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A Letter to My Dear Brother 2

Family structure and relations; parents, children and sibling relations. He has used his writings to deal with the losses of his loved ones.

Dear Brother

Hello brother! How is it? We’re all very fine this side! It feels a little awkward, doesn’t it? You weren’t used to this anymore, right? Two letters in a space of one week when I couldn’t come up with one for over one and half decades. Remember I promised you that I’d stay in touch till we meet again. I’m keeping that promise bro! Besides we still have a lot of catching up to do. I have a lot to fill you up on, you know.

The Brotherhood

Four months after you left I married Mo, my high school sweetheart. You remember her, don’t you? That chocolate skinned, tall, slender beauty from Mandara. The one who was lead vocalist in the church choir. You two were good friends before you left so I bet you wouldn’t forget her. Fourteen years on, she’s even more beautiful but not slender anymore hahahahaha! We have two kids now, a boy and a girl, whom we named OJ and AC. Yes, OJ is named after you! He’s fourteen now and in boarding school. AC is in junior school here in Harare. Kel and Robbie have four kids now. Three girls; Rue, Rae and Titi, and Taw the only boy. They had Rae, Taw and Titi after Rue. Rae and Taw are in junior school in Rusape while Titi is only one. Rue was only three when you left, she is all grown up now. She’ll be writing her general certificate exams at the end of this year. She’s so big you’ll not recognize her if you were to meet her on the streets of Harare today. Cul is married too! He got married three years ago, to a beauty from the neighbourhood named Fifi. They’ve a son named Kuku who just turned two. And when elder brother Tau left, Kel adopted Ad, Tau's youngest son and is raising him as his own. Ad is two years younger than OJ and like Rae and Taw, is in junior school in Rusape. As you can see it’s no longer just the brotherhood. It’s a much bigger family now. But still as closely knit as ever. The kids know you very well though you left long before most of them were born. We talk about you, mum, dad and sis Oly very often. I often go through our family photos with them, mostly those from the eighties and nineties. “Grandma was so beautiful in her thirties,” OJ once commented looking at one of mum’s photos from the mid-eighties. They say you very much looked like dad though you were much taller than him. They always have a great time talking about those yesteryear times as if they were there to share them with you. The moments are very emotional for me, but not for the kids! They are moments of celebrating the lives of their loved ones they didn't have the chance to meet. They can't stop asking questions, you know. Remember when you were just starting your stand-up comedy antics? Remember when you were all formally dressed in an oversize yellow suit, white shirt, yellow bow tie and shoes? Who dresses like that? Ajigija, the clown, maybe! That dressing alone is enough comedy for the kids they can’t stop laughing each time I show them the picture. It has become the most popular picture of all my collection. OJ keeps asking me, “Dad this is how you dressed in the nineties?” I’m sorry bro, but I always give him an emphatic no! I don’t want the kids to think that that’s how we all dressed at the time hahahahaha! Besides not all of us are stand-up comedians. I tell them it was just uncle OS who dressed this way because he is a comedian. It’s your comic dressing sense, I say. They don’t believe me though. They think we all dressed that way, only you were unfortunate to be captured on camera dressed that way. Remember we were once pictured in safari suits and sneakers hahahahaha! They don’t miss a chance to point that out whenever the issue of dressing comes under discussion.

Sister Oly

Is big sister Oly with you there? We still don’t know where she is bro! Nobody has heard from her or seen her since that day we accompanied her to the bus stop on her way to Braeside. It’s been twenty-six long years and counting! If she’s with you there please get her to send us a message. The family needs to know bro! We can’t go on like this! Every day we wonder what happened to her, where she is or what she is up to. We have always prayed and hoped that some day she would walk through the door and tell us some crazy story about where she had been. We would cry tears of joy and spend days filling her in on all that happened while she was away. Throw one huge reunion party even! It hasn’t happened, and it has looked increasingly unlikely to happen, ever! Twenty-six years is a very long time, you know. We have searched everywhere for her without success. It’s more likely she left too and is that side. How she got there remains a mystery. We feel she is not here anymore. You bro can clear this mystery for us all. We desperately need to know so we can have closure. The closure that’s been so elusive for nearly three decades. We can’t live like this! Don’t get me wrong here bro! We would prefer to have her here with us. But after such a long time without knowing where she is, that’s highly unlikely. We have lost hope of ever finding her this side. We will therefore accept that she has left rather than not knowing at all. It hurts the most not knowing where she is. So if we can’t find her this side we hope and pray you have found her that side. That way she is in the presence of family. She is among those that love her the most. In a place of peace and comfort. We love her dearly too and miss her very much. Don’t forget to tell her that, if she’s with you. And that she sends me just a little a message, alright?

Uncle Joe

“Uncle Pete how are you?” I asked over the phone! “How is Uncle Joe?” I continued. “Uncle Joe left last night!” “What?!” I asked, shocked. “You heard me right boy, your uncle left last night.” “That can’t be,” I said, “Because I’m calling to tell you that OS left last night.” Uncle Pete couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe it too! That you and Uncle Joe conspired to leave together in the dead of the night. You were planning this all this time, weren’t you? That you would quietly leave on that rainy night of February the thirteenth. You kind of sneaked out on us, you know. Uncle and nephew jumping off their beds, while all of us were fast asleep, into the rain and off you went. Come on guys! Braving the rain so you can sneak out without being noticed. Who does that? We were very hurt, you know. You should have waited till morning and said proper goodbyes. That’s what we were taught growing up. That’s our tradition bro. Nobody goes away without saying good bye! It was the least you both could do, after all we had been through together. So how is Uncle Joe? The great story teller with an infectious smile! Does he still have that infectious smile? Does he still shed tears laughing his heart out? What about that robostep? Does he still walk like a machine? Or give his terribly out of tune renditions of Mukanya’s MaDebra? It’s his story telling we miss! What a great orator that man is! You must be enjoying his stories every day. He must have compiled them into a book by now. Whenever you two met, usually at family gatherings, we were sure to have a treat! What with the story teller meeting the comedian? Show him some love for us, will you? We miss him so much!

My Tender Regards

It so nice catching up with you bro! Talking to you is beginning to feel natural again. Give mum and dad some love for us, will you?

Talk to you soon.

Love big brother TJ.

© 2019 Takesure Danga

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