July 18, 2024

Yesterday was hell, work was too much and I was the one taking care of most of the things.

Same as today, although most of our relatives had arrived yesterday’s night and now they were helping me with lot of things. I woke up today as early as possible, bathed Amani and my elder brother’s children and thus began filling the takeaways with the refreshments we had prepared. Ya Shamsiya was helping me too, and so also was Halimah and some others.

Ya Shamsiya was my elder brother’s wife while Halimah was my cousin sister, she was a year younger than me and three years younger than her brother, Qasim. Thinking about who Qasim was? Well, he was the annoying cousin I had ever had. He once proposed to me but I rejected him and since then he started treating me coldly. I didn’t care, infact I wasn’t his type.

“And could you believe Ya Salim refused to buy the cartons of Amstel Malta I listed?” I said as soon as I realised he didn’t buy the beverages. “With what on earth does he even expect us to serve those that doesn’t like sugary drinks? Ya Hauwa, call your husband fa yanzu yanzun nan!” I screamed so she could hear me clearly.

“Take it easy, miss voice” Halimah teased me.
“Zan dungure ki fa” I sniffed rolling my eyes.
“Koh?” She giggled. “Manal please go and blow your nose dan Allah, ni har kyama kike bani”
“And if I don’t?” I sniffed again. “Weren’t you the one that increased the fan’s speed? Maiya!”
“Eh din” She pouted.
Just then, Amani bounced into the living room and apprised me about Idris’ arrival. “Tell him ga ni nan zuwa, let me quickly wear my hijab”
“Okey, mummy!” She said and ran out.
Thus, I turned about going to get my hijab in the inner room when Ya Shamsiya removed hers and extended it to me. “Wear it” She said.
“Thank you” I collected it and just as I was about wearing it Halimah said something teasingly. I knew she would definitely talk.

“Oh My God, you gave Manal your hijab? She will spoil it with her running nose” She said.

“Zo nan!” I nearly hit her when she ran.
Thus, I walked out to Idris. He was with Amani’s suitcase. “Hmm, good morning sir” I greeted him wearing a smile on my face.
“Morning, how was your night?” He said.
“Fine, naka fa?” I uttered.
“Same” He sighed handing the suitcase over to me. “Everything she needs is inside” He said.
“Alright” I sniffed and continued. “So, have you eaten at home or should I fetch you food?”
“No, I’ve eaten at home. Thanks” He smiled.
“You are welcome” I sniffed again.
“Influenza?” He wrinkled a brow.
“Yes wallahi, yau na tashi da mura. A cousin sister increased the pace of our fan yesterday in the night, and it was super cold” I sniffed.
“Sorry, my love. Have you started taking any drugs or should I get some for you?” He said.
“I…” I sniffed and continued. “I took some” I lied because I actually didn’t take anything.
“Alright, get well soon my love” He said.
“Thanks” I beamed. We didn’t have anything more to discuss and since I was busy I decided to apprise him. “Zaka dawo zuwa anjima ko? Wallahi yanzu aiki ya mun…” I didn’t complete what I was saying when he quickly intruded.
“Eh, zan dawo In Shaa Allah, but where is Salim? Is he inside or…” He was saying when Ya Salim came out of the flat with Ya Qasim.
“Hmm, look who’s here!” Ya Salim said.
“Good morning, baban baby…” Idris said.
They kept talking while I waited patiently for them to pause so I could announce my leave to them. While waiting, Ya Qasim began stealing glances at me. I thought he hated me for not accepting him, why then was his eyes so much interested in me? Ever since they arrived since yesterday he had obviously been trying hard to talk to me but pride was allover his head. He thought he was hurting me but he was only hurting himself because he was the only per…
“Why not go inside and continue with what you are doing, my love?” Idris words brought me out of my trance. He was referring to me.
“Okey, sai anjima” I sniffed dragging Amani’s suitcase with me to the flat. It was so heavy.
Later in the evening, my mother arrived with my junior brother, Farouq and our last born, Nafisah. I was so happy, the only person missing in our family now was our father who promised to come the following day. I wouldn’t mention my stepmother, Inna Habibah and her two children, Sufyan and Asiyah because they practically weren’t concern about us…
Just as the dinner was ready, everyone fetched for himself and thus began eating in the living room. It was so very crowded and noisy, I even wondered how Amani was able to fall asleep in such a noisy atmosphere. She didn’t even finish her food when she hopped on my lap, embraced my body and started sleeping.

“Ya Manal, whose kid is that please?” Nafisah queried wondering who Amani actually was.

“She’s my baby” I said caressing Amani’s hair.
“Your what?” Our mother chimed in, I never even knew she was paying attention to us. She was sitting in the opposite couch with her sisters, Hajiyah Siyyama and Ya Qasim’s mother, Hajiya Larai – the youngest amongst them.
“Hmmm,” I beamed. “Actually, she’s my friend’s daughter. She like being around me you know”
“Okey” She said and just then, Hajiya Siyyama also chimed in. I knew she would expose me.
“Actually,” She cleared her throat and continued. “The girl is Manal’s fiance’s daughter. She’s just shy to admit it ne”
“Fiance??” My mum squealed.
That moment, my mind began beating so fast. I didn’t even know what to say to her, was she even asking me or her sister? I was confused!
“Yes” Hajiya Siyyama said smiling. “Yaron bai da matsala, Idris is a very good guy wallahi”
“Okey Siyyama but how about the mother of the child, ina take ne ita?” My mother asked.
“Ta rasu” Hajiya Siyyama said. “She died six years ago and since then Idris had been single”
“Eyyah, Allah Ya jikan ta” My mother said.
“Ameen” We chorused. And that made others who weren’t paying attention to wonder what was really going on, they all became so silent.
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To be continued…

Thank you for reading #Insidearewa

Written by Mohammed Abubakar KingMoha, Inside Arewa

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