Zainab

By Lawrence Ruth 3 weeks ago

"Zainab! Zainab!!" 

Maman Zainab, a young woman in her mid-twenties, tightly dressed and covered, walked swiftly toward a thatched room. She looks worried yet angry.

"Zainab, Zainab," she whispered while searching round the abandoned and unkept thatched room. She looked beneath the bamboo bed and noticed that something was missing. She turned to have a look at the back of the cranky old wooden door and noticed something was missing again.

After thoroughly searching the room, Maman Zainab sat down on the bamboo bed tired and worried. 

  "Where could Zainab be? Kai!" she muttered, thinking so hard about where her eight-year-old daughter could have gone to. She feared Zainab had run away or hurt herself... 

"Maman Zainab! Maman Zainab!" she heard her name, of course, she knew it was her husband calling. Her heart skipped, not knowing what to do, she ran out to meet him.

"Kadawo? Nawuni," she greeted him in their dialect slightly bowing, she made sure she wore her hijab.

"Ina Zainab? Tashir- ya kwu'wa?" Baban Ali, an old man in his mid-eighties asked after his eighteenth child.

"Is she ready? Usman will be here any moment from now? Make sure she's properly dressed, direct her on what to do," he quivered while looking for a chair to seat on...

Maman Zainab ran to her daughters' room. She looked through her window then saw Unmi, Zainab's close friend. She ran out of the room to meet her.

"Where is she? Where is she?" Maman Zainab sobbed tightly holding Unmi's hijab.

"Maman Zainab, please you're choking me, I can't breath," Unmi choked, struggling to free her hijab.

"Please, where is Zainab? You know where she is, please tell me, where's Zainab? Oh! Am finished!" she cried.

Despite promising Zainab never to tell her mother where she was running to, Unmi felt so sorry seeing her mother crying.

"Please tell me where she is, Usman will soon arrive, please tell me, else it will be terrible for her and even me her mother, please tell me, where did she go to?" Maman Zainab sobbed.

Unmi knew Zainab doesn't love Usman and would rather die than to be his wife. Moreover, she wasn't ready to be any mans' wife. 

Unmi turned to leave but Maman Zainab held her tight. 

"Tell me where she is, please"

Tired and worried, she felt sorry for her.

"She went to Banba Kasuwa, she might get a bus from there and leave for the town," Unmi explained, feeling guilty at the same time.

Maman Zainab ran as fast as her legs could run. Friends thought she has gone crazy while some thought she's sick. Whatever people think of her, wasn't Maman Zainab worries. She ran to the main market and just there she sighted Zainab boarding a bus. She ran to the bus and dragged Zainab from the bus.

 She didn't hesitate to slap her daughter. She dragged her out of the park to avoid the scene she was creating.

Zainab was too shocked to say a word. The slap she received was nothing compared to how shocked she was seeing her mother. She doesn't really understand how her mother knew where she was.

"What do you think you're doing?" Her mother asked her, once they got to a calm place.

"Do you really know the implication of what you're doing? Do you know what will happen to you and even me if they find out you tried to run away on your day?"

"But mama, I don't like Usman, I don't want to get married yet, I don't want to go anywhere, I am really scared," Zainab cried.

Her mother couldn't help but sob too. She understood her daughters' feelings. She was too young to be sold, she doesn't feel her daughter was getting married but she feels her eight-year-old daughter is being sold to a greedy old man. How she so much wished she could help her but she couldn't, the only thing she could was to watch her betrothed daughter leave with her husband. Silently Maman Zainab cried. She wiped her face cleaned her nose then held Zainabs' hand.

"Where are you taking me to?" Zainab struggled to free herself from her mother's firm grip. She looks so frightened.

"Please mama, don't take me back to that house. I am not going there! Please! I can't marry that man, I don't want to go, please mama," Zainab cried and walked while her mother held her hand tightly and walked fast to her thatched room. She made sure she followed the back to avoid her husband seeing her or her daughter.

She sat Zainab down on her bamboo bed and began talking to her.

"I know and understand how hard and painful this is, especially to you but please you just have to obey your father and go with Usman," Maman Zainab explained. She could feel her daughter's pain and wished she could help.

Quickly she dressed her daughter up and took her to her father. Her father spoke with her then led her to her room to wait for Usman.

Usman arrived anxiously waiting to see his bride. After the ritual Zainab was taken by Usman.

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