“Today was one of the worst days of my life.” Kari wrote in her journal after visiting her grandmother in the hospital. She had started journaling after she had learned about it from a colleague at her workplace. It had helped her through some of her worst moments since she didn’t have many people to talk to.
Kari was an only child and after her mother passed away when she was just a little girl, her grandmother had been like a second mother to her. She lived with her for most of her life.
Even when she blossomed into a beautiful young lady, she still wasn’t good at socializing and preferred to be by herself most of the time. Her only real friend was her work colleague, Harriet, who had been with her as she went through the challenging moments with her grandmother.
“How is grandma?” She asked the following day when they saw each other.
“She getting worse. I’m scared she doesn’t have much time.” Kari answered then burst into tears.
“I’m so sorry, dear. I’m here whenever you need someone to talk to.”
A few days after being admitted to the hospital, her grandmother passed away. Kari felt more lonely than ever. The only family she knew was gone. She was confused and spent most days staring at pictures of her and her grandmother. At the funeral, a few family members and close friends showed up to say their goodbyes.
“Your grandmother left you something.” One of the neighbours told Kari. “Come over to my house before you leave.”
Kari spent the night at her grandmother’s humble one-bedroom home that she had built for her but early the next day, she was ready to leave. She walked to the neighbour’s house accompanied by her young cousin who she was accommodating to see what her grandmother had left her.
“What do you think granny left us?”
“Maybe gold.” She innocently replied then Kari laughed.
“Really? You think it’s gold?”
Kari knew without a doubt that it couldn’t be gold. They weren’t rich. In fact, they were the complete opposite of rich.
She remembered days when they slept hungry because her grandmother didn’t sell anything at the market. Paying for school fees was always a struggle as well. When she finally completed her high school education, she moved to the city to look for employment. She was lucky enough to get a job as a house help for an expatriate and saved the money she earned to start a business.
She slowly built her business, paid for a short course, got hired by a good company, and now she could afford a decent living for herself. Despite her success, Kari always felt like she didn’t deserve any of it. She questioned her worth since she never even dreamt that she could own a car. She always thought of herself as the poor village girl who went to school barefooted. To make matters worse, she didn’t even know where she came from. She barely knew her mother and her father could be a drunkard for all she knew.
“Here you go, my dear.” The neighbour said, handing her a paper bag full of bananas.
“Thank you, ma.” She answered as the old lady bent to pick up another package.
“This is from your grandmother.” She said, handing her the package. Her grandmother had left her a small box with a note attached to it. She thanked the old lady and carried her goods to her car. After endless goodbyes, she drove off leaving a trail of dust behind her. The drive home was quiet. Kari was deep in her thoughts and her cousin was sound asleep in the backseat. She didn’t even realize when she got to her home.
She woke her cousin up who sprinted to the house carrying the bag of bananas. Kari followed her carrying the box from her grandmother. She placed it on the coffee table and stared at it for almost an hour.
“Kari, what are you doing?” Her cousin asked.
“Nothing, dear. Go and play in your room. I need some quiet time.” She instructed her.
As soon as the door shut, Kari broke down in tears. She missed her grandmother already and the box constantly reminded her of her loss. She reached for the note that was attached to the box. It took another minute but she finally opened it. It read:
“My dear Kari,
Open this box when I’m gone. It will give you answers to everything you’ve always wanted to know. If you still don’t understand what’s in the box, look for John Baraka. He will give all the answers.
I love you, bye.”
“John Baraka? That name sounds so familiar but it can’t be. It must be a coincidence.”
When growing up, Kari constantly nagged her grandmother to tell her something about her parents. She wanted to know how her mother was, what she did, where her father was, and if he wanted to meet her. However, as the years went by, she stopped asking about them. She realized that her father had no interest in meeting her and talking about her mother only made her grandmother sad.
“You’ll get to know more when you get older.” Her grandmother would constantly tell her.
Kari’s mother was buried in a public cemetery in the capital city, at least that was what her grandmother told her. That was one of the reasons she tried hard to leave the village for the big city. However, when she got there, she couldn’t find her mother’s records. Her grandmother also couldn’t explain where her grave was.
Her father, on the hand, was somewhat of an enigma. Anytime she brought him up, her grandmother would scoff and sneer and that was the end of it. For a long time, she forgot about her parents.
However, her grandmother had made sure that even though Kari didn’t have her parents, she never lacked love. The neighbourhood women all treated her like their grandchild and even though they all struggled, there was an abundance of love.
As she stared at the box, Kari instinctively knew that the box contained all the answers but she couldn’t bring herself to open it. Whenever she tried to open it, she would have a panic attack and back out of it.
She carried the box into her bedroom and stashed it behind a pile of other boxes in her closet.
“I’m not ready yet.” She said to herself as if to console herself for not opening the box.
The box remained untouched for months. However, Kari thought about it every single day. The pressure had started interfering with her productivity at work and it didn’t take long for her friend to notice that something was off.
“Are you okay, Kari?”
“Yes, I’m fine.”
“You don’t look fine. What happening?”
Kari sighed deeply and then looked up at her friend who was standing over her desk.
“After my grandmother passed away, I found out she had left me something.”
Her colleague gasped loudly.
“I think it has something to do with my parents.”
“You haven’t opened it, yet?”
“No, I’m scared. but I read the letter that was attached to the box and my grandmother asked me to search for a John Baraka. You know what the funny part is, When I saw that name, my mind immediately thought of you. I somehow remembered that you told me your father’s name is John Baraka.”
“Yes, that’s my father’s name. This could either be a strange coincidence or there could be a relation. I think you should look for the man and also open the box, Kari. You’ve always wanted to know about your parents. This is your chance. Plus, your father could still be alive. The sooner the better. You don’t know whether you’re running out of time. What if you wait until it’s too late?”
Her colleague’s advice hit her hard and made her realize that she had to open the box whether she was ready or not. She finally gained more courage to open the box.
See what happens next – Her Grandmother Left Her An Heirloom That Revealed Hidden Secrets Part 2
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