Every now and then, I get flashbacks from that night. The night everything just kind of froze in time. My grandmother had a mirror that hung in the hallway, leading to her bedroom. Every time I passed it, it felt as if the mirror was watching me and everything that would take place in the house. The house had a creepy vibe to it from the beginning, but my grandmother had lived there for years and wouldn’t give it up for some weird superstition. I stayed the night with her one night because I was leaving for college soon.I had my own bedroom because when I was younger, I stayed with my grandmother every weekend or anytime I got the chance.
As I laid in bed, I could hear my grandmother talking. It wasn’t like the sleeping talking talk, but more like she was having a conversation with someone. I found this rather weird because my grandfather had passed away just three years earlier. “Who could she be talking to?”, I thought to myself as I laid there, listening. I was awoken some time later to my grandmother’s ear piercing screams. I shot out of bed and ran into her room to find her on the floor, screaming and crying. “Grandma! Grandma! Grandma! What’s wrong?”. “You… need… to… go.”, she muttered in between breaths.
As I looked at her, puzzled and concerned, she began to point behind me and was mumbling. I turned to find this woman. A woman with tortured eyes, bruises, she had a beat up look to her, like someone roughed her up. I couldn’t move or speak, I was just frozen by the sight of what was in front of me. I tried making sense of what was going on before my grandmother spoke, and these words have stuck with me since that night, “Please… He’s dead now. You can leave me alone and rest in peace. You can… rest now.” I just stood there, shocked, in disbelief. “Grandma, what are you talking about?” “Bethany, dear, your grandfather did a terrible thing.”
She sat there for a couple more moments, silent, her eyes appeared glossed over, until she finally stood up. “Your grandfather was a kind, caring, gentle, patient, and empathetic man, but he did have a temper. He had an affair when we were young. She was head over heels for your grandfather. They had a fight one day and she demanded that he leave me and be with her. Although he was having an affair, your grandfather loved me very much. He stopped seeing her until she called the house one day and told me everything. She told me about the affair, how he was going to leave me, and that she was pregnant with his child.
I just hung up the phone and cried. I cried until your grandfather got home and demanded an answer.” She stopped there and walked to the kitchen acting like nothing had just happened. She made some coffee, put us both a cup, and then sat down. She slowly and calmly drank her coffee, but I could see the fear and pain in her eyes. She took a deep breath and continued, “He said she wanted him to leave me for her and they could start a new life and family together. She promised a life I couldn’t give him full of love, laughs, strength, and everything he already had with me.
She didn’t see it because she thought he was cheating because he was unhappy, but instead he was cheating because I just gave birth to your uncle and couldn’t do anything.” “So, why was she in your room.” She began crying, hard and ugly, as she continued the story. “She showed up to the house yelling, screaming, and banging on our front door. Your grandfather was home at the time and I was at work. She came in yelling, demanding he marry her because she couldn’t have the baby without a husband in the picture and when he denied and tried to get her to leave, she started screaming even more, destroying the house, and hitting your grandfather.”
She just sat there, quietly, as if she was replaying the events in her head. I just sat there, in shock as to what could come out her mouth next. “Grandma, did he kill her?” She stopped and looked at me, but it felt like she was looking through me. “Your grandfather didn’t intend to-” And just like that.. She stopped talking, moving, or even living. She just collapsed and it seemed everything was happening in slow motion and in that moment.. My heart shattered just like that coffee cup did…
I’ll never hear the end of that story, but I know how it is. We were in love, but he just couldn’t leave her. Jerry, you should have just left her and none of this would have happened. Kisses, Nancy.