The sound of crying gradually intensified, echoing like a mournful lament. Yet, from the way it emanated, it sounded more like a battle cry, a call to action. Unable to endure it any longer, I entered the house, a haven of comfort in my life. The room was spacious, thankfully, but despite its size, it appeared unoccupied. The silence hung heavy, a signal of contemplation. (Where is this crying coming from, echoing in my mind?) With no answers forthcoming, I began scanning the room. But of course, it wasn’t the same, I knew that much. Confirmation struck me when I caught sight of the window and heard the cries originating from my room.

Climbing the stairs and reaching the living room, my focus was drawn there. A woman of remarkable talent and a flawless demeanor graced the space, moving with grace and perfection, as if her entry itself embodied perfection, enhancing her dignity for all to witness. I hadn’t realized she knew the Hausa language, but to my surprise, her exquisite voice called out the name “Anam!” in a hint of Kano accent. Her voice grew softer, and as she perceived no response from the person she sought, the name “Anam” escaped her lips.

“It’s me! If you don’t let me in where you are and refuse to assure me, you’ll regret it before leaving this country. Just a girl who isn’t envious of her own self. So, what about someone who’s ungrateful and detests their roots? Shed tears, but don’t shed blood. Don’t steal. Go back to Nigeria and live for yourself. Even if you despise me, God-willing, go back there and establish a life. Then wander if you must.”

The cries erupted once again, causing me to glance back hastily. There stood an arresting young black beauty, physically contrasting the woman but bearing a trace of blood on her. In terms of physical appearance, she couldn’t be more than seventeen years old. However, in terms of her depth of understanding and the wisdom she exhibited, she was beyond her years—I sensed that much, even if I couldn’t ascertain the exact age. Her stature was petite, far from tall, resembling one of my younger sisters (???????? I haven’t mentioned their names yet ????). Undeniably beautiful, even as her tear-filled eyes betrayed pain, her beauty shone through the thin veil of her distress.

Her eyebrows framed a lengthy nose (akin to Bilin Abdul’s ????, though others denied the similarity—I’m not jealous ????????). A creation of God, she continued to shed tears as though a valve had been opened. The distressed woman let her heart pour out once more, declaring,

“Swallow these sobs before I come and obliterate you in this emptiness.”

She attempted to stifle her sobs, but the tears refused to abate. With a quavering voice, she looked at the impeccable woman who mirrored her appearance and uttered, “Mamie, I repent before God and sever all ties with Abie.”

“Whether you halt or continue on, it will do you no good. If you go to Nigeria, thieving will only lead to a more significant endeavor. You must return to your birthplace, build your savings there, and let it serve you in the future. The country you’ve taken as a loan from your parents has little time left.”

Tears streamed down her cheeks once more as she raised her gaze. “I dislike Nigeria, the heat, the mosquitoes, the uproar. I should never have built my savings; I’ll never adapt to the Nigerian way of life. It’s rife with anxiety over work, savings, and expenditure. Please, Mamie…”

Mamie cut her off and redirected the conversation. With an angry tone, she ordered, “Retrieve that sobbing, wailing soul before I march over there myself and punish you in this void.”

She struggled to gulp down her sobs, yet the tears persisted. With a tremulous voice, she pleaded, “Mamie, I wish I could avoid Nigeria. The sweltering heat and mosquito bites are unbearable. My parents are staying with my uncle due to my stepmother’s hostility. She neglects them to the point where they step inside her home and she’s apathetic. My half-brother, the eldest, is odious and disrespectful, even to the extent of causing my mother’s death. I detest him, and his mere sight revolts me; his skin tone sets us apart. So, when I hear he’s coming to Malaysia, I flee to Aunt Mimi’s. When word spread that he’s visiting Aunt Mimi, who’s also settled in Malaysia, I run away and return only after he’s gone. Throughout my life, I’ve seen him no more than three times. From the first encounter, I loathed him for the torment he inflicted on my son. When I accidentally broke a glass cup in their house, he twisted my mouth and yanked my lips, leaving them swollen. This happened when I was barely ten. I’ve never forgotten or forgiven him for that. Our second meeting, too, was fateful. I can’t recall the particulars of what happened between me and Aysha, his younger sister, at Aysha’s birthday party. It was nothing good. All of these memories are reasons for my resentment. Allah help me, I can’t bear to return to Nigeria. The intense heat and mosquitoes torment me. There are also those notorious insects—mosquitoes—knowing how to conduct their business well. My parents are staying at my uncle’s place due to the ill-treatment of my stepmother. She disregards them to the point where they enter her house and she doesn’t care. My father harbors resentment against his own son, who displays wickedness and arrogance, to the extent of contributing to my mother’s death. Sam can’t stand him either. They share no similarity, even in their appearance. That’s why most of the time, when she hears he’s coming to Malaysia, she flees to Aunt Mimi’s. When they suggested he visit Aunt Mimi—who is also residing in Malaysia—she escaped and only returned after his departure. I have no desire to meet him. Our initial encounters were far from amicable, to say the least.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *