Brandon Mc Ivor
Issue No. 1 – September 2013
I get a phone call in the evening from my mother. About a week ago she was woken from her sleep, back in Trinidad. The owls that lived in our roof were acting up. They were banging themselves against the window in her room, as if to break it open.
She tells me, “There is a girl working for me now. They say she does do Obeah. Brandon, when I looked over at the window there was a thick cloud, like smoke, but more viscous.”
“Inside the room?”
“Yes, Inside. It wasn’t the first time I had see it.”
My mother reminds me that when I was younger I had fitful hallucinations: speaking with the devil, bloodied apparitions in the corner of the room and so on.
“We have a history with these things,” she tells me.
The only exorcist on our island — our neighbor, actually — had died some ten years ago. Just before his passing, my mother had him bless me.
“Brandy, do you still say the prayer Bishop Mendes gave you? The prayer to Saint Michael?”
“I haven’t said it in some time.”
“You should say it,” she says, “I wonder, when things like this happen, about when you were little: when—”
A wailing ambulance drowns her voice out, so I have to plug one of my ears to hear what she is saying.
“Do you remember that, Brandy? You were only four. You were playing on the lawn and I remember, all of a sudden, you just got very serious and sat down. You said you were talking to the devil. I was so worried about you.”
I am outside Grand Central Terminal and I cannot fathom the smoke that my mother saw in her room. But I remember sitting on the lawn and speaking with the devil, when I was a child. He spoke like a Trinidadian — no one spoke any different then—and I had muttered back things I cannot recall.
I listen to my mother. I think about the owls in our roof. I pray to Saint Michael. And I listen for the devil — quiet for twenty odd years now.