Throughout my bus ride I was feeling like someone who had been robbed of a valuable possession, robbed of that personal jewel that no other human being could possess, that which was that most precious item that no one else could keep because it had been found and handed over by “God” himself in some earlier moment of my youthful life, to be revealed in times of more fruitfulness. The thought regarding being fruitful remained with me that night as if I had heard of such things in a Sunday School lesson.
I sat there searching my memory but I couldn’t remember how I came to have heard of those things. So, I ended up equating my thoughts with how I felt about “morals and good taste,” and the deeper understanding of things like filial love and devotion. Things such as charm and grace in women, things I thought were jewels to be preserved which I preferred to rename “principles to seek out.”
I was traveling to a different world knowing that from birth I had landed in a world whose people believed in madness and immorality and even sought refuge in it. The hurt came back to me again. My own grandmother had joined them in rejecting me and had shown the same attitude towards me as the rest of the people in that world I was trying to escape from.
It was as if she had instantly forgotten how we had been a team, my Mamí, Elizabeth Reid, and me. Forgotten how I had made it possible for her to return to her Jamaica to set all her affairs in order. Forgotten all those years that we had spent together working out important things in our lives, things that would have prepared us all for a good life. But she had allowed her rapacious and mean spirited children to abuse me and bring me down.
The night had been draining fraught with anxiety, tiredness, hunger and thirst. And here I was on a bus going to people I really didn’t know, for I had a mother cut from the same cloth as those aunts, daughters of my grandparents had the same attitudes I had been trying to get away from. In fact, I feared the beast I had within me that seemed to lose all sense of mastery over my emotions, especially rage. I feared losing morals and good taste, as my aunts had done and for which I was castigating my grandmother by leaving home.
But, I pondered, she had not even tried to control them and so set the stage for us to have some order and good behavior in the house and not continue to act like the neighborhood’s warring, whore mongering women. Try as I might to see the whole incident in another light, I could only conclude that she had betrayed my trust.
I suddenly felt tears falling from my eyes, running down my face then falling on my clean shirt in the darkened vehicle. I remembered that I was en route back to another set of disturbing experiences that would become part of my past and future. I felt so beat up on as if it had been the most painful experience I had ever had in my life. It would have been easier if I had lost the love of some beautiful girl since I had put all my trust and devotion into what I thought was caring for my grandmother.
I rode that emotional roller coaster in my head until it scared the wits out of me. The ride was as long and turbulent as one of those carnival rides or a ride down a turbulent river that ran so deep that no man was expected to escape. All because I had really respected and loved my paternal grandmother. By that time in my life I had come to believe that my grandmother had known me and respected me for what I had achieved since we had always been together at home. I was discovering my mistake in judgment and it hurt deeply.
This story continues.