Aunty Lilian is a house with only walls. She became so when Uncle Rufus died. All who were in were in and all out remained out. She refused to let new folks in her life and if you were (un)fortunate to have being in her inner circle before Uncle Rufus died you were doomed.
Aunty Lilian would stalk your death-bed, If she was tech savvy she would have monitored your pulse with GPS. They said Aunty Lilian went insane, and that the weight of Uncle’s death crushed her. She still choose to live albeit she became obsessed with possessions, she learnt never to let things go.
Aunty Lilian used to be an open book, people breezed in and out of her life. Uncle Rufus’ death changed her, she became the house he couldn’t complete. So she built another one, a closed loop, she forgot doors and windows. Aunty Lilian mocked the standard of civil engineering. She became an unconventional contractor. She built another life on her own terms.
Aunty Lilian called us on New Year’s day. We gathered around her big chair in the sitting room, wondering what made her extra excited. She said she was a new creature. That she has broken down her wall.
“If a thing is truly yours let it go and it will come back to you,” she said still wearing her extra smile.
So Aunty Lilian let us go, she said we could leave. That she would not force anyone to stay in her house. That she has ceased to be the house with just walls.
We were all dazed, we stared at each other unable to understand what was happening. But Aunty Lilian was serious, she left for her room after her speech. She didn’t say a word to anyone, her extra smile remained on her face. She also asked us to met her for money if we wanted to leave knowing we had none. It was like the Egyptian’s offer to Moses, “stop being our slave, leave our land and we will give you gold and silver while you are at it.”
Two days later nobody left. A familiar strangeness hovered over the house, scratching the walls of our hearts but instilling fear.
Aunty Lilian was cloned. Her clone was always out, returning with new friends we never knew existed. The Aunty Lilian we knew would never hang out even at gun point and the only friends she brought home whenever she managed to lived on DVDs of soap operas we would grudgingly watch.
One week later Aunty Lilian was still a clone. So yesterday we went to meet her. Our bags fully packed, we were all dressed to leave.
“Aunty, we need money, we want to go back home…” Aunty Lilian flared.
“So here is not home enough for you eh? I am not good enough for you eh?
Silly children. You want to leave me all alone in this house eh?” Aunty Lilian ranted.
“It won’t happen, wait until I’m dead then you can get rid of me easily. As long as I am alive, you are all mine and I am yours, it is a till death do us part. We will stay together without any division, that’s what families do. And the last time I checked, we are one big happy family, no weapon formed against us to tear us apart shall prosper. So kindly unpack your bags and join me in the Kitchen. We will all cook together, a family that cooks together stays together. Forever and ever.”
Cover Photo by TheIncurableOptimist