I kissed his forehead, smiled and turned to leave. Fourteen years before, I couldn’t even look at him directly. After he became my husband on the 27th of August, 2018, the shyness must have gone with my spinster title. It was love at first sight for him but for me, it was probably at hundredth sight. He wasn’t my spec, like the girls always said then. If he hadn’t been genuine, I wouldn’t have noticed his charm, gentility, piety and care.
“Bye, baby. Love youuuu.”, I said as I left the room. Even though he wished that I didn’t have to go, the usual reply still followed. “I love you too. I’ll miss you. Don’t forget your Du’aaus-safar (prayer for journey).” I promised not to forget and left in the new jeep that Idris gave me as a present on my last birthday.
“Big Mummy, let me park so that we can talk better.” I hung up before finding a safe spot to park. I called her back.
“My dear, I’m coming on Saturday to take Ridoh, Rawdoh and their brother as agreed. Will you be around to pack their things?”, she asked.
I almost forgot that my children would be spending two weeks with my husband’s sister for the holiday. It was the second time that we would be apart for a long time since ten years before when my twins, who were my first born, were birthed. They were with my best friend the last time they spent days outside the home. I never allowed them to spend a night outside my watch. My best friend and Big Mummy were the only exceptions to that rule. I felt like changing my mind but she had been asking to have them over since the twins were six years old. We needed to give it a try. I answered, “Yes ma, I and my husband will be around. We’ll be expecting you ma.”
“Okay then. Greet my princes and princess for me oo.” She never ended calls without asking to greet them. Rawdoh was the only girl; that was why she called her princess. The boys were her princes. I promised to do as she requested and said goodbye.
I was about to start the engine when the alarm reminded me to call my friend. I sometimes had so much to do that my alarm was my usual rescuer. I quickly dialed her number. “As salaamu ‘alaykum ma, my mummy is in the kitchen.” It was Mu’aadh’s voice.
“Oh dear, how are you? How’s Mutma’innah and Musta’aan? You know what… Just tell your mummy that I’ll call back when I get to where I’m going.” I was about to hang up when he quickly said, “Hold on small mummy. She’s here.”
“Oṣé ọkọ mi. I’ll talk to you later. Give the phone to your mum for now.”, I said.
“Ẹ ǹ lẹ́ oo. Ẹ kú three days.”, I teased her. One of us usually started with the statement. I beat her to it that day. She said, “Abi oo… Anyway, if you’re calling to find out if we’re ready for the one week get away, we definitely are. My husband and I went to get the pyjamas yesterday. Mu’aadh and his siblings will be going to grandma’s house on Saturday. I’m sure that’s when your kids will be going for their holiday as well.” My friend never disappointed me. I initiated her into the world of getting away and she already became an expert at it. There was nothing to add, so I just replied with “Okay oo Mrs Oshin. See you next week then. Don’t forget to take your ticket and husband oo.” We both laughed and the call ended.
I got to the venue of my meeting. It was one of my clients who had now become a good friend. “Hhmmm… Despite the fact that you wear hijab, it’s obvious that you’re still as slim as you’ve always been but your skin is just glowing. After three pikins… You no wan age? What happened? Tell me your secret nah, Hajia.” Mrs Dieko never got tired of complimenting my skin. Whenever she did, I always smiled or said “Oh, it’s God oo.” but I decided to answer her seriously that day.
“Well, my Merciful God, a good husband, great kids, caring friends and lovely family happened.” She knew that I was serious and said, “Wow! How can I agree less?”