Options n’ Upshots – UE #5

“So we’re looking at the middle of next month. That’s about three or so weeks away. I personally don’t believe there’s the need for us to keep him for so long in the fridge. Let’s just get things in order quickly, and give him a proper send-off.”

The senior Mr. Dawson looked at Mr. Adjei, who nodded in agreement.

“Not a problem. The earlier we do it, the better. So I believe my daughter will get in touch with the reverend father about it. Right?”

Leticia immediately nodded. “Yes, Da. I’ll contact him as soon as we’re done with this meeting.”

“Alright. So, you can work on the cemetery and where he should be laid…”

About two weeks had passed, and a meeting concerning the funeral arrangements for Thomas were finally being held, with the family of Thomas and Leticia in attendance. This time around, the focus was solely on giving their son and their in-law a worth send-off, so no questions about what happened between them were asked.

This time around, the uncle of Thomas who had been chased out previously by Mrs. Adjei was not present. Apparently, Thomas’ father had been very unhappy with his conduct and decided he could not be present in this meeting. In any case, Leticia’s mother would be around as well, and the last thing needed was any form of hostility; work had to begin towards getting the funeral arrangements sorted out.

“Okay, so I will take care of the obituaries and stuff. I have a friend who owns a printing press not far from my workplace…”

“No problem, I’ll take care of the wreaths…”

“Ummm… their names are Marcus, Yaw and Quayefio. So that’s half of the pallbearers. The Marcus gentleman said he’ll revert to me about the other three who will help…”

Leticia silently listened as the delegation of tasks went on. She couldn’t help but feel bemused.

Funeral arrangements, as far as she knew, were always going to be a part of life. But her expectation was that if it had to happen at any time, it would be one of her parents. She had thought these kind of discussions would happen with her husband by her side, being her strong tower as he helped to make all the necessary decisions.

Not that he would be the one around whom all these arrangements were being made.

It felt like she had been in a trance when after about twenty minutes, the meeting came to an end. She barely heard anything else that was said after the mention of Thomas’ friends serving as pallbearers. Nothing but couldas and wouldas and shouldas circled around and filled her brain.

As the elderly ones rose to their feet, she joined them as the Abusuapanyin of Thomas’ family gave the closing prayer. She sighed as she shook her bowed head with her eyes closed.

“Okay, so, my dear, please stay strong,” the Abusuapanyin said to her as he ended the prayer and the solemn assembly began to disperse. “These are very difficult times, and I know it’s not easy. It can never be easy, obviously. But please, be strong.”

She sighed and curtsied as she responded positively.

It was funny how carefully the Dawson family treated her now. After that previous encounter with his uncle, nobody wanted to make much allusion to Thomas’ actions before his death. The head of family had probably advised them not to do anything to drive the knife in her wounds even deeper, and she was grateful for that.

Because the knives Thomas himself had stuck in by his actions were deep enough.

***

“Ma, Daddy, I’m very sorry for what happened last week. Please forgive me,” Rawda pleaded, on her knees as she faced the parents of Glori. She had finally gotten up and made her way to the residence, knowing it was imperative she apologize to them.

The young men around had not been very pleased to see her. They hadn’t forgotten her misbehaviour, and were ready to walk her out. But the mother of Glori had stepped out in time to see her and ask the boys to let her past. She didn’t understand Ga, but she knew the guy who aggressively protested was reminding Mrs. Vanderpuye of what she and Boahemaa had done a while back. The elderly woman calmly insisted she be allowed in, despite that.

Begrudgingly, they left her alone and allowed her to enter the house.

Now she knelt before them, her eyes filled with tears as she pleaded for clemency. Facing them, she realised just how foolish her actions were. Boahemaa undoubtedly played a huge role in the whole thing, but that attack was really out of line.

Looking at these two elderly people before her, it was so clear that this untimely death had rocked them to the core. They needed support at this fragile chapter of life. Not an embarrassing episode at a solemn occasion.

“I never should have done what I did. It was all my fault. I never should have done that in public. That was the last thing I should have done in front of you. I beg you, please forgive me.”

At this point, she moved forward and lay prostrate in the floor.

“Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, don’t lie on the floor, my dear,” Mrs. Vanderpuye gently protested as she lifted herself from her seat to lift Rawda up. “You don’t need to do this to yourself.”

Looking very remorseful as she was raised to her feet, she wiped her eyes and mumbled a few more sorrys.

“It’s okay, my dear, it’s okay. We’ve forgiven you,” Mrs. Vanderpuye assured her as she turned to her husband, who nodded in agreement.

“Take a seat,” he said, gesturing to a chair nearby.

Rawda duly obliged, walking over to take a seat. The elderly man sighed, looking up to the sky before returning his gaze to her as his wife sat down.

“Rawda, it has not been easy. Ever since the policeman entered this compound to inform us of our daughter’s passing, life has just been an absolute mess for us. Glori. Our very own Glori. Gone. Just like that. Hmmm. The thing that I feared the most has come upon me, and I don’t know how to take it. I saw my father’s agony when my younger brother died at the age of 20, and nothing terrified me more than experiencing a similar loss. And now, look. Look.”

Rawda shook her head as her tear glands began to function yet again. This man was really going through a hard time.

“I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what to do, I’ve been asking God for a Lazarus miracle… I’m at my wits end, honestly. I just don’t know what to do with myself. But I’m glad you came to apologize for your actions, because I was really angry that day. It only generated a whole lot of gossip, and the occasion lost a lot of solemnity. All the same, we have heard your apology, and we forgive you. This pain is enough; we need not add anger and bitterness to it.”

Rawda clasped her hands together. “Thank you, Da. Thank you, Mummy. I’m so, so grateful. And please, I’m here for you. We’re all in this together and we’ll walk through this torrid time together. I promise you that.”

“We are very grateful, my dear. Very, very grateful.”

***

“Oh, Leticia, won’t you answer the Vanderpuye woman?” Mrs. Adjei asked as she noticed her daughter’s phone screen alight with the name on the Truecaller notification. She had noticed he had called two times already, and Leticia was sitting in her chair while the phone sat on the living room table.

Shooting the phone a scornful glare, Leticia’s lips curled in disgust. “Leave him, Ma. I don’t have any business with them. After their daughter came and opened up her legs for Thomas to dive in. they can burn the sea for all I care. Nonsense!”

Mrs. Adjei didn’t seem too enthused by that. “Leticia, don’t do that. The parents are not their child. I understand you are angry with the girl, but don’t take it out on them. They were just sitting their somewhere. If they were complicit, I’m sure she would have mentioned it in her diary, but they didn’t know. So please…”

Leticia shook her head vigorously. “Ma, I don’t want to talk to them. Me and them don’t have any business. Whatever they want to do with their daughter is not my concern. Please, just leave me alone. I beg you.”

“Leticia…”

“Mama, please! I beg you. I’m not ready to be forced into anything. Please, I don’t want to talk to any of them. I don’t. just let me be. Please.”

Mrs. Adjei opened her mouth, ready to persuade her daughter, but in a split second, decided to hold back.

The reality was, Leticia was quite a mess of emotions, and with the disdain she spoke of anything related to Glori in the past couple of weeks, it was possible she might just unleash all the fury she had against her housekeeper on the poor, grieving parents. Which was the last thing they needed. In that little moment of wisdom, Mrs. Adjei held her tongue and decided not to push it further. Surely, they’d return to this issue, but when she was in a more emotionally stable frame of mind.

“Fine, no problem.”

That was her simple response, as she left the living room.

Leticia stared at the phone, and scowled again.

After taking you as my own. After doing you good and being ready to help you become more than just a housekeeper. Tweakai! Helping people. Never again…

Well, good to see Rawda patched things up with Glori’s parents. Leticia, though. Shouldn’t she at least pick their call once? Hmmm…

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