Zee was sitting down on a brown cushion in her living room. She was staring at her face book page on the screen of her two year old HP 630 black laptop.
Date April 5th 2013.
Her time line looked barren. No update for the past one year. She used to be happy in her Facebook life; a virtual life in a light blue landscape with pictures for friends. It was a carefree life. She posted happy pictures of herself with her friends.
Facebook asked her a question what is on your mind. She posted, ‘‘single ladies do not allow yourselves to be cheated by going out with married men.’’
She closed her Facebook page. She got up and dropped the laptop on the cushion. Her visafone air time was reading low balance. She made a mental note to ask Faruk for the money.
I haven’t talked to my friends in six months. Tears were running down her oval face. She brushed the tears away. She was pacing up and down on the brown Chinese rug in the centre of the square shape sitting room.
Who can I ask?. I can’t tell my mum or my sisters. They think I have the perfect life.
Zee decided to write a letter to a dear aunty in a Hausa magazine called Turare (the perfume).
Dear aunty Precious, I am a 22 year old married lady. I discovered that my husband is cheating on me. I need your advice. Please what should I do?.
She waited patiently for the new edition to come out.
First of all go to the hospital and do test for HIV, STDS and screen for Hepatitis. You should talk to your husband. You should both sit and discuss about it.
April 8th 2013
Zee became scared, she was scared HIV. She told her husband she started her period. She was already a finicky eater. She could not eat nor sleep. She had no joy in watching her favourite T.V station ‘’Farin wata.’’ She decided that going to run tests is a bad idea. She wished she could talk to Faruk.
She checked her Facebook page. April 9th 2013.
A new friend request.
Hi I’m Aliyah. I saw what you wrote on your wall; about not going out with married men. It is good advice but the married men might lie to the girls and say they are single.’’
Zee clicked on aliyah’s wall. She was surprised Aliyah looked like her. The same skinny frame, the same iman brown colour 2 skin tone the only difference was their nose. Zee’s was blunt. They were age mates.
But the picture of the girl wearing skin tight jeans and a long sleeved shirt. With a veil thrown back delicately across her left shoulder showed a confidence beyond her years.it was her eyes that held her captive, black old eyes that had seen the world. She looked like someone that had answers.
Zee accepted the girl’s friend request.
She told her hello how are you.
Aliyah was sitting on her bed in a small chic self- contained apartment. Everything from the blue walls, to the blue bed sheets and blue throw pillows on the floor was done in honour of the Chelsea club. she stayed in gwarimpa. She was a student of English Literature at university of Abuja. She stared at the screen on her Ipad,her Chanel no 5 perfume wafted through the air and passed through the delicate airs in her nostrils.
She sneezed a little,’’ this is fun.
That naïve girl accepted my friends request.
Zainab or zee is faruk wife.it was by stroke of luck that she clicked on his face book wall and saw married to zainab liman.Faruk had told her he was single. Facebook was a great store of information.
Faruk shehu married to zainab Liman on february5th 2011.
Birthday 5th May 1988.
Zainab Liman had her skinny frame, some might say she looks like me but she looks like a meek rabbit .And I am definitely a tiger.
Two years of marriage she told herself and the husband was already cheating.
Too bad for the girl.so she send her a friend request.
Friend on chat
Zee ‘’hello how are you’’ zee punched in to the keys of her laptop a letter at a time.
Ali. ‘’fine how are you.’’
Zee ‘’are you married’’
Ali ‘’ my fbook status is showing single.’’ Ali pressed her touchpad with a delicate touch pad with flying fingers.
Zee ‘’ can I ask you a question’’
Ali ‘’you can ask me anything, I won’t tell a soul’’
Zee ‘’ I need advice. You are a stranger. Maybe you can give me an answer.’’
Ali ‘’you can tell me anything, I don’t judge.’’
Zee my husband is having an affair.
Ali’’ how shocking’ ’how did you find out’’
Zee’’ There is always this perfume scent on his shirts. I don’t know what to do’’
Zee ‘’ we have been married for just two years’’
Ali’ ’Sorry, have you asked him about it?
Zee ‘’ I can’t ask him, what if he gets angry.
Ali’’ You don’t want him to get angry.’’
Zee ‘’ we don’t talk about anything.’’
Ali ‘’ you mean you don’t talk to your husband.
Ali ‘’do you love your husband.’’
Zee ‘’ what is love?’’ I married Faruk because everybody gets married. Ali ‘’does your husband love you?
Zee ‘’I don’t know.’’
Ali ‘’ well what about courtship’’
Zee ‘’ we are cousins .,after I finished my HND our parents decided that we should get married.’’
Ali ’’arranged marriage’ ’but in two years you should have learned to talk.’’
Zee ‘’can you help me? I want to be able to talk to my husband.
Ali looked at her face book wall, I feel sorry for this girl. Faruk is a cunning, lying person and his wife foolish and naïve.
Zee ‘’ are you still there
Ali ‘’ the server is slow, I will help you. What does your husband do.’’
Zee ‘’he is a doctor’’
Ali ‘’what did you read,
Zee ‘’HND in local government studies.
‘’What a stupid course’’ Ali shakes her head at her I pad.
Ali ‘’ what do you do from morning to night.’’
Zee ‘’ I pray five times daily, do house work, look after Fahd. Watch Farin Wata and read mills and boons and Hausa novels.’’
Ali ‘’what about news’’
Zee ‘’ I never listen to news
Ali ‘’ start listening to news that is your first lesson.
Zee ‘’ why I hate news.’’
Ali ‘’ you have to like it, all men like news. That way you can talk.my phone is ringing, one of my stupid boyfriends is calling.
Zee ‘’ how many boyfriends do you have ,they are not married right?
Ali ‘’three, I don’t go out with married men. Bye’’
Ali stood up from her bed .She stretched like a cat. She spied her black berry curve on her ebony dressing mirror. It was underneath the latest edition of her Tozali magazine. five missed calls. She flashed back.
Hello dahling,how was your day. She said in a slow sugar syrup voice.
Faruk said ,i was calling you since.
Sorry I was chatting with a helpless married lady on Facebook.
Faruk, why are you wasting your time chatting with a boring married lady.
Ali said ‘’ faruk do you know any boring married lady.’’
‘’No I don’t he said my married friends tell me right.’’
Yes I know you are single. Ali said.
Sweetheart, I am broke can you send me money to my account. She added sugar to her voice.
How much he asked.
Forty thousand she replied.
Okay, can I bring it to your place in the evening .
Yes of course.
She turned on her Facebook, I wonder what time his wife thinks he closes.
6pm in the Evening.
Zee lowered the volume of her star plus T.V. She dropped the remote. Got up adjusted her blue Ankara wrapper. She was wearing a blue flair Ankara blouse with a wide neck and the matching wrapper. She carried her laptop and switched it on.
4 Friends on chat.
She clicked on Ali.
Ali, ‘’did you listen to news’’
Zee’’ I watched al Jazeera it seems, people are dying everywhere.it made me sad.’’
Ali ‘’you can start with Channels news.’’
Zee ‘’okay, I have it on star times.
Ali ‘’what time does your husband come home.’’
Zee ‘’10 pm everyday’ ’he is always busy. You know he is a consultant.’’
Ali ’’what does a consultant do and what does he specialize in?
Zee ‘’ I don’t know’’.
Ali ’’check Google or the dictionary and ask your husband what he does, he will start talking to you’’.
Ali ‘’ what are your goals.’’
Zee ‘’ what do you mean’’
Ali ‘’what do you want to achieve from life’’
Zee’’ I wanted to get married to a well to do man and live happily ever after. ’My husband is my achievement’’
Ali ‘’ you need to think about a second achievement’’
Zee’’ I saw your picture on Facebook’ ’your eyes is filled with pain’’
Ali ‘’ what are you talking about, I am a happy person.’’
Zee ‘’ I didn’t say you are sad, I said you look like someone that has gone through a lot’’
Ali ‘’it is none of your business, I don’t need help from anyone’’.
Aliyah went of chat, how dare that foolish girl tell me about pain what does she know about my life. She clicked on zee and place off chat. I am not talking to her again. She should solve her problems by herself.
Zee saw her chat ali was off chat. I shouldn’t have said anything. She is such an unhappy person. I should know right I am sad too. I just thought maybe I could help.
She send a message
Hi I am sorry, I annoyed you. Please turn off your chat. You are the only person I can talk to. I thought maybe we could share our sorrows.
7pm, zee checked her message she refused to answer.
Faruk came visiting, she collected the money and slept with him. A fair exchange she told herself. Actually faruk was fine and funny. He was easy to talk to.
His wife is stupid she told herself but she felt a bad headache coming up.
She decided to send Zee a message saying @ zee’ ’I am fine.’’
She had a date with her second boyfriend a fifty something year old public official.
Ali put up with him because she always managed to steal some dollars from his pockets and bag. She was sure he noticed but he never cared. After all he was having a case with the EFCC.
Ali returned home from her tryst with the old man. She packed her blue Lexus jeep. A gift from the old man. She went straight in doors. She did not bother switching the light on. She sat down on the single chair in her room. She was staring at nothing.
She noticed the blue light blinking from her laptop.
I didn’t switch it off properly.
She raised it up. Her face book page was on ,five notifications from Zee.
She connected her visafone.it was quiet fast. But then she lied about everything.
Five messages from Zee.
She smiled slowly.
4pm,sorry if I annoyed you.
6pm,I am so sorry
7pm ‘’ sorry’’
8pm ‘’sorry, bye.’’
Ali ‘’ forget about it’’1 pm
Ali ‘’I was raped at 14 in my village’’
Ali ‘’ I told no one, so don’t tell a soul’’.
She switched off everything, got up. She switched the light on and had another bath.
What is on your mind?
Facebook can be so annoying.
9am Zee ‘’ I am so sorry’’
9.02 ‘’ I won’t tell anyone’’
Ali ‘’ it was a long time ago.
‘’ Are you talking to your husband ’’
Zee stared at her face book page. She changed the subject. Aliyah is a strong woman. I wish I can be like her.