I woke up at nine o’clock like every Saturday morning but it felt different. It looked normal but something was off. I felt neither strong nor weak, happy nor sad. I was just awake. I got out of my room hoping to catch a whiff of breakfast but could smell nothing.
That was strange, I thought. I remembered my mother telling Abrafi to prepare waakye (everyone usually woke up late on Saturdays so we had brunch instead). Was she still sleeping? Tsk, tsk, tsk. Abrafi was hard working but on those days when the lazy bug bit her, it was almost impossible to snap her out of it. I hope today wasn’t one of those days. If only she knew how hungry I was…wait, was I? I tapped my tummy. Now, that’s strange, I said out loud. I knew the Sunday’s grumbling sound of my tummy so well and I couldn’t hear it. Ah well, that wasn’t going to stop me from reminding her to get to work.
Just as I raised my hand to knock on the door, it opened and she stepped out. I placed my hands on my hips with an exaggerated look to communicate my displeasure but she just walked past me. Did she just roll her eyes at me or did I imagine that?
“Hey Abrafi!” But she didn’t turn back. Did she not hear me? I started to go after her but I realized I was in my see- through nightie which had embarrassing tears in places I wouldn’t mention. I walked back to my room.
What an attitude! She must be put in her place. What did she mean by that? On a second thought, there was no point getting worked up over her. She didn’t deserve the emotional attention. Ah, where was my phone? I found it under my second pillow. Eh, why so many messages? Who died? I tried opening them but the screen had frozen. I threw it on the bed in frustration. That’s what I get for going for second-rated iPhone look-alikes. I had to buy credit to renew my data bundle subscription. I wore my black dress over the nightie and stepped out.
The breeze caressed my face and I inhaled the air with delight. It made me forget my anger at Abrafi so I decided to be nice and greet the woman approaching me with a smile and she ignored me! Seriously? Would she even get me to greet her? Ah! That was it, I won’t greet her again.
I approached the kiosk which sold scratch cards. The lady and a few others were staring at a poster with shocked faces.
“She was so young! I can’t believe she’s gone!” I tried to get her attention so I could get my scratch card quickly and leave but it seemed the louder I called and snapped my fingers at her, the more engrossed she was in her staring of the photo. What was wrong with everyone today?
The other kiosk was opened so I walked on. I saw some people gathered around a poster, talking in hushed tones. I drew closer to have a peek. It was an obituary. Why did she look so much like…?
What I saw made my heart jump.
It was my obituary. I screamed. But no one turned to see who had just screamed. Didn’t they hear me? Or couldn’t they? Did that mean I was…?
No, this was a dream. It had to be. I ran back toward the house shouting, ‘Mummy!’
I arrived home, panting. I entered to find my parents in black with other people seated with mournful faces.
“Mum?” She looked up at me. I felt a pang of relief. So I wasn’t…but she looked blankly at the wall behind me as she muttered something and blew her nose in her hanky. I felt panic rising in my chest.
“Mum?” I walked towards her, calling out to her with each step. I knelt down in front of her and touched her hand.
“Oh my daughter!” my mother wailed.
“Mum, I’m here. Please don’t cry. It’s just a bad dream.” The longer I touched her, the louder she wailed. I withdrew my hand. I turned to look at my dad. As quiet as ever, he sat with reddened eyes.
“Dad?” He looked at me, eyeball to eyeball. I forced a smile and so did he. I stretched my hand to touch him but he got up and walked out. I looked around the room. Everyone’s tears seemed to be genuine. Was I such a good girl? I left the room and found myself in the kitchen.
Abrafi was crying.
“I can’t believe she’s gone. I liked her so much. She was like my big sister. Always telling me what to do. Oh how I miss our fights!” she was telling her friend, Serwaa who tried comforting her with a back rub.
So am I really gone? Then why was I back here? To bid them goodbye? But I wasn’t ready yet. I was still young and strong. I haven’t even had my best kiss yet not to talk of my first gymnastic under the sheets. No, I refuse this. If I was here, it meant I wasn’t really gone. I had to find a way to correct this. Where was my body? Hope I wasn’t in the fridge yet. How did I end up here behind two worlds?
If only I could get back to how it all began…
I came out of the house. My best friend and my latest crush just walked in. I called out to them but just like the others, they didn’t hear me. I rushed to them and touched their shoulders.
“I’m here; please don’t give up on me just yet. I’ll be back.” They turned towards each other as they heard my mother’s wails. Chantelle squeezed my Toby’s hand.
“I can’t believe this,” Toby said.
“You will be fine,” Chantelle said softly. Then I heard her voice…in her head.
She’s gone now. Now I have you all to myself. I gasped.
How was I able to hear that? What did she even mean? She never liked us seeing each other. She had said he wasn’t the good type. Was it all a cover up?
I felt something wet on my face. I touched my cheek and felt the tears.
If I could cry, then I was alive somewhere. I had to find me before I was gone forever.
“I will be back, Toby; I promise.” I glared at my supposed best friend. But she wasn’t wearing the sweet face I had always known. She wore a darker one. So this was the real her.
I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned.
“You have six hours to find your way back to this world or you will be gone forever,” he announced and started the timer in his hand.
“But wait…where…?” He was nowhere to be found. Should I go say goodbye to my mum? No, there was no time. I began to run.
© Josephine Amoako 2017