Do you believe in ghosts?
I know, the question is so cliché, it’s like a left-over’s left-over.
But still, do you believe in ghost?
Too Many Movies
Has the popularity of paranormal movies, books and TV series induced us into a blasé indifference? I bet everyone has one story to tell, a story that’s buried deep, never shared, because who would believe it?
It is said some individuals are more “sensitive” than others. I was deemed one of the unlucky. I was told to open up my senses, to give in, to let the otherworld in.
No way! It was too scary. Already, in my tweens, I’d had too many episodes of strong déjà-vu. It was freaky.
At thirteen, my grand-father died.
Léopold Dubois, Grand-Father Extraordinaire
He was the best male influence in my childhood, a great father to my mother, an extraordinaire grand-father to me. I remember walking to church with him, my hand in his. I cherished these walks. They were the price to sit through the catholic service, quiet and obedient.
He was sick with cancer. No one told me anything, but I knew it was bad because my grand-mother came to sleep at our apartment. It didn’t make sense to me, that she’d come to our small home when she had a much bigger house.
I wanted to go see him at the hospital, but my mother said I couldn’t. It was against the rules. No one under fifteen. I resented the hospital.
When he passed, our lives forever changed.
When the Kingpin Falls
The death of my grand-father, not even a year after his retirement, rippled through my family. It was unexpected. Sudden. From my thirteen years old point of view, it was clear the adults around me had no plan B. No plan C either.
In the end, it was decided my grand-mother wouldn’t renew her tenant’s lease. She would move into the bachelor portion of her house while my mother, father, brother and myself would move into the bigger side.
My father made some modifications to the house, which had only 2 bedrooms, one upstairs, one in the basement. He transformed the garage into a bedroom so there would be 2 bedrooms upstairs.
The smaller one became my brother’s. My parents occupied the newly transformed garage. Which left the basement bedroom to me.
That bedroom had been my grand-parent’s. I protested. No way was I going to sleep in my grand-father’s bedroom.
For two years I shared my grand-mother’s room in her bachelor. Until my father decided it was enough. He teared apart the room and redid it to my liking. At fifteen, I went down to live in the bedroom in the basement.
My grand-father loved to fiddle with stuff in his workroom. He’d worked for hours, then would come upstairs for dinner. He wore leather sandals, never tied. The metallic clips would click with each footstep.
Those were his familiar noises. Thump, the workroom door would close. Click-click, click-click, click-click. He would walk across the basement to the staircase.
Alone in the living room upstairs, reading a book, I would hear the workroom’s door close. Thump. I’d put my book down, ears wide open. Click-click, click-click. I’d wait, heart going 100 in a 30 zone. The footsteps would stop at the bottom of the staircase. They never came up. And I never investigated. I’d stay frozen in the living room, waiting until my heart calmed down. And I’d tell myself I was imagining those noises.
Years later, my mother and I shared a chilling conversation. She told me she used to hear her father leave his workroom and walk through the basement. Before then, I’d never told anyone about my grand-father familiar noises.
The nightmares started when I was sixteen. What were they? I have no idea. I can’t remember. It’s probably better that way.
I’d wake up drenched in sweat, heart racing, eyes searching the dark. At first, I put it on account of school, of being nervous about grades.
I remembered we had a earthquake that year. Earthquakes in Montreal are rare. One morning, I woke at 5 am because my bed was shaking. Earthquake, I thought. Cool. I went back to sleep like a typical teenager.
My life was in shamble at that time. Though I was good in school, I ran a little wild at night. My relationship with my father had deteriorated and I tried to be away from home as much as possible.
We always had cats. Often, the cat would jump on my bed during the night and sleep in the crook of my bent knees. But in the days leading to THE nightmare, I felt the cat jump on my bed, felt his weight as he landed beside me. I lifted my head to look at him. There was no cat on my bed. The first time, I thought I’d had just dreamt, dreamt that I was falling down a step.
It happened again. By the third time, I was thoroughly freaking out.
Then THE nightmare happened.
Please stop by tomorrow at Romance & Beyond, where Part II of this blog will be posted.