Two days later, Amina’s mother arranges the meeting between her and the chairman’s son, Ismail.
Mama Amina: “Welcome, my son. Sit down let me go and get you water.”
Ismail: “Oh, don’t bother yourself, I am fine, mama”.
Mama Amina: “Ah-ah, even water you no go take? Na your house be this now o”.
Ismail: “I know, mama. Thank you”.
Mama Amina: “Okay, let me go and call Amina for you”.
Ismail: “Okay, ma”.
She goes into the bedroom and meets Amina lying down on the bed. “Oya, stand up quick-quick, do make up and wear your best clothes, your future husband dey parlour dey wait for you”.
Amina: “Ooooh, mama leave me alone, abeg. I should get up and get dressed for what now. Which future husband is that one?”
Mama Amina: “Amina, eeehnn, don’t allow me start with you this afternoon o, just get up now do wetin I tell you. You must marry this man whether you like am or not”.
Amina reluctantly gets out of the bed and goes into the bathroom where she takes a quick shower. She comes out and spends almost an hour getting dressed and making up. “No, I can’t wear this native; it’s making me look older than my age. No, this dress is too short; the guy will think that I want to seduce him. No, this jean trousers is kind of faded”, she keeps trying on one shirt after the other. She takes extra time to apply her makeup. “No, I can’t use red lipstick, the guy will think I am a flirt, no, this pink lipstick is too loud, he will think that I am childish”.
She finally settles for a knee-length Denim skirt and a black top with nude lipstick. Her heart is pounding as she steps out to meet her guest. “Oh, I didn’t even remember to use my perfume”, she runs back into her room and sprays more perfume and body spray.
Ismail gets up from where he is sitting as soon as Amina steps into the sitting room.
Ismail: Hello, sweetheart. It’s a pleasure meeting you. It took you so long to come out that I almost think I am at wrong place. My name is Ismail, what’s yours?”
Amina is dumbfounded at the figure before her standing, a handsome tall gentle man. He is on a deep blue fitted Kaftan Shadda, Blue cap with with a black shoe. His smile and dimple which is barely noticeable because of his cheeks captivates her heart. There and then, she knows that she has fallen in love and must do anything to make him marry her.
“Hello…” he says, cutting short her thoughts.
Amina: “Hi”, she goes on her kneels to greet him. “My name is Amina, do make yourself comfortable”.
Ismail: “Amina, that’s a lovely name, dear. Looks like you are not comfortable having me around, I am sorry but…”
Amina: “No, it is okay”, she says with a shaky voice.
Ismail: “Okay. Do you mind our going out to any place of your choice? Somewhere we can relax and talk?”
Amina: “no, I don’t mind. Let us go”.
Ismail: “Hold on one second. Call your mother for me; I need to tell her that I am leaving”.
Her mother comes out and Ismail hands her N50, 000 cash.
Ismail: “Mama, use this to buy salt for the kitchen. Please, I want to take Amina out, do I have your permission? I promise to bring her back home before dark”.
Mama Amina: “All these plenty money and you say it is for salt? That salt must be designer salt”.
Ismail: “Hahahaha, mama. That’s quite funny”.
Mama Amina: “Thank you, my son. You can go out with her, no problem”.
When they get outside to where his car is parked, Ismail opens the car of his black Mercedes E550 for Amina and holds the door for her to go in. “My lady”, he says gesticulating with his hands and bowing as she goes in.
“He is so sweet and handsome”, Amina thinks to herself.
They arrive at the restaurant which is one of the most expensive in the area after about 15 minutes’ drive. Ismail orders for a chilled bottle of water and he asks Amina to place the order for food.
Amina: “Honestly, I don’t know what to order. Help me out”.
Ismail: “Common, sweetheart. Check the menu list and make the order for us. You are going to be my wife and its good you get used to taking decisions such as this for me. I will eat whatever you order”
At the mention of wife, Amina’s tummy stirs, causing her to feel like she has a thousand butterflies moving inside. She places an order for two plates of fried rice, Cole slow and chicken.
Ismail: “Tell me about yourself, pretty one”.
Amina: “My name is Amina, I have a National Diploma in Public Administration, I was working in Abuja before I resigned to come and stay with my parents. I am easy going and God fearing”.
Ismail: “Oh, I like God fearing people because I am also God fearing. Anyway, my name is Ismail, the first and only son of the chairman of this local government. I studied in the United Kingdom where I obtained a degree in History and Archeology and a Master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy. I live and work in Abuja and I just came back home to pick a wife because my parents insisted that I marry from my local government. But the search is over because I have just found a wife”.
“Who”, Amina asks anxiously.
Ismail: “My wife is sitting before me, staring at me with the most beautiful set of eyes that I have ever seen in the world”.
Amina: “You make me blush, even though you know I am not a white woman”.
Ismail: “It’s allowed, my dear. We Nigerians blush the Nigerian way. So, tell me, how old are you?”
Amina’s heart skips a breath and she spills out the drink she has in her mouth, coughing.
Ismail: “Sorry, love. Are you okay? Here, use the serviette. Did I say or do anything wrong?”
Amina forces a smile as her heart continues to race fast. She has always dreaded the question of her age and she doesn’t know if she should tell him the truth or not as she does not want to lose him. “I will be 37 soon”, she finds herself saying.
Ismail: “Oh wow! You look younger than your age. My mum has always cautioned me to marry a girl who is in her early twenties with a rich background and you know how mothers can be when it comes to their children’s choice of life partners. Anyway, I will talk to her. I love you and your age is just a number to me. I will be 39 next month and I hope we can fix our marriage to fall on my birthday”.
Amina lets out a deep sigh of relief.
Ismail brings out a ring and takes Amina left palm in his.
Ismail: “Ever since I made up my mind to get married, I have carried this gold ring about to give the lady that will capture my heart but none has been able to do so. When I saw you walk out of your room to meet me earlier today, I knew deep within me that today marks the end of my search. I am ready to make you my wife any day you chose if you allow me. And so I ask; Amina, will you give me the privilege of spending the rest of my life with you as your husband? Will you be my wife?”
Tears of joy and fulfillment begin to flow uncontrollably from Amina’s eyes. “Is this how God answers prayers or I’m I dreaming? Me, Amina getting married to my dream man? God, you are so great and wonderful.” She thinks.
Amina: “I have waited all my life for this opportunity, I won’t let it pass me bye again. I will marry you again, again and again”.
Ismail: “I promise to love and cherish you all the days of my life. You shall never lack as long as I live. For accepting to marry me even when you barely know me, I will make sure you become the talk of town and the envy of everyone”.
They hug and Ismail slips the ring on her engagement finger and kisses it.
Ismail: “Now, let’s go and see my parents. I want them to meet you so that I can explain to them why I need to marry a lady of your age and social status.”
Question: “Could this be real? Is Amina getting married for real? Is Ismail for real? Will his parents accept her despite her age and poor background?
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.
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