GUNTUN GORO Complete Document Written By Mom Islam



Saturday, the sixth day of the seventh month in the year two thousand and twenty-two, at 11:00 AM, I found myself sitting in front of my father, my hands resting on my cheeks, and my eyes tired from tending to his leg. His voice, calm and soothing as always, called out my name, “Ilham.” My body trembled, sensing that something serious was about to be discussed.

“Yes,” I responded, lowering my head in anticipation of his words. “Ilham, this pain in my leg is getting worse by the day. We’ve lost almost everything we owned, including your mother’s farm. I’m considering selling it. But before I do, I wanted to discuss it with you,” my father’s voice carried a mix of concern and weight.

I looked up at Abba, tears welling up in my eyes. His expression was tense as he winced in pain from his leg. “You know, Ilham, when I asked you to do something at Alhaji Abdullahi Zakin Naira’s house, you didn’t take it seriously,” my father continued, his gaze fixed on me.

Shocked, I raised my head and met his gaze. “What are you talking about, Abba? Haven’t you always told us not to plan with parents who exploit their children for labor? You know that I don’t agree with such practices,” I spoke up, unable to contain my frustration even in front of the others present.

My father’s face tightened, his pain clearly visible as he shifted his leg uncomfortably. “Ilham, you should’ve trusted me when I asked you to help out at Alhaji Abdullahi’s house. The situation has become dire,” he explained, a touch of regret in his voice.

“But Abba, why couldn’t you see this coming? Are you in such pain?” I exclaimed, my voice shaking with fear and concern for my father. His teary eyes met mine, and he choked on his words, “Ilham, I didn’t want you to have to work like this. All I wished for was for them to pay you for your services. If they agree, then we can afford a trip to the hospital. But we can’t wait any longer.”

The weight of my father’s request overwhelmed me, and I found myself struggling to comprehend the gravity of the situation. “Abba, please consider another solution. This isn’t the right way,” I implored, my mind racing. I felt a sense of humiliation in his request, feeling as though he wanted me to sacrifice my dignity by going to a place where I didn’t know what kind of work I’d be asked to do, even knowing that he wasn’t in the best of health.

I excused myself from the room and retreated to my own space. Collapsing onto my bed, its milk-colored bedsheet slightly tattered but comforting, I closed my eyes, the words of my father’s request echoing in my mind. “Oh God,” I muttered, tears streaming down my face as I drifted off into a restless sleep.

Meanwhile, my father left the room, his spirit deflated by my refusal. The sight of me rejecting his plea weighed heavily on his heart.

I didn’t wake up until exactly 2:00 PM. As I got out of bed and stepped outside, I took in the sunlight and sighed, “I must’ve slept for so long. When will it be my turn to rest?”

The household staff welcomed me as I entered, fetching my shoes and a jug of water. I performed ablution and proceeded to my room to pray. I stood in devotion, tears mixing with my supplications. After the prayer, I removed my hijab and headed to the courtyard, intending to ask Abba about the evening meal.

“Peace be upon you, Abba,” I greeted him, entering his room with respect. After his response, I seated myself, poised for a conversation. “Abba, what will we cook for dinner? We have limited flour and sugar,” I inquired.

My father’s gaze, however, bore into me, casting an air of unease upon the room. What had changed since my mother passed away that would warrant such a stern look from him now? I wondered anxiously.

“Stand up. I don’t wish to hear any more of your words,” my father’s tone was firm, his hand gesturing me away dismissively. “Innalilahi wa inna ilaihiraji’un,” I sighed, resigning myself to his dismissal. I muttered a prayer, seeking strength from a higher source.

“Abba, have I done something wrong?” I hesitated, fearing that my father was harboring some resentment towards me. This wasn’t the look of a father who had always held me close, even after my mother’s passing. My heart raced with uncertainty.

Without uttering another word, my father pointed to the door, his expression speaking volumes. “Get out,” his voice was low and heavy with emotion.

I rose from my seat, my eyes downcast, and left the room in a mix of confusion and sorrow. Even as the call for Azhar prayer echoed, my father remained distant, lost in his own thoughts.

What had caused this sudden shift in his demeanor? Could my refusal to accede to his request have led to this? My mind was a whirlwind of questions as I prayed.

As the Maghrib prayer call sounded, my father emerged from his room, his tears and sorrow evident. My heart ached for him, and I yearned to understand the cause of his pain. The dish we shared for dinner provided a moment of connection, a chance for us to converse.

My father eventually stood up to offer his prayers, and I returned to my room to do the same, my heart heavy with concern for Abba’s well-being.

The next morning, as we prayed, my father’s task of cleaning the house was done with an air of determination, his feet serving as his tools. I approached him with a greeting, and his response was calm, a departure from the previous evening’s atmosphere.

Exiting his room, I prepared to light the stove, my hands and heart heavy with a sense of responsibility and concern for my father.

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