I never knew my grandfather while I was growing up. He died when my mother was still a teenager, but according to my mother he was a great father. He would come to see her in Lucea, Hanover, Jamaica where she lived with her mother, (he lived in Montego Bay). She said he came often and took her to the Fair and spent time with her.
We did not have a picture of him, and even though he had long passed away, he still lived with us. Because I was always afraid as a child many nights I would sleep between my parents, (how my mother ended up having another baby, to this day I am baffled, but that’s beside the point).
What was always strange, yet somehow normal to us, is when my mother would always say,
“My father says…” speaking of him in present terms, which always made us wonder, if he was no more in the land of the living, how could he tell her anything?
Now if you have read some of my older posts, you may remember that I told you to watch out for stories about our neighbor Miss Will, Hilda Willis.
Before I tell you what happened that night, I should tell you about the woman who was responsible for it.
Hilda Willis, or Miss Will, as we called her, was our neighbor. She was an Evangelist in a Revival Spiritual Church, and also a big problem in the community. When no one was looking she would steal meats from our pots when we were cooking, which was more offensive than just stealing it, but she also had a condition where she urinated on herself often, so the smell she brought with her where ever she went was very unpleasant.
But on one particular morning my mother got up to go to work. Before she left she gathered my sisters and I together and showed us her arm which had a huge black and blue mark on it.
She said (of course, in Jamaican patois), “Look at this,” she said holding out her arm. “My father came to visit me last night and he told me that tonight, around 3’oclock, duppy (ghost) will call my name 3 times. He begged me not to answer, and then he pinched me to make me know that he really has come to warn me. He said “please, my daughter, don’t answer.” He told me Miss Will has sent a death-blow for me.”
Needless to say, coward me knew for sure that the space in between my parents that night would be occupied by me. The night came and we all slept. My parents bedroom was in the front of the house, and the door was a translucent glass door, there was a bright street light on the side-walk, and so any body that came onto our verandah we would see their shadow.
BAM BAM BAM!!
Three loud knocks came.
“Elaine!” called a male voice. Elaine was my mother’s name.
“Elaine!” it called again.
We jumped awake. I pushed my thumb in my mouth with my heart racing and sucked hard, being very frightened. I slid closer to my mother who was in the corner, and we could see the shadow of the hand that knocked. The second time the knock was harder!
“Who the hell is that?!!” my father screamed impatiently. This, of course, earned him a quick slap and a shush from my mother.
Once more the knock came.
And my heart was in my throat.
“Elaine!” it called again.
Then we heard a loud hiss, and the “spirit” walked off.
The blow did not come for my Dad, so when my dad answered, it could not have affected him. But it would have been a different story if my mother, it’s real target, had answered…