Memory Monday—It’s a thing.
My grandfather was a bit of a prankster. He used to imply or tell me I was some sort of animal (Hound Dog and Groundhog’s Day). I even asked him to get me a monkey if he couldn’t find me a cat. Now, I guess I should tell you about the gorilla that lived upstairs in our house.
Pre-1981, the house was a fairly small log house. There was a living room, a bedroom, and a kitchen on the ground floor and two bedrooms of unequal size upstairs over the living room. My grandfather slept upstairs in the smaller of the two rooms and my grandmother and I slept downstairs.
The house was old and popped and creaked like old houses are want to do. I grew up thinking the pops and creaks belong to some unseen thing that stayed upstairs. My grandfather didn’t want me to go upstairs to his room so one day when I asked about a mysterious thump I heard upstairs, he explained that a gorilla lived upstairs. He cautioned me to never go up there because the gorilla would be mad and eat me.
This may come as a shock to some of you, but did you know that as soon as you tell a kid NOT to do something, that is the very thing the kid does? Yep, true story. After being told not to go upstairs, that was quite simply the only place I wanted to go. I waited for what must have been weeks before I braved opening the stairway door and slipping up the brown steps.
I got to the top of the stairs that opened up into the larger bedroom that once belonged to my cousin before she graduated high school and moved away. I felt very confident and proud of myself for proving there was no gorilla living in my house. I tiptoed across the larger room toward my grandfather’s room. The two were separated by a curtain hanging over the doorway. I pushed it aside and stepped into my grandfather’s room. I looked around the room and there it was, the gorilla.
The gorilla was hunched down in the darkest corner of the room. Black fur glinted in what little sunlight fell through the single window in the room. His eyes were black like bottomless pits, shining directly at me. In that instant I knew I was about to be eaten alive by a gorilla. I did the only thing I could do…I ran.
I didn’t tell my mom or grandmother about my close call with the gorilla for weeks. Finally, my grandmother told me to go upstairs to get something and I fell to pieces. I told her about sneaking up the stairs and coming face to face with the little girl eating monster grandpa kept up there.
She took me by the hand and pulled me up the stairs. I wanted to protest the entire way, but once Granny said do something, you did it. I just knew it was going to be the end of us both. She walked straight into grandpa’s room and over to the dark gorilla corner where she picked up a black faux fur coat with shiny black buttons.
To this day, I still don’t like going upstairs in that house.