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A Sadder Time

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The wind stood still. Which in itself is a mystical feat since Western Kansas is known for its wind. The white car negotiated the windy drive way. Once at the end, the passengers disembark and head into the faded baby blue house. Once inside, they realize the once happy magical place has turned to ruins and shambles. I headed over to my grandpa who is chatting away on the phone and doesn’t even notice I’m there. My grandma is gently rocking back in forth in the rocking chair, it takes her minutes to register that I’m there. When I speak she can barely hear me. Soon my brother enters the kitchen also. He is standing next to my grandpa. Still we spend the next few minutes convincing him that Keifer really did come. Our day trip has just begun, yet I find myself needing to escape the room to collect my breath and tell myself it’s okay. I chanted in my head over and over, as I stare terrified at my reflection in the mirror, “at least they still realize who you are” as if some how that will make this all seem okay.

I clamped my eyes shut and reentered the room to find my mom was sitting at the table, my grandpa’s sitting next to the phone, my grandma is still rocking gently with an empty look on her face. My dad is nowhere in sight, it appeared as if he had vanished into thin air, along with my brother. Ten minutes passed slowly, then the two resurface. First, my brother and then my dad. In those ten minutes, my grandma and I had the same conversation twice, about how I had been since my shoulder surgery. Each time I told her I have been better. In a way, the lie is worth it. The more marvelous the lie I do the longer she remembers.

With my Grandpa’s eighty-sixth birthday speedily approaching in four days we took the opportunity to stop off at the nearest sizeable town roughly thirty minutes away and purchase a cake to celebrate. Our celebrations were put on pause when we arrived though because as usual we were put to work within twenty-five minutes of our arrival.

My mom, dad, and grandpa sat out to fix some do hickey in the yard, while I was left alone with my brother and my grandma. After a couple minutes my brother went out to help. My grandma just sat there continuing her melancholy rocking, time seemed to slither by. While waiting for her to whisper something other than the chemo has kicked my butt, my mind slipped to the past. To the time when my grandma ran around her custom built kitchen whipping open this cupboard and that, groping into the pantry for exotic spices that I’d never heard of. Peering into the oven to check on the ham letting the enticing aroma flood through the house, which always allured me to come to find out what she was cooking. She would always say, she was just throwing something together for lunch or she wasn’t sure.

I yank myself out of my head and to dismay I find myself two years later sitting in the same kitchen with what appeared to be the same women, only she’s not the same. Instead of being full of life she’s barely there. My dad appears to be in denial about this fact. I tried to start a conversation that she would be able to take part in or remember for more than five minute but my attempts failed. Not knowing what to do, I told her I’m going to go help my parents fix the do hickey.

On my way out to where my dad and grandpa are in, the middle of the parched grassy yard, I spot my brother camping out in the car and my mom heading off to fetch some tool from the fading red barn. Once I was ten feet from their location I heard my grandpa pleading with my dad about how he can’t do it any long, how he can’t take care of the women he adores. How if they don’t move into civilization where he can get help taking care of my grandma by the end of the year the doctor will probably force them to move into a care home. I pulled out my phone and looked at my clock. The visit was half over. I took a deep breath, put on a smile, then asked how I could help. An hour later my mom finally told my grandpa my plan for getting them out of the farm. This is the third time that they are supposedly coming to stay with us until they find an apartment.

A couple hours later it was time to go. My grandpa struggled to his feet. I bent over and gave him a hug. I gave my grandma a hug as the tears swarmed in her eyes. I walked to the car and climbed behind the wheel. Normally when I leave, I don’t look back, this time I looked back. I live in fear everyday I’m going to wake up and my grandparent’s very existence is going to be nothing than a memory I fanaticized about one sad windless day.





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