If you know me, or of me, you would know that my father passed away some years ago.
Four years ago.
Some days before Christmas Day.
But I’ve gotten ahead of myself. This is Back Story Monday. The day I give you a little insight to whatever happened to Gypsy Black. My little fashion revolution.
Well, I had been running Gypsy Black for two years with funds from investors who were also my cousins. Unfortunately it had been two years, and a whole lot of money was spent with not a kobo made. My investors were not happy, and needed me to give them reasons to continue, outside of “Hey, what’s a couple of millions among family?”. So I got a friend to do the books, did some more research, and got ready to placate my investors. I didn’t think they would pull the plug, but I needed to be sure, and I wanted them to be comfortable with their decision to bet on me and my dream.
I remember talking to my Dad on the phone about it, and he asked how I was going to pay them back, and I informed him it wasn’t a loan; it was an investment. They were not my debtors; they were fellow shareholders in this enterprise. He seemed pleasantly surprised, and said, “I’m proud of you”. My father was not a man to give praise easily so it felt good to hear him say that.
That was the last time I spoke to him. A couple of days later he was dead.
What does this have to do with Gypsy Black? Well, enter The Relatives from The Village.
…My father died in December. We were allowed to bury him in April. Why? Because we had to finish the 10 bedroom house that he had started and abandoned. And I use the word ‘finish’ loosely because the house had been started on marshland and had sunk halfway underground. So basically, we had to tear down and start again.
I couldn’t leave my mum’s side and I mean literally because I was afraid she would be kidnapped. By whom (or is it who)? The Relatives from The Village. Apparently, she was supposed to go stay in the village to mourn her dead husband. But…the corpse wasn’t in the village, why would she be required to go there? Well, apparently as part of my late father’s property, she was to be shared amongst the male relatives. This practice is customary in my part of the country. The wife is shared, so she can be protected and taken care of. So why were we uncomfortable with the request? Well, you see, there was a catch. The relative who got the wife, got the property. So it really wasn’t about my mum; it was about property, specifically a 10 bedroom house we were being forced to build.
So here I was, by my mum’s side, making sure she didn’t cry too much; dealing with my relatives; keeping an eye on my siblings and planning a burial that The Relatives from The Village were determined to turn into a carnival.
By the time, we had buried him. I was exhausted. I saw the body once for probably 15 seconds before he was put in the ground. Before then, the last time I saw him was in August. I couldn’t even say goodbye properly because there was such a crowd at the grave screaming and crying. Sure, don’t mind me. I’m only trying to bury my father. Of course your loss is unbearable. Your grief supersedes my own.
I hated them all.
And I was so angry.
And so tired.
I just wanted them all to leave so I could say goodbye.
But no, they just kept coming. To tell us sorry. To say your father was a great man. To say your father has touched many people. I didn’t care. It didn’t matter. My Daddy was gone. All I had left was my mum, and my siblings. My world became black and white. It became about them. Would you help me take care of them? Then, welcome. Were you trying to hurt them or take advantage of them? Then I would do everything I could to protect them.
I didn’t have the energy for anything else. Especially not a business that hadn’t turned a profit yet. I didn’t have the heart to dream my way out if it. All I had was the presence of mind to worry about my mum and my siblings.
So when an old classmate from UNIBEN referred me for an editorial position that would pay me twice as much as I was paying myself I took it.
There was no more Daddy. We had just spent a fortune burying him. The money would come in handy.
Did I intend to abandon Gypsy Black forever? No. I didn’t have a plan on how I was going to dig it out of the hole, but I knew…I thought I would come back for it.