I moved into the unfinished basement in my uncle’s house in December of 2012. My grandfather’s health was declining and it hurt to be almost 3,000 miles away from him. This decision continues to challenge me in ways I could not have handled five years ago. That’s not why I’m writing today. I’m writing because my conversation with my grandad just freaked me the hell out. It is already VERY difficult for me to live in a basement. It’s dark and scary and it always feels like someone is going to break in and murder me. I have my escape plan all mapped out. Keeping that to mahself. Not trying to have any impending murderers read this and foil my plans.
I mentioned the “several” not to be bougie, but to illustrate that this is a shit ton of room for one person to occupy. I usually sit on my bed with my back against the wall and my face like this:
It’s a scary situation of bounty. I digress. Today while eating my banging gluten-free breakfast of champyans in the upstairs kitchen.
My grandfather says, from behind me, “I have a kwestion, but mi nuh no di ansah. Mi nuh no whuh kwestion fi ask, buh mi wan’ tan an ansah.”
Translation: “I have a question. I’m not quite sure how to phrase it, but I’d like an answer.”
First of all. When talking to a fully coherent individual of any age I’d be like, “Well, work that sh*t out and get back to me when you have something a little more concrete.” Because honestly, what can anyone do with that? He goes on to say,
“Sumting feel wrong wit the house. The house don feel right. Only chree of us here?”
Translation: “Something feels wrong with the house. Is there anyone else in here besides us?”
Umm the hell you say? So his home nurse tries to assure him that we’re the only people here and I’m sitting there like this:
My grandfather is an 88 year old Jamaican man who has developed seizures, has a mysterious pain in his abdomen, and pisses himself on occasion. Ain’t nothing wrong with any of that though. After that long your body would probably start rebelling too.
I believe in the wisdom of elders. I believe in the power of people who are close to birth and death. I have no doubt that at the cusps of our lives we are connected to things we eventually outgrow and return to, like spirits. Sooooo to hear this man talk about something being wrong in the house was freaky. He kept saying that the position of the house has changed and that something is wrong. I just listen because we’re both getting frustrated. He wants me to tell him what’s wrong. I don’t know what’s wrong and he keeps telling me that “I don’t know grandad,” is an “unacceptable ansah.”
*The house phone rings*
I usually don’t pick it up unless I recognize the number. This time I picked up without recognizing the number. The conversation went a little something like this, “Hello. The FBI reports that there are 10 million home break-ins each year…”
I’m sorry, what? If someone breaks into my house I swear fo’ God I will shit myself without shame. I had my scared of duppy face on went I came back to the table where my grandfather was sitting. Even though I was spooked I tried to let my grandfather know that we heard him. His feelings were valid, but I just had no idea what was “wrong with the house.” He then started to ramble and talk about how it was a holiday and everyone should be home. I took that as my cue to exit the conversation.
The combination of my grandad’s words and that telemarketer phone call leaves me feeling off. That man and his soothsaying abilities have gotten under my skin. I’m going to try and spend the rest of my day doing something other than looking for ghosts around the next corner.