The next day at Farah’s residence. Isma’il wakes up to a horrible hangover and the smell of frying eggs.  Farah had managed to move him into the bedroom the night before. He pushes himself out of bed and makes his way to the bathroom to get cleaned up. Afterwards, he heads to the living room, which Farah has also tidied up. Spotting his bag in the corner, he picks it up and brings out a fat envelope. He inspects it, satisfied that it looks like it hasn’t been tampered with. 


(To himself)

After my gaffe yesterday this should place me back in her good graces. When she gets this, surely she will be willing to lend me some money.’ (He stands up to go to the kitchen, taking the envelope with him.) “Assalamu alaykum dear. Good morning. What’s for breakfast?”



(With a small smile that didn’t reach her eyes, Farah turned.)

“Waalaykumsalam warahmatullah. We are having bread and scrambled eggs.”



“Aww, but you know I don’t like eggs and bread. It tastes funny to me.”


(She gives him a non-committal shrug, her expression hardening.)

“That’s all I have. It’s not like I knew you were coming…”



(Sensing that Farah was getting angry, quickly thrusts the envelope into her hand.)

“Here. I brought this for you.  I mean for the running of the household.” (He smiles innocently) “I worked very hard to get that, you know. And don’t worry there’s more where that came from.”



(Pleasantly surprised at the size of the envelope. It was bulkier than anything he had ever given her before. To herself) ‘Alhamdulillah! Maybe he has turned a new leaf. What happened yesterday was just a mistake. I had better be nice to him so he can fulfil more of his responsibilities.’

(To Isma’il) “Wow! You finally got a job? That’s amazing!”



(Angry at her question but decides to play it cool.)

“Yes, I did!”  (Farah is about to open the envelope but he stops her) “Please don’t do that now. I am really hungry and I feel like eating your signature spaghetti dish. Can you prepare that instead?”



(Immediately places the envelope on the table and begins fetching the ingredients)

“Of course. I am so sorry my husband. I should have asked you before frying the eggs but you were asleep and I didn’t want you to wake up without having anything to eat.” (She stops and hugs him.) “See, this is what I have always been telling you. If you carry out your responsibilities in this marriage, we won’t have to fight all the time. And you will get to eat any dish of your choice.”


(Isma’il laughs and leaves Farah in the kitchen to prepare the meal. Curtain.)





Farah’s living room. Isma’il has just finished his meal and is relaxing in a chair at the dining table. Farah has just finished in the kitchen and joins him at the table, envelope in hand. 




“Now let me open my husband’s surprise.” (Isma’il is smiling proudly as well. Farah carefully peels open the flap of the envelope and pulls out crisp naira #50 notes. As she begins to count her smile dims. “What-what is this, Isma’il?”



(Still looking proud of himself)

“What do you mean? Money of course.” (He leans closer to her) “You like the agaran abi? I especially had it changed because I knew you would be impressed.”



(Still counting.)

“….99, 100…108, 109, 110!” (She looks up at her husband, incredulous.) “This is all? Are you kidding me? A measly #5,500! After you have been gone for almost four months! With no word about your whereabouts. ”



(Surprised at her reaction)

“You should be grateful, Farah. I know of some men who did not even go home not to talk of giving their wives any housekeeping money. (He crossed his arms over his chest) At least I didn’t come home emptyhanded, so the least you can say is ‘thank you’”



(Gets to her feet)

“Are you serious? You want me to be grateful for this?!” (She waves the money at his face) “Do you even know how much it costs to run the home? Electricity bills, grocery bills, water and waste, security, Mimi’s school fees and other expenses, cost WAY more than this Isma’il! What am I supposed to do with this?”



(Still indignant)

“I don’t know. Cook dinner or something? Listen it’s not like Mimi is always around. Isn’t she in boarding school? And you are mostly alone, so what’s the fuss? How many units of utilities can only one person use?”



(Trying to control her anger)

“I am glad you know Mimi is not here. Seeing as you didn’t even ask after her since you came home! Your daughter wanted to see you before leaving for school yesterday but of course, you were unavailable. You couldn’t even reply her texts!”


(Under his breath)

“Why should I? She’s just a girl. What good can a female child do for me…”



“Stop right there! You truly are shameless. Am I not female and you depend on me for your very existence? Abi who do you run to when you are down on your luck or in debt from your various gambling escapades? Who bails you out, ehn?” (She beats her chest) “It is I, Farah. This ‘useless’ female  standing in front of you…”



(Pulls his chair back and rises to his feet too)

“Hey, don’t start recounting what you have done for me! And so what if you did those things? Aren’t you my wife? It is your duty to do them. To take care of the house in my absence. I have been on the road for so long trying to get my big break and if not for some unscrupulous people, I would have made it big…!”



(She raises one hand to stop him from talking)

“Oh please! Spare me. You are the only reason you continue to fail. Your gambling and alcoholism will not let you see the light. How many jobs did I help you facilitate but you refused to accept ehn. Even when I got the car and asked you to start a taxi service with it, you refused, saying it’s beneath you…”



“Yes, it is beneath me. How do you expect someone of my calibre to be driving a taxi? It’s preposterous!” (He sighed.) “Look I don’t want to fight. I wanted to tell you that I have another business idea. And this time it’s legit I promise you.  All I will need is…”



(Eyeing him in disgust)

“Don’t even finish that sentence! I have NO MONEY to give you, do you hear me?”




“So you won’t support me?” (When Farah shakes her head, he tries to collect the money he gave her but she holds on tight.  Finally when he sees she won’t let go, he hits his hand on the table and storms out of the house.) “Don’t expect me anytime soon!”



“Don’t come back!”

(Still fuming and mumbling to herself about how infuriating her husband is, Farah stomps into the kitchen and goes into the pantry. Inside she pulls out a false bottom in one of the food drawers and pulls out her bag full of her savings. She adds the #5.500 from Isma’il and resolves to take it all to the bank the next day since she was going to have a busy day that day. )


Unknown to Farah, Isma’il never left. He had tiptoed back into the house and quietly followed her. You see dear reader, this was his plan all along; To find out where Farah keeps her savings so he could help her use it properly, according to him. I know you all know a better name for what he’s about to do to the cash when Farah leaves. (Curtain.)


© Hafsah bint Nurein



Leave a Reply