My grandmother and I shared what I consider a unique relationship. Having no daughters of her own (she bore four sons), she often referred to me as “her daughter”. I was also her namesake and I’ve always considered both titles an honor.
Our relationship was unique to me because unlike so many of my friends’ grandparents, she was uncommonly open about the details of her private and personal life. I remember one conversation we had while sitting on the veranda in our house in Labone. I’d just finished my homework and was listening to the sounds of the residential area, content from a meal of boiled yam, plantain and palava sauce that she’d prepared for lunch (Grandma always cooked when she came to visit).
After discussing the niceties of how school was, who and what my friends were up to, and the customary admonishment to “choose good friends and do well in school”, she asked me if she’d ever told me about my grandfather. I’d never met him and indeed, couldn’t even recall his name, so I was obliged to listen.
“I loved him very much,” she said. “Our marriage was arranged, and he was actually my third cousin. That’s how they did things in those days.”
She took a sip of water before continuing.
“He was a forester, you know? He would often be gone for long periods of time to
The conversation seemed safe enough. I was still preoccupied with the notion of having an arranged marriage to a third cousin when she dropped this bombshell on me.
“You know, sometimes when we would be in bed, he would fart and pull the covers over my face so I couldn’t escape.” She chuckled. “Sex doesn’t always have to be serious, Abena. It can be very fun.”
Not knowing how to react to this information, I nodded my head.
My grandmother passed away this past November, but I’ve always kept her advice with me. Make and keep good friends, do well in school (and your career) and laugh with you partner in bed. By “partner”, I’m sure she meant “husband” but I’d be lying if I said I’d only slept with my husband since I became sexually active.
However, I can’t think of one man whom I have been intimate with who hasn’t kissed me on the cheek or held me in the afterglow and said “You are crazy!” or “You make me laugh”.
I have, however, let my grandfather have his sheets and gas game. That’s just nasty.