DaysOfTaqwa: Rebirth Chapter X

Chapter 10: Ripples of Discontent

Naasir was running late for his appointment at Lend A Hand.
He was late because he had overslept.
And he overslept because when he reached home after Subh, thoughts of everything he had done wrong to so many people kept haunting him. It was as if a covering had been lifted from his vision and he could see himself how everyone saw him. An arrogant, rude and ungrateful spoilt brat with no regard for constituted authority and completely ignorant of Allah’s blessings in his life.
Ashamed, Naasir had performed ablution and proceeded to weep and pray and weep and beg Allah’s forgiveness and guidance.
He repeated the cycle until he fell asleep on his prayer mat.
Waking up with barely 30 minutes to spare he’d freshened up and raced out of the house, intent on making a good first impression since he had missed out on that by flunking the first class. Naasir knew Mr Philips held him in high regard and he didn’t want that to change.
As he rounded the corner into the Bamidele Street where Lend A Hand was located, Naasir stopped short. In front of him were Femi and Shakir. He’d totally forgotten about them. Who would have thought that could ever happen?
They looked pissed, as they should be. Naasir had promised to hang out with them this afternoon and had even vowed to bankroll their outing.
“Guy, what the f**k? Why you do us like that now?” Femi asked. His nickname was Fire and Naasir could see it in his eyes now, burning with a ferocity that was familiar as well as scary. He’d seen that look before. Femi was spoiling for a fight.
Naasir scratched his head, smiling sheepishly to try and douse the tension. “You caught me guys, I’m sorry. I was just too busy…”
“Wetin you dey do?” Shakir cut in. “S.K, what’s going on? You haven’t been yourself lately.”
Naasir scoffed. He had to think of something to get them out of there without any incidents.
“Nothing! Like I said…”
“Cut the crap, S.K.” Femi said with a dismissive wave of his hand. “I gave you a phone, why didn’t you communicate with us?” His eyes never left Naasir yet his next words were directed at Shakir. “I told you he’s doing it on purpose. He’s now too big for the likes of us.”
“Ngbo is that true?” Shakir asked disbelief evident in his voice.
Naasir scoffed. “Of course not. You know I volunteer here and it’s been hectic these past days…”
“Hmm, zobo!”
“Femi would you stop for a second and let me explain!” Naasir was beginning to get irritated.
“I’m not in the mood to listen to the lies you’ve cooked up. Abi, we all know that’s your trademark.”
The element of truth in Femi’s words did not stop them from hurting Naasir. He didn’t want to be known as a liar. It used to be a cool thing but not anymore. He would change that narrative.
Starting now.
“You know what? All that stuff that we used to do? Partying, drinking, and everything in between? I am not interested in living like that anymore. It will only lead to ruination in this life and the next. I’d rather have…”
“So it IS true!” Shakir exclaimed. “Why the sudden holier-than-thou attitude? Abi no be S.K we dey follow talk ni?”
“I’m not that person anymore. I want to be better, to make my dad proud…”
“Shut up jo, bloody hypocrite.” Femi sneered at him.
“What did you say?” Naasir had had enough of Femi’s condescending behaviour. He walked up to him until they were standing toe to toe.
“I said you’re a bloody hypocrite who can never change. Will your senile old man still be proud of you if he knew all the sh*t you’ve done…”
Naasir saw red. Placing both hands on Femi’s chest he shoved him hard. Femi recovered quickly, as if he had been anticipating the move from Naasir. He planted his feet on the ground and hit Naasir with a right hook to the chin.
Naasir staggered back, however, he managed to land a punch to Femi’s stomach before Shakir stepped between them.
“What is the matter with the both of you?!” Shakir yelled, arms splayed out, a feeble attempt to hold them both back. Just then, Femi’s phone started ringing. He took it out and snickered, holding the screen up.
“See? Na your tramp dey call so.”
“Ah Femi! How can you say that about Sholape?” Shakir sounded offended on Naasir’s behalf.
Naasir chuckled, wiping the blood from his busted lip. “Never mind him, Shakir. He’s still mad that the most coveted girl in Brighter Days High rejected him and instead went out with me.”
At that, Femi let out a growl and lunged at him. He almost succeeded in dragging Shakir behind him. Naasir was prepared, already dreaming of ways to pummel Femi within an inch of his life.
“Ace? What is going on here?”
The calm voice pierced through the haze of anger clouding Naasir’s senses. All three of them froze. Naasir opened his eyes and turned.
“We were just…” Shakir began.
“I wasn’t speaking to you.” Nusrah’s voice rang with authority. She walked up to Naasir.
“I asked you a question, Naasir. What are you doing?”
Naasir worked to calm his breathing and gather his thoughts. “I- They- Femi wanted his phone back.”
“Is that all?”
Nusrah nodded. “It’s good I have it here then.” She rummaged through her bag and produced the phone. “Here.” She handed to phone to Shakir. “I don’t want to see you around my brother anymore. Is that clear?”
“Yes. Yes, it is,” Shakir said, pulling Femi along with him.
Femi hissed, mumbling something that sounded like; Eleha, abori mabowa’ under his breath.
Naasir bristled at that and he was about to attack again when Nusrah held him back.
She shook her head. “It’s not worth it. Let’s go inside and get you cleaned up.”
Naasir watched as Nusrah fussed over him in the sick bay at Lend A Hand.
She had been quiet since they had come inside. Naasir knew that meant she was still angry at him. Disappointed even.
“I am sorry.” He whispered. “Say something please.”
Nusrah finished applying a piece of plaster to his lip and sighed. “I am a bit disappointed in you, Ace. You couldn’t control yourself?”
“I would’ve if he hadn’t insulted Dad…”
“You’re to blame for that. I’m sure you must have said some things before that gave them the liberty to talk about Dad like that.”
Naasir couldn’t deny that fact.
“I’ll tell you something now that will help you restrain yourself in case you ever find yourself in a similar situation.
Abu Hurayrah quotes the Prophet as saying: “Fasting is a protective shield. When a person is fasting, he must not indulge in any obscenity or vulgarity. If someone fights him or verbally abuses him, he should reply by saying twice, ‘I am fasting’. By Him who holds my soul in His hand, the smell of a fasting person’s mouth is in God’s estimation more pleasant than the smell of musk. (God says of fasting people:) ‘They abstain from their food, drink and sexual desire for My sake. Fasting is undertaken for Me and I will grant its reward.’ A good deed is rewarded by ten times its value.” (Related by Al-Bukhari).
“I know now, and I’ll try to implement it in shaa Allah.”
“See that you do. Now go on. Mr Philips has been waiting for you.”
© Hafsah bint Nurein

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