Hajara was an angel that God sent to me. Why did I describe her as such? See, when she walks, it’s as if her feet are not touching the earth, she walks like a bird ready to take flight.
She wears laali on the soles pf her feet and her perfume, every time I come close to her, it gives me a heady feeling. I feel like I am floating. One thing I loved most about her, Hajara worshipped Allah with all her heart, she was a woman of prayers.
She always laughed whenever I closed my eye to drink in her feel, her smell, her laughter. She was my God-sent because I never thought I would ever fall in love with any woman.
I am just not the type that goes crazy for girls. It’s not that I have never been with a girl or woman for that matter but I never lose my head to them. You see women are like this and that way, you don’t know where they stand. They tease you and dump you for the next guy.
You tell a woman your plan and in your mind she is following you but the next thing you know, she abandons you. You don’t even know what’s going on in her head. Does she understand what you want? Is she with you in this relationship you are both in? You are never sure. Today she is happy, tomorrow it is all tears. So, me, I just gave up trying to find any girl that won’t give me trouble. Instead, I do those girls that you know owe you nothing and you owe them nothing as well. I call them the codeine girls.
Whenever I need a woman, I just buy codeine, yes, most of these girls are as useless as that, give them two bottles and they will sleep with you all night. Are those the sort of women one wants to marry and keep at home? So that when another man comes with three bottles or four bottles or even a carton, they will go with him?
Then as if God wanted to teach me that I shouldn’t think all girls are the same, he made sure I met Hajara. Hajara was different. She has not been spoilt by codeine or cigarette or hard drink. She was a book girl. They type who wanted to go to big schools and learn and speak big, big English.
Where did I meet her?
At a friend’s child’s naming ceremony. Hajara was cousin to the wife of my friend. As soon as I saw her, tall, slim, almost thin like this. I was just staring at her. I asked my friend to introduce me to her. He did, she came and shook my hands! Can you believe that?
She shook my hands. I just liked the tall thin girl. She was so pretty. She told me her ambition to finish secondary school and go to a teacher training college and after that university for special education course.
She was a girl who knew where she was going. As for me, I don’t have much education, after my secondary school at the government college, that was it for me. I joined my elder brother at my father’s transport business and I wasn’t doing badly.
After that encounter at the naming ceremony, Hajara was my princess. I showered her with everything I had; my love, my life, my dreams, my hopes…she was everything and she proved to be an angel. Listening to me, teaching me the right way to do things, you know all that? She even begged me to stop giving her things. What girl would ask that od a man?
I was proud of her and I wished to protect her, I didn’t know I needed to protect her from my own flesh and blood, my own brother!
I also did not want to spoil her, so I didn’t have sex with her. She was my angel, I wanted to keep her pure because I knew I would marry her someday soon, right after her school. You see, Hajara wanted to finish teacher training college before committing to marriage; and I agreed to that.
I wish I hadn’t agreed to that.
Then I travelled down to Lagos. One of my father’s buses had been involved in an accident along the Lagos-Ibadan express road. I was to go and buy the spare parts and get the bus fixed. The trip took longer than I anticipated, the parts didn’t work with the bus so I had to return them. So there was this back and forth back and forth with mechanic. I spent close to two weeks in Lagos, because that was where the bus was towed.
In that period, Hajara had been taken from me. My own brother, my own flesh and blood had gone to meet Hagjara’s father for her hand in marriage and the old fool agreed!
I came back to hear my angel had become betrothed to my own brother!
Why did my brother do this to me knowing how much I loved Hajara? He always called me a fool for not sleeping with her but I told him my Hajara was too pure to be a casual fling.
Why did Hajara not run away or call me or do something before I came back from Lagos?
You can never understand the pain of a man whose woman has been taken away from him, Aliu had even bedded my woman before I returned!
I will never forgive that!
It was in a blind fury that I went to my brother’s room to do him harm; but I met Hajara instead and in that moment, I decided none of us would her. So, I hit her with the machete. Just once, just once and she died!
She just turned 18 years and I am 24.
-Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories