© Richard Louissaint, 2013
I closed my eyes listening to the beeping of the machines and my Grandmother “sleeping.” I felt her hand start to squeeze mine and I opened my eyes. She was still, eyes closed, while her hand held tightly to mine. I needed to makes sure I wasn’t just imagining this moment. I pulled my hand but her grip got tighter.
There was no answer. What was I thinking. Maybe her hand was just acting on reflex. I tried to break free from her grip but it kept getting tighter. And somehow the grip was making my body heat up.
“Grandmere are you ok. ?” I asked again.
Her eyes, discolored and blinded by cataracts, opened and seemed to follow my gaze. I touched her face with my free hand ignoring the burning sensation I was feeling all over. I began to feel light-headed and slowly i drifted into a deep sleep.
A few minutes later, a nurse shook me awake. She was going off hysterically, asking me to move aside. The machines were beeping loudly She ran out before I could say anything. I focused on my grandmother. Her hand was limp and had fallen to her side.
Her doctor, I assume, ran in doing what doctors do, checking her pulse, and I got up and out of the way of the incoming staff.
I stared numbly at the life and death spectacle, rubbing the hand Grandmere had been holding onto.
I had been staring at the TV in lounge for maybe ten minutes when Sam stroked my hand and whispered to me, “Is that her”? I turned my attention to the doorway where a woman with graying hair slowly move towards us with the aid of a walker. I quickly got up to help her to our table and Sam followed. She had looked older than her fifty-five years the first time I had visited her with my parents. The experience had left a me in sober mood for the next few days. I had hoped that maybe she would look different this time– healthier, the woman from my youth.
I bent over and kissed Mrs. Beaubrun on the cheek. She waved us off when i tried to help her. “I’m fine, don’t worry,” she announced with a low, trembling voice in Creole.
“Over there?” She asked turning her head towards where we we had been sitting. We answered yes in agreement and followed her as she slowly made her way to our table.
Sam nervously greeted as I pulled a chair out for her. Mrs. Beaubrun struggled a little as we helped into a chair at the table. She made some grunting noises as she got herself comfortable.
Mrs. Beaubrun waited until we were seated before speaking.
“How are your mother and father,” she asked, taking her time with every word, before taking a deep breath.
“They’re good and How is Eddy?” I asked to be polite.
“He is fine and his wife is having a baby.” She answered turned her attention to Sam who had been sitting quietly as we spoke. “So this is your special lady.”
“What is your name?” she asked Sam, than adding, “Jacques can be rude.”
Sam smiled and nodded in confusion.
“She’s not Haitian, she doesn’t understand what you’re saying,” I explained in choppy Kreyol.
“Ou bèl. You’re pretty,” Mrs. Beaubrun said switching to English. She placed a hand on top of Sam’s outstretched hands and repeated the previous question
“Thank you. And my name is Samantha, ” Sam replied.
“I almost forgot, we got this for you.” I said handing the gift wrapped package.
Mrs. Beaubrun eyed held the package carefully like a newborn. (I need to decide what the gift is)
“Bon Bagay,” I told her.
“Jacques had a hard time deciding what get you,” Sam
The conversation continued for a few minutes until Sam interrupted me.
“We should try now.”
“I can’t do it here.”
Mrs. Beaubrun looked at us curiously.
I looked at Sam then at Mrs. Beaubrun.
“It’s nice outside, do they let you go out Mrs. Beaubrun? ”