Ever gotten so frustrated that you don’t know what to do or who to turn to? It has happened to me a lot. I had gotten to a point where I wake up in the morning and have nothing to do with my life. Sure, I could go to work on my less than minimum wage salary, but even that felt like a waste now because there was literally nothing to do.
I would have liked to believe I had actually gone through a lot in this life that felt, it was enough to make someone take their own life, but I didn’t want to think I was that weak. My mom always called me her strong Anana. But she was not even here to call me that because she and my dad were lost to me at the tender age of eleven in a car accident.
Now I’m twenty-nine with a crappy job and no one to call my own, living in an apartment and hoping for a miracle I know I won’t get, because I am allergic to good luck. If I had any, I don’t think I would lose both my parents at the same time, get raped at the age of sixteen, get raped again at seventeen, and like that is not enough, again a victim of rape at the age of twenty-three, an abortion afterwards which, left me with depression and the cherry on top was to find out recently, about my boyfriend’s marriage on social media after three years of dating. The meaning of my name Anana, is soft or gentle, and I tried to be that. I think I even excelled at being that, but the world was not Anana with me.
I finally decided to go shopping on a Saturday. It wasn’t like I had a lot to shop for in my one-bedroom apartment, but I needed to feed myself and had only five thousand to spend. After browsing the supermarket and seeing that some things I needed were affordable, I decided to pick a few things. After picking, I headed to the counter to pay, and this dude in front was wasting time. I still had things to do, so I asked impatiently what the hold-up was. The guy in front of me apologised (this is not a gist of the guy paying for me, by the way). Long story short, I paid for him with what little money I had left for the market (I know how it feels to be stranded). He thanked me and asked for my full name. I told him it was Anana Usman. He said, “Anana Usman, I Ahmad Mustapha humbly thanks you”, and he left. I had one thousand five hundred left, decided to use five hundred for a pot of stew and keep the one thousand for transport and Monday.
In the middle of the week, I got back from work early (from lack of nothing to do), and I got a notification from Facebook, a friend request, so I added the person, not like I had a lot of friends to begin with. A “hi” pops up and I replied “hi” back. Then I see thanks for the other day at the supermarket”. Then I remember the person who was the sole reason for my lack of anything good to eat for the week. But then we begin to chat, and it lasted the whole day, and the next day, and the next week, and continued to the next month.
Basically, he became the reason I woke up in the morning, but because of my past, I never mentioned or showed that. He did know all there was to know about me, apart from my rape experiences, I didn’t want to share that. I also knew a lot about him, big politician dad, simple mom, Ivy League school, back to the country to settle down, loves rice and stew and so on. We were always going out together, but not as a couple, searching for partners for each other. At first, it was fun but later, I started falling for him, so it wasn’t. I could not bear to see him flirting with other girls, but I wore a smile anyway. After all, he was way out of my league.
One evening we were supposed to go out, but I could not take it anymore, so I told him I was sick, thirty minutes later Ahmad was knocking on my door. I was surprised to see him truly. He told me he knew I was lying and decided to come shame me. I laughed and replied, “Consider me shamed”. He came with food and his laptop for movies, and we spent the day together indoors. Then we started spending weekends together like that, and he never tried to take advantage of me. Ahmad was religious; he never liked to be late with his prayers, taught me to fast voluntarily on Mondays and Thursdays, basically made me a better person, and that’s when I decided I didn’t want to see him anymore. No point hurting myself any further by looking/talking to him every day and loving him more. I decided to tell him the next time he came, instead of on the phone.
The next faithful evening, Ahmad came around. I told him I did not want to be his friend anymore, told him I didn’t want to see him or talk to him. He asked if I had a valid reason, and I told him I wanted to settle down and he would just be in my way (stupid reason, I know). He got down on one knee. I thought he was going to beg for us to remain friends. Ahmad brought a ring out of his pocket and said, “Marry me Anana please, I’m tired of pretending to flirt with girls I have no interest in, I’m tired of showing signs of how much I want to be with you, which you never seem to catch, so here I am, coming out to say I want to spend the rest of my life with you”. At that point, I just stood staring at him because it was too good to be true. Something good was finally happening to me, me Anana Usman!!! And then I started to cry, and I hugged him because I needed the support. He asked if it was a yes, and I nodded, still overwhelmed and unable to talk. He slipped the ring in my finger, wiped my face and said, “I love you Anana, you would always be the star in my skies.
Ten years and two sets of twins later, Ahmad has never for once made me lack anything. From his parents, I got another set of parents who truly love me, and I am blessed with a family of my own, and till this day, he still refers to me as the star of his skies, and he would forever be the greatest love of my life.
Written by Safiyyah Ismail