Losing You

The first time that I went to his house, I was young. I was way to young to remember why I was there, and who the old man staring at me was. I was around the age of three or four, I guess. My observations were simple, as most of the time, I hid behind my mother’s legs. She was wearing faded jeans and a black long sleeve tee shirt and smelled like the same perfume she always wore. It was flowery, with a little bit of vanilla hinted in it. I loved the scent. It always made me feel at home. Our house back in California always smelled like the perfume she wore. But we were in a new place. As I walked into the house, I noticed it didn’t smell like flowers and vanilla. It smelled like leather and linen scented air freshener. Of course, I had no idea about either of these things, and what they were. I immediately hid even further behind my mother and held my dads hand. He was wearing baggy dark jeans, navy blue Nike sneakers, and a blue sweater. The old man came towards me. I saw him from between my mother’s legs. He was wearing baggy faded jeans, a white collared shirt, and a dark brown leather jacket. His face was plump, and his skin glowed. His eyes were dark brown, and his smile was sweet. I was scared though. I did not see the rest of the house. “Leah! I haven’t seen you since the day you were born!” I did not remember this day for obvious reasons, so I began to cry. I didn’t understand who he was, or why he knew my name. “Leah,” The calm and gentle quality in my mother’s voice calmed me down. “This is your great grandfather, Poppy.” I began to relax a bit. He reached out for a hug. I was not ready for that. I began to cry. My father scooped me up into his arms. My father took me outside to count cars. It was one of our favorite hobbies to do together. We counted cars until it got dark, which didn’t take long. We went inside and I was a bit calmer. The man, who I now knew as Poppy said in an energetic voice, “ I have something for you!” He took my hand, then led me into his living room, which was very brightly lit. His hand was big and very rough. The living room had many windows, which didn’t help much because it was dark outside. However, the lights up above were bright and happy lights, bouncing off of our faces and making everything sparkle. He had a very big T.V. and an L shaped brown leather couch. The floors were dark stained wood. All the walls except for the one behind the T.V. were covered in ceiling to floor mirrors, and along the mirrors were shelves, going from about half the way up the wall to the ceiling. On the shelves were glass figures, and other small treasures that Poppy had collected in his many years. He was around 85 years old the first time I met him. Poppy pulled down a lamb from his shelf. It had a white fabric face, and black button eyes. The fabric was slightly webbed, and it was see through. I could see the cotton inside. The buttons were round and shiny, and they had two holes each in them, which a black thread weaved itself through. It had a small golden bell around its neck, tied there by a bright blue ribbon. Its body was a sphere of cotton, and its legs were stubs of wood. I was not sure what he was doing with the lamb. He then handed me a five-piece puzzle, and said, “If you can complete that, you can have this lamb.” I was overjoyed. I placed the puzzle on the floor and completed it. He handed me the lamb. I was overjoyed. I hugged the lamb and didn’t let it go. I held on to that lamb for dear life.


The last time I went to his house, I didn’t know the man lying in bed. His face was sunken in. His skin was pale gray. His eyes were tired and almost colorless. He looked as if all the water had drained from his body and weighed almost nothing. I began to fight back tears. I felt a series of mixed emotions. I was terribly sad. I was mad that I hadn’t gotten to know him better. I was also mad that the woman who he was dating, who shall remain nameless, was there. None of the family liked her. She was a good fifty years younger then he. I was happy, because I knew he was miserable and it would be ended soon. But I was mostly sad. I was sad to be loosing him. I was sad that he had to feel this pain. And I was sad to know that he was to naïve to realize that the woman he was dating is just using him. She knew he would soon be gone. So the tears came to my eyes and I used everything I had to fight them back. I forced a smile on my face and put my arm around my youngest cousin. She leaned into me. I could tell that she was trying not to cry also. The tears stung my eyes and the inside of my head burned with questions to ask him, and to ask myself. But before I had come, my mother had told me, “Don’t speak unless spoken to. He is tired. If he asks you a question, make your answer very long, because it is hard for him to talk.” So I stayed quiet. My mother talked and talked and talked. I began to wonder why I couldn’t. Yet I stayed quiet. I knew this was the last time I would ever see him. By this time I was thirteen. My cousin who was my age, and her younger sister stood next to me. They lived in Texas near him, and they would see him again. I would not. He asked me a simple question. “How are you?” I answered, “I am very good. I’m very glad to be here, and I am really enjoying seeing everybody.” I wanted to make my answer longer, but I couldn’t. My mother talked for a while longer, and then asked my two cousins and I to leave the room because we were going to start getting ready to go. I said, “Nice to see you Poppy!” We left the room. That was when I realized, yes. It was nice to see him. And yes, it will be the last time I ever see him. Once again, tears burned my eyes, but I pushed them back.

All over the house we saw pictures of his girl friends daughter. We saw Easter eggs and crosses, even though we are all faithfully Jewish. We saw his glass shelves and mirrors, with all of his tiny trinkets. There was dust covering the shelves. One unusual thing about Poppy; once he moved one of his trinkets, he never replaced the spot with anything. To this day, I can still see the place where my lamb used to be. My cousins and I marveled at everything in his house, and we talked in whispers. We talked about how Poppy had been changed. We finally saw one Jewish star. It was a small metal statue. We moved the trinket. We put it in the front of all the Easter eggs and crosses. Finally my mother came out of the bedroom. We quietly left. When everyone was outside, I paused at the door. In my head, I said goodbye.

As we went home, I looked at my lamb. Its face was slightly yellowed. Its cotton wool had a few baled spots. One of its black button eyes was loose. The tiny bell was no longer gold, but yellow. The bright blue string was faded blue. Poppy, you will forever be remembered. I love you very much. If you ever look down from wherever you are, know that I love you more then anything.





Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

mikey123 said...
Jul. 7, 2010 at 8:11 pm
Friend,
   This is beautiful. You have the best description and detail. i love you so much and i know what its like. i went through the same thing, watching my grandma die. i hope you are very successful in life. see you soon?
    <3, always,
        Whitney Mooney
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback