My bleeding heart received a bit of respite after Tony left.
My mother, Auntie Aggie as we affectionately called her, was as affectionate toward Abram as she had been toward me all her life. She boiled water and began preparing rice for him. With the water ready, she took it to the bathroom, made it lukewarm for him, and asked him to take a bath.
Next, she ironed his school uniform, then shortly afterwards served him with a big plate of rice and palm nut soup, one of my favourite dishes when I was alive, early that morning. He was probably running late for school, but it was a beautiful sight watching my son gobbling down that plate of sweet food!
When she was ready to take him to school, my father’s phone rang. He looked at the screen with some trepidation and then looked up at my mother.
“The landlord,” he whispered with an unsteady voice.
“This man is indeed a wicked man,” my mother said with tears in her eyes. “Oh, my God, can’t he see we just lost our only daughter? How could he be this cruel? Pick the call, Kweku. Tell him to give us up to the close of the week. I’ll pass through Esi’s house on my way back and ask for the money Afia promised to send through her.”
My father, Opanyin Kweku Ansah, picked the call.
“Hello, Mr Twum Baffoe,” he said gently.
He listened for a while, and then he began to speak in a high-pitched furious voice.
“I know it is due, Mr Baffoe, but please exercise a little restraint! I just lost a daughter, my only child, for Christ’s sake! I’ll get you your money before the end of the week!”
He cut the call and looked at his wife with tears in his eyes.
“You have to exercise restraint yourself, Kweku,” my mother said as she shook her head sadly. “Getting all worked up and stressed is not good for your BP, I keep telling you!”
“Look at how low we’ve sunk, Aggie,” he said softly. “Used all our resources to take care of our only child, and now we’re going to be deprived of a place to put our heads! And that daughter left everything to her husband, not a pesewa for us. Hmmmm! It is well, it is very well! Afia Ansah, I don’t have anything to say to you!”
“Papaaaaaa!” I screamed in anguish as I hovered on the ceiling, and then I floated down and knelt in front of him. “Oh, Papa, don’t you have even just a little faith in me? Am I that callous, Papa? Do you think I’m capable of leaving you to suffer?”
And in my anguish, as I held his hand, the lights flickered rapidly, a phenomenon I was beginning to notice occurred when I was very stressed, and then the television suddenly came on, showing a Breakfast Show programme.
My parents looked at each other suddenly, and I saw my mother crossing herself quickly.
“She’s here,” my father whispered with a deep sigh, and then tears came to his eyes. “I’m sorry, Afia if I have offended you. I spoke out of the sorrow and anguish from my heart!”
“Ei, Kweku Ansah, superstitious man from Akuapim, there are no ghosts oooo toom!” my mother said as she shook her head. “But whatever that lawyer said, don’t let us try to blame our daughter or hate her memory, my dear. Even if she has left everything to Tony, I’m sure she was of the view that she would outlive us, and never for one moment thought she might die before us. So, don’t worry, dear husband. Let’s leave everything in the hands of the Almighty God.”
“Oh, thank you, Mama, thank you very much!” I said as I glided over to her and put my arms around her.
She shuddered suddenly and stepped back with a gasp, looking at the goosebumps on her skin and feeling a sudden blast of cold.
“What is it, Aggie?” my father asked softly. “You feel it, don’t you?”
“Oh, don’t you come infecting me with your primitive superstitions, old man!” my mother threw irritably at him, but I could see the uneasiness in the depths of her eyes, and deduced that being embraced by a dead spirit might not really be a pleasant experience, and so I drifted upward and hovered on the ceiling again.
I followed my mother when she left home with my son and hovered above the taxi that she chartered to send him to school.
When he went through the gates of the school, I was torn between going after him and following my mother, whom I was pretty sure would stop over at Esi’s store to ask her for the money.
Finally, sure that my son would be alright for the time being, I stayed with my mother. I rarely paid heed to the other restless spirits around me as I hovered above my mother.
She took one trotro ride and then walked the long way to Esi’s store obviously to save money.
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My dearest mother whom I had opened a little store for just to keep her active. Here she was walking a long way for something Esi should not have let happen!
Why had Esi lied to me that she had given the money to my mother?
Didn’t she know that I might eventually get to know?
And then the horror hit me again…
Or, like Tony and that whore Yaa Yaa, had Esi also known I might die?
When my mother got to the store, the store girls and boys were packing some of the products outside whilst others were arranging and taking stock inside for the start of the day.
Esi herself was in a small inner office talking on her telephone.
She was dressed in a black dress, predictably, and when she saw my mother she burst into raucous tears, throwing her arms in the air and mentioning a lot of names of dead ancestors and calling on strange gods, putting up a magnificent show of grief that suddenly made me feel bad about thinking ill of her.
Maybe, she had been under intense pressure and had not been able to give the money to my parents, but had been ashamed to admit the fact to me. She would definitely do the needful thing then.
But, after she had embraced my mother and both of them had cried for a while, she invited my mother to her office…and then she also shocked me to the very bones, although I no longer had bones.
When my mother gently told her that I informed her on the phone that I had given the rent money to her to take to them, my best friend through whom I had lost my love Korku, shook her head sadly.
“Oh, yes, Mama,” she said sadly. “Afia indeed gave me the cheque to cash for you, because the landlord prefers only cash. I went to the bank, but the cheque bounced. I took it back to Afia, and she promised to give me another one this week to cash for you…and then this unfortunate thing happened!”
I lost it!
I fumed and blasted around the office, incensed with an uncontrollable fury! Why were they behaving like this? People I loved with a clean heart and trusted! So, if I had not been granted Hovering Time by God, this was what would have happened to my son and my parents? How wicked and greedy could human beings be?
Oh, was this what happened when people died?
Was this how the world was, filled with ungrateful and wicked beings who changed so drastically in the face of money? Was that all that mattered to some human beings, money and material things?
Unfortunately, in all my anger and distress, in all my furious mayhem of bouncing around the walls of the office to make Esi know or feel I was around, nothing happened! The lights did not blink, and nothing abnormal happened.
“Thank you,” my mother said to Esi and got to her feet. “I leave it in the hands of the Almighty God.”
And that was the only time that I saw a brief look of unease on Esi’s face, but it quickly vanished. She escorted my mother to the door and insisted on paying for a chartered taxi to take her home.
I hovered in anguish, my heart cut to ribbons as I settled down around Esi’s shoulders, grabbed her neck, and squeezed with all my might, just wanting to kill her!
But of course, my spiritual hands just went through her without hurting her in any way! I followed her back to the office, screaming and insulting her, raining blows on her head in fury!
And then I saw him!
He was a boy of about ten years, neatly-dressed in a school uniform of the school my son attended. He had purchased a mathematical set and was paying for it at the counter…and he was staring at me!
He was a little plump in a well-fed sort of way, with nicely cropped hair, and a round, handsome face. But his eyes were filled with sadness as he looked, no, stared at me!
At first, it did not dawn on me until I was about to enter Esi’s office, and then it hit me with the force of a derailed train!
That little boy had stared at me as if he could see me!
No human being had done that so far! I was a spirit, invisible to the human eye…but that boy!
I whirled around and stared at him, but he was taking his mathematical set from the sales girl. He turned without a look at me and walked rapidly toward the entrance without a backward glance.
I watched him intently, waiting for any sign, any little sign, to show that he had seen me!
His bicycle was outside, and he unlocked the guard chain he had used to secure it to a rail in front of the store. He put his mathematical set in his bag, and then just as he was about to mount the bicycle, he looked through the glass front of the shop again…straight at me!
He saw me looking intently at him, and he gasped suddenly and pedalled away furiously on his bicycle!
Dear God…that little boy had seen me!
He had the power to see me, a dead, agitated spirit!
to be continued