GA IRINTA NA Complete Document Written By Binta Umar Abbale


I was exhausted and thirsty as I finally reached home. I quickly splashed water on my body to freshen up and then collapsed on my bed, desperately needing some rest. That’s when he appeared before me! The memory of this troublesome boy from town who never let me have a moment’s peace at Khalid’s house came flooding back. He was always causing trouble. Speaking of which, just as I was about to enter our lane, Alhaji Nura’s car nearly hit me. I shook my head in annoyance as I saw him parking his car, and he stayed on my mind for a while.

Later, Alhaji Nura suggested that I set aside two days a week, Thursday and Friday, to teach Islam to the children in the neighborhood. I considered his words quietly and replied that I would think about it. He seemed pleased with my decisions and asked me to inform him when I start the classes.

As I tried to leave, he stopped me and handed me some money. I wondered how many times he had given me gifts and money after his mother’s service at home. Before I could finish my thoughts, I noticed him standing at the door of our house, wearing shabby clothes. I always felt uneasy whenever I saw him at home; he would come in and out constantly.

I furrowed my brow and said, “Khalid, I’m going to pass. I don’t want to deal with you.”

He blocked my way again and looked at me with a lost expression. He asked, “Aunty Sa’ida, why did you stay at that man’s place? I saw you!”

I shot him a look and retorted, “What business is it of yours? I don’t care about your opinions. I’m tired.”

He grabbed my arm and pushed me against the door. Our faces were inches apart, and our breaths mingled.

In panic, I pushed him away and rushed to the attic, praying that no one had seen us. Khalid looked upset and held my hand, asking, “Don’t you care that I can’t bear to see you with that Alhaji? Can’t you see that I love you?”

I looked at him, frustrated, and replied, “Khalid, your words are absurd. Even if you don’t like my decisions, it’s not your place to be rude.”

“I love you, Aunty Sa’ida, and you know you don’t have a husband. If you give me a chance, you’ll see that I’m a smart choice,” he said with a sad tone.

He left, and I stood by the door, bewildered by his words. The thought that I have no husband but him crossed my mind. Indeed, Khalid seemed to have lost his senses.

Back in the house, I greeted my mother with a polite “hello” but she answered indignantly. I didn’t care how she replied; I just went inside and tried to find a place to rest.

My grandmother Gwaggo was playing with a bell, and I took off my hijab, feeling exhausted. She looked at me and commented, “You haven’t come back for a long time, Sa’ida. And when you do, you’re not in the mood to talk. I don’t agree with your current occupation.”

I looked at her in astonishment and asked, “What do you mean by my ‘occupation’ of going out and not returning until late at night?”

My voice was shaky, and I added, “What are you implying?”

She replied nonchalantly, “You know what I mean.”

“You mean I’m behaving like a prostitute?” I asked, taken aback.

She quickly clarified, “Oh, don’t misunderstand me. That’s not what I meant.”

I burst into tears and said, “Then why do you keep doubting my actions and refusing to talk to me?”

She remained silent and continued to play, and I returned to my bed with tears streaming down my face. I lamented that my father’s reputation was ruining my life and that my grandmother was accusing me of things she couldn’t even fathom. I decided I’d leave her house and go back to my mother’s place.

Gwaggo tried to dissuade me, saying, “Saida, don’t be hasty. There’s nowhere for you to go.”

But I had had enough. I packed my things, determined to leave her house. If she couldn’t understand me, I’d find my own path in life.

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