The melody continued.
Drip, drop. Drip, drop..
Just when it appeared as if the pregnant clouds had dried out, we heard once again, determined splatters knocking at the small window at the back of the room. My heart pounded.
Seven days had slowly passed since Nana was taken away and according to tradition of my people- The Kutas, today being the seventh day, was the day of judgment.
Nana was a witch. That’s what the big men said as they dragged her away that sunny afternoon from the kitchen where she had been telling me the story of why the tortoise stopped flying, leaving tufts of her long, nappy hair when they were gone. She screamed. I screamed. I didn’t like the men. They were ugly and had yams for limbs. Papa said they were messengers of the Council of Elders. The delicious aroma of the yam balls she was frying that afternoon filled the whole house even till after she was gone. I never got to eat any of them but I imagined the taste on my tongue for days: Hot, soft then spicy. I savoured the thought. Nana was a witch but I loved Nana.
The Kutas had a tradition that if it rained for seven hours or more on the day of judgment, the accused would be set free.
Fat Afua, the busybody next door, had said that in Nana’s case, she would either be banished or killed except a miracle happened. The floodgates had been open for six hours now. We were waiting for a miracle. Papa’s frail body cast a weak shadow on our cracked wall and the air was still.
A wall of silence stood tall between us. I wanted to ask if it was true- If Nana was a bad woman. Nana was a book woman, I knew that. She had gone to the big school in Accra for big education many years ago and Papa had praised her for being tough enough to confront the elders. I’m sure Papa would have fought too, but he was weak. Nana said a lot about ‘injustice’ and ‘prosecution’ many times. I did not understand these words but I believed her.
I dared not move, as though any slight motion would seal the heavens and draw out the golden ball that held Nana’s fate. It was chilly and a little spittle had formed in my mouth but I dared not swallow. I was afraid of piercing the silence.
Drip. Drop. Drip. Drop.
The last hour finally passed. Our miracle came then the sun rolled out and it was noon. Nana came home. She sat on the mahogany stool in the dark corner of the kitchen. She traced the concrete floor with blood-stained fingers and looked up at me peering in by the door. I wondered if she would continue the story she never finished. The yam balls were still in the pan, only that they had lost their glow, they were soggy, moldy and looked like Nana’s eyes now. She called out to me, “Come, boy”. Nana was never the same again.