Peter Rabbit Wore Wool This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 9, 2012
By
He was never my favorite grandfather. It hurts to admit that. His house was big and dark and always cold. My grandmother smoked and we always went home smelly. I did love him. I loved him a lot. My head was always buried in his wool sweaters when he hugged me. Whenever I picture him, I see him in them. I think he wore them when he golfed. Grammy gave me some when he died. They’re warm.

At holidays he was such a presence. When he laughed, you heard him. When he yelled, your eyes watered. He had a lisp when he talked; maybe it was a bit of an accent, I don’t know. My cousins and I loved to play board games with him. He was the only adult who would play with us. He never let us win like some grown-ups do. In fact he usually blew us out of the water.

Our favorite was the Peter Rabbit game. We haven’t played it in years. It had tiny metal pieces painted in pastel colors. Grandpa was always Peter. Kathy liked to be the frog or the hen. I was usually the pink “girl” bunny. It had tiny little dice to roll and a beautifully drawn playing board. When the game was over, we always begged to play again. We never did. Once was enough for him.

My grandpa had a heart attack. It was his second. He died in the morning. They didn’t tell us. I spent that Monday just like everyone else at school.

My mom said there wouldn’t have been any point in crying and moping. That wasn’t the point.

I felt guilty.

We had a private, open casket viewing for the family. He was just asleep in the wooden box. I don’t think I’d ever seen him sleep. It was strange to see my dad cry. It was strange to hear that music. It was strange. My dad asked if I wanted to touch him. I didn’t want to. I barely touched him in life, except for those wool hugs.

I touched his cheek. It was hard. It was cold. It wasn’t the old, squishy cheek I used to kiss. That made me feel a little better. Maybe this wasn’t my grandfather.

The last time I saw him was at my dance recital. I came into the audience during the performance to say hi. They left at intermission because his chest hurt. I asked Grandma at the funeral if I had hugged him. She said I did. I was glad. Now I remember. He was wearing wool.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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