I particularly sucked at dreams, but that day whilst the skies opened up their hearts to the occupants of this world, this earth, I listened with keen attention as Khadijah narrated what she enjoyed, what she looked forward to and with every sentence came a thank you and a giggle, I could imagine her on her bed, I was trying to picture where she slept in my head, a flat mattress, a mat, maybe just the floor. It ached me to think she might even be just sitting down where she was, it was sad to think that she might just be in the most callous, comprising state I could think of, something in me told me to ask her about it but I didn’t. I wouldn’t be the one to spoil this mood of hers, this happiness I gave, I wouldn’t take away. I should add more not to reduce from it, I made a mental note right then, I would ask her another time I said to myself, in a reassuring thought. I dreamt of her, the beauty she was, but most importantly in that dreamt she told me to let her be and never look back. She told me to move on and forget her. When I woke up the nect morning. I was very sure I wanted to do the opposite of what the dream asked. The dream was Shaitan playing tricks on me, I recited Suratul Nas and Ayatul Kursi and rubbed them allover my body, I won’t fall prey to the whisperings of the devil. I was determined.
That another time that I was supposed to see Khadijah took so long to come as there was no room for that. It became harder for Khadijah to see me, picking my calls became harder, she was in a compromised state, I could feel it. I started to fear and recollect the dream I had from the previous nights in bits and pieces. I could tell she was not okay, but on times where I got lucky and she picked my calls, she would insist she was okay. But everything will betray her and I will hear her sound in a voice that wasn’t okay, in a manner that was distressing and the struggle in her expressing herself like she started getting accustomed to. I got worried, my heart tripped and fell into shatters but just hearing her voice will help me get better. I knew there wasn’t much I could do. If only there was a way to even see her. But I couldn’t see her. So I will on some days drive to that particular corner I picked her from on the day I took her on that first date, park and idly sit for like an hour; hoping, praying that I will just see her pass by or get clue of where she stayed. I even made extra efforts of asking passers-by of they knew someone with the name Khadijah, I’d describe her like I was showing them a picture, arched full brows, dark-chocolate complexion, something close to what a bounty looks like, nose that was nearly pointed, those eyes that were like a street lights on a night of a crescent moon. But the perfectness of these descriptions didn’t even come any close to helping. It only helped the people I was asking to immediately tell me that they didn’t know who I was talking about. Then I’d drove off with hopes that she will pick the call on the 28th ring. But she wouldn’t, then I will just decide to rest after 28th missed call. Then she will call later and talk in hush tones and we will talk briskly like we were planning a robbery in a bank she was already in. And I will beg her, hard. But she will insist she was alright.
It was Thursday, and the Tourism Community Development Service (CDS) to which I belonged had planned a visit to Yusuf DanTsoho Hospital in Tudun Wada and we were to distribute food items, toileteries, little provisions to patients as part of voluntary sercice and our way of giving back to the society in our little way possible. I dressed up in my Khaki and white top, accompanied by my well polished jungle boots because I particularly hated wearing those whote tennis shoes then went to the main section of the house where my mum was preparing breakfast in the kitchen. Mama was a veteran journalist, a radio personality who had over 25 years of experience with media, she met my late Dad while she was still a novice in the service and he was also a young journalist then. They were both journalists before he died in a ghastly motor accident. Her fair face always stand in like a sun to me, she was always supportive ans showed love and support all of her children. She left radio journalism immediately after father died and opted fot freelancing for newspapers and magazines, working from home.
“Assalamu Alaikum” I said my Salam as I entered the kitchen and she turned with her cheerful smile.
“Wa Alaikumul Salam Abba Na, har an shirya kenan. I thought you were there sleeping, ashe dai an tashi” she always teases that I was been extra lazy since ai finished school and that I particularly worked my way back to Kaduna because I didn’t want to do a proper service.
“Mama ai ni idan na tashi asuba ma fah ban komawa, bari na taya ki fera doyan, it seems it is giving you a hard time” I made an effort to take the knife and help her slice the yam that was forming hard to get and she shifted it away from me.
“You that has already gotten ready for CDS, ina kai ina wani pere doya? Akwai azumin ne yau ma ko zaka tsaya kaci doyan?” It was part of my routine to always pray the Monday/Thursday fasting that the Prophet Muhammad S. A. W encouraged us to do as with it comes a lot of benefits and rewards.
“Ina yi fah, you know I don’t allow myself miss any of them. Even when I don’t get a chance to wake up for Sahur. Mama ina su Aziza da Jamila suke? Har sun tafi school ne?”
“Ai tun 7 driver ya kai su school, they started exams jiya and they’ve been trying hard to read so they are always early at school”. Aziza and Jamila were ironically twins, Aziza came on 23rd April at around ten minutes to 12am while Jamila came in ten minutes after 12 on 24th April. They were both 19 years old, my immediate younger sisters who my dad died two weeks after their birth. I am the second, following Rabi, my 29 years older sister who is a Neurosurgeon married to a Neurosurgeon and living in Canada.
“Toh Madallah, Allah ya basu sa’a. Let me get going Mama before I get late”.
“Toh Abba Na, stay safe Kaji? Pick my ATM, when coming back, ka biya ta wajen tailor ka amso mn kaya na, ka bashi 5k ka kawo mun 15k” that was the only errand of Mama I will get to forget for what I will meet at Dan Tsoho Hospital will devastate and shock me.