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Suddenly, the phone rings and grandmother goes to pick it up. Then her face turns pale as she grabs her coat.
"Angel, stay there- your aunt will come soon to pick you up."
Then she left. It was the first time I had ever been alone in the apartment before in my life. To this day, I still wonder what was said over the phone. I remember it exactly. It could't have been 20 minutes before my aunt showed up, out of breath, and the look of relief as she saw me. Then worry again, as she asked me what was happening.
"I don't know. Grandma got a phone call and left."
Aunt's eyes became sad. She took me by the hand and we left to go to her apartment.
It was only days later, that I learned my grandpa had died. The sugar in his blood levels were always high, and it became too high for his body to handle. It was my great aunt- his sister-in-law, who killed him. I remember seeing grandpa fine as grandma and I left early to go home. But I overheard the adults' conversation later on. He said he wanted to stop drinking, so his sugar levels wouldn't get too high. She told him to relax for once and celebrate the special occasion after they finally finished building their new house. She pushed him into it and he drank more beer. That's when he died. They lived in a country area, so doctors were too far away to help him in time.
Time passed by, I suppose. I don't really remember all that much. I didn't want to. My next biggest memory was at grandpa's funeral.We took a bus to get there, and grandpa was in his coffin in this big room, a part of a big parlour. I remember seeing his white face as the people around me cried. I didn't cry. I looked at grandma's heartbroken face and wondered why they were crying.
A long time ago, someone told me I could get a wish granted on every birthday. I planned to wish for ten wishes a day on my next birthday. Then I'd wish for grandpa to come back to life. I was so naive then. I still remember running through the big parlour right after an aunt told me not to. I especially remember mom and dad coming back to our country for his funeral.
"They're late. They always are. I'm surprised they came at all." I remember someone saying that bitterly. I think it was grandma.
Mom wet her napkin with her tears and shakingly wiped the tears onto grandpa's face. I didn't know the significance of that then.
It was time for the procession to move on. I wanted to go with them, but wasn't allowed to. I think it was because of my running earlier after being told not to. I remember thinking it was unfair that my female cousin, only four years older, could go and I couldn't.
Then it was the bus back home, I remember an old lady- one of my relatives- offering an orange on the way home. I'm not sure why that memory stands out so much, but maybe because it was the only piece of happiness on that day.
Every year afterwards, grandma and I visited grandpa's grave. The first time I went, I was surprised there was only a stick marking his grave. I was told we couldn't afford anything more. Grandma would have bought something more fancy to mark grandpa's grave if she could.
Every time we visited, grandma would bring the meat she cooked beforehand, and hid it behind and around the stick. When I asked why, she said it was so we could feed grandpa without the wild dogs stealing his food. Years later, mom and dad came to pick me up and I immigrated to a different country. It is only now that I realised the meaning of what grandma said on the day of grandpa's funeral. Mom and dad are always late. I'm surprised they came at all. I'm surprised they came back for their abandoned daughter when she was happy with her grandma.
Being a teenager now, I sometimes think back to that peaceful tiem with grandma and grandpa. I found I didn't have many fond memories of grandpa. He was a big man, who was a soldier in World War II, and I remember him always shouting at me for doing something wrong and grandma protecting me from him. I was a mischievious kid, but he was a sweet old man. Now I wonder if I could go back in time, could I change those scary memories into happy ones?
Sometimes, I stare at my window, thinking of him. Then my eyes tear up and I feel a big hole where my heart's supposed to be. Everything turns blurry and my eyes burn with a deep sadness. One more thing I should include about the day of my grandpa's funeral. We weren't supposed to keep pictures of the dead, so grandma asked me if I could remember grandpa's face. I told her yes.
I don't think I could ever forget him.