MAKAUNIYAR SOYAYYA  Complete Document Written By Maryam Ahmad Paki


Today in Kaduna, the scorching heat added to the discomfort of those trying to find respite from the day’s activities. Upon returning from school, I shed my uniform and sought refuge in the small toilet adjoining my room. However, the sweltering heat induced a bout of nausea, cutting my stay short to just five minutes. Splashing cold water on my face, I opted for a T-shirt and a simple skirt before heading to Umm’s room.

In Umm’s three-seater, I found her engrossed in the study of hisnul muslim, a smile gracing her face as I entered.

“Umm, I’m back home,” I greeted.

“Yawwa Fatima, back already? How was your lesson?” Umm inquired.

“I’m exhausted, Umm. These WAEC and NECO lessons drain all my energy. The heat makes it even harder to get up early. It feels like shedding clothes in class due to the intense heat. I’m also experiencing some pain; I had to splash water on my face, but it seems to be getting worse. I’m thinking of talking to Aminu and his friend Faruk to quit the lessons. Besides, I attend an extra school on weekends, near a mango park,” I explained.

Umm chuckled, responding, “You’re dedicated to your education. Be grateful to Aminu; without his support, you wouldn’t eat or even get scolded. Finish your lessons, draw whatever you need to, and then rest completely. JAMB is done; wait for your admission before starting university.”

Gratefully hugging Umm, I jokingly exclaimed, “Who has seen me at the university?”

Umm laughed and replied, “That’s the spirit.”

Our conversation was interrupted by Khaleel, who joined in with a smile, “What are we talking about? Seems like an enjoyable conversation.”

Playfully pouting, I quipped, “You don’t understand; I always claim to be the youngest. If my friends hear otherwise, they’ll mock me.”

Khaleel laughed, saying, “Alright, sister, I’ll remember that.”

Umm turned to Khaleel, asking, “Did Faruk return? Tell him to greet me when he comes.”

Khaleel smiled and shared, “He arrived yesterday. He stayed away for two days, hiding in Abuja due to his military duties. He paid a visit to Mom; we met.”

Umm glanced at me, and I knew Faruk’s name had been mentioned. Silent, as if not present, she instructed, “Did you hear? Your brother is back. Get up and prepare food; he’ll be eating here tonight.”

Resistantly, I frowned, expressing my fatigue, “Umm, I’m really tired. I just got back from school, and now you want me to cook for him. He’s so particular about his food, and he’ll start criticizing me. When he returned last time, he blamed me for everything. I hope God guides him to be considerate. How difficult is it for him to come and greet you, or even acknowledge that I exist in this house? I pray he realizes the effort it takes. Why is Khaleel just smiling? Faruk doesn’t contribute to the family, Aminu is troubled because his son is a soldier, and Yaya Aminu is friends with Faruk, so he is indifferent. Now, he’s coming, and he’ll scrutinize everything.”

At this point, tears began to well up, and Khaleel, understanding my predicament, approached me comfortingly, “Fatima, why are you crying? Do you realize Faruk doesn’t eat meals prepared by others? He doesn’t tolerate insults either. You’ve been managing for two days. He specifically asked for you to cook, and Ummu is resting. It’s true; you’ve grown up. Talks of marriage will begin soon. When you go to your husband’s house, you’ll need to cook for him. You won’t have Ummu here. Faruk is genuinely helping you.”

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