Growing Up – Chapter 40

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Some people love drama, they make sure that everything they do will be dramatic. People, especially during the week of mourning until the day of the funeral, will cause drama because there are many people watching them. My aunt was one of those people, she loved drama with all her heart and soul. When my mother passed away, my aunt arrived and caused a scene with her crying. She tore her clothes while crying, and she broke a few things while at it. The whole week was filled with her fake crying, the funeral was worse because she even wanted to throw herself on top of my mother’s coffin when it was descending to the ground. This was then the very same aunt who wanted to throw me and my sister out of our mothers house, but fortunately my mother had a WILL and she left everything to my sister and I.

On finding out that she didn’t stand to gain from my mother’s death, she stole a few things from us. She didn’t care about us and we saw her occasionally when there were family funerals, meanwhile she was the one who was actually supposed to look after us as her sister’s children. That is what I was going to do if my sister passed away and left Letho. I was going to take care of Letho and raise her like my own, because that is what you do when you love a person.
I don’t know what she thought she stood to gain from my sister’s death, but she obviously had a goal in mind. My aunt was very goal-oriented but not in a good way, she wanted to gain from other people’s misfortunes. She was a mixture of fake, wicked and dramatic. I was angry to see her there, I wonder who called her. She was supposed to find out about my sister’s death a day before the funeral, we didn’t need her here. Mdu’s family already thought very little of my family, so she was just going to make it worse.

When she saw me, she opened her arms and before she could hug me, I grabbed her hand and dragged her to the little corner. She tried to hug me again and I said “You don’t have to pretend with me okay, stop crying and tell me what is it that you want here?”
She looked at me with shock and said “Hlengiwe your sister, my niece and my granddaughter passed away,and you are asking me what I’m doing here? I’m here to mourn my favourite niece, after you ofcourse. I’m here to represent our family, phela I’m like a mother to you guys now.”

“Don’t tell me shit tu, you’re not like our mother and you probably never made time to come and meet Letho and help my sister after she gave birth. I know she told you that she gave birth.” I said and she responded,

“Oh Letho is her name? Is it Lethokuhle or Lethaukuthula or what? What did the child bring?”
I was shocked she didn’t even know Letho’s name, I avoided her question and said “You can stay and pretend all you like. But if you dare treat my sister’s death like a chance for you to act like a straat-mate, I swear I’m going to do something you will never forget. So behave because I’m watching you, don’t embarrass my sister’s memory or else you will regret it.”
“When did you become so feisty wena Hlengiwe?” she asked. As I walked away from her I responded “I became feisty the day you decided to not care about us. Follow me, let me take you to my sister’s mother in-law.”
She walked behind me and greeted people as we passed, I came across Tsiamo and Sihle and they asked me if I was fine, I just nodded and walked past them. When we arrived in the room, before I could introduce her, she started crying again, but not as dramatic as the way she was in the kitchen.
My sister’s mother in-law said “Hlengiwe I asked you to bring me a glass of water. I waited for a while you didn’t even bring the water with you. I think you and I are going to have a problem if you continue this way.”

I was not going to allow this woman to talk to me like that, she must know that I’m not a push-over. I didn’t want her to get used to talking to me like her servant. My sister allowed her to speak to her anyhow, and that is why this woman ended up abusing and treating her like a fool.
“It’s not like you and I are friends,” I said, “I forgot your water and if you want it you can go to the kitchen and get the water for yourself. I didn’t come here to be anyone’s servant, I’m here to mourn my sister.”
She said “The sister you are mourning respected me and we had a great relationship.”
“What? You treated my sister like shit, so don’t tell me that you had a great relationship. Don’t make me say things that will embarrass you ne.” With that said I left the room, and went to my friends, I wanted to leave. They didn’t want us to leave because it was late but I forced them until they agreed.
The drive home was silent because I think they didn’t know what to say to me and I also didn’t feel like talking to anyone. When we got home, we all went to our rooms. Before I could fall asleep, Philani called me, as soon as I answered he said “What is wrong with you? Why didn’t you tell us that you are leaving? You know you are suppose to sleep here the whole week.”
“Philani calm down tu, I needed to calm down and I will sleep there from tomorrow.” After I said that, I hung up. I wasn’t in the mood for Philani or fighting with him. I sent people messages about my sister’s passing then I switched my phone off because I wasn’t in the mood for people’s phone calls.
The next day I was woken up with breakfast in bed, my friends were the sweetest. I was actually very hungry so I ate all the food they made for me, they still didn’t know what to say to me. I broke the silence and said
“Guys don’t worry, I will be fine.”

“But how are you right now?” Sihle asked. I kept quiet for a moment.
“I don’t know how to feel,” I said, “I feel shattered and heart-broken. The fact that I will not see my sister again scares me. I feel angry that she was taken from me while I needed her, but then again I feel selfish for thinking only about myself. I feel sorry for my Mdu because he lost his wife and daughter all at the same time. I feel I need to support him but I also have to deal with my pain. I also have to be strong because he needs me to help him with the funeral arrangements, because if I don’t help him, my aunt and Mdu’s mom will not go all out to give my sister and her child a proper funeral. I feel a lot of things at once but I know I feel a lot of pain right now.”
They both hugged me and told me that they will be with me throughout the whole journey. After breakfast, I packed my clothes for the whole week and we went to my sister’s house. When we arrived at her house, I thought that maybe, just maybe I was going to see her. I thought maybe I was going to find her watching TV, or in the pool or maybe taking a nap with Letho. Unfortunately that wasn’t going to happen anymore. I walked in and was met by a lot of women wearing church uniforms. They were singing hymns and I thought they were walking out, but when I walked in they asked me to sit down. My girls went to the kitchen to help the other ladies with making tea and biscuits for the church ladies.They sang their songs, said a prayer and they opened the book of Psalms 34 v 18: The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I appreciated that they used the Word to try and comfort me but at that moment, it didn’t really work. I didn’t feel like God was close to me, and I didn’t feel like He wanted to save me. I was angry at God, if that is even possible but I was extremely angry. I felt like he was being unfair to me and my brother in-law, we are good people, we don’t deserve this.
The women kept on talking and I tried to listen but my mind occasionally drifted away. They eventually left, then I went to search for an empty room I could use for the entire week. I went to greet my aunt and Mdu’s mother. My aunt said “Hlengiwe you shouldn’t be gallivanting at a time like this. You are supposed to be here at your sister’s house, not going to places we don’t know.” Mdu’s mother also found it right for her to speak, “You must respect the mourning period, don’t travel at night.”
“I’m sorry for leaving last night but I needed to clear my head I needed to get my clothes for the entire week. I will report next time I want to go out outside the house or when I want to go take a bath, because I’m a child and I need to report my every move.” I said and they agreed with me. I think these old women didn’t understand that I was being sarcastic. Anyway I went to look for Mdu and I found him going through the pictures and videos in his laptop. I went to sit next to him and we watched a video where my sister just gave birth and they were coming back home with Lethokuhle. My sister looked so happy, and Letho looked so peaceful. I couldn’t help but cry while we were watching the pictures and videos. I was happy that Mdu captured so many memories. At least we were going to be able to hear her voice and see her smile whenever we missed it.

We spoke about what we wanted for the funeral, where it would take place, and divided the tasks that need to be done amongst the 2 of us. We agreed that we shouldn’t allow my aunt or his mother to take part in the arrangements because they honestly didn’t love my sister the way we did. While we were discussing, Sihle came to call and tell me that there was a man who was there to see me and he didn’t introduce himself, he just told them that I will know him. I went with Sihle and went to the lounge.
I was shocked to see who was at sitting at the lounge. I didn’t think I would ever see him again in my life, but there he was in formal pants and a golf t-shirt. I thought my eyes were deceiving me until he said “Hello Hlehle.”
Yeah it was him, he was the only person who called me Hlehle.
Who informed him about my sister’s death? Was this man keeping tabs on us?

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