Friday, November 21, 2008

A True Story

I was six years old. It was late fall, three months before my seventh birthday when my parents told me that they had to go to Bolton for a few days. Bolton is a cute town in Ontario with beautiful homes and large properties owned by wealthy men and women that either want or need to escape the city. My Uncle lived there. He was a property developer and quite wealthy in his own right. His wife was a gentle woman with a deep soul. My grandmother always described her as “A fragile woman” I thought it was a bit odd that my father would take time from his practice in the middle of the week, and without notice as he was never one for missing a single day of work. Rain or shine, tornado or winter blizzard, my dad was always in his office, on time, Monday thru Friday like clockwork. “Why do I have to go to Nanas in the middle of the night” I asked my mother as she hap hazzardly threw my clothing into a small suitcase. It was more like 10:00pm but to a six year old it seemed like the middle of the night. “It’s a business thing” she told me. My mother was, and still is, a lousy liar. Even at the age of six I knew she was not telling me the truth but I was use to it by then. I don’t know if all kids, my age at the time, lived a nearly unbearable sheltered and protected life as the one my parents had created for me, but that my parents would keep family secrets or adult issues from me was a policy they had adopted by the time I could speak. I knew nothing about divorce, death, cancer, sex, family conflicts or adultery. As far as I was concerned, a big ugly bird delivered me to my parents, couples stayed together for life and we all lived forever. Mom tried to draw my attention to other things as I continued to grill her “Why do we have to leave before the sun comes up” I wondered why she had not told me before I had been tucked into bed a few hours earlier. “Which dolls do you want to take with you?” She asked, avoiding all the questions as though the world would fall apart if she answered them. I shrugged my shoulders. What I really wanted was an explanation. I was tired. It was cold outside and I hated sleeping at my grandparent’s house. Worse still, Nana never had snacks in the house and what she did have always ended up to be those nut or fruit laced cookies that only an adult would enjoy. Never the less, we all jumped in the car while the rest of the world slept the night away warm and cozy in their beds. When we arrived at Nana and Bumpas house the lights were all on. Nana met my dad at the front door with me in toe while mom stayed in the car. Dad knew I was less than thrilled and he knew why. Aside from the fact that their food tasted odd the house was massive. The spare bedrooms were far away from my grandparent’s bedroom and even though I did not know about death I knew monsters slept under the bed and in the closets. “You can sleep with me in my bed” Nana announced. She was trying to pacify me for my father’s sake. I was six. Not stupid. By then I had my coat and shoes off with my arms folded across my chest. My pleading eyes and puppy dog face was my last ditch effort to convince dad that I should be going with them to Bolton and it wasn’t too late for him to take me and my suitcase back to the car. I stood at the window with Nana. We watched my parent’s car drive off into the darkness without me. “Where is Bumpa” I asked her. Had I been a little older I may have understood the look that flashed across Nanas face. “He is away on business” she told me. Nana was a better liar than my mother. “Business rules the world” I told her, still annoyed that something called “business” was the reason my parents had abandoned me.We walked thru the house to the family room where I was surprised to find my Uncle, his new wife and my cousin watching TV. Actually they had been whispering as I entered the room but quickly pretended to be watching some program in a language I doubt any of them knew how to speak much less find entertaining. My uncle tried to carry on age appropriate dialogue with me for a few minutes before Nana finally rescued me from the conversation. “It’s very late. Time for bed” We walked to her bedroom which was enormous in size and smelled of rose water. That was one thing I did love about my Nana. She smelled like a garden and so did her house and her bed sheets. “Are you coming to bed too?” I asked her. “I’m going to finish my tea and then I’ll join you” she promised. “Can you leave the bathroom light on?” I asked her. Normally she would have tried to convince me that it was a waste of money but that night she agreed to it without a single objection. I must have been very tired and the soft glow from the bathroom must have created enough security that I fell off to sleep almost right away. I don’t know how long I had been sleeping for. It could not have been that long when I woke with a start to a pounding sound that came from the far end of the bedroom, behind the curtains. When I think of that night I’m always surprised that I did not bolt from the room screaming my lungs out. Instead I walked to where the sound was coming from. There was urgency to the pounding noise I heard. It seemed to get louder and faster the closer I got to it. I opened the drapes to find my Bumpa standing outside the window. He looked panic stricken and if memory serves me correctly he seemed to be telling me that it was cold out and to let him in. I remember my hand pressed against the cold glass. I struggled with the lock for a few minutes but could not wedge it open. I finally decided to get Nana to help me. Running thru the house to the family room where I heard the voices I sprang into the room. I was out of breath but explained that Bumpa was at the bedroom window and could not get in the house. I urged my Nana to hurry explaining how cold he said he was. Looking back now they must have been horrified at what I had said. I can only imagine the thoughts that were running through their minds. When we got back to the bedroom with Nana, my Uncle, his wife and my cousin on my heels- I marched directly to the window but Bumpa was gone. The drapes were open the way I had left them. I was confused as I tried to explain what had happened and suddenly in a panic myself wondering where Bumpa had gone. My Nana looked very sad when I told her about the pounding on the window. She slowly moved from where we stood to sit on the edge of the bed. My Uncle stood beside her to lend support at any given moment. Nana pulled me up onto her knee. “Bumpa is not there darling”, she told me. Her voice was soft and almost apologetic. I argued the point and kept insisting that I had seen him. I was getting very upset and angry almost at the point of tears. I could not understand why they would not believe me or why they were looking at me in such a way. “Your Bumpa died two months ago” She said. “What is died” I asked her.
Posted by CANUK at 23:18

Fiddy said...
Breathe some life into meAnd make me come alive.Miss the first four chaptersAnd start at number five.Imprisoned on a bookshelfWith English words and space.A novel character am ISomeone without a face.© BOB FIDDAMAN
30 October 2008 16:23
Radagast said...
I wonder what would have happened, had you been able to open the window? A pointless question, given that it's in the past, but still...Why do you think that people keep secrets?Matt
30 October 2008 16:51
Tracy said...
I really look forward to reading your blog. Welcome to mine.Warmly,Tracy
04 November 2008 21:48
susan said...
this is beautiful.... I am glad I found this blog. Added it to my RSS feeds and will add you to my blog roll shortly.
07 November 2008 09:30
Fiddy said...
Youv'e been tagged.Please read:
17 November 2008 04:17
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