by Jessica Penot
My father used to call my grandmother a witch. I never listened to him because he never had anything nice to say about my mother or her family. I took what he said with a grain of salt. It wasn’t until much later that I realized there was a grain of truth in what my father said.
The women in my family have always been drawn to the otherworldly and this draw was at its strongest with my grandmother, Kay. Kay was a passionate and needy woman who was afraid of being alone. She was a beautiful woman that was used to being adored by the men around, so after the first few years of marriage ground the edges off of my grandfather’s, Raymond’s, adoration, my grandmother found herself lost in loneliness. Raymond was a good man, but he never knew what to do with his beautiful and slightly melodramatic wife, so he retired to his study at the end of every day to find peace.
Kay couldn’t stand her loneliness and she turned to the Ouija Board to find some answers to her condition. In order to use the Ouija Board she enlisted the assistance of her young daughter, my mother, Robin. It started slowly. My grandmother would ask the spirits questions and they would answer. Robin hated it. She fought it. She felt that something was wrong in the core of her being and the ritual terrified her, but Kay persisted. It wasn’t long before one spirit in particular started a dialogue with Kay. His name was Alonk and Kay and he spent their lonely evenings together with little Robin trapped between them. Every night the two met and spoke over the Ouija Board and every night they drug Robin with them.
Alonk loved Kay and he told her that the ancient word for love was abenor. Abenor was their secret word for love, more powerful than any English word. So the lovers met as often as they could, but Kay was encountering a problem. Little Robin hated Alonk. Little Robin hated the Ouija Board and refused to play. Kay was not deterred. She turned to her youngest daughter, Kathy, to play with and the love affair continued with a frantic passion that consumed Kay and her new assistant.
My mother still remembers my aunt, a little girl of five, sitting on the bay window looking out, waiting for Alonk to come for her. She still remembers little Kathy speaking with fire of her mother’s love. Life moved on and even little Kathy grew up, taking with her Kay’s connection to Alonk. Raymond and Kay were divorced and Kay remarried. She married a man that adored her and gave her the love she wanted. Alonk vanished.
But Robin’s scars remained in a deep fear of the supernatural, especially the Ouija Board. Kay grew old, very old, and dementia took many of her memories. She forgot who I am and who Robin was. She forgot everything, but she insisted that she was married three times and she remembers Alonk and the ancient word for love, abenor. Kay passed away two years ago and she never forgot Alonk.