i should have paid attention to the weather forecast alot more.
Gramps loved to read horoscopes, play crosswords and over the newspaper ask what the weatherforecast was as he rocked back and forth gently in his rocking chair on the veranda.
sometimes he sounded zanny when he would look up from his half eaten salad, his mouth all crinkled with age, his fingers once dainty plagued with coming of age athritis, 'phoebe, there is going to be some rain....'
' his rheumy eyes would set their beaded gaze on to me in a matter of fact way and i would laugh, 'come on dad, its only a few clouds, there is still alot of sun and remember what the weatherforecast said today, sunny with scatter clouds'
he would take a long deliberate look at me and revert his gaze to the paper in his hand,'i warned you,'
there was never any rain that time.
it was as dry as the sahara
but day after day after day as i hang the washing on the line, i would hear his old voice ring out , 'phoebe, be fast out there, the clothes will get wet, there is going to be some rain,'
i would laugh out and call, ' i heard you dad, i heard you.'
i thought his 80 years was playing on him.
daddy loved rain. no he wasnt my daddy but technically ever since my husband, his son passed on. we had grown so close. i never remaaried. i saw alot of my husband in this kind old man with crazy stories of the first locomotive in his region, the education system then and being a brilliant pupil. i could not rival his oral english. he was a gem. but one thing e never talked about was his wife who passed on whilst giving birth to my dead husband. daddy Gramps never remarried. he would have once, but he never did. he was a handsome young man and when he returned to the country from overseas where he worked in high offcies in Addis Ababa and some place in England, he was young, dashing,. well learned and the hearthrob of so many girls but he picked Mama Peaches. he loved to call her that becasue she wore a fragrance he told us smelled of the freshest peaches he could recall eating in the spring of 1947 whilst in the United states in school. i never knew Mama Peaches but i saw the pictures and a few love letters whilst cleaning up his cupboard one day.when i brought it up at dinner once, he seemed upset and i realsied it was a topic i could not deal with.
i left it alone.
we never talked about Mama Peaches for the twenty five yerars i knew Daddy Gramps
but lately his obsession with weather was making me smile.... i never looked into it much.
not much until the day i found him in bed the next morning unable to move. he had called out to me, 'its raining! phoebe! it is raining!'i rushed from the kitchen hearing him gasp and whizz. the doctor had warned that with his age and failing health i had to be prepared foranything
'daddy gramps!' i screamed more out of fear of losing him.
' i was at his bed side,' trying to plump up the pillow when i noticed his bed was dump, wet. his pillow was dripping lightly and on the floor a puddle started to gather.
i stood back in shock. i quickly scanned the roof, was it leaking? it wasn't.
'daddy gramps, what..what is going on , i asked puzzled. his bed was wet, down to his body that was cold and clammy,' i need to get you out of here, its so wet. what happened!,'
'i told you,' he whizzed, 'its going to rain,'
'not in here daddy gramps,' i said hastily, 'not in here. i started to lift his frail body out of the bed. he waved me off.
'leave me Phoebe,'
'but daddy gramps...'
'no phoebe,' he was firm even in a feeble way,'i told you it was cloudy and that it would rain,'
my panic melted to an eerie fear. what was going on?
'i dont understand daddy gramps. you need to get out of that wet bed, i dont know how it got wet first of all...'
then he mentioned her name, 'peaches, Phoebe, its almost time.'
our eyes locked for a brief moment. i searched his and a terrible fear clothed my own soul like a dark cloak
'no!' i jumped up from the couch in his room and made a lung for the bed, 'no daddy gramps,' something about his look told me he was ready...but i was not ready
'please Phoebe,' he begged me
'its been cloudy too long. i needed it to rain,' he whipsered
the tears welled up from my soul and i buried my head in his frail chest and cried, 'not yet daddy gramps, you never told me anything about her, you never told me anything. not now. we still have a few more years...'
i could feel his hands pat my head lightly,'Phoebe, remember the box in my cupboard? read everything there. you will know everything, '
'please...' i begged
'i have to go now, Phoebe, thank you,' he whispered.
Daddy Gramps died that saturday morning in a wet bed with my head on his chest.
i wept like a five year old who has losrt her favourite toy. his birthday was only a week away, next friday. i had been plannig a secret surprise. i had learned a new recipe and i was getting his favourite roast chicken and mushrooms and soup. now he was gone. just like that
in a dripping wet bed.
after several hours i called my aunt and a few relatives. i told them what happened. i also called his doctor. i went out to his study as people started to file in, one by one. i ddi not want to see anyone or his body. i locked myself in his study and went to the cupboard. indeed all the letters where there and a dairy.
i picked it and flipped through, a paper slipped out. it was folded and it looked very old, browning with age and abit too thin. it was adressed to me.shocked,i opened it and the heading had a date 1948, 'dear phoebe, i know some day you will have to read thisshe was dashing in the rain. wet to her ankles from runnig off it to the pavement,she caught my eye and a palyful smile touched her eyes as she brushed past me at the bus station. i caught a faint whiff of her perfume and breathed in deeply...peaches. she smelled amazingly of peaches. i turned round inspite of me. i never took a second glance at any woman, but i did for miss... i donno-who- who- smelled- of -peaches' she was laughing with her friends. the rain was bad and it got worse. we were forced to back up to the pavement as we waited for the buses. there was no use moving, i went back to the restaurant and sat in the corner i ghad sat. my dad had told me it was cloudy and it would rain soon but i needded to go out today. meet George.... and i guess it was my day to meet Peaches. she took my breathe away. her smile, her wide eyes, her flawless chocolate skin, her teeth...her peachy perfume. its funny people say love at first sight is a dream but i was madly and deeply in love with the stranger who smelled of peaches,' she walked in with her friends, removed her raincoat, her coiffed hair still in place , they sat three tables ahead of me, her chair faced me and our eyes locekd again. she was laughing at something someone said.' after thirty minutes i could not help it. i went over and paid for their tea. i told her...very ungentlemanly that i wanted to meet her if it was possible. i did not know how else to do it. she played the mouse and baited me abit. i lvoed the game. but she did not turn down my offer for lunch. after lunch, it was a movie, then a walk in the park, then a ride in my new car, after that, we met every sunday. had lunch at each others homes. met the families. we both loved it when it rained. it rained alot that month we courted. we were married the next month. the priest screamed out the vows in pouring rain. our honeymoon was a blissful cold one. we snuggled under the covers for two weeks, wile it drizzled outside. rain became us,. we became it. it rained when she got pregnant. i was over joyed and then the day of the miscarriage...it rained too and i hated the rain then becasue it represented nothnig but pain. we got over that cloudy period. i supported her. and we enjoyed each other for three more years and tried again. the day she said she told me she was pregnant, i was scared and excited. we both where. daddy had said the night before while we were at my parents home that the weather forecast was going to be cloudy. it had been quite warm lately. warm inside for us as well and now the bliss of a cool breeze seemed welcoming. i dont know what was with daddy and the weather.he simply said the stars had a lot to do wtih it. superstitious old man i say. the clouds gathered through the months, slight drizzles and while i was excited. a heavy dark cloud hang over me. i was not sure what wuodl happen, but month after month, peaches blossomed and i saw our baby kick at times. by the eighth month, i was sure, nothing would go wrong. the day her water broke, it was raining. the car broek down and i cursed it. i had to call george to take us to hospital but when we got there, dude to unseen complications Peaches died but not wwithout seeing our son Edward. his birth was a miracle. i cired like my life was voer. my heart broke then and i have never recovered.' in Edward, i saw Peaches. she was everything, his smile, his eyes, his playful teasing. she lived in him. i did not think he would meet a lovely girl like phooebe and only years later succumb to cancer and die. my peaches and my son were dead and i am glad Phoebe stayed. she was the embodiment of my past and present.but i started to watch the stars like daddy. maybe he had seen something i had not. maybe the seasons were a telling of our lives. i dont know how.maybe. maybe...then i found out something at my father's death. something that changed everything and it is what i am passing on to you,phoebe. my father was not obssessed with stars and weather parterns for nothing.my father had, while as a child found out the secret in his lineage. way back before his great grand father was born, his ancestors discovered an object, small and smooth like a stone. they did not know how but from the day they retrieved it. it rained. then they found that it glowed faintly at times. they did not know how but it seemed to affect weather and the lives of those that had it. it reduced age. it helped you relieve some days in your life at your death.one of my ancestors died young only to return and say he had gone back to his child hood and it was so real. they worshipped the stone and we kept it as a family secret. when it was passed on to me, my father could not wait to go back in his own time to his youth and enjoy some wild hay days. it depended on how much you thought about that particular time of your life. thats what my father said. i would like to believe we never died but continued living in another time, relieving our past. Mama Peaches was all i could think of for years, she was always on my mind. her perfume has been with us all the time. i needed to go back. the stone started to glow a year ago and i could tell that the time was fast apporaching and i started to watch the clouds, the sky, the weather update was always wrong. i knew it would rain. i knew it and i could feel it when i looked at the stone. my time has come Phoebe and now i pass this gift to you. i know you miss Edward. i do too but its your chance for happiness. i may not be here to watch you enjoy your moment with him but i do hope that you shall leave this precious stone with a worthy person or bury it behind the house for someone to find who the stone will choose to bestow upon the gift of second chance. this secret has blest my family. may it bless you for you are and have been my only family. much love daddy Gramps.
p.s when you find this letter it will have rained on me. but i wrote it along time ago, at that bus stop when it rained,. i worte this at the cafe for you, right beofre i went to meet Peaches at her table. i hope you understand.bye bye.'
i sat there for the lnogest time, oblivios of everything, of sound of life of anything.i had to let the contents of the letter sink it because i didnot understand what it meant. weird fables? but who could explain the water drenched bed, i could not. this seemed the only plausible explanatino, 'it rained on him,' i got up from the stool still shaken and stared out the window. the clouds were gathering fast. my forwn deepnd. the letter date was 1948, had he written it before he died, while he died...it was all tooo confusing. maybe it was her time to find out for herself. maybe it was.
wth alot on my mind i jonied the people filing in, friends and a few of my own family members. the doctor laboured to tell me daddy gramps had died in his sleep but i knew better and what's more...his bed was as dry as a bone. the stone could be the only explanation. i did not know how but it had to be something with reversal of time or when it rained on him he was already in 1948. i dont know. like i said i shall find out. or i already did.
well, i did.
the day we buried daddy Gramps. it rained , it rained so hard but i knew it rained only on me. i had been waiting for it. i was back there in 1973 at my own father's funeral. the clouds were gathering fast and everyone was pulling up an umbrella. i knew then what i should have known along time ago only that along time and ago and now seemed to have reconciled past and present lay before me. i caressed the stone in my pocket, closed my eyes as the rain came down in heavy pelts. i ddid not want to go back. i wanted to stay here becasue the next day at the cafeteria was when i met Edward.