In fact, there was a problem!
I stood outside Mom and Dad’s house, waiting for Claudette to arrive with the key. But my stomach was churning. How would it feel walking back into that home without Mom and Dad there? It had taken me a long time to get over their deaths.
And how would it feel to be handling Ouma Plaatjies’ possessions there in the shed? She had been an amazing old lady, inspiring, despite the short time I knew her. She had always known the right things to say to me.
“Yes, Faheema, my engel, you are part of our family. You are my true granddaughter. Just as if you were born to us. Especially since you love music. Just like me.”
So how would it feel, watching Claudette rifling through her things, on a mission to make some extra cash?
Claudette arrived at the house with the key. And with Mr Dordrecht. Mr Dordrecht was bald and bespectacled – and an antiques dealer.
“He’ll give me estimates,” said Claudette. Her eyes were shining with anticipation. “I tell you, Faheema, there’s a flaming fortune in that shed. I can feel it in my bones.”
I followed my sister and her antique dealer through the house. It was hard. Painful. I could almost hear echoes of Ouma’s gentle voice as she taught me to play the piano: “Not quite, Faheema, my engel. It’s a semibreve, see? So you have to hold it for four counts.”
In the kitchen, I could almost smell Mom’s perfume as she used to hug me whenever I looked like I needed it – which was often! At the back door, I could still picture Dad sitting there and shining our school shoes. All six of them. Every weekday evening, without fail.
“Best foot forward, Faheema, my girl,” he would say. Whilst in the lounge, Claudette and Germaine argued at full volume about TV channels. And threatened to smash each other’s head in.
With a flourish, as if she were opening new shopping mall, Claudette unlocked the backyard shed. I gasped.
It was crammed full from floor to ceiling. There were crates and boxes balanced on top of one another. And any space between them was squeezed full with additional objects. Every single object seemed to be carefully wrapped in newspaper.
Decades of dust and cobwebs covered everything. Mr Dordrecht began coughing violently.
“Are you all right?” I asked, patting him on the back in case that would help.
Claudette was already pulling boxes out into the backyard. This was going to take a long, long time. Just as well Mr Isaacs at the library had given me a few days’ leave from work.
“Mind how you unwrap,” Claudette ordered. “If it gets broken, that whacks the price down horribly. Isn’t that right, Mr D?”
“Correct!” Mr Dordrecht confirmed. He had stopped coughing at last, but he seemed a little distressed about being called ‘Mr D’.
Claudette needn’t have worried about me. This was Mom’s stuff, Dad’s stuff, Ouma Plaatjies’ stuff. They had wrapped these goods up with their own dear, kind hands. How could I possibly be anything but gentle and respectful?
Tell us what you think: What will they discover in the shed? Is there really a fortune waiting there?