Maa and Daddy had a wonderful marriage. They bickered, but then we’d turn that into jokes. Sometimes Daddy would come into the house and ask Maa to dance with him and Maa would giggle and say 

“Duba yaran nan na kallo fa” and Daddy would go 

“Ina ruwa na, ni dai matata ke rawa”. And we would laugh at them.

Daddy called Maa Duba, she called him that too. She also called Niya Duba. Sometimes in jest, we’d say “Uwa Duba, Uba Duwa, Da Duba”. And Maa would say “Kaaniyan ku!” and she’d laugh with us. We always wondered though how they came about one name for three of them. Daddy called Niya Musa but Maa never did, because he was her first child, and first borns were not called by name. We heard stories from aunts who’d say it took time before Musa would start acknowledging that his name, by Maa, was Duba. They said he’d ignore her or ask “Me zan duba?”

She called Daddy that because wives were expected to respect their husbands, and calling out their names was not showing respect. I think Daddy just went with the flow. He called her Jummai, though in the third person.

Now that I think about about it, the whole family never travelled in one car together to Donga. Maa usually left first with a kid or two, Zuwairah and Lami went from school and the rest of us went with Daddy. One such time Maa left and we were supposed to go a few days later but Daddy kept postponing. For many days we’d wake up early and get ready only for Daddy to say he had to go to work. For all of those days, we wore the fine clothes that Maa had packed for the journey, we were not to wear anything we chose because she said once Daddy had gone with the kids, while I was at Baaba’s, with clothes she called rags. I think by the time we finally left, we had worn almost all of them and we packed them, dirty like that, from Sokoto all the way to Donga. Maa was speechless.

On the day we left, Daddy came back from work around two and packed us into the car. I had been sleeping. And yes, that was the day we didn’t bother bathing because the journey had been put off one too many times. 

We stopped at Gusau for service;some oil change, a check here and there. While they checked the car, we ate. It was almost evening when we were finally ready to go and as we were ready to leave, I think Daddy was taking change from the mechanic when we heard shouts

“kai! Kai! Kai!” and then a crash. A pick up van was reversing and had crashed into a stationary car.

It was our car.


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