With most people gone and only family members left, V felt a little odd. Luckily, Sam wasn’t as busy as he’d been the previous evening. She decided to follow him around like a lost puppy. Niffer was babysitting her seven month old niece. There were other people she could hangout with, but she felt weirded out when they kept asking who she was to Sam. They meant no harm, but still she avoided that. Sam sat down to talk to a relative, she sat down and drifted away. He stood to leave she stood to follow. He stopped to say hi to someone she stopped to wait. She only stopped stalking him when he finally told her that he needed to get some Shuteye. She was stubborn, but not inhuman. The poor thing had hardly had any sleep since his brother’s condition had gotten critical. At the funeral it hadn’t been any different, everyone looked up to him. Selfless as he was, he toiled to make them comfortable. V resigned and let him off the hook. After all, she’d gotten to spend some time with him, little as it was.
When Sam left she realized she had hardly touched her phone the entire time she was in Bumala. She hoped Ali would understand when she explained. He was a jealous guy, OK, but not enough to dismiss her reason, she hoped. She caught some sleep later that night after flirting a little with an understanding Ali. She flirted dangerously that she almost forgot where she was. The night was beautiful. So was the next morning.
V woke up feeling relaxed. She was almost reluctant to leave but she remembered she hadn’t seen Ara yet. She had breakfast and a quick bath. She sought Niffer to bid her goodbye and wish her luck. Niffer wasn’t about to let her leave. She too must have liked V.
“Thanks dear, for being so nice. I hope to meet you again some day”
“Save that for when the time comes.”
“But this is it. This is me saying goodbye.”
“Don’t go yet… Why the rush?”
“Family stuff. I have nothing else to do here.”
“You could stay and keep us company some more..”
“Would that make any difference? I will still have to leave anyway.”
“Then stay and help me sort some stuff out. Do it for me then.”
“Small matter!” She smiled as she said that. ‘Small matter’ was Sam’s favourite catch phrase for when he agreed to do something.
“Thanks! You’re the best!”
“But I’ll leave as soon as we are done, deal?”
V felt that Niffer only agreed because it was the considerable thing to do.
They went straight to work. They cleaned the houses and fetched water. The female cousins all did something and they were soon done. She stopped to admire their work and catch a breath. Then someone tagged at her pants. She looked down, it was little Tracy, one of Samson’s daughters.
“Aunty, please throw me up?”
It was such a sweet request she couldn’t say no. She smiled and grabbed her then threw her up. Big trouble! Her sister, Stacy, joined and she couldn’t hear the end of it. It was fun playing with them. She turned once to catch Sam smiling. Maybe it was a god thing she had stayed. She started to sweat. Her arms hurt. She had long stopped throwing them up and was now spinning them around. She knew they wouldn’t stop unless she promised them another round of spins if they let her rest. They agreed reluctantly and she left, not sure she would ever keep her promise.
She saw Sam again some minutes later walking by, minding his business. She summoned him.
“Person, I have to go. You people are fun, but I have to go.”
“You can’t leave now. It’s almost lunch time and I can’t let you leave on an empty stomach.”
“But I just had breakfast. And besides, I really have to go.”
“I know you have your reasons, and I respect that. But if you’d left at that time it would be fine. After all the work you did, I can’t let you leave just yet.”
“If you want to leave that’s OK. But it’s against my approval.”
She almost laughed. But he was serious. She looked at him with a shallow smile. A firm decision by a man was something she always found s3xy. She sighed with resignation. She watched him walk away then went into one of the rooms to relax. She wasn’t going anywhere, at least not that late morning.
Sam’s sister handled lunch. The catering stuff had just left. It was ready at around two. She knew that like it or not, she wasn’t going anywhere that day. It was already late, considering her home was several hours away. Just like that, she decided to blend in. But first, she had to honour her promise to the two little cuties, only this time there was a third. Stacy and Tracy insisted that their older cousin, Veronica had to join in in the fun. She had started it, she had to go through with it. As she exhaustedly exuded sweat, she desperately implored the girls that she was out of it. She made another promise and they finally agreed to let her rest. V had a problem getting along with people, but never children. She was scared though. Her paranoia had started to kick in. Was she allover that place? She’d been asked by more of Sam’s cousins who she was. And they seemed to have ideas because friends or classmates was not good enough an answer. She had another bath and slept early that night. She was exhausted from the day’s work and play. She had something else bothering her, probably just her paranoia.