“Are my eyes deceiving me? Is my mind playing tricks on me?” Dunia could not believe her eyes. She felt her hands shake under her hijab, why did she suddenly feel like she was a teenage girl? Butterflies pinching and twisting her guts all over. She turned around, took a side of her hijab and put it across her face. This way she could see while maintaining her identity hidden. It wasn’t unusual for people to cover their faces when it was windy.
She slowly walked towards the mango section of the fruit table. This was one of the things she had missed about her home city. The souk, the lines of fruit tables, the crowded place. People shouting, laughing, elderly men sitting and sipping tea with camel milk while listening to BBC news on the radio and discussing politics.
Kids kicking a ball made out of magazines and plastic bags stuffed in an old sock.
“these with a lemon juice, right? ahaha” said the man that had a striking image of someone she knew ages ago. Dunia stopped; one, two three, she counted three people standing between her and him. Two of them stood beside him. Foreigners she said to herself by the atirre wrapped around their bodies she guessed that they were Sudanese.
What are you going to gain by making sure? Dunia couldn’t talk herself from getting closer to his side of the table. People came over to her side, looked at the table, picked up the mangoes of their choice and went ahead with their days.
Dunia kept on running her fingers across the table, pretending like she still didn’t find one or two mangoes to buy. As she scooted closer to the man who interrupted her whole body system, making her behave like a teenage girl with an incurable crush.
“yalla, we take these,” he said. Dunia was staring at him, what if he recognizes me? Oh, he looks better with a little grey hair. She wasn’t sure how she felt about the beard. It makes him look wiser she thought to herself. His lips were moving and he was looking right at her. He then snapped his fingers right in her face bringing her back to the present “excuse me, sister, you are standing on her dress.” Dunia dropped the bag of groceries trying to control her feet, she took a step back and instead stood on the foot of a woman standing behind her.
He walked past the ladies and towards her. “what shall I do” Dunia stood still. He picked up her bag and gave it to her. “Are you all right aunty? Do you need help?” Dunia looked to her sides, he was referring to her. Auntie? Auntie? She snatched the bag from him and hurried out of the fruit section of the Souk.
“Are your elderly women this rude ya Ali?” Dunia could hear the women teasing the man who’s heart once belonged to her. Only seven years had passed, but seven years felt like ages.
Dunia leaned against a wall as soon as she came out of the Market. She couldn’t make sense of the notions of emotions that run wild in her chest. She felt like she had lost in life. She was standing face to face with the man she once loved more than her own life. And he didn’t even flinch. She knew it was for no good, she was married to a man who was in his honeymoon phase with a New wife. She was a mother with her beauty all burned. For a moment she had let her impulses take control and that she regretted. He didn’t see my face, but my eyes were they not enough to recognize?
Ali-Asbro felt anxious, he quickly touched his pockets, the car keys and wallet were still there. He then touched his chest, for some weird reason his heart was beating fast. “I haven’t lost anything, but I feel like I just did.” Audublilahi he rebuked the devil.
He looked back at the elderly lady he tried to help, but she snatched the grocery bag he picked up from the ground for her. Perhaps she didn’t like that I asked her to take her foot off my friend. Ali thought to himself. He still felt anxious. He has battled anxiety attacks in the past, finding comfort and ease on his prayer mat. “let’s go” he said paving the way towards the cashier. He couldn’t wait until he got home, so he could wash and pray. Perhaps it is being back to Hargeisa the city he had escaped from, that has got him feeling anxious.
“Go back and leave us alone” Kimina was glad to see Madka-Kher but as he ran towards her she remembered why she was here to begin with. She turned her back to him as he tried to hug her. It didn’t stop him from wrapping his arms around her and crying out loud. “Kimina, Kimina Kimina my life” Madka-Kher was crying holding fast to her. But all Kimina could think about was his family and all the times she was mistreated for loving this man.
“let to go off me, go back and leave us alone”
The thought of going back with Madka sent chills down her spine. She shivered.
Kimina had a terrible memory from when she gave birth to her son.
The Italian doctor, Dr. Norlando took Madka-Kher outside of the labor room “this is child abuse, if you were in my country I would get you arrested.” Kimina didn’t blame the doctor, she was petite but she wasn’t a child. She was 16 and girls younger than her were married with families.
“I am sorry I have to leave for a field trip” Madka-Kher was feeling bad for leaving his wife who just had birthed him a son the day before, but the nurses needed a driver and a translator to remote villages and if he didn’t accept the offer someone else would. That would potentially leave him and his family with no income. So he left.
Kimina was taken to Madka-Kher’s family house the day after. To her surprise, his family did not welcome her even after giving birth to a healthy son. Kimina never understood why they looked at her like a stranger. No one came to bring her food or drink for many hours. When the sun went down a woman came to her with a small bowl of leftovers. ” I am so sorry you married into this heartless family, they don’t like you, little girl, why did you marry into a clan that doesn’t get along with yours?” the lady had overheard the dialogues between Madka-Kher’s mother and her friends. Kimina had no idea what the lady was talking about. She and Madka never discussed clan issues. She thought those were things only elder people with something wrong with their minds talked about. She grew up seeing people with different skin color and religion eat together and laugh together. “aah, mama yango, I miss you” she had missed her mother so much. Kimina was not aware how much the family she married into hated the blood running through her veins. Something she soon was going to discover.
“Naya, don’t just lay there like a cow go to the refugee camp and get your ration” Madka’s mother insisted Kimina to walk to the refugee camp, an hour of walking distance carrying her three days old son on the back. Since Kimina was in the refugee camp, she was given a card for rationing. Once a month people from organizations came to give the refugees a ration of rice, powder milk and sugar to live on. Kimina got to the refugee camp three hours later. People were still in lines to get their ration. Kimina fainted. She woke up in laying in a hut. Her son was breastfeeding. “lay down poor child.” The elder lady Kimina and her brother followed when they escaped from her evil stepmother was taking care of her. “my child, I am so sorry I can not do much for you, but you may stay here as long as you like.” The elder lady gave Kimina porridge which helped Kimina gain her strength. She laid there drinking and eating anything the lady served her. In the middle of the night came her father-in-law and her brother-in-law to fetch her. “get your son and let’s go” insisted her father-in-law. Kimina looked at him with wide eyes. “do you have a car outside?” she asked. He looked at his son and then back at her “no” he replied. “Is there perhaps a donkey outside to carry me back home?” Kimina asked. “ehen, um, No there is no donkey either.” he answered.
In that case, I am not going with you in the middle of the night father, I am not able to walk. Kimina said. and laid back on the madras. She was in a lot of pain with blood running down my legs.
Kimina had committed a great crime by not obeying her father-in-law and following him. It was dishonor. She also asked questions which made Madka-Kher’s family even more certain that she was the wrong choice for their son. And she slept in someone else house while being a married woman. All these things made her even more unfit. Besides the fact that she was sent out to get ration three days after giving birth.
“Madka.Kher” Kimina turned around to look at him. “do you know what I have endured for your sake?” He wiped tears off his face and nodded. “I know, baby I know.” He looked down at his feet then looked back at her. He had heard some of the things his family did to his wife. And she never told him. But when he was around his family never asked Kimina of anything. But the neighbours told him that Kimina fetched water, swept the whole compound and cooked all three meal for the whole family every single day. The only problem with those accusations was that she herself never told him, and he never witnessed them with his own eyes. But deep down he knew.
“I promise you, I promise you we are not going back to Mogadishu, or my family.” He took her hands into his, “Kimina, what do you think about getting your own hut in a remote village far from my family just you and I.?” Kimina looked into his eyes, she wanted to jump for joy and throw herself into his arms, but she pushed him back. She took a step back and looked at him from head to toe then back up. “Madka-Kher, you are the father of Nasiye, and for that, I will respect you, but while you are here you give me the remaining two talaqs so we can finally be divorced for good.” She said and watched his reaction. He laughed like a mad man. “I regret that I said talaq on one account, I won’t do the mistake in saying the remaining two. Never Kimina I will never divorce you baby.” He said and tried to hug her but she moved aside. “I will do anything to convince you that I am telling you the truth. You are my life.” Kimina started walking. Madka followed her. “where is my son, where is Nasiye?” He was joyful for he was seeing the love of his life in the flesh. She hadn’t changed still stubborn and prideful, but she was his little stubborn lady. He followed her asking a million questions always trying to get hold of her hand and getting rejected over and over again. It was very hot, but for Madka it felt like a soft wind breeze was howling just for him.