#FICTIONFRIDAY: "TIMES WE MISS" BY KWAKU GYAMFI (PART 1)
I didn’t want to go when he invited me. But, I had been declining most of his invitations recently. My father seemed to take my ‘no’ personal; so, I had to attend this one. He told me the day before that I will accompany him to a funeral the next day. Who, he didn’t tell.
My alarm was going off. I pressed snooze. I was exhausted from work I had done the previous evening. I had done some laundry that had gone into the night. Another alarm; knowing my tendency to oversleep I set multiple alarms. I woke up. I realized I had slept on a book I had bought the previous week.
The book was "Arrow of God" by Chinua Achebe. My eyes moved slowly from the book and surveyed the bed. I had killed a mosquito, blood was on the sheets. It couldn’t escape my sudden sleep movements. My bed cover was nowhere close to my body, a clear sign of apartheid. My room is ordinary, nothing fancy. I have a humongous wardrobe which I inherited from my parents; my mum says it’s older than me, almost everything in our house is older than me.
My room is painted white but looks cream due to the accumulation of dirt and my experiments on the wall. The walls were tired. The paint kept peeling off. Touching the walls felt cold. Through some motion, however, the coolness diffused throughout the room making getting up difficult and making lying in bed appealing. Waking up is different from getting up. I was feeling lazy as I got out of bed. When I finally did, I washed up quickly.
I went to see my dad. I call him Nana.
“Good morning Nana,” I said.
“Good morning,” he said
“Nana, when are we attending the funeral?” I asked.
“We will leave the house at 8 a.m.”
“Please whose funeral is it?”
“Look here, if you don’t want to go just tell me so I call someone else to go with me,” he said.
His impatience was pronounced.
“Oh it’s not that I don’t want to go. I wanted to know whether the person is young or old, so I know what to wear,” I said.
Most Ghanaians wear black when a young person dies and white when an old one passes on. I had to know which of the two.
He told me to wear black. My mum had overheard parts of our conversation. She asked me what the matter was; I told her not to worry, it’s a matter of little importance. I felt I knew the funeral we were attending only that I was not sure.
It was finally 8 a.m. I was ready. My dad was bathing then. The thing with him is that when he says we will be leaving at time ‘x’ it means, you should, be prepared to leave at time ‘x’. I was seated at the hall, bored. He finished bathing; he was still soaking wet and at times I wondered what his towel was meant for. He looked at me once and peeked at the wall clock.
He muttered something I did not hear.
(TO BE CONTINUED NEXT #FICTIONFRIDAY.)