. To top it Naasir recognised her as one of his former schoolmates. A schoolmate that he and his friends had a rather nasty history with.
Naasir groaned inwardly. When was he going to catch a break?
This day just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it?
© Hafsah bint Nurein

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