What Happens When She Leaves Her Home
For the longest time, I was away from home out of state attending a training center for the blind. I needed these skills very badly even though it seemed like all was well. Nothing was okay in terms of my skills with blindness at the time.
I left my apartment to some very close people in my life and allowed them to check in on things while I was gone. Ten months was the longest amount of time I had ever spent away from Massachusetts. Honestly, I was not bothered by the long separation. I knew how badly this training experience was important to me. I also knew that I would be gaining something beneficial for a lifetime afterward. I understood that no matter where I ended up in the next few years, I would have the skills to survive and navigate wherever I ventured in life.
Along the way of becoming better with my skills, something was going on back at home and I had not ever suspected such a thing. I was pretty wrapped up in my current situation there in Minnesota. My objective was to get through this experience and apply my skills to my real life back in Boston. I was more than ready to start using all of what I’d learned. Each thing I was able to do better than the last felt like an award. I felt so good when I saw that I could actually prepare a successful Caribbean meal without any shoulder-surfing during each moment. Finally, they left me the hell alone when I was cooking.
When I left Boston, I left behind my Perkins braillewriter and a few other things I knew I would find in Minnesota. In total, I was able to take everything I used on a regular basis.
Ten months came and left, and some parts of my time was heavily seasoned with disappointment as well as some excitement.
As I sat with my niece at the wooden table in preparation to attend a poetry show one town over, she finally confessed to me all of the strange things that went on while I was gone. This would explain why she wanted me to return to Boston so badly. While I was in Boston, none of these things were happening. As the months dragged on, eerie things began to escalate.
She began, “Aunty…do you want to know what happened in your room when you were gone?”
I replied, “What? You guys hung out in there and played with my stuff?”
She replied, “No. We didn’t go in your room or any other room after we heard your Perkins braillewriter going off on its own,” she stood up partially from her seat to dramatize how frightened she was and continued, “We looked into your room and literally saw the keys moving alone!”
My mother is not a liar and she confirmed that something indeed had happened not only once but a few times when I was away for such a long time.
My mother chimes in, “Yes. It’s true. We ALL heard your braillewriter going off both in the afternoon when we came in to check and at night another day,” I was bathed in perplexity at the information I had received. I’m guessing that explains why my braillewriter doesn’t work very well anymore. I had it for only five years! There’s no way it could suddenly stop working just from being used nearly each day.
When I returned home from training and wanted to use my Perkins braillewriter, it never occurred to me that something like this would happen. I’d simply thought someone got into the house and messed it all up. The rubber inside was busted and the swing cell was totally off. My margins were totally out of tune from when I last adjusted it. It seemed like it went through some severe distress when I was gone.
My niece asked, “Does it go off of power?”
I replied, “No. The Perkins Braillewriter is one of the oldest pieces of assistive technologies that requires no electricity to operate. I’m honestly unsure of what that even happened alone,” I sat there thinking of many things that could trigger something like that to happened. Nothing could cross my mind for something like that to be an event.
My niece blurted out, “Or maybe you have a blind ghost in your house.”
“Nah…I highly doubt it. I will say that if something happens like that ever again and I’m away for a long time, you have my permission to set it somewhere in a closet under a pile of stuff. That way, it doesn’t start going off alone. That’s some weird shit,” I adjusted my blazer and got the chills. I wouldn’t know what to do if something like that happened and I was there. I’d probably pass out and die from fright. Never in my days would I ever expect something out of the ordinary to happen out of the blue.
My mother added, “Everyone was here and heard it happening. It was pounding very hard, much heavier than you usually use it. I understand those keys are extremely heavy. The braillewriter is pure metal.”
I asked, “Any other things happen when I was gone?”
My niece continued, “Yes. When grandma went to see it with us, she slammed the door very hard and it stopped for a few days.”
My mother added to what my niece said, “Oh and the night it started going off, I was about to leave, and I heard something going off in your bedroom where you keep it. I did a doubletake and checked your bedroom. I saw the actual keys of the braillewriter going up and down all the way. It started that pounding all over again. I left the light on as and slammed the door once again. It stopped and I left.”
So, I began to understand why all of the calls were coming in and texts from family members. I thought they were just bored but there was something weird happening.
Why didn’t anyone tell me what was going on?
Why did they just wait until I came back to explain why it got thrown away? It’s not useful anymore. If I tried to use the device, it would chew up my paper. I use a full-page slate and stylus as a replacement for my Perkins Braillewriter.
I am able to get a replacement from the school but I’m too embarrassed to explain why I need a repair or replacement. I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything other than leave it there on the shelf and hope nothing else happens while I’m there.
For now, I do not go away out of state for too long. If and when I do go away for several months at a time, I will hide the braillewriter in one of my closets in a box filled with Styrofoam.
It has been five years since this happened. Until this day, no one knows why or how that ever occurred.
A photo of me at 24 years old sitting at a brown wooden table. I am typing on a Perkins Braillewriter. I have braille paper scattered across the table with A Ginger ale bottle off to my right side.