I lived with my grandfather until I was twenty-two, shortly thereafter my birthday, he died of a mysterious illness two years ago. While alive, he was mindful of only two things: his work and the fact that a child, I, lived in the house, but that he spent little time with me. He was stern, quiet, and very learned. This learnedness gave him arrogance and money, both of which he used profusely. I grew up in a comfortable setting, more comfortable than most people in the town did. My grandfather was very fond of books and spent most of his time locked in his study. I most regularly see him during mealtimes and every Friday when he and the tutor would sit down and go over my academic performance of the past week. Other than that, I was used to the occasional glance of him walking through his house looking for a book or another that was not present in his study. The cook doubled as the maid and so with little to worry about, my grandfather was able to compartmentalise his life effortlessly, shutting out anyone who did not fit into his mysterious world. Nevertheless, I felt his loss gravely when he died, as he was still my only living blood relative, and his death’s effects were much more more consequential than a child normally had upon a grandparent’s demise.
The matter of my lineage was not a frequent topic in the house. I had been told my parents had died in a terrible accident, and my grandfather had adopted me when I was a young child. The first time I asked him for more details, he looked me dead cold in the eye and without battling an eyelash said, “They are dead. And dead people have no business in the living world.” That had been the end of all conversation between us that day. Of course his response did not discourage my curiosity, but I was also at a loss of resources to inquire about people about whom I had no living memory.
The day after my grandfather’s death, his lawyer, Mister Bareouge sat down with me and informed me of a few changes that were now to be implemented. By some strange manoeuvring, my grandfather had enabled his course of treatment with his grandson to follow him even after his death. I was to move out of the house I had lived in with him as soon as I found new lodging for myself. Only for this purpose, my grandfather had left a modest amount of money. I was given no access to the will.
“You misunderstand, sir. It is only that until the age of 23, you have no access to his will. Thereafter, you may choose to do whatever you please with it,” Mister Bareouge said simply.
“Sir, I was training to go into a profession. I have little income of my own because I was still dependant on my grandfather. I am perplexed now, sitting in front of you, because I thought he would have offered some financial support after his death.”
“Sir, the will is very clear on what he wanted.” It was clear that was all Mister Bareouge had to say. If I had shot myself in the face in front of him, his face would still not have displayed any emotion.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. Wealth holds little allure. It is only that I was angry he thought so little of his own grandson as to have abandoned him like this. I can still remember the depth of the frustration I felt that day. And anger can hurt and manifest itself in hurtful ways. I had felt small in my grandfather’s overpowering company before, but this feeling of being tossed aside, as if I had never actually been of much importance to him… that towered over me. It was a strange feeling. I felt shameful of my inability to have left a deeper mark on the man.