This is the story of Amin, a poor African tailor.
Amin was a very good man, kind-hearted and loved by all. Day after day he stitched and patched. Sewing clothes was his only means of livelihood. He was quite good at it.
One day, he decided to get married. Amin had come of age. Having saved up a little money, he called his kinsmen together and informed them of his desire to take a wife for himself. To his greatest shock and embarrassment, they laughed at him.
“What do you know of marriage, Amin?” His favorite uncle was asking him. Amin could not answer immediately.
“Look, son,” his uncle continued, “Marriage is a very serious institution. It does not only involve you and your wife, but also your future offspring. First of all, you don’t make a lot of money. How will you feed yourself and someone else? You do not even own a farm-land yet. Manhood is not attained only by beards and a little bit of savings. You must go home and give this decision of yours, a very proper thought. Marriage is not all pomp and pageantry, like you probably imagine.”
After his kinsmen left, Amin sat down for a long time, thinking. His uncle certainly made a valid point. He had some money saved up now, but that would quickly disappear as soon as marriage proceedings began. He would probably end up borrowing from people, to meet up. He imagined the increment in monthly bills and it was quite scary.
Then, children would start to come. Of course Amin knew that was bound to follow suit after the wedding. Hospital bills. Baby food..and it would be just his luck if his baby was a picky eater. That would mean more expensive meal plans and groceries. His wife too, would require money regularly to keep body and home running smoothly. How was he to manage all these?
Amin imagined his life as a married man, in the next ten years. The picture that formed in his mind was not very pretty. He saw a tired, balding version of himself. Surrounded by screaming children and an angry wife. He probably would not have his shop anymore as he would need to sell it, to raise feeding money. His clients would find other faster, more available tailors. He would be in debt nonstop, his life literally over. All because he got married.
There and then, Amin decided that he would never marry. There was no need to even try, he was too poor for such ventures. Marriage was for the rich. Having thus concluded, the tailor vowed to forget about women and simply face his work.
Some weeks later, a young lady brought a cloth for him to mend. It was a simple job that only took a few minutes, but he found himself conversing and laughing with her for over an hour. After she left, he could not stop thinking of her. Her name was Malia.
The following week, Malia returned with another cloth. This time around, Amin brought her a soft drink and some biscuits. She chewed, drank and they exchanged pleasant stories for hours. It was indeed a wonderful day.
This went on for quite sometime. One day, Amin’s best friend ran into Malia in his shop. After she left, he teased Amin endlessly for not making any serious moves to marry such a beautiful, wonderful young lady. When his friend exited, Amin spent a long time thinking about what he’d said. He concluded that it was time to end what he had going on with Malia, before it went too far. Afterall, marriage was out of the question for him. He simply wasn’t financially capable of handling such a quest. Amin couldn’t bring himself to tell Malia how he truly felt. Instead, he started to avoid her.
Malia came looking for Amin several times over the next few weeks, but each time he hid from her. She couldn’t understand why he was shying away, and he could tell that it really hurt her. After a while, she stopped coming by. Amin was heartbroken, but to him a broken heart was better than a failed marriage.
A few weeks to Christmas, Amin was very busy in his shop when Malia walked in. She came with her cousin sisters, and pretended like she didn’t know him at all. They had brought a lot of fabric to sew for an upcoming wedding which they all chatted excitedly about. Apparently, Malia was the bride. Amin tried to hide his pain at that discovery but failed. He soon broke into tears.
Malia and her sisters were very surprised to see the tailor crying. He ran over to Malia and held her feet, begging to be forgiven for treating her so shabbily. He wished he had another chance to prove how he truly felt but alas, another man had beaten him to it. That was a painful lesson indeed, he cried.
To his surprise, she started to laugh. Turned out that she was Malia’s identical twin sister, Mariya. She quickly sent their cousin to go bring her sister to Amin’s shop.
Malia and Amin had a very long talk when she came. He was able to explain to her how he inadvertently cultivated an unhealthy fear of marriage and relationships. He loved Malia so deeply, but was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to give her the good life she deserved.
“The truth is, I am quite rich, Amin.” Said Malia. “My twin sister and I co-own the largest chain of grocery stores in this country. You see, my dear, I walked into your shop to mend a tear in my cloth, but it was genuine love for you that made me return over and over again. I wish you had simply talked to me about your concerns, rather than overthinking.
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