“I’m so sorry to hear about your mother…”
He had heard it so many times now, he wished he could eject from the burial ceremony. He wondered why Africans had to make a big a deal about everything. Why couldn’t things be as simple with us as it was with the English?
But no, his mother’s family had to go and blow the ceremony out of proportion – an endless sea of canopies, loud blaring music, aso-ebi, people he hardly even knew, and who had to take care of the monumental cost? He did.
He stared at the casket. Pure crystal. The best money could buy.
He couldn’t believe she was gone, just like that. He had struggled to make sure she had been happy, and he wondered if she had been happy, with him, at least. He would never forget the smile on her face, she looked happy to die, but had she been happy with him, that was another question altogether.
He still saw images of her, could smell the fragrance of akara that wafted across the house every Saturday morning. He woke up to the sizzling sound of bean cake as they were tossed into hot oil and danced in obedience till they cooked. He couldn’t believe she was just gone like that. He didn’t have enough time.
How could she have left him just at the brink of when he was about to give her everything? Her house was almost complete, with her in-built care facility, a team of round-the-clock medical attendants – specialist nurses, doctors and care-givers – waiting to resume work.
His mother knew things, saw things. She had this ethereal connection that made her seem like a custodian of all knowledge. She had known she was going to die. How perfectly timed it was, like a stage actor, she had known just when to kick the bucket, and she made sure he had been there, for some twisted reason of hers.
“Death can be so premature, but Zaza lived a good life…”
He forced himself to return to the ceremony. He had nearly fallen off the chair from boredom, the only seated on an entire row. Usually, the front row was left for the children of the deceased, but there was no one seated next to him. He had been an only child.
He was bored stiff by the clergyman’s message. But he had been his mother’s favourite preacher, and she had loved this church more than life itself. He remembered the times his mother would drag him in, to attend choir practice, and rigorous hours of bible study.
Zaza… it had been ages he had heard anyone call his mother’s Ghanian name. It reminded him of so long ago when things had been very different…
The ceremony dragged to a close. And then, it was all over.
“Dust to dust… ashes to ashes…”
The clergyman’s sombre tone was interspersed with shallow coughs, and a sniffle.
“We commit the spirit of our beloved…”
TO BE CONTINUED…