From the author: "My grandmother wanted to kill me..." So begins a dark and disturbing look into a one young girl’s perseverance in surviving the eccentricities of her grandmother.
My grandmother wanted to kill me. She didn’t tell me this, but I knew it by the way she fed me fried eggs for breakfast every day and conveniently let her foot slip off the brake when I was halfway out the car door at school in the mornings. By the time I was thirteen, I begged to walk to school, which seemed to make her happy. Probably because it would be easier to kill me out in the open, not protected by a seat belt. I once asked my grandmother why she wanted to kill me, but she just laughed her toothless grin and waved me off, telling me I had the same imagination my mother had when she was my age.
My mother died the day I started kindergarten—at least that’s what my grandmother told me. All I know is that my mother dropped me off in Mrs. Patterson’s classroom that morning and my grandmother picked me up in the afternoon. As we rode home in her station wagon that smelled like dirty feet, she told me that my mother had snorted something up her nose and fried her brain, so I would be living with her from now on. When I started to cry, she reached over and slapped me.
“Your momma ain’t worth shedding no tears over. You see me crying?”
She took me to her single-story house filled with dull orange and brown furniture and cigarette smoke and made me an afternoon snack. Fried eggs. I ate two bites before spitting them back up, all over the kitchen floor. My grandmother called me an ungrateful bitch. I asked her why she fried my mother’s brains.
The first year of living with my grandmother was filled with screaming matches at home and sad looks at school. Mrs. Patterson felt it was her duty to pat my shoulder repeatedly each day, telling me that sunshine would one day come back into my life. I rolled my eyes at her and told her the sunshine never left. What I really needed was a rainstorm to wash away all the ugly. I rolled my eyes a lot that year. One day, my grandmother smacked me upside the head and said that my eyes were going to stay that way forever if I didn’t knock it off. I didn’t care. But I stopped rolling my eyes—at least around her.
"My grandmother wanted to kill me..." Despite being harassed in a multitude of ways, a young girl stands up to her grandmother in both small and grandiose ways. Sometimes victorious, but more often not, she ultimately grows into a woman faced with the biggest challenge yet: Follow the well-worn path of the matriarchs in her family or strike out into virgin territory. “Skeleton Dance” is the story of one girl’s perseverance in surviving the eccentricities of her world.
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