Afro Poetry Times



OVER dinner, Grace mentioned the sewing machine. The silence was deafening. “I thought I was inheriting everything,” Victoria began. Then she fixed me with her don’t-mess-with-me stare. But Grace put her foot down. “Wendy’s having the sewing machine,” she insisted. “You can’t sew, and you’ve never shown any interest. I’m not having it sitting around unused when I’m gone.”

Victoria scowled. “Just make sure you don’t sell it,” she muttered to me. “I saw one of these in an antique shop for a small fortune last week.” “As if I’d sell it,” I said. “And there’s something else, while we’re on the subject,” Grace said.

To Victoria’s undisguise­d horror, and my utter amazement, Grace said she wanted me to inherit her Irish jewellery. She’d bought some lovely gold earrings, a ring and a pendant in Dublin during her honeymoon.

Victoria said nothing, but her eyes blazed. A long uncomforta­ble silence settled over the dining table until it was time to go home.

After that evening, I wasn’t expecting to hear from Victoria for a while. So I was surprised when she phoned just a fortnight later.

“Mom died during the night,” she said. “Heart attack.” Maybe it was the shock that made her sound so detached?

“I’ll be over right away,” I said. She obviously needed moral support. And it would be comforting for me to be there, in Grace’s home, even with my spoilt cousin.

I’d known Grace wasn’t long for this world but the reality of her loss was a heavy blow. I blinked away the tears.

My cousin’s next words took me by surprise. She’d completely misjudged my intentions. “I suppose you’re coming to collect the sewing machine.”

I went anyway. For Grace’s sake.

WHEN I arrived, the machine was placed by the door. Surprising­ly Victoria was happy to see it go. “They’re not worth as much as I thought,” she said. “And it takes up too much space.”

She didn’t mention the Irish jewellery and neither did I. What was the point? She’d probably hidden it. I wouldn’t put it past her.

I set up the sewing machine when I got home and took out the linen I’d bought. It

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