Fiction Inspirational


"I just can't afford to end the year without completing this goal. Grandma has to receive her gift before she leaves us. Why did I delay in getting my single recorded?" Those were the many thoughts that clouded my mind when I received that phone call; Grandma had but a few hours to live. When I received the news, I cried my eyes out. At that point, I simply wished I could have turned the hands of time.

When I came back to reality, I purposed in my heart, that, no matter what it would take, I would get the goal accomplished even though time wasn't on my side. It was at that moment I realised, time, one of the most precious assets, doesn't belong to us. The worst part is, time wasted can never be regained. I had wasted so much time putting off the recording of my single, but I was grateful to God for the opportunity that had been given to me; though it was going to be a race against time.

At that moment, something Grandma had said to me years ago, came rushing through my mind. Instantly, I understood what she had meant. "Angel, you shouldn't be content dancing with chickens, but rather, strive to soar like the eagle."

I had to complete that goal for two reasons. The first being, it had been Grandma's wish that I get my single (music composition) completed and recorded for it to be played to her hearing while she was alive and finally, at her funeral service. Secondly, the studio where the recording was to take place was going to break that evening, December 31, 2019 and resume a week after the new year.

As a child, Grandma had sung to me for as long as I could remember. Listening to Grandma who sang like a nightingale, was something that had always made my day. It had been her childhood dream to record an album. Unfortunately, she hadn't been able to fulfill her dream for two reasons: poverty and the need for her to take care of her numerous grandchildren, including me, because she had lost two of her sons to the war. Both her daughters-in-law had abandoned their children in Grandma's house due to the hardship they were facing at that time.

Years later, both daughters-in-law, who had remarried, came to claim their children. Grandma told them in plain language that, that would only happen in their dreams. Besides, all of us grandchildren, seven in all, were not in the least keen to follow 'strangers' to their homes. Grandma was more than enough for us. That settled it.

Our grandma's only daughter, who had four children herself, helped Grandma take care of us in her free time because she had to also take care of her husband, Uncle Jones and their children. Grandma, discovered to her delighted that, one of her granddaughter's had inherited her talent; that was me, Angel. She particularly kept an eye on me. Even though Grandma didn't have much money, she hired a music coach for me.

The moment, Uncle Foster, as we all called him, heard me sing, he couldn't have agreed more with Grandma. Indeed, he totally sided with the old lady, that, I had the potential to be an international superstar. He, therefore, put in everything he had to boost my music career including, looking for various opportunities and platforms for me to display my musical talent.

Grandma appreciated all that but she constantly said, “Angel, you were born to soar like the eagle. Don't be content with dancing with chickens.” The first time she told me that, I laughed my head off. I asked her to explain what she meant. All she told me was that when I became matured, I would understand the meaning and do the needful.

After secondary school, I decided I wanted to pursue a career in Business Management. Grandma didn't have a problem with that, but she constantly encouraged me to keep developing my talent. In order to make her happy, I did keep up with it and even went on to write songs which I often read out to her in a poetic manner. Her favorite one was entitled 'Unadulterated Love'.

I made a solemn vow to Grandma that I would record that song specially for her and dedicate it to her. However, school activities, then later work and marriage got the better of me, till I received that call about Grandma's sudden ill health. Unknown to all of her eleven grandchildren, she had cancer. She had actually been given six months to live. However, no one really knows what happened that afternoon, but she was suddenly taken ill. According to her physician, she only had a few hours to live.

"A few hours to live, did you say?" No, Grandma couldn't go yet. I had made a vow to her which I had to fulfill. I quickly rushed to Grandma's house. The sight I witnessed that afternoon almost made me abort my mission, but the vow I had made to her, suddenly brought about such enthusiasm which was followed by determination. I got on my knees and begged her to hang on in there because, I had to give her, her gift. If I didn’t do that thing for her, I really don’t know how I would be able to forgive myself.

Even though Grandma was in a semi-conscious state, it seemed she heard me. I was as sure as death that Grandma tightened her grip on my hand when I said that.

"Grandma, I will be back with your song."

I immediately called my music coach and asked him to get the best studio because we had a recording to do. Within an hour, he had gotten a studio for me. I zoomed to the place and we started our rehearsals. Fortunately, we had been doing that from time to time so we didn't have to spend so many hours preparing for the recording. After close to three hours of rehearsing the song, it was time for us to record it.

I must say that my heart and my soul were really stirred up. As I began to sing, all the good times we had had with Grandma, just raced through my mind. Like a fountain bringing forth water, so did my heart produce such emotion that evening. Everyone in the studio could feel the passion with which the song was sung. In all honesty, I don't ever think I'll get to sing a song with such emotion again. Maybe I am wrong, but Grandma's love for us was just too pure. Every emotion that I had felt for my grandma came into play. When we were done with the recording, we had to wait an extra hour before we had access to the CD.

I rushed to Grandma's house. When I got there, the mood was saddening. When my aunt saw me, she shook her head and said, "Angel, baby, she is gone!” According to her physician’s report, Grandma had passed on five minutes earlier.

“No, it's not true. Grandma is not gone. She promised to wait for me so I could give her, her gift,” I screamed as I broke free from my aunt's embrace and entered Grandma's room. They had covered her with a white bedsheet.

I removed the sheet and said, "Grandma, you promised you would wait for your gift. I've brought it. Let me play it for you. Please, please listen to it then you can leave us finally."

I plugged in the CD player and began to play the CD.

'Love is an emotion everyone needs to experience

When you have not experienced it, you think love is just a mirage; it is not.

The person dearest to my heart, Grandma, showed me what unadulterated love is

I just wish everyone could be as fortunate as I am

To experience love so pure, which I prefer to call ‘unadulterated love’

I played it over and over; five times in all as I held her hand. After the second play, I felt Grandma's hand was warm. When it started playing for the fifth time, I was sure she tickled my hand to let me know she had heard the song. I also noticed her eyes were teary. Thereafter, I said, ‘Thank you, Grandma,’ then re-covered her.

I decided I would not tell anyone about my experience. They would say I had imagined everything because according to my relatives, I had been Grandma's favorite because we had shared something in common, which was our musical talent. Come to think of it, even if everything that had happened was a figment of my imagination, at least, I had fulfilled Grandma’s wish.

Grandma was buried three days later. As part of the program, my song was played during the service and when her coffin was lowered into the ground and covered with sand. Lo and behold, to everyone's surprise, two white pigeons – her favorite birds – came to perch on top of the sand. I'm sure I was the only one who understood the occurrence; Grandma was sending a message – she had received her gift and she was finally at rest. I simply smiled and quickly left the scene.

Today is the third month since Grandma's death. Indeed, her prophecy about me being an eagle and soaring high has come true. The single 'Unadulterated Love' has sold one million copies in a month and according to music reviews, I'm the hottest selling artiste in my country, Ghana. The song has also crossed the borders of Ghana to neighbouring countries like Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire, and even my birth country, Zambia.

I'm excited and most especially because the CD is out but I'm very saddened, because if I had paid heed to Grandma's words, the CD would have been released a long time ago and she would have shared the spotlight with me. One of Grandma's popular sayings had been, 'Do not put off till tomorrow, what you can do today'.

Please, don't be like me; you may not be so fortunate as I was. Shake yourself out of your slumber, because the world is waiting to hear your 'voice' and experience your influence.

December 29, 2020 12:52

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RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

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