UPTOWN ESCAPADES: Diary of a Sexagenarian


Entry Two (B)

Dear reader, you can not begin to imagine the state I was in when I saw Sumayyah smiling at me. My mind was racing with questions: What is she doing here? Why does she look like she just won a lottery? Why isn’t she turning the whole place upside down?
The expressions of shock on the faces of my partners were pure gold. They have never met Sumayyah and I was sure that their thoughts mirrored mine. I pulled myself together and forced my brain to formulate a response.

“Sumayyah! It’s been a while. How have you been? How are the kids?”

Sumayyah pulled me into a hug. “Indeed, it has been too long, Mrs Badmus. I am fine, and the kids are doing great as well.” She must have noticed how tense I was and the awkward stares we were both receiving. She looked from me, to Zaid then back again. “Is anything the matter?”

“Ehm, it’s…”

“Cat got your tongue ehn, Iya Ile Ookan” Zaid cut in, before directing his attention to Sumayyah. “Ummu Ramlah, I will tell you what is going on here. This old crone and her henchwomen have been harassing me for the past few minutes and I almost called the security to throw them out.”

“Is this correct, ma’am?” Sumayyah asked as a ghost hint of a smile hovered on her lips.

I looked to Sisi and Iya-ngba-life for support but alas, they were nowhere to be found. Those sneaky rats must have snuck off when I wasn’t paying attention. Well so be it. I’ll face the music alone.

“It’s correct and at the same time not correct.” I cleared my throat and squared my shoulders. “My dear, I came here to seek justice for you, after you were so shabbily treated by Mr Zaid here. It just doesn’t seem fair that he should be happy while you remain heartbroken and sad.”

Sumayyah shook her head and laughed heartily. “You couldn’t be farther from the truth Mrs Badmus. It is true that Abu Ramlah and I are divorced but it was a mutual decision, Alhamdulillah.” She took my hands in hers and lowered her voice and spoke to me like she would a small child. “Although causing a ruckus was not the best way to go but I realise that you did it because you were looking out for me. And I appreciate the thought. But as you can see there’s no need for that as Zaid, his family and I are on perfectly good terms. In fact, my company is handling the catering today.”

As if on cue, a waiter wearing a t-shirt with the words: ‘Mayyah’s Edibles’ printed boldly across the back walked past. To say I was surprised is an understatement. My mouth formed a silent ‘Oh’ and I had to snap it shut with my hands. A; “But-but how can you be cordial with him after- after everything?”; was all I could manage.

“Hmm, Iya Ile Ookan I still have a mind to ask security to escort you out, so you’d better watch yourself.”

“Haba Abu Ramlah be nice. She’s just a sweet old lady.” Sumayyah pulled my stiff, still-recovering-from-shock body close to hers. “Besides, you are celebrating today so you shouldn’t get worked up. I actually came looking for you because Mama Sho wants you, so…” She pointed to a canopy in the far right. “…go on. I’ll handle this.”

“Alright. But please make sure she and her cronies do not start any trouble.” And with one long hard look at me, Zaid sauntered off.

Believe me I understood the message Zaid passed when he gave me that look. I turned to Sumayyah. “Thank you.”

“You are most welcome, ma. Zaid mentioned you cane with some friends.” She looked around. “I don’t see anyone”

I sighed. “Yes, I did but I don’t know where they are at the moment.” I took Sumayyah’s hand and led her to the seats we vacated. “Sumayyah please could you answer the last question I asked before Zaid left? I want to know”

She smiled and said. “Well, Zaid and I are divorced, and we do have our differences but that doesn’t stop us from being nice to each other. Besides we can’t avoid each other even if we wanted to because of our kids.”

She went on to tell me about the hadith of the Prophet recorded in Sunan Abi Dawud where he (SAW) said that making peace between people is better than the rank of (voluntary) fasting, prayer and charity. I listened with rapt attention as she explained, and I realised how much I missed her friendship. We went from talking about the deen to catching up what we’ve both been up to.

“So that was how I started ‘Mayyah’s Edibles’. Now I want you to tell me all about your trip”

“Sabeel, please ensure that those guys have everything set for Imaam Zakariyyah’s speech…” Zaid’s voice faded into the distance as he and another tall man walked past. I noticed Sumayyah’s body tense and her eyes followed their retreating backs. Let me just say it straight: Sumayyah was staring at Sabeel. I mean she was giving him ‘The Eye’.

The magic of the moment was interrupted when one of the waiters came by and called Sumayyah’s attention to a problem, so she had to leave. It was no bother because my sleuthing antennae had already picked up signals that ‘something’ is sizzling between those two. How sure am I, you ask? Dear reader, I have lived in this world for 60 years and 39 of those years were spent being married. So, believe me when I say that: I KNOW A LOT about this stuff.

I have to go find those unfaithful, old crones I call my friends now. I’m pretty sure they’re holed up somewhere stuffing their bellies full. Maybe I’ll do just that too. See you in the next one!


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