Adama stood in front of her mirror, putting the final touches on her lipstick and powder. She graciously tied her headscarf before admiring the final look and smiling back at herself. She did a quick spin, ensuring her round hips were enhanced by her tight wrap-skirt. Satisfied with her efforts, she grabs her purse and phone and skipped out of her room.
Adama: I’m going to the market. I’ll be back in a little bit. Do you need anything?
Balla: No, I’m fine. You look beautiful, by the way! …Don’t be long!
Adama: Okay, bb. Thank you and see you soon!
Adama gave Balla a soft kiss upon his cheek and stepped out of the modest three-bedroom house in a white and pink taille basse. Her headscarf flowed freely down the side of her sweet, round face. She danced her way down the street, her favorite artist blaring in her ears – Wally Seck. She carefully avoided the puddles of dirty water and trash on her street, strangely juxtaposed next to brand, new marble-tiled homes. Adama has just moved to this neighborhood with her husband, Balla. They’re a young couple, newly married and head over heels for one another. Adama had always dreamed of getting married and having her own home with her husband. “My husband, our three little kids – two boys, one girl! That’s all I need!” is what she’d always tell her friends. They giggled over who’d get married first and over time, one by one, they all became “diek you ndaw” in their homes taking care of business. She smiled as she thought about how she escaped the scenario of living with her mother in law.
Today, Adama planned a nice dinner for Balla. Nothing special going on, just Saturday. As she walked down her neighborhood saying <<hello>> to the ladies sitting outside their homes, she smiled to herself again as she thought about how much fun her and Balla were going to have tonight. “I should hurry before it gets dark” she rushed as she hailed a taxi once she reached the main road.
Adama finished her errands at the local market and began her journey home. In her shopping basket she had green peppers, garlic, ginger, hot peppers, romaine, and of course, Maggi to finish the dinner she already started preparing that afternoon. As she said her final goodbyes and exited the market, a young gentleman approached her.
Ndongo: Excuse me, do you know how to get to Hamo 5?
Adama: Huh? (as she takes her headphones out)
Ndongo: Hamo 5, how do I get there?
Adama: Oh I actually moved to this neighborhood not too long ago so I am not sure. Sorry.
Ndongo: Okay, amoul problem, dieureudieuf [no problem, thank you]. But Miss, I must say, you’re very beautiful! Could I possibly get your number?
Adama: It’s Mrs. I’m married so thank you, but no thank you. Good luck!
As she plugged her headphones back and continued jamming to her music, Ndongo stared at her as she walked away. She’s always caught the attention of men growing up; her wide hips complement her small waist and her smile – that was another story! Straight white teeth perfectly positioned between the deepest dimples and sparkling, brown eyes! She was quite the sight.
The sun began its descent onto the streets of Dakar. The vibrant and rambunctious rumble of the cars, child beggars, ladies selling fruits on the side of the road, and young men playing soccer in random pockets all added to the charm of the city. Adama had to walk back to the main road to catch a taxi – drivers would not make it to small streets with all the sand. She finally hailed a taxi and bargained for a quick ride to Mariste, rushing to make it home as it was already getting dark. “It’s only 1.000 francs, dad! Don’t be so difficult, it’s getting late and I just want to go home! We’re partners – just give me the ride 😊” She smiled as she climbed in the backseat. After 10 short minutes, the driver pulled up to her house. Adama payed the driver and slipped out with her groceries. “Thanks so much, dad!”
Balla: Who was that guy you were standing with?
Adama had barely stepped foot in the house before Balla verbally attacked her.
Adama: What? What are you talking about?
Balla: Don’t play stupid. Who was he?
Adama: Who?! I don’t even know what you’re referring to.
She dropped her shopping basket, tears already flooding her eyes. She had never seen Balla so angry.
Balla: Oh, so now you’re a liar too?! That was your boyfriend I saw you standing with outside of the marche!!!
Adama: What?! No!!
Balla: Don’t lie to me, Ada! Who was he?!
Adama: I’m not lying!!! I promise! He was just asking for directions!
Balla: I can’t believe you’d stoop this low! It takes that long to ask for directions?
Silence struck between them.
The shadow of doubt had already been cast in Balla’s mind. Who could Adama possibly be standing on the street with?! Why were they talking for so long if all he wanted was directions? Where had she been all afternoon?
Adama couldn’t believe what was happening. She had long forgotten about that guy – all she did was give him directions! And when did Balla even leave the house? How did he see her? Why was he jumping to conclusions? Her stomach was in her throat. Her perfect night of catering to Balla had been ruined by a stranger she couldn’t even remember what he looked like!
Adama: Balla, I swear I don’t even know that guy. Wallahi!
Balla looked at her in disgust. “How could she betray our marriage like this?” was all he could think about. “After everything I’ve done for her, this is how she repays me.”
Balla: I need some space to think.
Adama: Balla, please don’t…
Adama spent the night crying. Balla spent the night on the couch. She never finished the dinner and they never enjoyed their Saturday. Balla toyed with the idea that she had been cheating on him all along and tossed around all night over the decision he should take. “My dad always told me, djiguen sopal te boul wolou [woman, admire but never trust]. I should have known.”