TYPING: How do you face the New Year… with last year’s resolutions?
“I need a backrub!” Gran-Gran, my dad’s mom screamed in the doorway as she hadn’t studied the contours of my room and couldn’t walk in for fear she might trip on a used condom like she did hours ago in Godwin, my eldest brother’s room. “I have an itch that’s eating into my flesh.”
I could have reminded her she had more grandchildren than Eve, so I could get on with reading my book (Christmas in the Snow by Karen Swan). But knowing said grandchildren would be hurling pillows at her like she was enemy invading their territory and not a blind old woman who was also their grandmother, I succumbed and got out of my bed to help her in.
“There.” She took hold of my hands and placed it on a portion of her withered back.
And there I was multitasking, alternating my attention between my book and her back.
“Higherr,” she purred.
My fingers froze, now I was considering the pillow idea I thought inhuman minutes ago. And as though she sensed what I was thinking, she looked behind to award me with a wink.
Hmm… I sighed and continued the exercise giving less thought to my granny in the throes of a power orgasm (from her screams) indicating I was doing a very gooood, goooood job. Oh the things I’d do to be left alone.
“Yes, ye-ees! Who’s my favourite grandson?”
Rhetorical questions demand no answers.–––
Grannies snore like mooing cows. Sadly that little titbit of info had escaped me as I slowly led my Granny ‘there and there’. To think I’d get some silence after bidding her wishes. How stupid could I have been? Really. How could I not know after a killer orgasm came rest? It’s like those very easy logical equations we were taught back in Senior High: If she comes, then she will go. And there was no way you could stir her awake be-cause she just had a killer orgasm! Now I had no option than to leave her and go find someplace else to finish my book.
I was accosted by Uncle Pat in the foyer on my way to the living room.
“Kobs, who’s my favourite nephew?”
“Isaac.” I answered with gruffness. “And that’s the way to his room.”
He stared at me with a forlorn expression as though I had hurt him that much. “I know.” He conceded. “But who’s my cleverest nephew?”
“What do you want?” I am his cleverest nephew.
He took a paper out of his pocket and thrust it at me with a pen.
I stared at him curiously. The last time Uncle Pat gave me a sheet was to read out his utility bills and urge me to save towards the unlikely event of his pipes being disconnected.
“Go on, read it.” He encouraged, super-pleased with himself.
“Uncle Pat’s new year resolutions…” my voice trailed off as I read.
“See, I’ve got only one, I really do need one more. I was thinking you could help me with something less vain.”
Oh, so he knows his resolutions are all vain? Perhaps I understood that most people resolved to get cars at the start of a new year but minutes ago ask of a person who couldn’t spell 'BMW' and I’d just lock you up in an asylum. Now I’m thinking I’d shake your hand in that very vigorous appreciative way and leave you with my uncle.
“Perhaps you should put down ‘learn to spell’?”
He didn’t hesitate. He grabbed me by the shoulders and hugged me as though I had helped him discover his true purpose on earth: being a Spelling Bee champion. “I knew I could always count on you.” He said, then turned his back bent at a ninety degrees angle to me, “Please be kind and write that down for me like Isaac did the first.”
I really hadn’t been kidding. I was his cleverest nephew.–––
Oh no at this pace I was never going to get any reading done in the living room. Not with my mum and dad running circles around me. I mean as I sat on the sofa really tried to concentrate. I really did. But I couldn’t filter them out, and every now and then my brain would pick up bits and pieces of their very adult conversation.
Mum: You are never going to catch me.
Dad: I will. I will. If you stop for a second.
Mum: You really sure you are up to it?
Dad: I’ll have you right on this couch and you would know I am not kidding.
Mum (gives a shrilly laugh): Oh, you have turned into such an animal.
Dad: I know! Pet me, pet me…
There went my appetite for the upcoming sex scene with the heroine. Disgusted, I left the living room... Right before they jumped unto the couch with Aunt Flo walking in to yell at them to go get a room––––
I really shouldn’t have given in to Aunt Flo. Especially when there were still more pages to go and there I was being her dance partner to the upcoming Close Up salsa contest she was rehearsing for.
“One, two, three.” She instructed as she laid my hand on her head, her back and her bottom. “Can you get that right?” she demanded.
I blinked in shock.
“C’mon Kobby, this has to be the easiest killer move. The difficult ones are yet to come.” She took hold of my hand and began the steps all over again, as she chanted, “Head, back, bottom, squeeze.”
“There, there you go.” She encouraged as we, um, salsa-ed, I guess. “You are a natural!
Your brothers can never get this right.”
When all I was waiting for was the real killer move where I’d hoist her up in the air and drop-kick her out of the window.
I stepped out of her room into the living room feeling accomplished seconds later. Don’t be that daft, if I did drop-kick her she wouldn’t be waving at me out of her room telling me I should get back right when I was done having my lunch.
That had just been my dad pre-ejaculating.
Hadn’t I guessed that hard-on wouldn’t have stood the tests of time?–––
I didn’t know what was going on. But now the whole house was onto me. Suddenly everyone needed a piece of me. There was Kojo forcing my underwear off me, Kwame dumping the underwear he’d nicked from Kojo at me, Isaac begging me to write cheesy love poems to win the heart of his imaginary girlfriend (because who falls for love poems these days?), Uncle Pat pursuing me for more resolutions, Cocky, the cockroach who’s been living with us so long because we’d given up killing it, just rushing around for the turmoil… and I couldn’t tell them to get off my back because all I wanted to do was read and bury myself in the book so I could forget what miserable state I was already in.
I run to hide in the bathroom, exhaling against the door shut behind me, closing my eyes to relish the few minutes of silence. I quickly opened my book to where I had dog-eared and intended to resume reading when…
“Hey, got here right on time.”
There in front of me is Grannie-Grandma, my mum’s mom, staring right at me between her bare shrivelled thighs with her butt wide open revealing a huge ball of shit encased in her anus.
“Give me a hand here please?”
I cannot resist puppy-dog eyes. It’s my kryptonite. And from an old lady, I couldn’t help but succumb. But couldn’t I resist puppy-dog eyes staring beneath two giant sagging bums? Hell, yes, I could!.
“How dare you insult me this way!” I yelled at her. “Really, how dare you.”
“When did I utter a word?” She asked so innocently I almost gave up.
But I didn’t. “I just need just an hour to myself! Reading, not being bothered, and just forgetting that suddenly there’s a new year hours away and I haven’t even crossed off one thing on last year’s resolutions! Why can’t you see my pain and just back off with your little insane family and give me a little peace to be on my own!”
I yanked the bathroom door open to leave lest I began stuffing rolls of toilet paper in her bottom angrily and I am attacked by everyone who wouldn’t just––
“Back off!” I screamed at the kooky members of my family and startled them so much they all took a step back. I walked into my room and shut the door behind me.
Seconds later, Gran-Gran was sent flying towards them. And I knew no one would catch her because when you saw a bat in hovering above you, you ducked away for fear of being swatted by its wings. I bang the door behind me only to miss mum looking down at Gran-Gran and saying snidely, “Not so cocky now, are you?”
Hours later, I was still reading. Or trying to. Because I was fuming so much my head felt like it could explode. I realized there was no escaping because what I feared the most was only a couple of hours away: The New Year.
“Hey, kiddo.” Grannie-Grandma walked into my room, fully clothed this time. Yet I wasn’t so thankful because I was still being haunted by memories of the butt that would get into the World Book of Records if I one day got drunk on Guinness and mistakenly blabbed to the whole world.
“I’m sorry.” I said before she could speak. Because I truly was. I really hadn’t meant to take it out on her just because she told me to come wipe her butt clean. I mean, how hard could that have been?
“I am sorry too.” She settled on my bed and willed me to look at her. “Look, when I was your age, the only New Year resolution I accomplished was shagging a colonial.”
I stared at her blankly not knowing where she was heading with that.
“Could you blame me? I just wanted to see what foreskin looked like.”
Oh. Realizing where my family’s kookiness stemmed from, I really did blame her. But I did not say this.
“What are you trying to say?” I asked instead.
“That we blacks knew the benefits of circumcision before these whites took it up.”
“Right.” I voiced awkwardly. “But you really were getting on something important, weren’t you?”
“Nooo.” She shook her head feistily. “Kobby Tetteh Gyampoh do not put words into my mouth.” She stood up angrily and headed for the door. “Wait,” she turned back at me before I could go back to reading. “We are all up on the roof to watch the New Year’s fireworks and we want you there, with us, as a family, looking over our blemishes.”
A smile curved my lips as I stared at the door shut on me. Perhaps I did get her drift. I rolled over to my laptop and opened Word.
TYPING: What’s really all this fuss about New Year resolutions? We do make it too much of a big deal when we put up stuff like be successful, be the first to climb up the ladder for something clever. A New Year comes and we’re not who we want to be and it gets in over our heads. Why not be more realistic and cross off the more pragmatic tasks? Will we be damned if we are simple enough to want to get through every day with a smile on our faces, or resolve to do a little volunteer work, or even shag some colonial?
“Hey Kobs.” They all cheered as though they’d seen a celebrity as I climbed up on the roof to them. The porch’s chairs were transferred up there and everyone sat hugging their knees with a blanket enclosing their entire bodies except for the hands they had out to aid them in sipping the smoothies Grannie-Grandma was passing around with non-fat crackers.
“We are sorry.” Dad began and lifted up his side of the blanket so I slid in. Mum gave him a death stare, a stern believer in three being a crowd. She yanked off Gran-Gran’s blanket and threw it at me. Though it was dark, I saw her mouth, “She wouldn’t notice.”
I grinned, received the blanket and slid in next to Gran-Gran covering her up from the attack of the mosquitoes.
“Thank you,” she murmured in my ear. “The day I allowed her take my son was the end of me. But do you mind…?”
“No.” I interrupted before she could respond. “I am not giving you an orgasm.”
Defeated, she said, “Well, you do not waste any time, do you?”
Grannie-Grandma snatched Gran-Gran’s drink before she could sip it and handed it over to me.
“Hey!” Gran-Gran protested but Grannie and I shared a conspiratorial wink as she moved back into her seat.
“The countdown for the New Year people!” Mum screamed.
And together we all began on the ten-second countdown to 1st January 2015
“Ten,” dad began, “nine,” mum continued, “eight,” Aunt Flo winked at me, “seven,” Uncle Pat patted Isaac on the back, “six,” Grannie-Grandma threw her hands up in glee…
TYPING: Haven’t we all had enough of feeling underachieved when the New Year rears its head? I resolve to be more realistic with my resolutions this year!
We all watched in anticipation ready to witness the first fireworks light up the McCarthy sky to mark the beginning of the year, alternating our gazes glinting with hope between one another and the pitch black expanse above us.
“One,” I ended sombrely.
“Happy New Year!”
We stared at one another in confusion, then gave it another go as we turned our attention back to the skies.
“Happy New Year!”
Uh-oh. Why weren’t the skies blazing with fireworks?
“Guys, let’s take it another time,” Mum encouraged, “but this time scream so hard our rich neighbours can hear so they set off the fireworks. Go!”
“Happy New Year!”
Nothing was happening.
We almost gave up hope when we saw a missile shoot through the air.
“Happy New Year!” We screamed in glee.
Except that hadn’t been the fireworks we had been expecting.
“Oh. Tun-t3?!” Grannie-Grandma screamed in disbelief the local name for a single, tiny firecracker with one blast.
Apparently the shitty economy had gotten to everyone.
TYPING: Happy New Year.