LOKACINE Complete Document Written By Zuwairat Ummu Maryam


In a living room cluttered with large women’s trunks, I opened at least ten of them, and as they were opened, the women marveled at the contents.

“Oh, these extravagant kids… it’s like these items will never run out…” a middle-aged woman remarked. Another woman, descending with medical glasses, briefly smiled before her face turned serious. Recognizing her as the lady of the house, I was surprised at the tension in her expression, contrasting the joviality of the other women checking their belongings. She retreated to a corner and sat down, visibly troubled as she gripped the phone in her hand. Mike, as I later discovered, was her sister, who patted her shoulder and urged her, “Sister, what’s wrong? For God’s sake, calm down… don’t you realize you’re not yourself?”

Her head in her hands, the wife of Dan Dora Tana’s father shed tears and said, “Please, spare me… please spare me… I know no one is a stranger here, but please, think of Aisha. She’ll feel you love Maryam more than her.” The woman pleaded, as the others straightened and joined the emotional exchange.

“Why is this happening? Are you inviting trouble upon us? Every time there’s a gathering in this house, you cause a scene… haven’t you learned anything but to create chaos?” An older woman scolded her, slapping her amid the heated argument. Slowly, the teary-eyed woman raised her head and locked eyes with the elderly woman, saying, “How can you not understand… Mother is nursing from her grandmother’s hand… By God, if this lip is given to her and she sees it, she’ll believe she’s depriving herself of a husband… By God, if she sees it, she’ll give it to her son, Gori…” Her words trailed off.

“Keep your mouth shut… Mother is here scolding her… she’s her granddaughter… what’s better for her? Now, you’re sitting and weeping, and when Mother comes in and scolds you, you’ll be united with her, won’t you?” the wife of the house interjected tearfully.

“By God, how weary I am… In two months, I’ll marry off my daughter while her sister remains… By God, Sam, I won’t find peace until my mother’s day departs before me…” she wept, her sobs punctuating her anguish.

“Sister, please forgive us… we’ve made every effort for her case… we’ve always prayed for a sign from God… then we must wait for God’s will…” the woman consoled her, her own tears flowing silently.

Lost in her thoughts, she focused on her first daughter, her joy, her pride. She was 32, followed by Yazid, now 29, and then Asia, 26, who was married with two children. Next was Fatima, 23, also married with one child. The youngest was Aisha, 21, about to get married, but being the firstborn, she remained unmarried. No matter what they did—charity, prayers, everything—the men didn’t favor her. But when Aisha’s turn for marriage comes, everything will fall apart.

At the gate stood a black Jaguar, and inside was a young woman honking the horn. She was holding her bag and wore a white dress resembling that of a doctor’s. Her glasses added a scholarly air to her thin, innocent-looking face. A few stray hairs fell over her forehead. She honked thrice, then relaxed in the car, saying, “I know you heard my horn… what are you doing? Come and open the gate,” in a seductive voice, her eyes closing, reminiscent of those of Mai Jin. After about a minute, the window opened. The guard, with a towel wrapped around his head, emerged from the bath. She saw the gate open, started the car, and slowly drove in. The guard returned to the car window and said, “Hajiya, I’m sorry, I was bathing…” Chuckling, she managed a slight smile, her dimple showing on her cheek. Finding a spot in the line of cars, she parked and stepped out, wearing Vincci slippers, holding her bag. The gate-opening guard looked at her and greeted, “Hello, Doctor,” as he usually did. She responded with a light laugh, saying, “Forget the banter today… I haven’t lost anything today,” playfully clapping her hands. “It’s okay, Doctor… there’s always tomorrow,” he assured her.


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