On the twenty-eighth day of April in the year Two Thousand and One AD, which happened to fall on a Wednesday, I woke up in a state of confusion. My mind was a jumble of thoughts, and I found myself searching for inspiration, but alas, I had lost the ability to write. I had been sitting there since around ten o’clock in the morning, with a book open in front of me, staring at its pages until two in the afternoon. My brain felt utterly devoid of ideas, filled only with useless thoughts. I sat there, tucked away in the closet of my room, holding a pen in my hand, absentmindedly rolling it like a cigarette. Eventually, I gave up and placed it aside, feeling frustrated and anxious.

“What’s wrong with me?” I wondered aloud, my gaze unfocused, unable to even see the words on the book’s page. I couldn’t muster a smile or form any coherent thoughts. My schoolbooks lay abandoned, mocking me with their blank pages. I felt as if I were grappling with an insurmountable creative block, unable to put words to paper, and the hours passed without any progress.

In my frustration, I decided to step out of the house. As I gazed upon the moonlit night, I saw a young girl carrying a tray of bowls on her head, making her way through the neighborhood. Suddenly, she slipped, spilling the water from the bowls, and this mishap sent a shiver down my spine. I could feel a cold sweat forming on my forehead, and my heart raced as I recalled something significant. Yes, I knew where I needed to go.

I hurried to the house of the moon, my grandmother, who had always been a source of wisdom. Fortunately, she was at home. After exchanging greetings, I got straight to the point.

“Grandmother, I need your guidance. I need to make amends,” I said, earnestly.

She looked at me, chuckling, and replied, “You, young one, seeking repentance? Isn’t it a bit early for you to worry about such matters? Enjoy your youth; there’s plenty of time for that later.”

I tried to maintain a calm demeanor and persisted, “Please, Grandmother, I truly need your advice. Tell me everything I should do, except using dark means…”

She didn’t immediately agree to help, but promised to assist me after the afternoon prayers.

After finishing the Azuhur prayer, I found her ready to guide me through the process of repentance. She seemed particularly enthusiastic, knowing that Sidi Mai, the bag owner, would appreciate my efforts. She poured an ample amount of oil for him, and then, for me.

I arrived back home at around two-thirty in the afternoon, prepared to visit Sidi Mai Jaka at the market. What concerned me most was that I hadn’t seen him in over two years.

As I approached my house, I cautiously peered into the courtyard to ensure I didn’t make a futile or untimely entrance. To my surprise, there was Sidi Mai Jaka himself, seated in his wooden chair with a lofe (traditional hat) placed beside him. He was smoking his pipe, and his appearance hadn’t changed a bit. His old shirt and the white tobacco on his nose were all familiar sights.

I couldn’t help but wonder what he had been up to since our last encounter a year ago. Had he performed ablution more than three times? Despite my curiosity, I held immense respect for Sidi Mai Bag. He was an elder I had known for years—a man of wisdom and experience.

Sidi Mai Bag glanced at the repentance bowl in my hand and remarked cheerfully, “So, have you finally decided to fulfill your promise of repentance? Or is this just a fleeting gesture?”

I placed the bowl in front of him and shifted my lofen, taking a seat on the white bus. I smiled and replied, “Yes, I’ve come to fulfill my promise.”

Sidi Mai Bag, with a calm demeanor, reached for a rubber band, shortened it, and splashed water from his mouth onto the wall. Then, he carefully examined the bowl of repentance.

“Nas, I have good news for you. This repentance offering is not just a formality; it’s the key to a story I’ve longed to share with you for years. It’s been two years to this day since your destiny was sealed, and today, God willing, I shall reveal it to you.”

“Is that so?” I responded, intrigued and prepared to listen, knowing that a new chapter in my life was about to unfold.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *