It felt like a stab in the back. Everyone always says that’s how it feels, and that was exactly how I felt. The worst part was that it was Hana who outed the consciousness raising group. It couldn’t have been anyone else.
Was this her way of getting back at me for the kiss? The more I thought about it the more it seemed so, which hurt me even more. I wondered what else she told her father, did she tell him about the protest? Would those men come back to haunt us, this time with reinforcements? I began to feel unsafe, and couldn’t fall asleep. I left my room, and walked into the kitchen, where Baba was sitting at the table.
“Can’t sleep?” She asked.
I shook my head.
“Come, sit,” she pulled out a chair.
I sat down. Baba poured me a glass of milk from the pitcher on the table. Two ice cubes bobbed in the glass, Baba liked milk to be cold.
“Are you okay?” She asked.
I nodded, “I guess so, yeah.”
“Look Ada, I’ve never told you this, and I’m sorry you had to witness it for yourself. But it wasn’t something that could be talked about. Certainly not in front of your father– I never wanted to burden you so unnecessarily with something.”
Only then did I realize Baba was talking about the incident, about the broken glass. In thinking about Hana I had forgotten all about it. I mean, it was impossible to break glass with sight. Right?
“So that was real?” I asked, “You can really do that?”
Baba calmly nodded.
I always sensed that things were a little rigid between my grandmother and my father but could never figure out what went wrong. They were still polite to one another but there was a visible strain in their relationship. Now it made sense.
“You’re joking. What? Tell me–how?”
“It first happened accidentally, when I was in high school, sitting in the cafeteria. My own grandmother had just passed away and it left me in a horrible depression. I wouldn’t eat or speak for months. I was just sitting there, staring at a glass cup when suddenly it broke. I didn’t know what happened, maybe an accident. But then weeks later sitting at dinner with my family I broke a glass cabinet.” Baba’s face suddenly became serious, “My parents got very angry with me, they called me the devil’s child, they said I could never do something like that again, and never spoke about it.”
I sat there, not knowing what to say. Then I remembered the broken glass the day news of the abortion ban broke. “The morning the news broke? The broken glass, was it–”
“Sometimes when I am furious it happens. Like today with those men coming here, throwing stones. Someone could have gotten seriously hurt, you could have been hurt. I couldn’t just stand there.” Baba looked down at her hands. “I’m sorry you had to witness that.”
“Wait, is that why I wasn’t allowed to visit you for so long?” I asked.
Baba nodded, “Your father doesn’t like when I do it. I can control it for most of the time, but sometimes I slip, and it happens. He saw me do it once, when you were here visiting, you were just six years old.”
“And my mom? Why didn’t she defend you? She didn’t want me to see you either?”
“Your mother knows all about it, it scares her a little, but she got used to it for the most part. But your father was, well, less tolerant. After it happened he was both furious, and refused to believe it.” Baba shifted in her seat.
I always sensed that things were a little rigid between my grandmother and my father but could never figure out what went wrong. They were still polite to one another but there was a visible strain in their relationship. Now it made sense. My father believed in science as other people believed in god. This must have been a huge blow to his world view, the fact that something “illogical” like that could actually happen. It happened before his very eyes. Now I knew why I couldn’t come here all these years; why I didn’t know much about Baba; why, when she visited, she always seemed a little quiet.
I, too, felt the laws of my world rearranging themselves. My grandmother has magical powers, my grandmother has magical powers, I repeated to myself when I went back to my room. I began to wonder: was I capable of it too? Did I myself possess some special power?
* * *