When I was 15, I saw my familiar spirit.
My room was in a bungalow in the backyard and most nights around that age I would stay up writing. One night I stepped outside to relieve myself in the garden when I heard a voice behind me.
I turned around and saw a huge black something. Big as a wardrobe and solid black. I wasn’t afraid, I didn’t even think it odd that someone was saying hello to me while I was relieving myself.
I focused my attention to my front to zip up and then turned back around. There was nothing there. There was nobody there and there couldn’t have been anyone there.
I took off. Ran straight inside the house to where my mum and my younger sister were watching Hey Hey It’s Saturday.
They asked me what was wrong but I couldn’t speak. I just stood near the heater for a long while, trying to warm myself and calm down.
“What’s the matter with you?” My little sister asked.
I couldn’t speak. What would I tell them?
My sister kept asking and I continued to say nothing.
My mother looked at me when Hey Hey had gone to a commercial. “What have you seen, boy?”
Struck dumb, I shrugged my shoulders.
“You’re as white as!” My sister said amazed.
“There was someone in the backyard. But they’re gone now.” I said pretty stupidly.
“What do you mean, like a burglar or something?” My sister asked, shocked. “We should go and have a look.”
“No, they’re gone. One second they were there and the next they weren’t.”
“Did they say anything to you?” My mum asked.
“They said ‘Hey,’ as if we were old friends. I said ‘Hey’ back, turned around and it was gone.” I explained.
“We should go and have a look.” My sister said.
“I’m not going anywhere. You can have my room. I’m not going back out there ever again.” I said.
“C’mon, let’s go.” My sister got up and so did my mum.
“It’s not there. It’s gone.” I told them, but they weren’t listening.
My sister led the way through the kitchen to the door. She tried turning the knob but it wouldn’t budge.
“He’s locked the door on the way through.” She told my mum as she unlocked the door.
We walked down the hall to the security door that led to the backyard. That was locked too.
“You came in so fast, how did you manage to lock both doors so quick?” My sister asked me.
“Nerves.” My mother said.
They walked around in the backyard while I went straight back to my room and turned on all the lights.
My sister and mum were satisfied that there was nobody and nothing there so they went back into the house. I followed them.
My mother picked up the phone and called her mother in Argentina. She told my grandma what had happened and then my mum said my grandma wanted to talk with me.
I had never spoken to my grandma before. I’ve never even met her. There is a photo of her holding me when I was about 8 months old but I don’t think that counts.
My grandma told me who it was I had met and what to say next time it came to me. I’m not allowed to repeat any of it. You’d think I was bullshitting you anyway.
From what my grandma said, I got the impression it was not for me. Someone down my family line had made some deal with something old in the jungle and it has followed my family’s blood from the jungle to the city and then across the oceans to me now. To it, I think we are an investment that hasn’t fully matured and when we do, it will collect.
The idea has lost it’s novelty after time, it’s just another responsibility. Something else I have to pass down to my kids along with my last name and my charisma. The only thing that worries me is the circumstances under which my child gets the same talk I got at 15.