What actually prevented the remaining mourners from forsaking the funeral service was their respect for the memory of Togbe. They discerned his spirit was around, watching who stayed to the end of proceedings.
The preacher took a second look at Santiago and was eying him while saying the last prayer of the sermon. Santiago kept advancing beyond comfort, with his hand ready for a shake. The preacher, from all indications, contemplated a gentlemanly refusal of the shake but acted the virtue of a preacher. As he stretched ready his hand, he thought he saw something. Santiago removed his glasses and the preacher saw a ghost. Santiago mentioned a name Togbe shared with the preacher. Then the preacher discovered that Santiago was Togbe, the man whose funeral they were attending.
“Thanks for preaching truth at my funeral”, echoed Togbe Santiago’s words in the mic live.
The world stood still, and there was a blast!
There was a wild stampede. Mourners now rushed back to the funeral ground, having heard Togbe was alive. Most of them wanted to see what a ghost looked like. There were numerous Thomaes. Cameras were held at the ready. The crowed pushed and surged but kept a wise distance, knowing what African ghosts were capable of. It was a suspenseful moment spiced with fear and curiosity.
Santiago removed his hat and the polka handkerchiefs to reveal his real identity: Togbe, the man whose funeral he was covering. His son ran back to him, much to the admiration and amazement of the crowd. That was when they learnt children smelt blood faster than adults, after all, blood is thicker than water. He, Togbevi, was right all along when he said Santiago was his father. Santiago carried the boy and kissed his chin. The little boy, in turn, nested his head on his father’s shoulder. The whole crowd was amazed. The boy became a hero. Those who delayed offering funeral donations were in a dilemma. Would Togbe find out who contributed at his funeral?
He cleared his throat and greeted the mourners in a most fluent Ewe. That was what invited the din. And that was when they realized he was Togbe because his drowsy romantic tone was still resident in his voice. He tried one of his normal jokes and apologized to the crowd. He removed his false teeth and face mask and all to reveal his true identity before he blasted the gathering.
He thanked his friend, the preacher, for being so candid at his funeral, saying he was the type of man Africa needed. He told the whole crowd why he cherished his relationship with the preacher. “He told you the truth to your face. He once told someone ‘truth need not be postponed nor decorated,’” Togbe reminiscenced. They hugged.
As Togbe was about to address the crowd, his child’s mother came forward to unburden him but the boy won’t leave his father. “I won’t come to you again”, said the boy into the unmuted mic, making the crowd cheer in excitement.
While the woman stood there, Togbe removed his woolen glove on his left hand and there it was: a gleaming wedding ring. The lady broke down in tears as the crowd booed at her. Others cried along while many more made themselves spectators. Adwoa picked herself up and walked away.
“Agoo na mikatã”, he said again in Ewe. The response was a mixed spontaneity. There was confusion all over. Some cried, others laughed. Better still, some cheered.
Adwoa walked back to Togbe behind the mic. She purposed to start a quarrel by speaking into the microphone.
“How could you do this to me?”
“Adwoa, this is someone’s’ funeral… not a place for matrimonial arbitration”.
“How? I mean how?” the madness and truculence in her voice were unmasked.
“Adwoa,” said Togbe in a usual calm tone.
“When I was here mourning, you were out there…..”
She was whisked away. That speaks for itself.
“Anyway, that was an aside,” mocked Togbe.
The crowd laughed and cheered. It almost became a rally. A platform was given to Togbe to speak forth. A news conference, if one may.
“Now let me tell you why that charred body in the casket could not be mine. The corpse is a woman’s body,” he assured.
“How do you know? a journo quizzed.”
“My friend from National Security told me,” he assured.
He went ahead and told them how he survived.
to be continued…………………