Photo credit: Seun James Taiwo
Model: Favour Fola Robert
MUA: Tope Akerele
I laid a sigh of relief as I alighted from the car that brought me down to Zuru, from Sokoto. While it had seemed like a terrifying daylong trip, it had only taken three hours to journey down to my home town, during which my legs were clogged so tightly in discomfort! The four other passengers, whose midst I was packed like one whole piece of tilapia fish in a sealed sardine can, had ensured I had no breathing space, how selfish and inconsiderate I thought they were! Not so well, but I can still re-sense the uneasy claudication that swamped my feet immediately I got off the ridiculous car— a Station Wagon whose make still wallows in my virtual long term memory.
Almost forgetting something the moment I dropped off, I looked back to check, only to find out the car hadn’t yet moved, then I felt a smack on my bosom, one of the passengers had thrown my mobile phone at my chest. ‘A’uzubillah!’ I spontaneously spluttered. Before I could raise my head to wave a ‘thank you’ to the passenger that prevented me from losing my most expensive possession, the vehicle had zoomed off. Would I say that was Allah’s way of not complicating my sorrows that day or the usual once-in-a-decade blessing he often showed me? Although something in me always forbade me from taking out my pains and woes on God, someone should tell me, what was I going to do after all? Give me reason not to believe Allah was punishing me for certain sin or sins I committed in my past. My eyes were already empty and sunken from all the tears I shelled inside the car and even back at Alhaji’s house. May be I didn’t know how to put it in writing earlier that… well, Alhaji eventually sent me packing after 10years of marriage! My life, my hope, the youthful part of my womanhood was suddenly washed down the drainage of misfortune, with nothing left to hold on to; a barren woman left wandering back to her parents’ house.
Gaskiya! Truth be told, Alhaji tried his humanly effort to love and keep me, but I still think the problem was beyond my inability to bear him a child—after all, he had children from other women. I thought I was cursed. My mother in-law confirmed this through her various fetish ways and even added that I was a Zuru witch! Perhaps she was eventually right after four miscarriages in Alhaji’s house, I mean it’s only a witch that would have it difficult to seek and find Allah’s kind face, a good tiding he offers to everyone else except the wicked.
I remember the five beautiful months of my first pregnancy, Alhaji always told me I was the only person that mattered to him. He promised to christen the unborn child ‘Mohammed’, a reverend name after our holy prophet Mohammed (S.A.W). I wished I had not lost that child, I wished I had not lost the second pregnancy, I wished the 3rd and 4th hadn’t come out as mere dirty blood, I wished Alhaji hadn’t married other wives, I wished Alhaji hadn’t agreed to Alhaja’s plot to send me out of his house. How I will forever keep wishing many of these wishes were granted, but only if wishes were horses,…
Not long after the car had left, I noticed a dark lanky man, possibly in his mid-thirties, crossing through the road from a distance. He was agitated as he ran across the road. He kept shouting and waving his hands toward me, I could hear his voice faintly somewhere in my head but couldn’t make out the contents. His hands were still waving… By the time I became fully mindful of what he was saying, it was too late. I was already on the ground. My bulkiness was struck to the hot bare asphalt by a reckless motorcyclist! The tall man was trying to warn me of the oncoming motorcycle as I lingered on the road, unaware.
And so, Mariam returns home for the first time in 10years, only to meet an opportunistic doom that awaits her on the road of Zuru. As her troubles compound, I enjoin you all to sit tight, relax and watch out as she finds a tinge of hope on the hospital bed.