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She was slipping. Seventy-six years old, celebrating another birthday; and she was finally loosing it. This time it was more evident than the last that she was slowly forgetting the simplistic things in life. We had all been so unexpectedly waiting for this, but acted as if this was something so new to us. Her tortured soul sat bulky, yet fragile at the head of the table and she laughed until she shivered and then smiled at the rest of the family. She smiled with her mouth though, and her eyes told the truth behind her sly gesture.
"I love your necklace grandma" I saw through the smile she beamed in my direction, so I wanted to change her mood.
"Oh do you? Well I'll tell you what. You can have it when I'm dead" the words casually flowed through her curled lips.
I didn't say another word, how could I? I looked at her and smiled, even laughed a little. All I kept thinking was that she must be saying to herself 'you little fox, my darling, darling little fox,' and then she gave me that look where she knew I was playing along, I was on her team. This seemed to comfort her, and her face went blank.
" So ma' what's for dinner" my uncle was obnoxiously immature for a fifty-four year old man.
"I've got to take the dog out first" she got up out of her chair looking for the dog.
"June, uhm, June!" My grandfather called after her, he wanted to point out that the dog had been sitting behind her on the chair all along.
She came back over breathing heavily from walking to the front door and then all the way back those tiresome four feet. She saw where my grandfather so frighteningly pointed, and she just stared in his direction. She then let out a loud, abrupt laugh and called for the dog to follow her.
"What was that?" My uncle laughed. "She's losing it pops" he leaned forward in my grandpas’ direction and grazed his arm.
"Well you know..." He was struggling to get the words out right, "she's scared shitless." He removed his arm from the grasp of my uncle. I had never heard him curse before and I was shocked, but all I could do was sit in silence.
"Oh yeah? She's just in love with the attention. You and I both know that she needs the attention to survive." My uncle snarled.
If you knew my family you'd know about his resentment towards his parents. He thought they were awful growing up, he was the middle child, and he was alone in a world of his own selfishness. Then again, we learn from our parents don't we?
"You know, it’s driving her mad, really, she's gone crazy. Its only on some days though, not all the time." My grandfather looked sad, maybe even scared to be alone, without her.
It was hard to think of him this way, and this made me want to cry, but I didn't
I just watched.
"Oh yeah, she's really lost it now pop." he smiled sarcastically.
"You know Wayne, there's three sides to every story..." And then my uncle joined in to repeat what my grandfather was going to say next, "your side, my side, and the truth." They both said in perfect unison"
I had heard my grandfather say this about a hundred times before, but today it meant something more then just words. Something came over me just then, and I let out a breath of fresh air, "yes, the truth, and that's the only side that will ever count."