Very early on the day of Grandma’s funeral, a blustering breeze whistled outside the window followed by a bolt of lightning then a slow belch of thunder and finally a fierce rain. It made me wonder if Grandma was a good person, after all, she said only bad people get rain on their funeral and good people get sunshine. I tried to block this thought off my mind as I looked outside the window and noticed the Bell apples covered the bottom of the tree like a pink carpet, the bell apple was Grandma’s favourite fruit. Maybe she wasn’t a bad person after all and the rain just helped harvest the apples. I remembered the watery, sweet and tangy taste and thought of going outside to pick some but no one was awake except me and it was still very early in the morning so I snuggled back in bed next to my sister and drift off to sleep.
I was running on my own back to the farm, panting, stopping to catch my breath and starting again. Me and the little boy were in the farm-playing hide and seek. He looked so different from the last time I saw him; he smiled more showing off his brown teeth as we ran around the farm.
He had wondered how I came on my own and I lied that Father asked me to get some werepe for him, although I was quick to add that I do not know what it’s used for.
‘I’ll ask my dad to get it for you’
‘Nooo, I want you!’
‘I think my dad would do a good job, I’ve watched him do it before but I’ve never done it.’
‘I think my dad likes you to do it,’ I insisted.
‘Okay I will try’
He went in to wear an old tattered glove to pick the seed and put it in a bag. He held my hand and said ‘Be careful.’
‘Thanks I will’
‘Are you coming back soon?’
‘Yes’ I lied
Back in the house, no one noticed by absence since almost all our family members are in our house.
There were lots of cooking and the women shouting and talking on top of their voices. It’s like Christmas again only this time without Grandma.
I’ve hatched my plan and so I hid the bag behind the door in our bedroom till I get the right opportunity.
Papa gathered everyone in the living room for a final prayer before we go to church for the funeral, the car carrying Grandma’s corpse is outside waiting for us to lead the convoy. We are about to pray when someone knocked on the door. Papa ran to open the door and it was Aunty Muli and her hair is even more different now. It was in braids and long up to her waist, she has never looked happier. She was infact beaming as she scanned the living room on the same spot.
She ran up to Mama and gave her the bunch of flowers she was holding and hugged her. Papa started the prayer and I sneaked into the room to get the bag behind the door. It was no longer there. I moved the laundry basket behind the door to check if it was underneath but there was nothing. I was panting and angry at the same time. I emptied the laundry basket, if it was inside, nothing!
I screamed for my sister but no one would hear me.
Everyone finished praying and this time they were looking for me. I rubbed my sweaty palm on my dress but I was too angry and punch the wall instead.
I heard Papa’s voice getting closer to where I was.
‘ Tolu, Tolu, Toluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!’
He pulled my legs and shook my head.
I jolted from sleep and was crying.
Tolu, wake up everyone is getting ready for Grandma’s day today and you have been sleeping since. Are you alright?
I wiped my tears because now I realised I was dreaming, my plan didn’t hatch after all.
Say something, are you okay and why are you sweating profusely?
‘Where is aunty Muli?’ I asked
‘Darling, I don’t think Muli will come back. After Grandma’s funeral we will travel abroad.’
‘Abroad? Where is that?’
‘Before I tell you, get out of bed and dress up because we need to give Grandma a befitting burial today, so forget about Muli for now. ‘
We were on the way to the church and I still can’t stop thinking about Aunty Muli and if she’ll ever come back.