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"Hadiza" A Short Story By Kasim Shalom — Pawners Paper

The short story, Hadiza, presents the heroine in the states of desperation, unrest, a supposed betrayal and a pick inside the challenges faced by...

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Hadiza captures the themes of marriage, love, life, and a viable description of the classic environment and culture of the Nigeria societies in a glance. But not without a few more in-depth and nothing short of suspence. The opening paragraph creates some attachment with the readers, a zeal to read further as the writer treats his words gently and exquisitely like a pack of cards.

The short story, Hadiza, presents the heroine in the states of desperation, unrest, a supposed betrayal  and a pick inside the challenges faced by women in marriage. But then, the focus of the story was far much more.

If I were to say, I'd say "hadiza is a short story that pictures the uncertainties that revloves around life"

Black girl



Hadiza


Hadiza paced the room, a three-piece tafeta veil lazily following her. Her legs ached and her feet were sore, yet she kept a steadily increasing pace, her hands folded across her chest. At first her hands were behind her, then akimbo, then across her rather chest. The temperature was humid, the cool warm breeze hit her face when she looked out of the window to the garage.

Nine months ago, Hadiza married Sadik, a 45 year old erstwhile precarious dansiki seller. She was the daughter of Sadik's favourite customer in Birnin Daji, Alhaji Saidu. Alhaji Sa'idu had worked in Lagos as a clerk in a federal postal service for 27 years until he retired three years ago as a Senior Clerk Assistant. When he had returned to Birnin Daji, his friends taunted him for being so much like the Yorubas.

"Look, my friends, if you had been with those people, you will not be bothered to return home! At least I have returned home!" Alhaji would break into a long laugh.

"Just like you have done," they taunted further, look how you dress now."

"My dressing," he would clutch his agbada, "explains who I have lived with."

Sadik and Alhaji first met in a Saturday evening market.

"Omo dada, ba oni?" He proudly greeted.

"Lafiya kalau, Alhaji, I am fine, Alhaji."

"A'ah! You don't understand Yoruba? And you are selling dansikis ?" Alhaji looked surprised. "What tribe are you?"

"Kanuri."

"Eh! Our slave," he said loudly, drawing attention. "You are a slave o! Better know it today. The Kanuri man is always a slave to the Fulani. Isn't it?"

"Yes, Alhaji," Sadik smiled. "They used to be."

"See who is selling dansikis to make money," Alhaji half-laughed.

"Alhaji, see who is looking for someone selling dansikis."

They laughed loudly and talked of Doondari, Kanem Bornu empire, Senegal, and how the grasshoppers of Borno were scared away by the daily relocating herds of cattles from Gombe, then Alhaji asked for a brown dansiki with a fish pattern.

"Kash, Alhaji. The last one was bought not more than 20 minutes before you came, but I will go to Dala tomorrow. I am sure I will get it there." Sadik assured.

Two weeks later, Sadik walked into Alhaji's house, proudly clutching the dansiki he had ordered.

"Omo dad. . .Tada nyi, well done. You are a hardworking young man. I like you!" Alhaji was impressed.

"Thank you, Alhaji," Sadik fumbled his keys.

"Come to my house tomorrow. I'll complete your money, and treat you the way good masters treat their servants."

Their friendship grew mutually, and when Alhaji heard that Sadik was a bachelor, he screamed,"Kai! My servant shouldn't be like that! Kai. . .kai. . .kai. Tada Kanuriben. Kai! Let me see what I can do."

One year later, Alhaji married off his daughter, Hadiza to Sadik, his favourite dansiki dealer and friend. He later told him "You know, Hadiza had loved you from start! She was just shy. You know them, Sadik. They will die than be the first to tell you! Poor, senseless creatures!" Alhaji laughed, Sadik softly chuckling.



-----------------------------
Two hours later, Hadiza woke up from a troubled sleep and looked at the bed clock. 3 o'clock. One hour to closing hour. Should she wait till then only for him to come home, take a quick shower, eat lunch, and picks his car key to the tennis court? Or should she follow him to the court today? What would she look like, the only woman in a company of working class men all older than her? Or would she have to wait till he gets back from court and bring the issue up? Or should she just check up on him in the office? Or should she. . . or should she. . .or should she. . .

"Salama Alaikum," Sadik saluted, entering the room.

"Welcome, Sadik." She quickly sat up on the edge of the bed. "Sadik, tell me. You know I trust you with my life. What have I heard them saying about you? Is it true? Do you really intend to. . ."
Sadik took off his shoes and sat adjacent Hadiza, changing into a purple-blue track suit. "Hadiza, that's a poor way to start an evening. Not a welcome, not a hug, not even collecting my briefcase. First thing, you start seeking to clarify your doubts. Haba. I too have a heart full of suspicions, but have I ever walked into the room and started demanding clarifications? No! It is not. . ."

"Look, Sadik. Let's understand. . . well, okay. I'm sorry." She paused and moved closer to him. "But please, tell me the truth. Are you intending to take a second wife?"

"Hadiza," Sadik sighed, "you will still be my wife. No matter the number of wives I marry, you will always be uwargida. That is. . ."

"No, Sadik. This cannot be." Her voice was quaking. "You easily forget, Sadik. My father is why you are here, why you have a job. You were a poor, wretched devising young man with no prospects of any good in life until you met my father. He gave you a wife, a house, money, used his influence to get you an envious job, and literally transformed you! Yet you wake up one day to say you would marry another wife? A rival for this man's daughter that changed your life? No way!"

"Hadiza, stop these things you're saying," came his calm reply, "I am sure your father wouldn't be happy hearing you say them."

"Why won’t he? You know what? I take all men to be the same, though. You and my father are all the same: lying cheats, beasts, egocentric demons, cheating, wild human species! That's what you all are." A few tears dropped from her eyes.

Sadik picked his racket and stood to leave. "All those adjectives are for the father who birthed you, and the father of the child you carry in you, and probably for even the baby that knows nothing. A child you're expecting in the next two months." He looked at his wristwatch and picked his towel.

"Sadik!" She called after him as he closed the door, "wherever you go, please remember your wife and your unborn child in the womb." She broke down in tears, sprawling on the cold tiled floor.

Sadik drove out of the house for the twenty-minute 3 kilometer distance to the tennis court. His mind wondered on why the court was the most distant sport centre from town. The court was the last project he had remembered donating funds to. His love for tennis stemmed from his childhood hobby of being good at throwing stones at his friends, and his innate ability to dodge their stones.

He joined the busy highway from the Mairo junction. His mind drifted back to Hadiza. She was 26, the rich daughter of a prominent man. Wasn't marrying her supposed to be a rare privilege? She had loved him, a mutual love that had predictably grew. Then out of nowhere, she begins suspecting he would take a second wife. As much as he tried to, he couldn't understand the rationale behind her suspicions.

He was thrilled, however by the pleading tone she had used. He had never seen her melted as she had been some few minutes ago. She was a broken, defenseless lady that needed an assurance from her fears. Abu-Zaihra had once told him that women always reached a point of brokenness where they would gloat and cry until you assured them you were with them.

"She can cry for months until you assure her that her suspicions are merely fears."

"You do this every time?" Sadik had once asked him.

"Every day, man," Abu-Zaihra boasted. "That is how I have been living with my three wives. If I tell you the hell I have had in my house, you wouldn't believe it."

"You still do?" Sadik asked.

"Yes, man. I still do. But sometimes, I just ignore them. It makes them cling closer to me!"

That was four years ago when Sadik was still a bachelor. Now that Hadiza had started behaving in the way Abu-Zaihra had told him, he was sure to adapt his second strategy. Ignorance. He would leave Haidiza to gloat for weeks before assuring her her suspicions have only been fears. For now, he would watch her helpless and broken, until she longed for him.

Piiiii!!! Pi!! Pi!!!

Heh! Heh!

Innalillahi wa inna...! Kai! 

Kai, yaro! 

Kai! Kai!! 

There was a loud scream. Then silence.

People gathered around the Mitsubishi 17E Station Wagon. No one was talking; just a few low mumbles and loud sighs.

"He was smiling," someone said from behind the crowd.

"No," a little girl countered, "he was smiling widely."

Everyone turned to her. Someone said she looked liked the dead driver.

"And he was going to play tennis," the little girl added.


BIO

Kazim Shalom

Shalom Kasim is a prolific writer and editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the university magazine, INSIGHTS at the Federal University, Wukari, Nigeria. Kasim is also the Contributing Editor (Prose) at Eboquills, a literary blog, and a Contributing author at FU Review, Berlin.





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Pawners Paper: "Hadiza" A Short Story By Kasim Shalom — Pawners Paper
"Hadiza" A Short Story By Kasim Shalom — Pawners Paper
The short story, Hadiza, presents the heroine in the states of desperation, unrest, a supposed betrayal and a pick inside the challenges faced by...
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