By: Mia L. Hazlett
Isn’t a grandmother supposed to love all of her grandchildren equally? Can you hold them to the same standard you hold a mother? Or can they have favorites? Can you be excluded from her home baked cookies and extra long bear hugs, just because you are dark-skinned and don’t have “good hair”?
So mine were the one set of dry eyes in a room of twenty-something. And although no one could see through their tear-stained eyes, I could still feel their looks of disgust as I stood by my mother’s side. I refused to feel any shame for not crying for the passing of a woman who meant nothing to me. She spent half her life criticizing my wool hair and extra dark complexion and the other half not wanting to see me. And if it was not for my mother, I wouldn’t even be here right now. So go ahead stare all you like, you will not see me shed a tear or crack a frown.
The confusing part of their stares is, I didn’t know if they were disgusted with me personally because this woman they mourned had convinced them over the last twenty-two years that I wasn’t family. Or if it was because I was playing hypocrite by coming to the announcement of her death, when I spent the past three years not even knowing she was sick. It wasn’t that my mother didn’t try to tell me that there was something wrong with her; I just suddenly had to get off the phone when her name was mentioned. Coincidence? Avoidance? Call it what you want, but I don’t have any regrets.
The thing is; my grandmother is like the bully on the playground at recess. Everyday you go out there, you know they are waiting for you. Just to say or do something. And then they pounce at the slightest or no provocation at all. And you take it because you think nobody cares. You have gone to your parents, principle, the teachers…you know, all the people that are supposed to protect you. They do nothing but leave you to fend for yourself against this evil-spirited monster everyday.
That’s what being around my grandmother was like. Walking out to the playground just waiting to hear what she would have to say about my appearance or what skill I lacked compared to my light-skinned cousins. The problem with her being my grandmother is I couldn’t rebel. The bully on the playground, you can just turn around and start swinging when you can’t take it anymore. But when you are dealing with the oldest matriarch of the family, you can’t just lose it, because she actually had a gang that worshipped her.
She had convinced my cousins that my mother took me in after her friend left me on her doorstep, “I mean how else you gonna ‘splain that tired wooly mess ontopthat dark ole face. Ain’t but a baby and look old as me, with that dark ole skin on her. That didn’t come from this here bloodline. We make light pretty babies. All our babies got that good hair-long hair, you can just comb on through.” And that pretty much sums up how a visit with grandmother went.
The thing I couldn’t figure out about her, she was darker than me. When she couldn’t do her hair anymore, my aunt’s used to draw straws to figure out who was stuck with the task of braiding her “nappy brillo pad”. I don’t know if it was because I reminded her of who she was, because to look at me was to look at her. I could deny my mother with her light buttery complexion and long wavy mane, but there was no denying that I was Macy Grant Johnson’s granddaughter.
So now let’s fast forward: she is gone and buried. But now this woman has called from beyond the grave to give me one last slap. She must have seen me smile the other day, so here I sit with all 27 members of my greedy family at this will reading. Again, if not for my mother, I would have stayed at home. But the wretched women specifically told her attorney that I had to be there or everything she had would be left to some charity, rather than the family.
I mean I am a Christian and usually pretty good at forgiveness, but Macy is making it so hard. She is dead and still calling the shots. How could someone be so cruel as to want to humiliate me in front of my family one last time? Twenty-two years wasn’t enough? She truly is evil. I’m trying not to cry, but I thought once she died I would never have to face this bully again. I want to have faith that God has His reason, but I am bracing myself for the embarrassment I know I am about to endure at the hands of this dead hag.
Up until moments ago, my faith in God was shaky, but now it is completely gone. Because I’m pretty sure you have to be somewhat intelligent to get into and graduate from law school, but not this idiot. He couldn’t even read. Because God knows if he could, he wouldn’t have just said, “Macy Grant Johnson leaves her entire estate to Macy Lee Grant Johnson. The value of said estate is $3,426,749.00.” I know my grandmother, bully of my life, would not leave her entire estate to me.
(to be continued)