April 13, 2024

Idris, a pharmacist in Murtala Muhammad General Hospital while driving to work pulled over close to a mosque by the roadside and prayed his Asr prayer before storming back into his car and drove away. He was a devout Muslim and whenever he heard the Adhan (call to prayer) he would halt whatever he was doing. He loved praying in time and disliked missing congregation. He had been this way ever since his wife died just after childbirth.

Idris and his late wife, Safinah had only been together for a year and half when death took her away. The baby they had together was named after Safinah’s mother, Amani. That was 6 years ago, and now the baby was in nursery 3. She looked so much like her mother, the apple of Idris’ eyes. Could he even be able to replace Safinah at all? He had been asked to marry again for the sake of his daughter but he refused. Perhaps he was just waiting for someone but hey, not just someone but the right person. Yes, the one that would cherish and take care of his daughter against all odds!

“AsSalama Alaykum…” Idris said as soon as he walked into the hospital’s pharmacy. He had arrived in his destination and had parked his car in the parking lot before walking in.

“Wa’alaykumu Salam!” Pharmacist Ilyah and the rest chorused. They were so surprised to see Idris because that wasn’t actually the right time for him to come to work. He was on night shift, why then would he come around 4pm?

“Did you checked the time before coming?” Pharmacist Aisha said in a bewilderment.

“Yes, I did” Idris said as he sat on a table.

“Then why are you here?” Aisha asked.

“The house is empty and I’m lonely” Idris said.

“But how about your daughter and your sister, Rumaisah?” Aisha blurted out so concerned.

Rumaisah was Idris’ immediate sister. She was the one taking care of Amani. In fact, Amani outrightly thought Rumaisah was her mother.

“They both traveled to our family house” Idris heaved a sigh and continued. “Till next week”

“You see, that was why we advised you to marry again but you refused!” Aisha said.

“Just go straight to the point and tell him to marry you, Aisha” Ilyah chimed in teasingly.

“Arhh!” She squealed and hissed at Ilyah.

“It’s the truth nau!” Ilyah smirked at her.

“It… It is not!” Aisha stuttered.

“Why then did you stammered?” Ilyah said.

“Hey, what’s your problem?” Aisha uttered.

Idris only smiled as he watched them while they kept yelling at each other. That wasn’t actually the first time they would do that in front of him. It had always happened during shifts, presentations or during hospital related occasions. He had been hearing rumors that Aisha loved him but he was yet to confirm the verity. But even if it was true, Aisha was someone he wouldn’t like to marry. Of course she was beautiful but he wasn’t after that. All he needed was a woman that could take good care of his daughter and Aisha did not seemed to be the right match for the daring task at all.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

It was precisely 25 minutes past 6pm and I knew this how? Well, because I had been glancing at my wristwatch every damn minute I had spent by the roadside waiting for my cousin to come pick me up. This wasn’t my first time visiting Kano but every time I visited the prominent city, I’d have to call my mother’s younger sister, Hajiya Siyyamah to send someone to pick me up and that someone was in the person of Ya Salim, the non-nonsense cousin.

I hissed as I unhesitatingly pulled out my phone from my bag. I was with a backpack and a Rockland draggable box. “Hello Hajiya Siyyamah, hasn’t Ya Salim left home already?” I asked through the phone as soon as I called her.

“He left here since, hasn’t he arrived there?” She said.

“Yes he hasn’t” I huffed.

“Oh, I guess it’s traffic. Let me call and hear from him” She said.

“Alright, thank you ma” I muttered and ended the call. I had pretended like I wasn’t that worried but I was so damn worried because soon it would be dark if he didn’t come in time.

I was glancing at my wristwatch again when a black ‘Corolla S’ parked in front of me, it was him. Yes, that was his car! He had been using it for quite some time now, he was very good at using things – even his gadgets used to last much longer than ours.

“Evening, Ya Salim” I greeted him as soon as he stepped out of the car. “What took you so long?” I absentmindedly asked letting out a little portion of my anger.

“Are you asking me?” He glared at me.

“Sorry” I gulped.

“Just get in the car, I don’t have time to waste here” He uttered returning back to the car.

Oops, whatever! I sighed loading my luggage into the back passenger seat of the car. After that, I hopped into the front passenger seat and gently fastened my seatbelt. Thus, he started the car and accelerated into the fast lane. He wasn’t really a fast driver but he loved driving in the fast lane.

It was a silent drive to the Emir Estate, with a stopover at NNPC filling station. I was warmly welcomed by Hajiya Siyyamah and Ya Salim’s heavily pregnant wife, Hauwa Qulu Ibrahim. They were so happy to see me, they must have missed me so badly!

“Let me go and get the dinner ready!” Hajiya said heading towards the direction of the kitchen in a snail’s pace, she was chubby you know.

“Okay, Hajiya” I uttered turning to Ya Hauwa. “You know what? I really missed Hajiya’s food so badly”

“Really? And she missed your shenanigans!” Ya Hauwa said teasingly, she was good at teasing people.

“Worevaa (whatever)!” I pouted as we gently began walking towards one of the guest rooms, the one very close to Salim’s late sister’s room who died of cancer years back. Her name was Abidah, she was loved by almost everyone. Allah took her at the age of 12 and she died with a broad smile on her face despite the pains she had been complaining about. Since then, Salim had not been himself. He neither talk much nor smile at people. But after marrying Ya Hauwa, things started getting back to normal but not everything. He could be cold and aloof at times.

“I thought you said you are not coming back to Kano again?” Ya Hauwa said as soon as we walked into the guest room. It was dark, so she swiftly headed towards the window – pushed it open and slid the curtain.

“I said that because I had a very bad NYSC experience here” I huffed recalling all the bad days I had during my Youth Service in Kano. Verily, it wasn’t easy for me plus the fact that the place I did it in was a very busy place.

“Ohh, so now that you’re jobless you came back to seek for a job here right? Busted!” She teased me as she threw me a hand fan, there was no light so I had to manage the portable fan.

“I am only here to spend the summer but if Allah bring a job, I will humbly accept it” I said as I hopped onto the bed wearing a smile on my face. “Hmm, can’t believe this unique blanket still house this pleasant scent!”

“Be sure to wash it when going” She said.

“I sure will, as usual, Mummy Twins!” I teased her.

“Stop calling me that, you know I hate twins. By the way, what I am carrying in my tommy ain’t twins!” She rolled her eyes.

“We shall see!” I smirked at her.

“You are no fun!” She muttered and left the room.

“Are you asking me?” He glared at me.

“Sorry” I gulped.

“Just get in the car, I don’t have time to waste here” He uttered returning back to the car.

Oops, whatever! I sighed loading my luggage into the back passenger seat of the car. After that, I hopped into the front passenger seat and gently fastened my seatbelt. Thus, he started the car and accelerated into the fast lane. He wasn’t really a fast driver but he loved driving in the fast lane.

It was a silent drive to the Emir Estate, with a stopover at NNPC filling station. I was warmly welcomed by Hajiya Siyyamah and Ya Salim’s heavily pregnant wife, Hauwa Qulu Ibrahim. They were so happy to see me, they must have missed me so badly!

“Let me go and get the dinner ready!” Hajiya said heading towards the direction of the kitchen in a snail’s pace, she was chubby you know.

“Okay, Hajiya” I uttered turning to Ya Hauwa. “You know what? I really missed Hajiya’s food so badly”

“Really? And she missed your shenanigans!” Ya Hauwa said teasingly, she was good at teasing people.

“Worevaa (whatever)!” I pouted as we gently began walking towards one of the guest rooms, the one very close to Salim’s late sister’s room who died of cancer years back. Her name was Abidah, she was loved by almost everyone. Allah took her at the age of 12 and she died with a broad smile on her face despite the pains she had been complaining about. Since then, Salim had not been himself. He neither talk much nor smile at people. But after marrying Ya Hauwa, things started getting back to normal but not everything. He could be cold and aloof at times.

“I thought you said you are not coming back to Kano again?” Ya Hauwa said as soon as we walked into the guest room. It was dark, so she swiftly headed towards the window – pushed it open and slid the curtain.

“I said that because I had a very bad NYSC experience here” I huffed recalling all the bad days I had during my Youth Service in Kano. Verily, it wasn’t easy for me plus the fact that the place I did it in was a very busy place.

“Ohh, so now that you’re jobless you came back to seek for a job here right? Busted!” She teased me as she threw me a hand fan, there was no light so I had to manage the portable fan.

“I am only here to spend the summer but if Allah bring a job, I will humbly accept it” I said as I hopped onto the bed wearing a smile on my face. “Hmm, can’t believe this unique blanket still house this pleasant scent!”

“Be sure to wash it when going” She said.

“I sure will, as usual, Mummy Twins!” I teased her.

“Stop calling me that, you know I hate twins. By the way, what I am carrying in my tommy ain’t twins!” She rolled her eyes.

“We shall see!” I smirked at her.

“You are no fun!” She muttered and left the room.

“Hmm” I heaved a sigh as I rose to a sitting position. I really ought to contact my parents and tell them I had arrived safely at Hajiya Siyyamah’s house so that they shouldn’t be worried.

“Hello, Mama” I said immediately I dialed my mother’s number. “I arrived at the house already” I apprised her.

“Good, hope you met them safe and sound?” She said.

“Yes, mama” I huffed.

“Alright my regards to them, and make sure you rest, okay?” She said.

“Okay mama, bye!” I bade her goodbye.

“Bye, Manal!” She ended the call.

It had been a very hectic day, the journey had took its toll on me hence all I needed now was a very hot dinner, warm bath, and uninterruptible sleep. No prayers because I wasn’t, you know, pure. I was on my period.

“Bismillah (in the Name of Allah)” I uttered as I dropped my phone on the bed and stood to my feet.

Just as I was walking towards the door about going out for dinner, I felt a piercing headache which made me lose my balance and fall wearily on the floor. It was strange and before I knew it, darkness had already enveloped me. What was wrong with me? I swooned.

Written by Mohammed Abubakar KingMoha, Inside Arewa

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Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.

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