**At the Ndiaye residence**
Balla stared at the destitute plate of food in front of him. He attempted yet again to make a meal for himself. It had been a long three weeks of not speaking to one another. At first, Adama tried to explain herself but eventually gave up as Balla refused to believe her. She was coming to a dead end. Three weeks without a word from him. Three weeks where he didn’t spend the night in their conjugal bed. Three weeks where she prayed endlessly for him to come back to his senses. Three weeks that led up to this moment.
Adama walked down the stairs in jeans and a floral long sleeve top. In one hand was her cell phone. With the other hand, she was dragging a suitcase behind her. Balla immediately stood up.
Balla: Where the hell do you think you’re going?
Adama: Oh, so you can speak?
Balla: Don’t patronize me. Where are you going with that suitcase?
Adama: Don’t play stupid. How long has it been since you even looked up at me? And it’s now that you care?
Balla: Don’t be ridiculous. You know what you did.
Adama: I am not even going to stand here and reason with you. My brother is picking me up and taking me to my parents’ house. If you have anything to say, you can come say it there.
Balla: You’re not leaving this house! We don’t need to involve anyone in our problems!
Adama: Are you kidding me? How are we supposed to resolve any problem with you ignoring me like I don’t exist? There is nothing you can say to keep me here today. Move!
Just as Adama was pushing Balla out of her way, her elder brother, Samba, walked in.
Samba: Move out of her way. Don’t even tempt me.
Balla promptly stepped away and looked in disbelief as Adama strutted out of their house with her brother holding her suitcase.
**At the Diop residence**
Adama: I honestly didn’t want to leave. But I knew I had to in order for Balla to truly know my worth.
Nabou: Girl, I can’t believe you still wanted anything to do with him. He treated you like shit.
Adama: I know but it’s not that simple. Marriage isn’t something you can just walk in and out of whenever you want to. Even coming back here is humiliating to me. I want to be in my home.
Khady: Please spare us this “marriage is so sacred” speech. Gënoo ñu ko xam ! (we know that too!) But you don’t deserve to be treated like that. Balla dafa fuuy! (Balla is arrogant!)
Adama: Don’t talk about my husband like that!
Nabou: Haha well, excuse us!
Khady: Listen Ada, nobody is telling you to break up your marriage. But you do need to sit back and think about the kind of treatment you are going to accept from him. He went three weeks without talking to you and it wasn’t going to let up anytime soon. Over something so silly. It took you packing your stuff and leaving before he said anything!
Nabou: And he only said something because he knows it would look bad on him if you told your parents the truth.
Adama: I know, that’s what really worries me too. I don’t want to be in a trap of him emotionally torturing me and then making it seem like I’m the one in the wrong.
**At the Diop residence**
Diop: Adama, tell me why you have come back here.
Adama: Papa, I am sorry but Balla has changed so much recently. He’s been ignoring me for three weeks now. He refuses to eat my cooking, doesn’t sleep in our room anymore, and won’t speak to me, no matter how hard I tried to get him to.
Diop: What did you do?
Adama: I didn’t do anything! I went to the market one Saturday afternoon to pick up some things for dinner and some stranger asked me for directions. I didn’t even know where he needed to get to and I told him I didn’t know. I come home and Balla accuses me of having a boyfriend, out of nowhere!
Daba: Adama, you know jigéen buy sëy nga, dangay xool fooy teg sa tànk! Looy dox di wax si mbedd mi? [Adama, you know you have to be more careful as a married woman. Who are you talking to in these streets?]
Adama: Mais, man je rêve ou quoi? Xanaa li ma leen wax deggu leen ko? The guy was asking me directions! We’re talking about a stranger! [Am I dreaming or what!? Are you guys not hearing me?]
Diop: Princesse, I know what you’re saying but you know people are left up to their own interpretations. You have to be careful.
Adama: I am just waiting for the time he can get some flame for his behavior. EVEN IF I knew that guy and the conversation was about more than directions, the least he could do is be mature about the situation.
Daba: Yow sañ nga wax lu dul loolu ak jambur yaw? [You don’t dare!]
Diop chuckled at that satement.
Diop: You know your princesse, she’s always been friendly!
Daba: She needs to nip that in the bud if she wants to stay married!
Adama: Maman, I am not denying anything you guys are saying. But this is just ridiculous.
Diop: I will summon your husband for a conversation.
Adama: Don’t take his side deh.
**At the Ndiaye residence**
Balla received the dreaded phone call from his father-in-law. The days of being angry were over. Now he had to go explain himself or at least show he cared. And he did. He just wanted to punish Adama a little – he never expected this to go this far. What would he say to Diop? In his mind, he truly loved Adama and didn’t want to lose her.
**At the Diop residence**
Balla: Papa, I just want to first apologize for the inconvenience I’ve caused.
Diop: It’s no problem, son. We just want to get to the bottom of it. Tell me what happened?
Balla gulped. He really couldn’t figure out how to explain the story. There wasn’t much substance … nothing to really tell the more he thought about it. Shit, he was about to make a fool in front of his in-law.
Balla: Well, I just want Adama to know that she’s a married woman now. Anyone could see her in these streets and interpret her actions however they want!
Adama couldn’t help but laugh at the evasion of topic Balla decided to go with.
Adama: Please don’t go that route. Man up!
Diop: Ada! Don’t speak to him like that. Let me handle this. Balla, what exactly did she do?
Balla: I saw her standing with a man when she claimed to be going to the market for a short trip. I wasn’t even meant to leave the house but I had to meet up with a friend quickly and saw her while I was out.
Diop: So she told you she was going to the market?
Diop: Did she have groceries with her when she got back?
Balla: Well, yes.
Balla knew he was way in over his head; he could see where this was going.
Diop: Look, I am not taking my daughter’s side. But I just struggle to understand what led you to conclude that man she was talking to was her anything.
Diop: It looks to me like there was some miscommunication. You two need to talk it out.
Adama: I don’t have anything to say to him!
Diop: You don’t? Is that why you’ve been moping around here the last few days because you missed your husband?
Diop: Balla, son. I don’t like these kinds of interactions. It’s a waste of time. You two are adults and things like this shouldn’t have even escaped the four walls of your bedroom. You can’t make assumptions without proof of anything. We’ve talked to Ada to be more careful of her surroundings but honestly, there was nothing to quarrel over. You are the man of the house and should do everything in your power to ensure things like this don’t happen. Both of you, don’t let this happen again.
Adama: Papa, it can’t be that easy! He ignored me for weeks.
Diop: Forgive him. Work it out among yourselves. Get out.
Adama frumpily left the living room and headed straight for her bedroom. Balla followed.
**In Adama’s room**
Adama: I can’t believe you showed up here with an actual story. You thought you were onto something, huh?!
Balla: Don’t be so hostile. I honestly didn’t know what to say to your dad. He’s not the most approachable man.
Adama: Well, I’m not surprised. He and everyone else are the only reason why you cared enough to show up here. I don’t have anything to say to you.
Balla: Ada, I’m sorry. I don’t even know what to say.
Adama: You think that’s it, huh? That you show up here and my dad says what he has to say and that’s it. I go back home with you and we live happily ever after.
Balla: Please don’t make this harder. I recognize what I did was wrong.
Adama: You are so disrespectful. And so selfishly entitled. Me make this harder?
Balla: Don’t say that. Baby, I’m sorry.
Adama: I’m not going home with you. I am not going to be manipulated by you or my parents – not after the shit you pulled. THREE WEEKS BALLA?! Are you really that immature?
Balla: I know, I know! I’m sorry! Please, just give me a chance. My jealousy got the best of me.
Adama: Control your jealousy. You don’t own me, Balla. I am not your property that you need to keep tabs on.
Balla: I know. And I will work on that.
Adama: This isn’t over.
Balla: I know, let’s just talk it over at home.
**In the Ndiaye residence**
Balla and Adama walked back into their home, Balla carrying her suitcase. The tension was still there but they tried to mask it with small conversation. Adama was thinking of all the things she wanted to say about how she wanted to be treated going forward and Balla was just happy to have his wife back home. As they walk in, they notice the living room light was on.
Balla: Hello? Who’s there?
Nogaye: Hey baby, it’s so good to see you! I decided to move myself in, I just couldn’t wait anymore!
Balla dropped the suitcase. He was speechless.
Adama: Who the hell is this?
Nogaye: Oh he didn’t tell you … Hi, I’m Nogaye, Mrs. Ndiaye. Desormais, I have an extra key and I live here.
Nogaye confidently stared Adama down.
Adama: What!?! Balla, who is she?
Balla wasn’t just silent in the three weeks he went without speaking to Adama. He got married, for the second time. Adama now had a co-wife.
[to be continued]