I wouldn’t have known all the fish had died had it not been for Uncle Keefa’s incessant shouting. Rosie didn’t talk back. But as soon as her husband retreated to their bedroom, she lashed out at Claire and Jessy.
“Why didn’t you feed the fish?” she asked.
“I gave them pellets, auntie,” I said.
She glared at me. “I didn’t ask you dummy!”
The girls kept their eyes on the ground.
They had never really gotten over their parents’ breakup. Neither had I. With Stella – Jessy and Claire’s mother, we had gotten along so well. Whenever she bought the girls new stuff, she bought me something too.
But auntie Rosie was different. She sneered upon all Uncle’s relatives and called us fish-smelling peasants. Uncle together with my dad and their three sisters were raised in a little fishing community in Kiyindi. Auntie was the city girl. From the word go they fought over petty things.The squabbles degenerated into a physical fight one evening that ended with uncle leaving home.
I was thus surprised to see him in the living room the next morning. He stood by the aquarium looking at the fish twirl in the glass cage.
The house, devoid of Uncle Keefa’s usual booming voice was eerily quiet and the air was tense.
When auntie served breakfast, Uncle stabbed at his eggs with the fork on end and only on occasion did he lift tiny bits to his mouth which he chewed for ages. Now Uncle returned to look again into the aquarium. The fish were still afloat.
“Why doesn’t anything in this house seem to work?!”
He sucked his teeth then peered under the aquarium. The power cord was out of the socket. And in its place, auntie’s phone was charging.