My granddad dislikes rainfall. Not just it, he dislikes everything that comes with it; the chilly breeze, the mist, everything. He hates the fact that he has to be reminded once more of the leaking roof that never quits dripping down on the only mattress in the house, forming shapeless obscure pictures in the middle, like the urine of a little baby. The rain doesn’t bother about how he feels nor does it care how I do. It however, hears the curses we yell, which, perhaps is the reason it sneaks on us each time. It doesn’t just come when we are around to place empty buckets on top his priceless mattress he said his wife bought him a long time ago or to place little bowls at another corner near the cupboard where some bags near. It comes with so much intriguing style and it makes him think the rain makers have their eyes on him.
When the rain comes, it drips, pours and muddles into little pools that can drown a little baby. It is awful. It leaves me to dry the entire house clean with special rags he cut out specifically for this operation, made from old cheap clothes. This part I detest most. Most times, in other to play wise, he reminds me to serve the bowls and buckets under these spots, especially before leaving for school, before the rain brings down its full rage on our remaining properties.
It gives him concern. It also gives him sleepless nights. When the rains come during the dark nights to trouble our sleep and catches him slumbering, he springs to the droplets damping his body and he manages to slide to another side till the morning comes, muttering silent curses to the night.
In general, the house, as little as it is, gives us concern. The tree, from which we collect shade in the afternoons, never forgets to drop down its fruits on the rooftop, reminding us, even in our sleep, of the very need to cut it down before it one day falls on us and slaughters everyone under it. But my grandfather has warned he doesn’t want to hear of it. Despite he knows the risks it plays, he resolves, saying the tree was planted for some damn reason only he knows- a very concrete one he fails to share. And he never fails to add that the tree has children.
‘How can one kill a mother who is froth with children, all because she spits on you once in a while. You don’t. It is sinful and barbaric. You allow her to give birth before you decide her fate’.
And so we did, we waited, for he always failed to realize the logic behind it; the tall udara tree spits on our roof, which makes way for droplets of rain to seep through to his bed. And yet he forgives it? How can one forgive such for a long, long time.
Soon, the raining season faded upon us, precipitation exhausted its temper, making way for the dry season. We experienced a bit of relief after then, deep into our bowels, we felt it shred away from our pale skin as the damp smell of everyday percolated water, which our things harbored, diminished, letting only fresh air and soothing calmness which brought about a certain kind of nearness to myself and grandfather. But it didn’t leave us stale and empty handed, at least, not unless with some bottled up memories, mostly mine, which cannot be hidden from my young head. One was when I misjudged the weather, without realizing a heavy downpour lurked. That day had scarred my back from lashes from my grandfather’s koboko, as he returned late to find, once again that his mattress was cloaked with every drop of rain that heaven could spill.
Now, with the absence of the rain, came the carpenter’s tools, blockading holes and lousy joints in the ceiling. With it came silent sleep, embracing us through each night. But there was one more thing it didn’t take away. And it was the shapeless brown insignias of harvested water on my grandfather’s costly mattress.