Wednesday, March 13, 2013
When my family went to Johannesburg, South Africa when I was around 12 years old, we went to visit Granny. My dad was born and raised in Africa, but he had moved to the United States to get away from his mother, she was too bossy. One night my parents decided to go out for a while and Granny left Alex my step grandfather in charge of me and my brother. Then Granny and my parents left and we were alone in the apartment with Alex who was sitting in a wheelchair.
We were bored, and since it was nice out, we wanted to go outside to explore and play. When I was young, I didn't understand that I wasn't allowed to come and go without a parent with me at certain times. Back in the 1970's people weren't educated on how to speak to a deaf person. So Alex didn't communicate with me where I could understand him, since he didn't know about my deafness. Me and my brother started walking out the door without saying anything to Alex. I just assumed it would be okay since we would be back. The reason I didn't say anything because I couldn't hear him at all, he muttered when he spoke.
So we tried to sneak out of the apartment without being noticed. Bad idea, Alex started
yelling, so I went up to him and asked what he wanted. He started talking really fast in a very mean way. I said what a few times, and he got mad at me. So I just told him we were going outside to play. Then he nodded and mumbled. I had no idea what he was saying as he spoke very low and didn't face me when he spoke. I thought he said it was okay because he shaked his head like yes. But he really was saying no we can't go outside till our parents come back home. And I never heard that part. So even though he said no we can't, I left with my brother. Alex was in a wheelchair so he couldn't run after us. We played outside for an hour, and I nearly got lost coming back since I wasn't there often. My brother showed me the way back to the apartment. When we got inside, Alex was steaming, and his face was all red with a strange look. My brother got scared and went to the other end of the room to get away from Alex. At that time I didn't know why my brother did that or why he was scared. Alex was saying stuff that wasn't nice and my brother heard it and he stayed as far away from him. He was only around 5 years old. But I never heard what he said due to my hearing loss. Alex looked at my brother and said come here! My brother wouldn't move and I told him to do what Alex says since he was the boss. My brother said no! This was weird because he always listened to my parents, but not to this man. Alex gave up on him and then told me to come here. My brother told me don't do it. And I asked him why. He just said for me not to listen to Alex. Well my parents always taught me to obey adults that are in charge. And I had no idea what I was in for. So I started to walk towards my step grandfather and my brother got even more scared and he said come back. And I said no I got to do what Alex says. Finally I was standing in front of him and he said put out your hand. I turned around and my brother said don't do that. I was just a kid, so I had no idea why he wanted to see my hands. My parents raised me well they never hit me once in my whole life. They were excellent parents. So I put out my hand to experiment and see what happens. I thought he wanted to give me a hug or something. Or to compliment me on the bracelet I was wearing. Before I knew it he put his hand high in the air and swung it down on my hand so hard and I heard a whack! It felt like a giant heavy rock just landed and crushed my hand. Boy I was in pain and I was screaming and crying. He hit my small tiny hand so hard that it stung like crazy. I ran back to my brother and cried. My brother said see I told you not to listen to him.
I was really relieved when my parents came back and I ran crying into their arms. And they hugged me. After we left, I told them I didn't understand why grandpa smacked me. They explained to me I wasn't supposed to play outside and they also said he should of never hit me like that. And then I told them well I didn't know I never heard grandpa say I can't go outside. And my parents understood. After that I never went back there, I wanted nothing to do with that man. Unfortunately he passed away before we went back to Africa to visit again.