Florica and I were the last people to arrive at dinner.
“Come sit next to me princess,” my father called after being aware of our presence.
“Princess?” Florica chuckled beside me. “So Jen was not lying like you claimed.”
“Shut up Florica.” I said playfully shoving her.
I took a seat between my father and Astro, Jen’s classmate. Florica sat between Astro and Jaco. My mother was on the other side of my father, next to her was aunt Sam then uncle Bobo, it was just the eight of us. Dinner went better than expected. Everyone had funny tales to tell about Jennie. There were rarely dull moments and I think this is how she would have wanted it.
The only time it was dull was when my eyes found Jaco staring at me. I hated it. For some reason I was the one feeling embarrassed for catching him staring at me—
Shouldn’t he be the one feeling this way? God I hope nobody noticed.
After dinner everybody went their separate ways. Astro, Florica and Jaco went to which ever hotel they were staying at. Mom, Dad and I went home, leaving aunt Sam and uncle Bobo behind.
When we got home I went to my room and took a shower. After my shower I slipped in a fresh pair of pink silk pajamas (my mom is crazy about silk pjs). Even though I woke up at like 04:00 I couldn’t sleep so I went to my parents’ room. When I got there I found my father already sleeping and I think my mother was working on her next cook book, she was on her laptop. I walked to the bed and snuggled with my mother, I placed my head where her shoulder meets her neck.
“It is my 21st next Saturday.”
“We know honey.”
“Ha ke batle ho etsa letho (‘I don’t want to do anything’ in Sesotho).”
“We were kind of hoping you would say that.”
“The police are done with Jennifer’s autopsy.”
“So the funeral is on Saturday?”
“The body will arrive Friday.”
“What is their final report?”
“It has been ruled as a suicide.”
“How long have you known?”
“When were you going to tell me?”
“On Wednesday when I went to your room you were asleep. Honey you were crying and talking in your sleep again. ‘Jaco please, tell me what happened to Jennifer. You and I know very well she would never kill herself.’ You kept mumbling that. Rethabile, I did not think you were ready for the truth so we kept it from you. And don’t think I did not notice Jaco staring at you during dinner."
I slept with my parents that night. I don’t remember last time I felt so safe. I hated it that the following day I had to go back to New York.
“Wake up princess,” that was my dad. “Jordan come on, you still have to pack for New York.” Agh, then I remembered. I heard that winters in New York can be brutal so I had to pack extra warm clothes.
“Rethabile!” My mom yelled, pulling the blankets from me. I didn’t miss this. She used to pull blankets like this growing up, still I was late for school.
After showering I went downstairs to have breakfast with my family before going to the airport.
“Could you at least get a car?”
“Why? I am getting by just fine mom.”
“Well I don’t like your way of getting by. It is not safe.”
“Okay, okay. I can see where this is going. I will not get a car but I will get a bike. That is the best I can do.”
“A bike?!” oh boy here we go. “What are you thinking Rethabile? Do you have any idea how dangerous those things are? You don’t even know how to ride! George! Don’t just sit there! Did you not hear your daughter wants to buy a motorcycle? Talk some sense into her.”
“Calm down honey. I think Jordan was talking about a bicycle, right princess?” I nodded in response to my father. He spoke in a calm manner, a tone he had to master since meeting my mother, she can be a bit melodramatic.
“Let the child be Marian. Part of college is learning to think for yourself in the real world.” Uncle Bobo added.
“Don’t worry mommy I will take care of myself,” as I said this I stood from the table placing a kiss on my mother’s cheek. “Please excuse me, I have to go double check on my thing.”
After ensuring that my passport, airplane ticket and wallet were in my handbag, I asked Mr. Javis to take my bags to the car. The journey to the airport was silent. At the airport thank god, my mother did not try getting me to stay, unlike the other times.
When I got to New York I went straight to my dorm. I took a shower and slept. Something about cars and planes make me sleepy.