I was watching the Skeleton Key alone in my room the other day.The memory that flooded back went a little something like this:
………The fuzzy, anorexic looking, eight-legged critter stood out against the rusty blue metallic mailbox. It seems as though it had been awaiting my arrival. Almost as if it knew that I would be dilly-dallying down that dirt road at that exact moment on that mid-morning day in July. The way I felt that very second, and as soon as the thought of a spider waiting “for my arrival” crept into my mind, I should have taken those as clear warning signs that the day wasn’t going to be an average one.
Standing off to the side of the random driveway, I stared at the spider, hoping to be making it uneasy with my gaze, when a tall woman with silky black skin walked out onto the porch. She planted herself firmly right above the first step, with both arms crossed across her chest.
“What chu’ want girl?” She yelled across the yard in a deep southern accent. I took notice in her colorful hair wrap, which matched her dress down to the very pattern stitched throughout the entire garment. “Just like a tribal woman,” I remember thinking to myself. To me, this woman had seemed very out of place. Being only 10 at the time, I had never seen a woman who looked like this. This was Jersey and I only saw ladies like her on the T.V so can you blame me when the only word that stumbled out of my mouth was “spider”? In the haze of my confusion, all I did was point to the spider while I slowly analyzed the situation. I mean was there a situation? Obviously not satisfied with my explanation on what I was doing on her property, she swiftly descended, the stairs crackling under her weight.
Taking off and leaving nothing more than a sandstorm behind me was what I wanted to do. My body, on the other hand, decided to stay put as if mesmerized with the movement of her dress flowing around her, making every step seem magical. It was as if she were merely hovering above the ground, floating towards me. As she quickly ate up the distance between us, my heartbeat picked up a little more speed and my finger tips frantically fiddled with the hem of my shorts, giving away at my uneasiness. She halted as she reached her mailbox. Her gaze was so fierce it sent a taste of bile into my mouth. Fearing that if I didn’t do or say any thing she might gobble me up with her piercing black eyes, I quickly pointed to the bait that had held me there and got me into this hairy situation. To my amazement, the little bastard was trying to crawl away, as if saying “My job here is done.” Out of frustration I just wanted to launch it across the yard and almost as if reading my mind, the woman flicked it, sending the the little bug flying into oblivion. Shock was clearly expressed on my face because although I wanted to flick that little shit myself, I wouldn’t have done it. She did. That kinda scared me.
“Where do ya live girl?” Her voice was gentle, almost as if she were purposely trying to sound that way. The look in her eyes was stone solid. Again left with nothing else, I pointed toward my apartment building. Suddenly I realized how far away from home, from safety, I was. Panic spread through my veins sending a shutter throughout my bloodstream, waves rocking me in what seemed like every direction. “I made homemade peach cobbla’ Would you like to try some?” She asked unexpectedly. The smell of homemade cobbler made its way to my nose as if on cue. Lucky for me I didn’t like peach cobbler, or peach anything for that matter. Finding the voice of reason and as well as my own, I blurted out, “No thank you. I don’t take things from people I don’t know.” Feeling victorious because I had done the right thing, I suddenly stood just a little taller, my chest out, and chin up. Then she said, “Well don’t cha know ya ain’t spose to talk to strangers either girl?”
With that, my white Nikes hit the dirty, pothole-infested road with such speed and agility not even a cheetah could have caught me. There was no way I was going to get caught up in the web of that woman. What if she knew voodoo?? What if that spider hadn’t been just a regular spider. What if it was a kid, just like me, that she tricked into having cobbler and then BAM!!! What if he had been trying to warn me? No wonder she flicked away!!
Reaching my destination before you could even blink twice, I ran up the steps, and into my home. I quickly kicked off my play clothes and hopped in the shower, letting the hot water wash away any traces of spell that could have been placed on me.
Weeks later, way after I put this whole traumatizing situation behind me, my mom and I were at our local grocery store. As we bypass the paper goods section and waltz into the cereal aisle, a familiar black shadow was standing at the far end right in front of the Cookie Crisp, my favorite cereal.
“Hello Sonia!!” My mother yells out in her accented English. “Come! Meet my daughter!” My mom rushes us over, pushing hard against my resistance. “This is my daughter! Nati, I work with her at Resorts!” I simply stood there shocked. Not only did I not care to even grab my favorite breakfast cereal anymore and so by default my mom would get Raisin Bran, but now I also had this scary lady’s eyes laughing at me, while her face stood still like as if this were the first time meeting me.
“Ma, I’ll be in the car.” And with that I turned and left feeling defeated, wishing to never see that woman again………
I never did see the “scary” lady again. Just yesterday I had asked my mother about her and she said I was crazy and hadn’t a clue of what I was talking about. The memory of this experience had been locked away until, ironically watching this movie. Funny the things our brain stores away and it only makes me wonder, what else have I up in this attic full of memories? What triggers will later expose other stories waiting to be relived?