Just before Christmas we received a very pleasant surprise news that our relatives from Maiduguri are coming over to spend their entire Christmas and New Year holidays. I was thrilled, I have always liked going to Maiduguri to meet my mum’s relatives. But now they are coming over I and my entire family were very excited.
The anxiety grew up tenfold. We prepared the rooms and cleaned the house as if it’s our in laws that are coming over. But soon they arrived and it was an enormous family reunion. My excitement became short-lived as they announced they were staying for only a week. But nonetheless they arrived safe and sound 5 of them. Hajja Zarah, hajiya Kalthume, Baa Kura, Ammi and her little sister Hajjah Fanna. Ammi was only 17 then she schooled in Maiduguri, not very tall, dark, not too slim and Pretty. (In fact if truth be told, extremely pretty. What I call black beauty) and with very good shape too. She was everything a guy of this age is looking out for. She has little dents on her two front teeth. Extremely shy (or so I thought) and enormously helpful. We got along very quickly more than the average relatives would. We clicked like a door lock. I hardly get complete raka’ah in the mosque again. She was ofcourse the reason behind so. Doing alwala (ablution), shes there gisting with me. She was too matured for her age. I was way way older than her but I had to give it to her, she was very very thoughtful. I simply liked her more and more every day. Mind you, liked her only. Not love her. Nothing like that just yet.
We played games together. We even rode on bicycle together, she loves running in me, being very playful with kids (dey call me baban yara), it was easy to catch up with her likes. So I wholly obliged. We stayed late at night and chatted for long hours. Watching movies and playing video games sometimes. You won’t believe it but she loved playing football games too. Something I welcomed and something that was hard for you to see in any girl these days.
My folks at home noticed our closeness. They started throwing taunts at me and her. Especially me, I ignored it. I comforted myself by saying she’s just a kid and they know nothing was going to happen. I told myself that I don’t even want to be her husband. I wasn’t even thinking or imaging it. And then I pictured some other strange man standing next to her as her husband and then a sudden lion rose in my throat. For an instant I thought i had gone mad. Fast forwarding……It was on a Saturday afternoon on xmas day after my mum and Co came back from the market from the usual monthly shopping. My mum bought Ammi an expensive Bangle and a necklace to match (silver) as she gave it to her and she said these words to Ammi. “Ga wannan mu dai munyi wa Sani kaamu” (guess who’s sani)..?
The atmosphere around the sitting room changed instantly. It was a very tensed silence. I looked across the room Ammi’s mum (Hajjah Zarah) was there. She was just as surprised as me. Ammi’s little sister was there too. By the look on her face, she was struggling to understand what my mum had said. She was slowly digesting what she heard. I silently prayed and hoped she would never understand. My mum was wearing an unmistakable triumphant smile as the silence stretched far too long. It was so so uncomfortable. It seemed like we spent hours digesting what mum had said. It was an uncomfortable experience for all of us. My mum seemed to be the only one enjoying herself immensely as though she had received a news that her Hajj’s seat has been paid for by Federal government.
It was the silent giggle ensuring from Ammi’s little sister that broke our reverie and long silence. Her brains had finally clicked. She had finally understood what my mum meant. Her young brains had interpreted what made her confused moments ago. I smiled along with her. Ammi’s mum smiled at me too. But only one soul wasn’t smiling at me guess who? Yeah it’s…….Ammi.
To be continue insha Allah on Wednesday
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.
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