The Man I don't call My Grandpa

June 1, 2012
By , Muncie, IN
I don’t call that man my grandpa,
Nor do I call him grandfather,
Or gramps,
Or any other name brought about by affection.
I don’t call him grandpa because I don’t love him.
I cannot stir up any semblance of feeling for him other than sympathy and pity, all followed closely with a contrite acceptance of his being.
He is nothing but a an elderly man that occasionally visits us for a few days of the year,
With his boastful demeanor and
His dented up minivan full of suitcases and other junk
And his arrogant attitude, as if he has something educated to say about any topic you bring up.

He has always been quite blunt in the manner of saying things,
And has never had any qualms about who he hurts by saying whatever whenever he wants.
He has hurt my family in the past,
Me to be specific.
I am a strong willed girl
And he is an unpleasantly strong willed man,
Scarred by the lack of love from his own strong willed mother.
Something was bound to happen between us sooner or later,
And it did happen,
When I was young, but able to remember:

Me, young and doing something socially unacceptable,
Giggling at my actions.
My daddy about to reprimand me in a strong,
But gentle approach.
Before he can start in on me, my grandfather leaps into action
Harsh words are spit at me from hard, punishing lips.
His hands speaking in tandem with his mouth.
His feet taking slow, deliberate steps toward me.

My tiny form shaking, legs about to buckle from the weight of the words that are thrown at me.
My heart pounding, my breathing becoming uneven, my face beginning to burn with embarrassment,
My adrenaline sailing through my veins, carrying through the question
Fight or Flight?
I want to fight,
My nature says to fight,
But I am young,
I don’t yet know how to retaliate with my words in a way that would hurt him as badly as he has just hurt me.
Flight wins out.
I fly from the room,
outrunning his cruel deliverance,
his large, bearlike form,
my utter humiliation at being screamed at like a disobedient animal.

Frustrated, frightened, angry tears plow tracks down my face.
I huddle in the center of my bed,
Curled in against the shock and the emotional pain.
The room is dark, but the hallway light casts a beam into my haven.
A dark silhouette blocks my doorway,
I burrow my face into the covers, throwing my arms over my head.
I gentle hand reaches my back and I jump,
A whimper escapes my lips.
It’s my daddy.
I curl back up and let him stroke my back and murmur to me,
But I don’t get up.
Fresh tears are still coming when he finally leaves.
Voices carry from the other room.
My daddy sounding stiff and my terrible grandfather sounding confused.
I stay in my room,
too tired to creep under the sheets,
But still crying too hard to sleep.
Another black figure darkens my doorway,
It is not my daddy.
When he sits on the bed, I peek out at him from between my fingers.
I see his hand stretch toward me,
I lunge away, tears coming with a new vigor.
I turn my face away from him,
Staying at the opposite corner of the bed, as far away as I can get.
He says meaningless words,
His voice superior, and disgruntled at having to comfort me.
He is not contrite, this man who has just screeched at me until he made me flee.
I keep my distance.
He sighs, exasperated at my lack of forgiveness,
And leaves.
I cry myself out,
I don’t remember falling asleep.

So when this man comes,
This sad representation of a grandfather,
Carting his years of social awkwardness and his dominant behavior,
I am appropriately polite.
Sometimes condescending, but the poor old bugger cannot tell the difference
For his prominent years as powerful are past,
And in those years he has done nothing to earn the respect and adoration that I associate with my other grandparents.
He is lost to me,
this father of my father.
For I have no love of him.

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