Everything had changed; my life had taken a new turn. It was a week after my mother passed and I still did not know why she had just left, not because the cause of death was kept from me; I just could not bring myself to ask how and I decided to keep it that way. Papa was devastated. He shut himself up to world. I guess I was not the only one bad at handling grief. The only thing that forced us out of our rooms was news from Aunt Philo that sympathizers had arrived to share in our grief to some minute extent of course. Whatever good could “God knows best” and “It is well” do to us? The statement I hated to hear the most was “She is in a better place.” What is that even supposed to mean? Where else could be better than with me, with us; baking for sale the neighborhood’s favorite bread. Jamestown folk called her Awula Bonjour. The story is told that before Mama was even married, in her youthful days as a fishmonger by inheritance, she travelled to Abidjan in search of greener pastures. It was there that she learnt to bake and on her return, she switched from greeting in the local dialect to greeting “Bonjour” at whatever time of the day to every single person with her head held high. She could not speak English because her fisherman father believed that schooling a girl-child formally would grow her horns. So if now she could ‘speak’ French, everyone had to know and her beauty was complete! And there was her bread, it was such a delicacy. My father, Fanti as he is, loved to eat her freshly baked bread with freshly steamed fish. So my heart was screaming, the best place for her was home, in Jamestown, in the lighthouse city. She has no other home!
I was not expected to entertain such thoughts. The very woman whom I grief took me to church, taught me Christian songs and raised me with Godly principles. But somehow, in those moments I found no solace in that. Probably, that would not be the manner in which she would have liked for me to react, but at that point, all I wanted was to have my mother back. I wanted her to be the one to console me. It was she who had consoled me during my first heart break after scolding me for falling in love with my classmate at age 13 and giving my snacks to the boy who later told the entire class that I was just being foolish. The only thing that bought me back any dignity was the fact that I was always at the top of my class academically. Mummy would rub my tummy through the night when I began experiencing menstrual cramps. She boiled all kinds of herbs just to soothe my pain.
It was two weeks to Mama’s burial and I was still not finished with writing my tribute. I had been seated on my bed behind a notepad for about two hours. I lifted my pillow, placed it vertically behind me and rested on it while leaning against the wall to relieve me of the backache I had developed over time. Tears filled my eyes and rolled down my cheeks as I recounted my memories of her; it was the most difficult piece to write. It was so hard to stay focused on passing my Senior High School final exam. Thankfully, I made it to study my preferred course – Architecture. I entered my first year in the University as the very definition of a green horn but Nii broke those horns off my head.