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Time Doesn't Always Heal
"Emma, have I ever told you the story of the first time I had a Coca-Cola?" Grandma asked. I nodded, staring up at her with wide eyes from where I sat, with my legs crossed, on the floor next to her rocking chair.
"Yes Grandma, you told me about it last weekend." I told her. Her tired old eyes brightened with a soft smile.
"Oh, I don't know hun, this story's about your Grandpa." She told me. I smiled back up at her as she started her story of how her and Grandpa met.
I was only 12 years old then.
She had told me the story before. She told me the same story every weekend, insisting I hadn't heard THIS story before.
I had. It was always the same story. I didn't mind though. I always just smiled and listened, letting her talk. I liked the story. I'd never met my Grandfather, because he died before I was born, so I liked hearing about him.
The story was about them meeting at some old soda fountain. Grandpa had bought two cokes and offered one to Grandma. They started talking and sipped the soda happily. After that they walked home together and spent hours saying goodnight underneath the bright, moonlit sky.
No matter how many times I'd heard her story, I'd always sit there on the rug, with my legs crossed, next to her rocking chair, hanging onto her every word.
When she was done talking, she would always get up and make us hot chocolate. Then we'd watch 'I Love Lucy', as we drank it, till my mom picked me up.
That night after my mom had brought me home, while she was putting in my braids for bed, I asked her why Grandma always told me the same story. Mom got real quiet. She didn't say anything for a while. I was about to ask her what was wrong, when she finally spoke up. She told me Grandma was very sick with Alzheimer's and it made it hard for her to remember things. She said that it was probably the only memory she had of Grandpa, and she doesn't remember every telling me the story.
When I asked her when she'd get better, Mom just started crying. I didn't know why she was so sad. I wanted to reach out and give her a hug, tell her it was okay, but she got up and left the room.
I sat there on my bed,with my half finished braids, trying to figure out why she what had made her cry.
Now I'm 15 and I understand why she was upset. These day Grandma has a young women named Nancy helping her out around the house with stuff she can't do by herself anymore.
Today I walked up the front steps of her house and knocked on the door twice. Nancy answered the door moments later.
"Why hello Emma." She beamed. "Sherrie's waiting for you." She leaned the broom in her hands towards the living room. I nodded gratefully and headed in to find Grandma in her old rocking chair.
I walked over and hugged her. She kissed my cheek and I sat down on the rug by her feet with my legs crossed.
"Emma, have I ever told you the story of the first time I had a Coca-Cola?" She asked. Her hair was grayer now and she seemed to be slightly more hunched over, but her eyes still shown with a childlike excitement.
I smiled to myself and shook my head.
"No Grandma, why don't you tell me now?"