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I never bothered to call him. What would I have to say to him over the phone, anyway? “Do you miss me, honey? Or do you miss our son Ayomah?” I just knew he would be coming to see Ayomah off. He was going abroad. I needed to see him face-to-face anyway, look him in the eyes to see if I see any remorse, any signs of regret or shame. The doorbell is ringing. Ayomah is on the phone. Before I even ask him to know who is on the line, I open the door. Mr. Ambrose Alhassan, alias Mr. AA, is trying to embrace me.

“Hello, Maryam, where is Ayomah?” He asks.

“He’s in his bedroom.” I say. I walk past him into the kitchen to turn off the cooker. I hear him say as he comes in.

“He’ll be safe where ever he travels to.”

“Spare me, would you, Mr. AA. I’ve got a lot to do right now before Ayomah’s departure.” Upon a second thought, I open the door. I hear him enter the living room. Feel him standing behind me. When I turn to face him, I realize that Mr. AA is looking tired. He looks much older than sixty-five. I see why people often mistake him for my father. But at the moment he just looks pitiful. Like a stray and hungry dog. But I don’t feel sorry for him one bit, because he’s not a stray dog. He’s the man who left me for another woman without any reason.

“I will go to Church with you tomorrow to meet Pastor Ofori.”

“What did you say?”

“I wish to meet Pastor Ofori, for counseling. For my behavior. To stop it. So I never leave you again. I didn’t mean to do what I’ve done.”

“Are you coming to see Ayomah off or you are coming to stay with me.” I say.

“I can’t leave this house again.” He says.

“You’ll have to when I report to the Police.” I say.

“Please don’t, Maryam. I’m begging you not to, please. It could destroy my reputation. The reputation I’ve worked so hard to build.”

“What reputation? Your reputation of being addicted to fast women and fast cars. You should have thought about your reputation before leaving me for the third time. You only need me when you’re in trouble or broke.”

“I did think about it.”

“Oh, you thought about it, and your brain gave you the go ahead, is that so?”

“No. I mean, I wasn’t thinking when I used to do all that I did. That’s now the whole problem.”

“What in the world would compel you to do what you did. Are you not a practicing Muslim man who is supposed to know better?”

“I don’t know.”

“And then keep doing it?”

“Maryam, I honestly don’t know.”

“Think about it for a moment! If you don’t know, who the hell does?”

“Eh! Are you now dating an American?”

“What did you just say?”

“I mean are you now having an American boyfriend?”

“I guess so.”

“Oh, really!”

“Are you jealous?”

“I’m not jealous. Just asking.” He just shakes his head.

“You’ve appetite for foreign men. By the way, where is that American guy?

“He’ll be coming today to see Ayomah off.”

“What? To see my son off. Is he crazy?”

“No, it’s rather you who is crazy.”

“I’m going to wait to see who this guy is.”

“You’ll surely meet him. He’s a true lover. Not your kind.”

“Don’t annoy me further.” He says.

“I’m not afraid of annoying the day light out of you.”

“I know that. But I keep hoping you’ll not. Look. Maryam, what I did to in the past is despicable and I want to get help.”

I fold my arms, wishing they were baseball bats, so that I punch him in his face.

“I know the magnitude of what I’ve done to you. It was wrong, and I can promise you that it will never happen again.” He says.

“Oh so you expect me to believe you just like that?”


“Let me ask you something, Mr. AA. Did you do this to your other women, too?”

“Yes, but I’m not going back to any of them any more.”

“Oh, so you want come live with me again?


I try to stop the tears, but I can’t control it. I wish this was all just a bad dream, and when the alarm bell rings, it’ll be over. I loved this man hard, but right now, I don’t love any part of him. He used to make me feel protected and safe. Anytime he came back to me after having been dumped by his other women, I accepted him back. Not this time again. All I want right now is for him to leave Ayomah and myself alone.

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And, although, Jefferson may have known very little about the Qur’an at the time, the advice of this great man remains relevant to true lovers even after the passage of two centuries. Indeed, his advice appears to be in conformity with a similar one given to believing women in the Holy Qur’an:

“Ye shall certainly be tried and tested

In your possessions and in yourselves;

And ye shall certainly hear much that

Will grieve you… but if ye persevere

Patiently, and guard against evil, – then

That indeed is a matter of great resolution.” (Qur’an, Chapter 3,Verse 186).

In the preceding verse, the Arabic word Sabr implies many shades of meaning, which is impossible to comprehend in one single English word. It implies (1) patience in the sense of being thorough, not hasty; (2) patient perseverance, constancy, steadfastness, firmness of purpose; (3) systematic as opposed to spasmodic or chance action; (4) a cheerful attitude of resignation and understanding in sorrow, defeat or suffering, as opposed to murmuring or rebellion; but saved from mere passivity or listlessness.

When all these qualities are inherent in any romantic relationship, they would certainly save it from going down the drain. Our battles against the vicissitudes of life – having wealth and possession (and the lack of them), are all too well the means of our trial. In our personal relationships, the color of our skin, our talents, our knowledge, the opportunities available to us – and their opposites – indeed everything that happens to us and makes up our personalities is a means of our testing. To be sure, our Faith in God, our love for a particular woman or man from a different racial or cultural background is a means of our testing.

If lovers are unable to address each other with a soothing language; and can’t oppose obstacles that threatens to dissolve their relationship with patience; and can’t afford to accept racial slurs (because a dark-skinned man is married to a white lady or Chinese lady) with a degree of sang-froid; then mutual hatred develops. If one begins to wonder why he/she even fell in love with “that” white man or woman or “that” Chinese man or woman, then lovers begin to distance themselves from each other – due to societal pressure – the love that existed between them turns into a breeze that wafts it’s way through the window out of the marital home – as if it had never existed!

In the diplomacy of love, the nature and quality of interactions between lovers indicate the intensity of the existing love between them. Consider for a moment, what Diana – The People’s Princess had to say about the quality of her interactions with Charles – The Price of Wales:

“I threw myself down the stairs bearing in mind I was carrying a child,” she said, describing one incident (emphasis mine), Queen Elizabeth comes out, absolutely horrified, shaking, she’s so frightened… and Charles went out riding (emphasis mine). (MSNBC, In Tapes Diana speaks of marriage woes, 1).

In conclusion, we are prisoners of love. Sometimes we are held hostage to loveless relationships to which we have not contributed. At different stages in our lives, we all have to face the real world of romance – that could be unfair and unkind. One of the best ways to overcome these is to be diplomats in our romantic affairs – determining who gets what, when and how in this relationship.


MSNBC, “In Tapes, Diana speaks of marital woes,” [news on-line]; available from;Internet; accessed on March 6 2004, p.1 of 4

This author has been a true love advocate for over two decades, and has worked in various capacities to enhance true love and teach its meaning to various communities all over the world. He has been a Globe-trotter of sorts, and has visited many countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. He is a networker, a motivator and a writer. In the organization that he belongs to, they bring opportunities of Health, Wealth and Happiness to those who are ready to lift themselves out of a life of limitations and unfulfilled dreams. The writer totally believes in this statement by Zig Ziglar: ” You can get everything you want in life, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” In order to help you get what you want, you are free to visit this site to learn more,

Happiness: Prologue

Ayomah’s Story (Sequel 61)

Risking Life and Limb

At virtually every stop along the Oshodi-Agege-New Town Road, in Lagos, Nigeria, I was among the many young men from other West African countries who besieged road motorists in order to sell newspapers. Among us were secondary school graduates and former teachers. We used to gaze through the car windows at passing motorists, our eyes pleading for a token purchase of The Daily Times, Tribune, Concord, Punch, the Guardian or the “Weekend”. Some of us, risking life and limb, would run across the dangerous Oshodi Highway, aiming for a car whose occupant had signaled buying interest. At Oshodi, any opportunity to sell a newspaper was not to be missed, as it could make a significant difference in our meager daily takings.

Every morning, at about 7.a.m., I take my position in the middle of the Oshodi Highway starring at five rows of cars, trucks and buses squeezing into three lanes of traffic—a scene intimidating in sight and sound. A safety precaution was making sure the vehicles actually stop at some red light before taking position amongst them. At Oshodi, red light, green light were all the same. The traffic at Oshodi, and the army of police officers who tried to manage it, told much about Lagos and other African cities in ways big and small. It seemed to be that, no matter how crowded—and it was always beyond crowded, no matter how chaotic—and it was always beyond chaotic, Lagos functioned. In fact, it was such a miracle that someone could get from Ikoyi to Agege at certain times of the day that some said it could be the result of divine intervention.

No one was saying the traffic in Lagos was responsible for the military coups in Nigeria. But some people said the burden of the roads, like the struggle of daily life, corruption, reinforced the conviction that both motorist and commuters in Lagos, needed some sort of discipline—a War Against Indiscipline or WAI—initiated by General Muhammadu Buhari and the late Brigadier-General Tunde Idiagdon. It was amazing how newspaper vendors like us survived and how Lagos continued to remain standing, and how Lagosians could still, if they were patient enough, sometimes get to their destinations—even if not on time. The solution, I always thought, was in the hands of some invisible force. It was like, everyone for him self and God for us all. Looking at both the commuters and motorists, one could realize that they were overwhelmed with pressure.

To be continued…

Ayomah’s Story (Sequel 60)

In a concluding remark, she reminded the audience to be aware of the four things that rot the mind, body and lungs. According to her, drugs and TV rots the mind. Junk food rots the body. Cigarette smoking rots the lungs. She reminded Africans of their culture. She made it clear to them that poisoning by media was even more harmful than poisoning by saturated fats, because, according to her, it destroys not only individuals but the “African Personality.” What she meant by the African Personality was open to different interpretations. What was so amazing to me about Ms. Ayele was the fact that she’d only been a high school graduate. She wasn’t a graduate of any higher institution of learning in Ghana or elsewhere.

She made me recollect some of the famous sayings that that my head teacher taught me at school—wisdom is not only found on top of the graduate school mountain, but could also be found on top of the sand box at nursery school. Even though, she wasn’t blessed with any classic good looks, she was admired for the sharpness of her mind and the frankness of her speech. She advised students to place more emphasis on using their minds rather than their memories.

To be continued…

Too Much Religious Talk

What had been my fault? I was the darkest among the dark. I was one of the poorest among the poor. I knew it was the work of God. I did believe in Him. I’d been told by some Churchgoers and some Muslims that, it was actually a trial from God. For all their assurances and acceptance, there were days when the thought of being the darkest among my school mates seemed unbearably cruel. I had often raged at the fact that having a lighter complexion meant being more intelligent and having more opportunities.

To me, too much religious talk worked well if they were tied to some advantages on earth—rather than promises of heaven. Despite the fact that I was neither religious enough nor matured enough to understand God’s purpose, I believed that God is beautiful, and everything that He creates is beautiful. I knew and clearly understood that, I was a stranger within my own country. There was another dimension to this problem—tribalism. At a very young age, I understood what tribalism did to tear us apart as a people sharing the same destiny.

As I stepped into the meeting hall, I realized how difficult it was for the majority of parents attending the PTA meeting to reconcile the color of my skin with the sharpness of my mind. In my own young mind, it seemed like there was an unwritten universal law stating that—the lighter your skin, the smarter you are. It was a rare occurrence for such a poor boy like me, who was being taunted due to the thickness of his skin to be honored in front of such an audience. As Mrs. Ashiagbor tried to give a speech about the virtues of being responsible parents, her speech was interrupted twice by one Ms. Ayele—an ex-con—who had been jailed for seven years for drug-dealing. She was such a nuisance at the meeting that, she was asked by Mrs. Ashiagbor on two occasions to keep silent. She was nearly ordered out of the meeting hall at a point but for the sake of Mama’s intervention. Every parent was given a chance to make a point or two before the meeting came to a close.

To be continued…