Friday, May 27, 2016

THE PINK SHOE (A Short story - True Life)

Written by Tijjani Muhammad Musa

This is a recount about fate, about predestination, a "Que sera sera" i.e. a 'What will be will be' story. And this is why people should stop worrying themselves about anything, but should rather take things in life on a daily, moment by moment basis as they come and let them flow with it. Now, here is what happened:

One day, a few weeks back I went to Sabon Gari Market in Kano City to do nothing in particular, but window-shop or is it display-shop? As is usual with me on such a routine, casual walk, I went to a shop owner, from whom I often buy some of the fashionable and unique clothes and shoes that I wear, much to the admiration of many.

When I arrived we exchanged pleasantries and I jokingly asked him if there was anything for me. Knowing the kind of rare and unique stuffs I use to buy, he said nothing of my taste is available at that moment. So, I said ok and walked over to the shoes section, just to see if there's anything new from the last time I was there.

Fine array of shoes were on display, from foreign designer brands to some fine homemade, qualitative sandals, which the local residents love to wear with long embroidered kaftans of various colors and shades. Just as I was about to turn and leave, I saw it. A pink slip-on shoe with a broken pattern on the leather surface.

I picked the right leg off the table it was displayed, turned it to inspect the sole and to my satisfaction found that it was an original piece made by Renzo. I smiled as I called the shop owner's attention, holding the piece up so he could see it. Rather than feel guilty, he responded with a firm one word answer... "41".

My smile froze and gradually melted as I started to check the inside flaps to confirm his assertion and indeed there it was, the shoe was a one size too small to fit my size 42 feet. I was flabbergasted to say the least. How can such a beautiful piece, after being discovered, come in this size? Again I cross-checked to make sure. 41 it is!

I placed it back on the table next to its left pair and was about to move away when a thought occurred to me. "Test it and see" my inner voice whispered . "Perhaps it would fit you. You know, there are small and big size 41s." So, with a renewed hope I picked it up again, sat on a stool nearby and started attempting to wear it.

The shop owner came over, a smile on his face as he watched me push my foot into the shoe without much struggle or even the help of a shoehorn, which was what should be the case when wearing too small a size or a fresh brand new shoe. He was pleased to see my right foot looking sleek and comfortable in the pinkish footwear.

"Well, well, well. It does fit you and snugly too" he said, his smile broadening into a grin. "Yes, as you can see." I returned, stamping my foot in the new shoe to further feel it's interior and where it might possibly pinch. There was none. I looked at it on my foot and was happy with the result, So I said to the shoe, "How much?"

The shop owner answered instead "N19,000 only. This one is hot!" Then he immediately launched into his marketing gimmick of selling the stallion qualities of the shoe. How much it was worth elsewhere, the rarity of the color, its being the only one available and so on, all in an effort to justify his offering prize. I simply smiled at my foot.

"N15, 000" I uttered with such a finality he instantly followed with a loud "Noo! Even I didn't buy it at that price." I raised my head and looked him in the eyes, my smile maintained, fresh as ever. "15 is not good?" I queried. "No, it is not o. I will not sell it, even for 18! I should have said 25 to you, since you are in that your bargaining mood!"

I looked at the shoe on my right foot and how it fitted so well, looking so good I just knew it was meant to be mine. Confidently, I removed and placed it back in its position and told him that there is someone else in the market I needed to see urgently before he closes for the day and so I excused myself, telling him "I'll be back soon."

About 30-40 minutes later, having been through with the other engagement I returned and headed straight for the pinky, where it was earlier displayed. To my utter shock and dismay, it was gone! Wide eyed, I turned and looked at the shop owner with a silent question so loud even the deaf could hear its reverberation.

The man responded back with a straight face "O the shoe you left? Someone has bought it immediately you left" he managed unconvincingly to explain. "What!" I screamed and realized I was loosing my cool. So, I calmly asked again and he said something I didn't quite grasp. So, I dropped it by simply switching off myself.

He was so apologetic thereafter and having come together for so long as business partners, I excused him. Something beyond his control must have prompted his trading off the shoe without our concluding the initiated transaction between us. It was clearly unlike him. So, rather than get angry with him, I chose the path of understanding.

When I left him, he was clearly feeling regretful and remorseful, which showed all over him. Much as I tried to calm and comfort him for what he has done, I couldn't help him. I was left wondering why some people do things like that. For a meager gain, they can readily trade off a long term relationship that could be priceless in worth and value.

Not long after, it was on the radio, television and social media as a Breaking News that an unprecedented fire had engulfed the famous market, razing down more than half of its shops. The inferno lasted for more than 24 hours. Though no lives were lost, yet trillions worth of Naira were destroyed in the monumental disaster.

Many reached out to their commercial partners, customers and trading associates to verify the extent of damage upon their businesses, if thereby affected and I similarly joined the bandwagon calling on all the men and women I know were conducting their legitimate business in the market. The shop-owner was among the lucky ones not touched.

About 3 weeks later, after finding some free time within my tight schedule, I went to the market and as usual went to see my long time customer. All was forgotten, in fact forgiven about the pink shoes. After exchanging greetings and some banters, I ran my eyes over the shoes section and behold 'Pinky" was sitting right there, smiling back at me.

At first I thought it was a hallucination and I even told myself, to stop being obsessed with the shoe issue. It can't possibly be the same shoe, which was sold off more than 4 weeks back. But a second look revealed a familiar feature. So, like one in a trance I got off my seat and reached out to the pink pair. Unbelievably, it was definitely Pinky!

"Hey, is this not that same shoe you said someone has bought before I could come back that day!" I said with some excitement. The shop man's smile was broader than ever before as he recalled the incident and matching my pleasure he said "Hmm wAllah it is! By God, the person who took it returned it giving one certain excuse I can't really recall"

Amazing! I turned it over for a closer inspection and it indeed was the shoe in all its glory, without a single scratch. It still had on its chain straps on each pair that I found so attractive. I was left baffled and confused. How could this shoe, which was given up for "dead" and lost for good, be held in my hands as if I had traveled back in time? But then there it was, beautiful as ever.

The nostalgia gradually became diluted as sober reflection took over my sub-conscience. Does this not confirm the Prophetic Hadith which says "And know that what has befallen you was not going to miss you, and that which missed you was not meant to befall you." So, it is in my destiny that this Renzo shoe would be possessed by me and nobody else.

And it is indeed true that "Allah would not do anything earlier before its due time, or He would not delay anything beyond its due time." That "Rabon kwado ba ya hawa sama. Ko da ya hau ma, dole ya fado" as the famous Hausa adage goes. For how can this happen as described above, if not that Allaah SWT Has Preordained it so?

And you know what? We just got back into the bargaining stage thereafter, exactly where it was paused those weeks back. He, standing at N19k and I maintaining by my N15k offer. But, this time around we made it much easier and quickly arrived at a compromise with N18,500 finally settling the month-old bargaining process. Thus fulfilling Allaah's scheduled Promise.

Now, the pink shoe is among my collections at home. But not before another interesting drama ensued. You see, while we were concluding the month-long delayed transaction, there was a young dude whom I met negotiating to buy a black leather traveling bag. He sat quietly, listening to us through our remaining negotiation on pinky. He didn't say a single word, clearly disinterested in our exchange or so I thought.

I didn't quite notice him, except for the fact that though he was given a good price for the multi-purpose bag, he seemed not in a hurry to buy the bag and leave. Soon, I was done and even bought 2 shirts; an orange flowery short sleeve safari style shirt and a red maroon colored long sleeve shirt. Taking these 2 in a polythene bag, I eventually left the shop, to return for Pinky the next daynduento lack of enough cash to pay out-rightly for it.

It was when I arrived the day after, paid for the shoe and collected same that the shop owner unraveled the latest attempt to deny me of ownership of this intriguing footwear. The guy who had wanted to buy the bag at the shop the day before, abandoned his original intention and opted to purchase Pinky instead. Could you just imagine?

Anyway, that is all water under the bridge now, as the popular saying goes. Pinky has finally come home to stay as has been ordained by The One Who is in absolute control of forces unknown, operating in the vast universe.

Lesson learnt? Trust in Allaah and do not worry about anything. Worrying adds nothing to a progressive process, except stress and anxiety to those who provide for it accommodation in their minds. So, my advise to all: Free your soul from it (worry). Swim with the tide of your river of fate, instead of against it. It is all part of the ultimate drama or play called life.

Just remember that “No misfortune can happen, either in the earth or in yourselves, that was not set down in writing before We brought it into being ––that is easy for Allah–– so you need not grieve for what you miss or gloat over what you gain. God does not love the conceited, the boastful” (57:22-24).

(c)2016 Tijjani M. M./DesignWorld INTERNATIONAL
All Rights Reserved

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