The bricklayer will walk towards the stall where Falilat sells bread and beans, naked from the waist up donning a denim jeans riding low at the waist and a pair of work boots, his sun tanned skin glistening with sweat. She will run her eyes appreciatively over his well-toned abs and pecs and let her eyes wander downwards below his navel to the bulge in his trousers. She will see a handsome, hardworking hunk of a man and feel desire pool between her legs.
She will flirt with him and he will flirt back and they will continue the mating dance for a few days before he finally makes a move. She will refuse at first, and he will pretend to be hurt. Then she will agree and the tryst will begin. The sex will be amazing and they will keep coming back for more.
She will become pregnant and move in with him, after the traditional ceremony and the payment of her dowry. Then cracks will begin to show, and she will become disillusioned and the first seeds of unhappiness will sprout. He will come home every evening and strip his work clothes dumping them in the corner by the wooden table close to the only window in their one room apartment, and the sight of his lean torso with ripped muscles will send her mind into lustful territories and her dissatisfaction will be temporarily forgotten in the strength of his thrusts.
Because sex is the only good thing about them, and because married couples do not like to use protection, babies will come in rapid succession, worsening their financial woes, further driving a wedge in their relationship. Because he works hard from dawn to dusk, and brings home all his wages, and he doesn’t drink nor smoke, she will love him, and hold on to hope that luck will smile on him someday, and their romance with penury will be over.
Unfortunately, life will not be kind to her, and because of advancing age and the demands of motherhood, she will grow fat, and sex will no longer be amazing. But she will not mind, her children will be her priority and their welfare and happiness will be the only thing that matter.
Then one day while at work in a construction site, the bricklayer will pause for a break and see a young woman selling bread and beans sashay past. He will turn and follow her with his eyes, looking at her firm breasts and rounded hips, and each sway of her hips will coincide with the missed beats of his heart and he will feel a stirring in his loins. He will see Falilat – a younger version of Falilat – and fall in love all over again.
He will walk over to her seated under the baobab tree resting and pretend to buy a loaf of bread. The younger version of Falilat – who really is Fatima – will see the bricklayer walk towards her wearing only a denim trousers and a pair of boots, with bare torso, rippled with muscles and sun tanned skin glistening with sweat, and she will think to herself that he is a handsome, hardworking hunk of a man. She will feel heat rise to her cheeks and her heart beating faster, and blood pooling down between her legs.
He will charm her with words and tell her he loves her, and she will open her doors and let him love her. She will have the most exhilarating moments of her twenty-one years and confide in her friend after a month that she has fallen in love.
The bricklayer will love the younger version of Falilat – who really is Fatima – and shower her with care and affection, and will no longer be able to tolerate the impostor living in his house. He will spend less time at home and spend most of his money on the younger version of Falilat – who really is Fatima – and will neglect Falilat and her children.
Sex – which was the only good thing between them, and which had been dwindling – will become a rarity and when it occurs, will be bland, and then eventually stop.
Falilat will become miserable and go about life with a stoop in her posture, weighed down by the heaviness in her heart, but will manage to keep it all together until the evening when a knock on the door will shatter the graveyard silence pervading the room where she was having dinner with her family.
She will rise from her seat on the floor and go to answer the door and freeze. She will stare at a young woman, fair complexioned, with firm breasts and rounded hips and a bump in her lower abdomen looking like she would rather be anywhere else, and be reminded of a younger version of herself. She will be jolted to action by a grave voice and will realize that the younger version of herself is accompanied by an older man and woman with grim faces.
In the ensuing seconds, it will slowly dawn on her, that this is the end.