‘You didn’t tell me your son is back Alhaji, I saw him this morning collecting wood from Abu’s Saw Mill’ Alhaji Yusuf started off the conversation. Himself and Ali’s father had been really close friends from a very young age and had stayed so all through the years. They would normally visit each other whenever they get free time off their day but it seemed Alhaji Yusuf wanted to start this day by seeing his friend.
‘He came back last night kwo, he wants to build a kiosk at the front of the house, ya ce lallai ne ya zama yau, he said he wants to start his business there, that’s why he needs the wood’
‘Ah! That is very good da gaske, it is good he wants to start a business but Alhajii I thought he was working in Lagos,’
‘He doesn’t have a real job in Lagos, Ya kasance Yana gudanarwa.’ Alhaji answers and pauses a bit. He thought he heard a sound but it was nothing so he continues ‘i know I should be happy, but what he is doing is what I don’t understand, it is strange. He said he wants to be helping people pay light bills, yace kasuwanci ne Mai kyau; what if I don’t have light bill to pay? What will he do? na gaji!’ He complains bitterly to his friend
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‘ I am sure Ali knows what he is doing Alhaji, Karka wuce kanka da kanka, He is a full grown man, ba shi damar yin abin da yake so. He is very busy now, I would have asked him to come help me pay,”
‘He will be coming to your house later today’
‘Toh! It won’t be bad for him at all, I will tell the others around to patronize him. Where did everybody go to Alhaji, this house is unusually quiet da gaske’ Alhaji Yusuf stands and looks around if he would find anyone but there was no one
‘You won’t find anybody at home Alhaji, they have all gone out’
‘Hajiya Hauwa and Suliat have gone to the market they said they want to go and tell the other women about Ali’s business, Amina and the others have gone to Makarata, Ali and his younger brother has gone to buy wood and materials for his shop.” Alhaji Yusuf answers but then he was sure he heard a sound. ‘Alhaji please let me check who is at the front door’
‘kada ku damu ko kadan, let me just go home from there, tell Ali to come and see me as he promised. ‘ he requested as they both walked to the front house. As his instinct had told him there was someone at the front door and it was Zainab, Ali’s betrothed.
‘ina kwana Alhaji, I didn’t mean to disturb you, I am looking for Amina, someone told me she saw Ali this morning, I wanted to know if he is back.’
‘Lafiya Alhaji, Zainab ka kasance yarinya Mai kyau.’ Alhaji Yusuf bade and left
‘da gaske he came back last night but he has gone to buy somethings, I am sure he would be on his way back, wa ta Kila ya kamata ku dawo Nan gaba, are your parents?’
‘Babu Alhaji, I will just wait for him to come back.’ She replied.
‘kin tabbata? I don’t know if you can wait for him.’
‘i will wait. Don’t worry Alhaji you can go and rest inside.’ She said as she picked up a stool to sit with and wait for Ali.
They had both grew up knowing they were betrothed to each other and they liked it. It had been a bittersweet departure two years ago when Ali left for Lagos and now he was back. She would have someone who would be walking her to the market now. Ali always loved doing that. She wondered what he would be like now perhaps fatter than he was before.
‘shi Mai kauri ne koyaushe, he should add weight at least’ she thought aloud and laughed to herself. It was funny how Ali eats a lot and still remains thin. Zainab was more than ready to be married to Ali but it’s never for the woman to make the move. ‘a lokacinsa’
‘Zainab!’ Ali called her back to reality and ran to her. He would have hugged her but they were In front of his father’s compound. He wouldn’t dare.
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‘Ali! don haka gaskiya ne, You came and didn’t bother to come look for me, ta yaya zaka iya yin hakan?’ She turned to feign anger
‘kada ku zama Kamar wannan, I just came in last night and I have been out since morning, look at all these wood; and I had to stop by the health center to market my new business but I ran into luck, Allah yataimaka min, I had customers, I am so sorry, Ina gaske ne’ he apologized sweetly.
‘I am fine, I have something to tell you, come!’ he pulled her to the site for his shop and started telling his Tingg tale to her
‘…so this is where I would build the shop today and start properly.’ He smiled broadly. Zainab was quickly reminded why she so much love Ali; he had the sweetest smile she’d ever seen.
‘You seem so confident da gaske’
‘i mana! Zainab I have had four customers from yesterday to today and it’s just noon, I have not even told a lot of persons. This Tingg business is Allah ya aiko Yes! I don’t need to stress myself, my customers don’t need to stress themselves, the community will no longer stress themselves. With my Tingg app I help everyone pay their bills, sell recharge card and data, pay for things I buy for you right from my phone and shikina I make money! Oh Zainab I wish I could carry you and just swing you, I am so happy’ He couldn’t contain his excitement, he tried a lot to restrain himself from doing anything anyone could tag indecent but the whole Tingg Fussy coupled with the fact that his beautiful Zainab was actually standing right in front of him sharing in his excitement was all too much. There is only so much a man could handle right. He dropped all of his guards and gave Zainab a warm and passionate embrace.
‘ina Jin Dadi sosai! will finally be able to take care of you Zainab’ that sweet moment would have been phenomenal if his father had not walk in on them
‘Ali!’ Alhaji roared to the immediate disengaging of the both of them
‘is something wrong with you kwo? ka manta da tunanin ka? Zainab ta ya ya zama bar shi? go home! Abu kunya ne ka kyale shi ya rike ka haka, What do you want people to think? Kun zama masu fasikanci?’
‘Haba Alhaji! Shi ke da wahala, I was just so happy to see her, ba mu yi wani laifi ba, Don’t make her go home’ Ali pleaded, Zainab was much too embarrassed to even speak up.
‘kuna bukatar yin hankali sosai, be very careful. Alhaji Yusuf asked to see you, Be fast with your building so you can go and see him. I am going to harvest some tomatoes, Ina bakatarsu; When your mother and Hajiya Suliat comes tell them to prepare Tuwo shikafa, Ali you hankali’ He said and left much to the relief of Zainab
‘I am so sorry Zainab’
‘yana lafia, you should start building, I will help you build’ She offered. Ali couldn’t help but laugh, he found her willingness to help so sweet and yet so naive.
‘What do you want to do kwo? Is it the wood you want to carry or the Zinc you want to put on top? Zainab just watch me and my brother do our thing, Karka damu! If you want to help, go and tell your friends about my business. Tell them to come and buy airtime wanna aikinku ne.’ He said and started building.
Zainab just stood there watching them, he wouldn’t let her touch anything and she felt almost useless. Since she couldn’t do anything, she decided to go cook something for them but just as she was about to leave Hajiya Hauwa and Suliat came back.
‘Ah Zainab don haka Kuna Nan, We stopped at your house to inform your mother that has come, ba mu San kana nan’ Hajiya Hauwa said to Zainab
‘barka da zuwa Hajiya, I saw Amina this morning she told me Ali was home so I came to see’
‘Ali, wadannan matan suna Nan dominku, They want to pay their light bills,’ Hajiya Suliat said and went inside
‘Yayi kyau. Thank you Hajiya, ku jama’a barka da zuwa, where is your money?’ He collected their money and details and helped them pay.
‘I also sell recharge cards idan Kuna bukata, Na gode’ he thanked them as they left
‘You have really tried in your building da gaske’ Hajiya Hauwa noted and jocularly added ‘thank Allah, Zainab decided to help you out’
‘I couldn’t have been able to do anything if she had not help’ Ali hyped her even further, Hajiya Hauwa went inside to meet Hajiya Suliat
‘That was quite easy Ali.’ Zainab pointed out
‘What was quite easy?’
‘The way you used your phone to pay those bills’
‘It’s the Tingg App, I told you it was easy and fast’
‘Yes, Ali I Should go now. I don’t want my mother to be worried’
‘You will just tell her you came to meet your husband’ Ali teased
‘ba zan iya Magana da ku ba, I will come back tomorrow’
‘Ah! I thought you said you wanted to go and cook for me and my brother, ka canza tunanin ka?’
‘that was before your mother came, Ali bar ni I need to go’ Zainab said and left
‘me kukeyi, why are you so slow, wannan gaggawa ne I need to make money!’ Ali ordered to his brother