“Keisha’s mother and ours were half-sisters. We have the same grandfather.”
I perked up. I longed to learn about this particular grandfather, who died before I was born and whose name I’d never learned.
Michael asked, “Can I give out your phone number?”
Mama's father had been a bootlegger. That summarized his whole identity. It was as though he’d sprung to life full grown during Prohibition, but I’d heard stories. As a little girl, Mama’d adopted a stray kitten, but he’d snatched it away and killed it in front of her. When she’d earned the only high school diploma among his four children, he said it was a waste and did not show up for the ceremony. He’d cursed her on his deathbed. I didn’t know what that meant, but grandpa sounded like the devil.
Was he the reason Mama sometimes retreated inside herself? Did she see him in the distance when she stared out the window? Had the specter of my grandfather caused her to be sent away to a hospital when I was a kid? I worry that Grandpa Evil haunts me, too. Will this new cousin shed light on the darkness that sometimes closes down on me?
Today I’m waiting for Keisha. She’ll either bring closure … or open up a can of worms.