SMART GRIEF

Her eyes are weary, yet the tears keep coming. Funny thing though. They don’t fall just hover under her lids to form small pools. ‘Come, swim in my pool of tears and anguish. Drink your fill of my bitterness’, she thought, then smiled to herself. Even in the midst of sorrow, she had to wax poetic. She had noticed the concerned looks her friends gave her. ‘I will not crack’, she vowed. ‘Not in front of them’.

His family members had been there for three days, eating her food, crying fake tears and making a nuisance of themselves. She had made all the arrangements before calling them. No one was going to use this as an excuse for unnecessary grandstanding. She wouldn’t allow it. So she made her arrangements, and didn’t hesitate to drop to both knees when someone complained about her audacity. She kept saying ‘E ma binu, e dariji mi. Mi ronu nigba ti mo se, mo wa in shock…’ and here her Yoruba failed her and she fell back to what she was comfortable with ;English…

Her two children follow her around the house. She understands their bewilderment. She had explained in the simplest way possible that Daddy had gone to heaven and was watching over them from heaven. Two and Five were not ages to have to deal with such stuff. Her twin brother and his wife had offered to keep them till everything was sorted out but she wanted them with her even though it would have been easier.

Turning the corner, she runs into her husband’s step sister. The woman had visited just twice since her marriage seven years ago, she never called unless it was to ask for a loan, and here she was bawling her eyes out and shaking her fists at the cruel witches who took her brother away.
‘Shove it, sis’, she wants to say. ‘Cancer killed Dele, not witches, not wizards. He left you some money too so you can rejoice and tell your good-for-nothing husband he can continue sleeping all day’. While these thoughts swim in her head, she smiles at the woman, curtsies and answers a mundane question about lunch and why there was only beef in the freezer. How could she have forgotten that Mama only eats fish?

The clouds are dark as the coffin is carried to its final resting place. She has heard the rumours about her witchcraft and inability to shed a tear for her poor departed husband. Sighing inwardly, she tells Dele their plan is going according to plan, and she was right. She predicted she would be called a witch. She drops sand on the coffin and helps her children with theirs too. Even though they are little, it would never be said that they did not honour their father. Her in-laws are weeping profusely and the irritating stepsister has the effrontery to try and jump into the grave. She smiles sadly to herself. ‘Jump my dear. He is not there anymore.’

As the lawyer reads the will, the murmurs rise. She had told Dele the fights would start immediately they heard their substantial bequests. The little that was given to her was scoffed at and would be ‘held’ in trust by her brother – in –law. No problem. After the reading, her brother –in –law approaches her.
‘Iyawo mi, my wife, pele. It is well. My brother took care of all of us…’ He hems and haws a bit more and finally comes to the point of the matter. The house was left to him and he wants to move into it as soon as possible. He graciously gives her two weeks.
A week later, her preparations are done. The flat in London is furnished, the businesses are all set up and the kids are enrolled in schools. As the plane lifts up, she looks down at the country of her birth and feels nothing… Ever since Dele proposed the idea to her three years ago, she had been preparing for this day. When her kids were grown, they could come back to Nigeria and meet their father’s family. For now, she would focus on raising them up without strife and petty family greed and rivalry.

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