Tears blur my vision, and sadness grips my heart tightly. The room in my dreams, I never imagined there would come a day when I’d live like Shiba. Today, they call it my marital chamber. They’ve resigned from this life. I hope to shield them, though they despise and envy me.

He stood there for over 30 minutes, unable to summon the courage to enter the door. A peculiar fear had lodged itself in his soul. Today marked the day he met his dream wife, something he had never seriously contemplated. Marrying Anya, his humble friend, was beyond his expectations. Would she accept him as her husband and agree to share her life with him? These thoughts weighed heavily on his mind. With a deep breath, he uttered “Bismillah” and, steeling himself, he turned towards their door. With a slow, deliberate push, he closed the door behind him, feeling for the doorknob. He inched forward until he touched a small rise, indicating that he had reached the entrance to the room, and then ascended the stairs. He moved with care, using the building’s curtain as his guide, until he reached the window. He gently touched the soft, fragrant curtain and, desperate for help with worldly matters, he used it to guide him further.

With a prayer on his lips, he raised the curtain and leaned his stick against the room’s door before stepping inside. As I observed him, I saw a young man, perhaps not more than 28 to 30 years old, but his life’s struggles had aged him prematurely. He was the last tall, fair-skinned man, now grown pale due to hardship. His beard was thick, and his eyes, while bright, were rendered useless by blindness. His Fulani hair was still intact, despite the lack of a traditional cap. His physical strength was evident; he brushed off his clothes, which included a silver cloth. He was wearing pants and a short-sleeved shirt, items I had noticed at the bottom of his box. Koh hadn’t informed me of the room’s price, and I cast my gaze elsewhere. I recalled Khadija’s words, describing Aunty’amarya’s room as beautiful and comparable to Murtala Hon’s house in their neighborhood. This man had married Masa as a blind and impoverished person.

He ventured further into the room and discerned details like a carpet in the cozy space. I overheard him mutter that he never wished to see the sky again. His voice grew softer, and I deduced he was talking to himself. Today had been a long and trying day for him. Suddenly, a loud crash echoed through the room. Cold air filled the space as he let out a cry. He exclaimed to the chicken in the kitchen, suggesting they express gratitude to God through shared warmth and sustenance, dining on chicken breast and praying until dawn. He seemed unfazed by everything, except for one lingering gaze that slowly turned in my direction. He transformed into a new person, and that’s when he spoke softly, “Hello.” A shock ran through me, and we replied to him. He lay down slowly and began searching for where I was positioned.

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