My grandfather’s courtyard was the only place where I truly felt at peace. I spent at least one week at my grandfather’s house every summer, and if I was lucky, an entire month. My dad disappeared from my life when I was seven and only came around once in a blue moon. My grandparents stepped in and took me in for as long as they could. I think mostly so I would be out of my mom’s hair.
The garden in the backyard surrounded a small courtyard and I spent most of my time at their house trying to convince them to let me sleep there. They had an irrational fear of wild animals and thought I would be devoured as soon as I closed my eyes. I knew one day I would make it happen no matter what they said.
If they wouldn’t let me sleep outside overnight, I would instead spend most of the daylight hours in the courtyard. Rain or shine, I was there. The day my grandma died, I did not step into the house once. I didn’t want to be surrounded by sadness and didn’t want to be overwhelmed by the grief of strangers. So I stayed in the courtyard and willed my feelings to drift away with the breeze and bake in the summer sun. Everything was going as well as it could on the day of my grandmother’s funeral until I fell asleep in the courtyard. No one would make the same mistake.