The house was old with memories. It smelled of stale bread baked with love. As I walked through its corridors, I saw flashes of grandmother staring me down.
“But grandma, girls do wear pants now-a-days.”
“Well, not in this here house they don’t. Gone an’ put on that nice skirt I bought you from Sears last week.”
As I walked to the closet that use to house coats, I thought of all the dinner parties and family meetings held in grandma’s home. When I opened the door, I couldn’t understand why I had half expected some of her things to still be hanging there.
“Damn,” I whispered. “Grandma been gone for a while now... I’m going crazy.”
I closed the closet and leaned against the door. My mind wandered to the time I was sent to live with her because my mother couldn’t handle me. It was so hard for her. I was a frustrated teen who didn’t understand that what I was going through was normal. Guilt started to consume me as I recalled the times I’d screamed and cursed her out, for no good reason.
“You ain’t grown Michelle!”
“I ain’t trying to hear what you saying! You just want me to live a lonely life like you! I ain’t having it!”
I was a walking time bomb then. My momma died clutching her chest. A heart attack, they say, but I know it was because of me. She died of a broken heart... I’d disappointed her so much.
Walking up the creaking, wooden stairs, I thought of all the fun I had sliding down the banister as a child. My dad would scream at me; telling me that I was going to hurt myself one day. He didn’t know it at the time, but he had sealed the deal on my future.
“Girl, get your ass of that damn banister before you break your leg or something. You gone get one of them bony ass ankles caught, I tell ya.”
I heard his voice each step I took.
Reaching the top, I bypassed my uncle’s old room. He died in his bed, of cancer, and the room was never reopened. I knew it would be full of his things, mainly his memories, and I wasn’t ready to face that... yet. He had stolen my innocence. Placed his penis in my hands at the tender age of 8 and by the time I was 12, he was full fledge fucking me. Was it so wrong if I enjoyed it? It’s been over ten years and I still feel him touching me when I'm asleep.
Opening the door farthest from the steps, I removed cobwebs that threatened to grant my entrance.
“This will have to do,” I mouthed, looking around the room.
It was where grandma did her sewing. It still had fabric remnants and a few tables scattered throughout. I pulled a chair from the corner and sat it in the middle of the floor. I wanted to take in its totality at once. I grabbed a thin piece of fabric and placed the homemade tourniquet around my forearm then took a deep breath. I checked the syringe for air bubbles before inserting it. As the needle punctured my skin, the memories and voices slowly faded away...temporarily.