The Transformation MAG

January 10, 2012
By Jaime Koniak BRONZE, New City, New York
Jaime Koniak BRONZE, New City, New York
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

When I was little I didn't really see her as lonely. From a ten-year-old's point of view, she was more like independent. I would step into her shaggy, avocado carpeted world and be greeted with freshly squeezed orange juice, boiled chicken, and outstretched arms. It was the place where I met and fell in love with Grandma, sitting on her green bedspread, listening to tales of when she was my age. It was the place where I learned to like The Young and the Restless. It was the place where I was the most special little girl in the world.

When I knew her, she had always lived alone. I thought that made her strong. Grandma, in my eyes, was a role model, her own woman. I marveled at how she had getting her hair set down to a science, wrapping her head in toilet paper, mummifying herself for the night. When I stayed with her, her hollow apartment echoed with my laughter as I watched her take out her "teeth" and make funny faces in the mirror. She was embarrassed for anyone else to see, but merely to evoke a smile from her biggest fan, she permitted me to watch.

I would sleep at her apartment, my mom and dad at a hotel down the road, for grandma's "house" was life for one: one bedroom, one couch, one bathroom, one table. I slept with her in the king-sized bed that usually remained half-tucked in.

We bonded, we smiled, we hugged, we glowed.

A few years ago Grandma became disoriented. A few years ago a little girl grew up. Living alone with no one to lean on, Grandma could no longer stay in her avocado home. She had to be moved to a nursing home. She still has her life for one, but she now lives with many other "independent" souls.

Her hands gripping the cold, steel banisters, she is helped down to the cafeteria for freshly squeezed orange juice in the morning and maybe an occasional boiled chicken dinner. She sits in her room talking to photographs and watching TV. She no longer watches The Young and the Restless. She doesn't know how to change the channels and there's no one there to do it for her.

I still speak to her every Sunday; I'm interested in all that she does. Though now I'm the strong one, the independent one. Grandma isn't independent or strong at all. Grandma is lonely. And the carpet isn't avocado, it's gray.

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