On the day Sadiya’s beloved Amir was lost, she sought solace in the forest, tears streaming down her face. Little did she know that fate had an unexpected encounter in store for her that day—a meeting with her new love, Khalifa, who would replace the void left by Amir.

Here’s how their paths converged:

Every few months, Dr. Hamza’s wife, Hafsatu, would travel to Gazari village to bring back her ten relatives from her father’s side, the only family she had left in the world. They had relocated to Abuja while she made these trips. When it was time to return, she would call her husband to pick her up.

Dr. Hamza, a general practitioner who ran his own private hospital and worked in public hospitals, would sometimes be summoned urgently for tasks that required his immediate attention.

Dr. Hamza, not yet forty years old, had achieved remarkable success in his life. He owned extensive properties, including vast lands and spacious houses. His parents also operated a prominent hospital that attracted numerous patients due to its skilled staff and modern equipment.

Dr. Hamza embraced a contemporary lifestyle and had a strong aversion to traditional customs. Once a year, he took a short break, usually leaving Nigeria for foreign countries to work. He insisted on driving only the latest car models, regardless of their cost.

In the early morning, Dr. Hamza could often be found on the football field before heading to work. In the evenings, when he returned early, he would don his basketball attire and join his friends for games. To those unaware of him, he seemed carefree, living life with the spirit of a ten-year-old.

Dr. Hamza’s family included his wife Hafsatu and his younger brother Khalifa, a university student. They had two sons, Alfat and Abba, who had grown accustomed to their father’s unique approach to life. Dr. Hamza used to engage in spirited table tennis matches with Khalifa, despite their disagreements over the score, even though Khalifa was twenty-seven years his junior.

Dr. Hamza also indulged in boxing with his seven-year-old son, Alfat, and they would playfully spar with each other. Hafsatu often watched these matches and intervened if she feared her son might get hurt, urging them to stop and have a meal.

If one were to list the things that Dr. Hamza held most dear in his life, it would be clear that Khalifa ranked above all else, with his children coming in a close second, and his wife Hafsatu at the bottom of the list.

In the early days of their marriage, when Hafsatu was still a bride, she noticed her husband’s strong attachment to Khalifa and began to feel envious and jealous. Dr. Hamza, perceptive as ever, sat down with her to address her concerns.

Khalifa was the only family Dr. Hamza had left in the world. Their parents had both passed away when they were young—Khalifa at the tender age of four and Dr. Hamza at seventeen. Their father, a soldier, had lost his life in the battle to pacify the Tarxoma. Two years later, their mother had also passed away, but before doing so, she had placed Khalifa’s hand in Hamza’s and made a heartfelt plea.

“This pain will never leave me, Hamza. Promise me that even after my death, you will care for your brother Khalifa, treat him better than anyone else in the world, for there is no one better than you.”

Tears in his eyes, Hamza had solemnly promised his mother that he would look after Khalifa and treat him with utmost care.

Thus, Hamza completed his medical studies at the university while continuing to care for Khalifa, who had been living with a comrade of their late father, a fellow soldier.

Having no relatives nearby, their father hailing from Taraba and their mother from Adamawa, the two brothers had no known family to speak of. Their parents had left their villages behind, and history remained the sole reason why Dr. Hamza and Khalifa lacked extended family. Except for affluent friends they associated with, they were each other’s world. Without Khalifa, Dr. Hamza would be alone, and without Dr. Hamza, Khalifa would have no one.

Dr. Hamza shared this story with his wife, Hafsatu, who understood and stopped worrying. In Hamza’s absence, Khalifa managed everything in the household, a testament to their unique bond and shared commitment to family.

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