DaysOfTaqwa: Rebirth. Chapter VII

Chapter 7: The Trials of Temptation II


Naasir came awake with a jolt. Something had woken him. A persistent sound.
The sound was from his window. It came in intervals as if someone was throwing a stone at it, picking it back up and hurling again.
Naasir got up and went over to the window to investigate. There he met a sight for his sore eyes.
“Femi! Shakir!” He shouted waving frantically.
They spotted him and waved back, motioning for him to come downstairs.
He didn’t need to be told twice. Quickly, he rushed downstairs.
It was 11 AM Sunday, so the house was silent. Everybody was probably still asleep.
Outside, he ran over to his friends and a lot of fistbumps and back clapping occurred.
“Guy, how far na? You’ve been AWOL since Thursday. What happened?” Femi asked.
Omo, it’s a long story. I don’t have my phone with me. My dad seized it.”
“No wonder. Sholape has almost destroyed my phone with calls.” Shakir said with a chuckle.
Naasir laughed. “Let’s go to my room na. Why did you guys have to throw stones at my window?”
Femi and Shakir looked at each other.
“Ah, I don’t know about that o.” Femi began, refusing to meet Naasir’s gaze.
“Why?” Naasir was genuinely puzzled. Then it occurred to him that maybe his dad had done something again. He eyes them suspiciously.
“Did my dad do anything to you guys?”
“No. Your sister. She opened the door for us and told us you were asleep and would also be busy for the rest of the day.” Femi replied again.
“She then asked us to leave,” Shakir added. “We waited thirty minutes, came back and had to bribe Kalistus to let us back in.”
“Me, I didn’t want to deal with Sholape’s wahala, when she calls to ask for you. That’s why we thought it best to find a way to see you since you were already here.”
So, Nusrah was also interfering in his business?
He knew what to do.
“You guys go wait for me outside. Let me just get some things from upstairs.”
Femi and Shakir agreed and stepped outside. A few minutes later, after thanking Kalistus and squeezing a #500 note into his palm, Naasir and his friends left the building.
Four hours later, Naasir walked home leisurely, whistling a tune under his breath. Femi had just dropped him off at the beginning of their street. He felt satisfied with himself – he had finally spoken with Sholape, who’d been worried sick. Femi had even found him a phone and a new SIM card. Nothing fancy, yet capable of the basics.
A nagging guilt burned the back of his mind though. It had been there all the time he was in the lounge.
You’re whiling away time, it said. Remember, you have more important things to do. Your dad. Nusrah. Muneer. Mr Philips. They are all counting on you to do the right thing.
Naasir shook his head to dispel the intrusive thoughts.
What was the right thing then? Teaching classes he had no business teaching? Or reciting the Qur’an repeatedly until his voice was hoarse?
Yes. The guilt answered. It’s not so bad, you know that.
He would recite a little before going to meet Muneer at the mosque. Tomorrow he’d begin the classes at Lend A Hand.
The new phone vibrated just then. It was a text from Sholape.
Home yet?
He smiled and texted her back.
Almost. At the front gate.
Without raising his head, he fished the keys out of his pocket to open the gate and encountered air where solid metal should have been.
“Assalamu alaykum, Naasir. Welcome.”
Stunned, he looked up and came face to face with his stepmum. She was looking at him sternly, and something like disappointment in her eyes.
“Ha-What are you… ?
“You did not expect to see me at home right? You thought I’d have gone to the hospital.” She stepped outside and closed the gate behind her. “I’ve been watching you from the balcony upstairs. I saw you. With your friends.” She tipped her chin towards his hand “I also know you’ve got a phone.”
The phone burned a hole in Naasir’s palm. He wanted to fling it from himself and hide it away all at the same time.
“Let me be clear.” His step mum continued. “I could go straight to your dad right now and tell him what you’ve done. Everything.” She stared at him pointedly and he understood immediately what she meant. The incident at breakfast the other day.
Naasir stiffened. He did not want to hear her next words.
“However I shan’t. Your dad’s dealing with so much right now and he doesn’t need…” she spread her arms wide “…. all this added on top of that. I fear it will hurt him. Believe me, he has so much faith in you…” Her gaze never left his, pain and fear reflected in them. “Don’t betray his trust. It would hurt him more than you could ever imagine.”
Naasir was at a loss. Why was she afraid? What was it that scared her? She was wrong though. Anything that concerned him never hurt his dad. He knew that more than anyone.
All of that didn’t matter though. What mattered was what would happen if she told informed his dad about his recent stunt… and Sholape. Dad would follow through with his threat, he was sure of it.
Mechanic overalls no go fit you o Naasir, better wise up.
Why couldn’t they just let him live his life as he saw fit? It was never a problem for them before so why now?
He heaved a deep sigh and without a word stretched his hand with the phone towards her. She shook her head.
“What do you want from me?” He whispered in frustration. “What does HE want from me?”
“He wants you to grow up. He wants you to dump these frivolous activities and develop a relationship with Allah. Most of all he wants you to forgive him… before it’s too late.” He heard her breath hitch at the last part and was sure he caught the sheen of tears in her eyes.
He blinked. She swallowed. And the tears were gone.
Like they were never there. In their place was iron resolve.
“I’m going to test your will by leaving the phone with you. Make no mistake, I’ll be watching so if you use it, I’ll know. Make another misdemeanour…” she snapped her fingers.”… it’s straight to your dad.”
“You’re blackmailing me?”
His stepmother smiled, tapping her chin with her forefinger. “Not at all. Think of this as an incentive whenever you want to make a decision. You’ll remember what’s really at stake. And you’ll choose wisely.”
She closed the gap between them and tapped his arm gently. ‘I see the potential in you Naasir. The propensity to do the right thing. The question is: Do YOU recognise that part of yourself? More so, will YOU be able to overcome the trials of temptation?”
With that, she turned and entered the house, leaving a dumbfounded Naasir to stare at her retreating back.
©️Hafsah bint Nurein

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