It is three years now since I saw you last. I have not written in a long while. I have not written since then. Remember the handwritten letters we used to write ourselves. We’d both say that written love letters was our love language. I lied, it wasn’t mine. Spoken words of assurances and affection were mine. You, Rufai’, you were my love language. Did you lie too? I miss those times.
Don’t fret, I have moved on. One has to move on from these things, even if it takes three years, sleepless nights, depressed thoughts and a part of your soul. Seven years of marriage is no joke. But I have moved on in less than half of it, life; fickle!
You may wonder why I am writing to you then. You have since settled with your new wife and beautiful baby. Well, one reason is because I haven’t written in a long time. And I don’t know how to write to another person but you. But I will learn soon. But there is another reason. I want to finally tell… THE TRUTH!
Rufa’i, when the truth came out, it was not the truth, it was the truth you had to see to let go. But in reality… it is so different from what you found out, what you thought you knew. I didn’t tell you all this while because I knew your mind was made up, and I knew our marriage was not salvageable, I knew mistrust and resentment had fermented and simmered the places our love was meant to block, there was no turning back, I had to free you, so I let them finally crack us apart.
I will stop with the long introduction now and just dive right into it. I did not do it Rufa’i. How could you possibly believe that after 10 years of being together and holding each other’s hands I could hurt you and liaise with your enemies? I hate Aminu, you know I do. I know how the papers leaked and I am sorry to say that it was your brother. I remember the day he came to get them. You were not around. He just swaggered in and demanded to go to your study. I said I couldn’t let him in without your permission, he assaulted me, hit my head on the wall. I swear it. I had a bruise afterwards, remember? You asked about it and I told you I hit an open cabinet door. I ran and locked myself in my room. 11th December, 2019, three years ago today, check the CCTV footage if you think I am lying. I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to cause a rift between brothers, your family already hated me as it was. Anyway, he proceeded to your study. Apparently that was where he got the documents and took some money too. Check the footage. I am only sorry I didn’t tell you this earlier, but I didn’t want to cause a problem. Your brother took those documents to Aminu and made the hostile takeover possible, I am sorry you lost most of your fortune. I really am. But I am glad you have rebuilt it back up. You are a resilient man Rufa’i.
I have always told you you trust too easily, and you had always said it was because I have trust issues, and both have been true. Last year, I launched an investigation regarding the assassination attempt. Because my spirit was never at ease knowing you will always associate that incident with me. Why? How? Come on Rufa’i, you know me better than everyone and just because the police who were actually paid to blame me said it was me, you decided to believe them? I have helped you unravel the case and you had better fire Solomon and hand him over to the authorities because it was all him and your brother working for Aminu. I know this sounds unbelievable, I am finding it hard to believe myself, Solomon was family, or so we had thought. I have attached all proof with pictures, names and transactions. Remember the man the police caught who confessed to the attempted assassination, the man who said it was me? Guess where he is now? Not in prison. It was all staged, a fake ‘suspect’, they set him free after the deception was done. I have attached his address so you can go check yourself. I swear it, I can’t lie to you Rufa’i, we have had too good a life for me to do that, the fact that you think I have done those things and that I am your enemy rips me apart every day, but I am telling you the truth now. Beware of who you call family.
Your mother doesn’t know your brother had a hand in those treacherous acts, I know they were close but she could never do that to you. So I beg you to please not tell her, it will end her. Especially since your brother is dead now. It is not worth it. She is a great woman who only wanted the best for you, even if she thought I was not on that list. Even if she believed Asiya was on that list. She had always wanted it to be Asiya. She said I had jazzed you. Lol. I? You know the love we shared, think back now and reason if it had a single element of jazz.
I know what you are thinking. What will explain the charms found in our home and the bottle with your picture, a black empty shell, a paper with words written in a foreign language, the skin of a mottled snake and some weird items in it tied by a rope which was locked with three leather padlocks. I know you are wondering how they couldn’t have been my doing when I was seen burying them. Yes, I did. I buried them but listen I was given these things in a closed plastic bag and was told not to open them by her driver Mallam Dahiru, she told me to bury them, Wallahi Rufa’i your mother did. I am so sorry, I didn’t want to tell you but I have to, she told me that it was for your protection and to strengthen our home. I didn’t even believe in all of that, but I humoured her. I have never denied I did it, I just opted not to tell you who made me. Ask Mallam Dahiru. Then go and check her phone. She sent a message to me on the 5th of August, 2019 telling me Mallam Dahiru is coming with the package and that I should call her for instructions on how to use them. Please go and check our correspondences if she still has them and tell me you didn’t see that. All our other conversations were over the phone but this one was a text, I’m glad it was. At least you will see some proof.
Why, you ask? To break us apart and get you together with Asiya obviously. Because I couldn’t give you children and her beloved goddaughter Asiya, the chosen one who could do no wrong could. I am not being bitter, I am just reminiscing about how we both were blindsided. And I daresay she has succeeded. I don’t know if Asiya has a hand in it, but well… I have asked around and charms like those could only be done by the other party to their object of affection. Your mother could not have acted without your wife. I am so sorry you are finding these things out now and this way.
One more thing, if you still doubt the charm incident, you still have a picture of it on your phone I suppose. That image you sent to me raving about how I was doing diabolical stuff to you… hmmm. I am still trying to get the words you used out of my head Rufa’i. The ache is still raw. Anyway, please zoom in a particular picture with the bottle snapped from behind, you’ll see the word Rufa’i and below it Asiya. It is faint, but zoom well and try, you’ll see it. I didn’t notice until last year too. I don’t think I need to say much after that.
Everyone chose to blame me because I was an easy blame. But I have to move on. Just like you did. I have to create a new life too. I am sorry if this may sound selfish but I need to dispense with all these burdens for me to completely be ready for a clean slate. I hope you won’t take any drastic actions after reading this. Afterall, it is past, your brother is dead, and no one is after you now. Hopefully no one is after you, seeing that you are rising again, you can never be too sure.
I don’t know how to round this letter up. Be careful Rufa’i. I hope life treats you better than it treated me. Please don’t feel bad in my case, we had a good thing, the best thing really, but it overstretched its duration. Even though we never had any problems as a couple and you know it. You know we had a loving marriage before it all went awry, I believe not all things are meant to last till eternity. I am terribly sorry you are finding these things out now. Please take it easy. Don’t think too much of it since everything is working out fine for you. Good luck Rufa’i.
This is the last you will hear of me.
I re-read the letter, lower my glasses and rub my temple. Well, this was a hard day’s labour.
I really do feel for Rufa’i. No one deserves this. But then again, maybe some people do. Maybe some people do, for throwing away people that have stood by them for people that are opportunistic. The letter should have reached Rufa’i a few hours ago. He should have read it by now. I am sure he probably has. I am picturing his reaction, it is not pretty. He will come.
It is two days after the letter has been sent now, I hear the knock, I know who it is. You know who it is too, reader, afterall, we knew this would happen when we sent the letter. I don’t open the door immediately. I am composing myself. I wait for a few more frantic bangs before I rush downstairs from my room to open the door. He is here, Rufa’i is here. He has come to me. As I knew he would. And boy does he look like a mad bull has run him over. My face is full of pity and understanding when I gesture him in without uttering a word. He looks haggard, helpless, lost.
“It is all over Maimuna”. He says. Oh! how I have missed this voice. I swallow hard so he doesn’t see how his presence and words affect me. Even though he looks like a worn out, sun beaten copy of his charming, vibrant self, his presence will always make my heart sing.
“I am so sorry” I half-whisper with a sad shake of my head. My voice is uneven, tears are pooling in my eyes. It was all your fault, I say in my mind. It was all your fault.
You shouldn’t have thrown me away when you found out about the documents and the assassination attempt and the charms Rufa’i. You should have listened to ME, your wife! But you just yelled and judged and declared me guilty. You chased me away with nothing but the house you gifted me to mark our fifth anniversary. You did not even look back at me who used my father’s connection and some other less decent methods to get you the contracts that built you. I quite literally made you! And you turned it all to dust.
Everything I did was out of love. Just like everything I do now. The documents? Yes I gave them to Aminu to sabotage you but it was only because the richer you got, the more your mother and all those hungry girls wanted to take you away from me goddamit! You had to go down, lay low, so they could get their stinking paws off you! Yes I am screaming!
The video of your brother in your study is a doctored one. I paid your maintenance guy to splice it in. I hope you see it and and I hope your heartbreaks for disbelieving in me. He is dead, there is no one to prove me otherwise. You can confront Aminu but he will just scoff at you and term you crazy. He is too arrogant to try to defend himself.
The assassination attempt was just that, an attempt. To scare you. I would never, ever hurt you. You should know that. I would rather hurt everyone else, all of them. But I had to stage a scare so you could come back to me, to my arms, trust in only me. It worked for a while, before that bloody sniffing policeman discovered the man I paid. But no worries, I have made sure they released the man. He will sing Solomon’s name now. He will tell you Solomon paid him to lie about me. And the proof I attached of Solomon being shady is true, yes he is shady, doing things behind your back, but not to that extent. You don’t need to know that though. He will try to explain that he was merely defrauding you, and you will not listen. Just like you did me.
The charm? Come on. Any woman that charms a man must just love him as much. Besides, it was just reinforcement. I know you love me. I can sense it, see it. Now that I think about it, I knew the charm thing was fraud, you still married Asiya even though the names written were to keep you apart. But like I said, reinforcement.
Yes your mother sent something for me to use on you. Kayan mata, hogwash. We never needed aphrodisiacs to spice up our intimate life, we created fire in the bedroom and sizzled the sheets. We were so good together in all aspects you see. But I collected them from Mallam Dahiru anyway. And I gave them to my househelp to use. I didn’t need all that. Besides, I couldn’t trust your mother. I couldn’t trust anyone. I don’t trust anyone. All these things I am telling you with my eyes, Rufa’i. All these truths. Saying them for the last time before I close them off, erase them, throw them away, brand them hallucinations and actually believe that they never happened.
Now you are here crying to me. It is all over for the second time for you. All the things I told you have been corroborated and you believe me. But you are done fighting. You are tired. Your life starts taking shape and then it crashes. And that is why I am here. Your rock.
“I am so sorry Maimuna” You say for the hundredth time or what feels like it. I am fighting between being broken and pitying you. How do you treat a man who picked the world against you only to find out that the world was wrong?
I know I shouldn’t let you hug me. We are not married. But you seem so broken. You seem like you want to do anything to make it stop. You seem like I am the only home you know. So I let you. And I pat your back and I tell you it is alright. You are a strong man Rufa’i. You will bounce back. But listen, you can never truly stand tall without me. We both know that, and that is why I have steered you back to me. I will always look out for us, the means I use don’t matter, the end is all that is important.
My heart is filled with so much love when you say “You are the only family I have”. I smile. You don’t see it, but I smile. You are always so trusting. You didn’t read my letter well it seems, oh well, some things never change. You obviously missed the part where I wrote. “Beware of who you call family”.