4749 Days

It was the third weekend after my Grandfather's death, my mum; sister and I were in Ilorin holding the fort till my uncles arrived.
I remember everything about that summer because I learnt my first lessons on death many more will follow in the years to come. The fleeting nature of life how one minute there is peace in your world and the next everything is in total chaos.
I watched everyone coming to the house to pay their condolences from my seat on the stairs separated by a floor length cupboard so I was out of sight to the visitors in the setting room and I listened to all the stories they were telling about my Grandfather. The stories brought me closer to me Grandfather, helped me understand him better, I learnt  about kindness and the love he showed to others and how his life set an example for other men to tailor their lives.
I wanted to punch some people in the face. The first question many people ask when a person dies is how old the person was, like the number of years lived in some way justifies the death. Knowing the age doesn’t make it easier for the loved ones, because for them they still long for on last conversation, a hug, a shared meal or a birthday message.
So when I reply that he was 83 years old and they justify his death by saying he was old and go on to say he lived a full life, I want to say to them "he didn’t see me graduate from the university or get married or meet any of his great grandchildren or finish our conversation on the rights and rituals of marriage of the Yourba people". Instead I did what was expected and gave the polite answer "Thank you for coming".
I wish they just told their stories about my Grandfather and stop trying to make any of us feel better, they were failing by a huge margin.
Three weeks gone, it was 22 days and 24 days since our last conversation I was keeping count because it helped me cope. I was down to crying two times a day once in the night and another during the day when I was overwhelmed I always retreated to the merry-go-round for this - it is always better to cry in private.
Sometimes my sister joined me at the merry go round and we talked about long holiday after the end of the school year the endless memories we made during those cold morning and hot afternoons. A matching swing set was located next to the merry go round.
My Grandfather’s reason was very simple "There is no space in crowded Lagos" he said with a mischievous smile spread across his face "so I need to make my home a special place for my grandchildren to escape too". He accomplished his mission and we have buckets full of fun riding bicycles around the golf course, climbing mango trees to prove that. 
The white car drove into the compound; I noticed it out the corner of my eyes, I didn’t pay much attention to it because of the numbers of cars driving in and out these past three weeks. My sister went in to get biscuits from where my Grandfather always kept them because in the 22 days since he has being gone everything in the house was unmoved; his buba and trousers still hung on the cloth hang beside his bed, his pen was still capped careful placed on his open journal in at his desk in his study, a person can easily say we were hoping he was away on a trip and he would arrive soon so everything in the house was going to be where he left when he arrived.
My sister emerged a few minutes later with more than just biscuits, she somehow managed to bring along another human being. "Hello my name is Oge I am Fordun’s cousin" she said I looked up at her and greeted her. I always known her from afar we shared cousins. "I need to get something from the car I will be right back" she said.
She walked to the white car packed under one of the many fruit trees located along the fence of the house, I watched her go, and it was a breath of fresh air, having to focus on someone new.
I turned to my sister and gave her 'the explain yourself look', "her mum and her grandma came to visit us" she said I nodded. At that time and into the future I  learnt to say less, observe more and study situations to get all the answers that words provide and the ones that they didn’t.
She came back and joined us on the merry-go-round, I watched Oge and my sister talk about the future, the things they hoped to achieve. Oge spoke passionately about going abroad for her university education, how much she hated her secondary school and all the changes she wanted in her life.
I watched Oge and my sister share stories about our shared cousins and I couldn’t help think of how much death causes us to plan for the future to dream of a place where the current pain of loss is felt less and hurt that runs through you at the moment you have learnt to deal with.
We strolled out in the evening to get ice cream and we three became an unlikely support system. She was gone by Sunday morning along with her mum and her grandma.
2years 7 months has passed since my grandfather left and now Oge is gone too she lived 15 years, experienced four leap years and lived a total of 4749 days nothing can justify this, no one can ask how old she was and try to console any of us with that.
I have my set again at the steps I am listening again, I am learning about her, as a cousin, a sister, a daughter, about her first step, her first word, her mischievous deeds, her thick glasses she wasn’t so found off, from voices laced with tears and half-hearted laughs.      
I leave the steps and walk into my Grandfather’s study, his pen is still capped pen is still laying on his opened journal, it hasn’t gathered dust because we clean like we are waiting for him to show up. I sit at his table pick his pen and turn the page and I start to write, to my surprise the pen isn’t dried up. I start my first letter, one I should have written to her 2 years 7 months ago.
Dear Oge,