“Stephanie, you are distraught and being irrational. There’s no need for you to leave the house; I was actually going to tell you that I know that with everything that has happened, it will take you a while to get back on your feet; so, I’m going to pay the rent for another three months,” he protested.
“Don’t bother, or give it to Julius; after all he always felt entitled to it anyway,” I sneered.
“Like I said, you’re upset; so, I’m going to ignore everything you’ve said, and pay for the three months, so after everything has settled down, it will be there.”
“Well, I won’t,” I answered firmly, then went on; “If there’s nothing else you wanted to say, I need to get back to my son.”
He sighed at my tone, and seemed to slump lower into his seat.
“I just wanted you to know how sorry I am; C.G was a great kid that’s gone way too soon.”
Until that point, I had been able to maintain my stony facade, but hearing Greg talk about C.G with such honest pain, threatened my walls and I felt them begin to crack. Afraid they might break completely, I turned and reached for the door handle.
“Thank you. About the house, I’m not going to change my mind; I’ll send the keys when I get back, and I won’t contact you again after that - I’ll appreciate it if you don’t either.”
I spoke while looking out the window, so I could not see his reaction to my words, and once I was done, I opened the door and got out of the car before he could answer me. He did not try to stop me. The vigil at my father’s place the following day was very different from the one that had been held at Chris’.
For starters, no press were allowed in, as my father had stopped them at the gate saying, “This is a time of mourning, not one for making news.”
In addition to this, the socialites and celebrities had already made their appearances at Chris’ the night before; so, they saw no reason to attend a second vigil - especially one with no press around to cover their attendance.
The result was that it was more intimate and personal, and I appreciated that immensely. Strangely, while at Chris’ place I had leaned on my sister for support; at my father’s home, it was to him that I turned for comfort.
Despite my failings as a daughter, he knew that I had loved being my son’s mother, and as a parent himself, he understood the depth of my grief and swooped in to be the rock for me to lean on.
I had been unable to eat a thing since C.G had passed, but with his cajoling, I managed to eat a few pieces of barbecued meat, and when I started dozing off against his shoulder, he quickly ordered for a bed to be set up for me.
We set off for my father’s village and the burial ground at the crack of dawn, for the funeral had been scheduled for 2pm, and it was at least a five-hour journey. Chris and his family had not come for the vigil at my father’s house, but were due to attend the funeral.
I knew there was bound to be an uncomfortable tension between his family and mine, but I was dreading the moment I would have to watch my son’s coffin be lowered into the ground too much to stress over that, and just prayed that neither side would cause a scene and dishonor C.G’s memory at his final farewell.
Chris’ family’s convoy arrived about thirty minutes after we had, and after somber stilted greetings had been exchanged, the awkward silence I had expected, did indeed settle over the group.
Chris had never been to my father’s village before, and the villagers took full advantage of this opportunity to finally see and observe him up-close. There was a lot of pointing, whispering and curious faces peeping in through the windows and door of the living room where we were assembled.
Their unmasked curiosity became even more obvious when we relocated to the burial grounds for the final funeral service, but at this point for me, the countdown to the burial had begun, and it was all I could do to keep it together and not grab my dead son and flee, before they could take him away from me forever.