Grandpa Lost His Glasses
GRANDPA LOST HIS GLASSES
“That's the last straw,” Megan screamed. “We are putting him in a home!”
She looked at her husband waiting for a response, but none came. Then she looked past him to see their daughter, Tiffany standing at the doorway. Her words reverberated in her mind and she rushed past her husband to the doorway.
“Why don't you go play?” she said to her daughter almost pushing the eight year old out of the door.
Tiffany turned and walked away. Megan closed the door and went back to her husband, still sitting motionless in his living room chair. He held up the receipt she had just given him.
“Can you believe it? Nine hundred dollars for a pair of glasses. I thought ours were bad at half that.”
“But dear,” Bert started to say, “ours are not multi-focal and do not have the special hearing aid temple. You know he needs that.”
“I'm just tired of him living with us and costing so much, to say nothing of the clothes or bed linen he messes himself in because he won't wear adult diapers. And how many times has he lost his keys? God knows how many people out there might have keys to our house.”
Tiffany stood outside the door listening. Mommy didn't complain when her baby brother made a mess, she thought. She turned and quietly stepped away. She loved the old style banister beside the stairs leading to the bedrooms. Each step she put one foot or a hand between the slats and looked over the top at it. Her grandmother had shown her how to do that when she was living here and Megan and her parents lived in another house. The hallway at the top of the stairs led to the bedrooms and the one bathroom she shared with her grandpa.
Grandpa's was beside hers. She knew she was supposed to knock but sometimes he slept in the afternoon and she didn't want to wake him. Carefully, she turned the knob and pushed it slightly open poking her head in to look around the corner. Grandpa sat in his big comfy chair staring out the window. Tiffany closed the door and knocked, hoping Grandpa hadn't seen her. She heard his gravelly voice telling her to come in.
His voice wasn't always like that, she remembered. He used to sing her lullabies until she fell asleep each night. His voice was beautiful back then.
Well, even the gravelly voice was beautiful to her, just different.
She climbed up on the side of the chair laying her head on his chest.
“Grandpa, what does it mean to be put in a home?” she asked softly.
“Is that what they are saying?”
Tiffany nodded her head. He explained that he would have to move out of the house and live with a bunch of people like him. Tiffany raised her head and spun around to look at him.
“When would I see you?” she asked, almost on the verge of tears.
“Whenever they brought you over or brought me back,” He knew that would not be very often, if at all. His losing his glasses was the straw that broke the camel's back.
“I won't let them,” Tiffany said defiantly. “I will keep you in my room and not let them in.”
Grandpa hugged her, pressing her head back against his chest and held her. He looked across the street through the window. Other children played in the playground. Despite not wanting to let her go, he urged her to go play. She shook her head saying she just wanted to stay here on his lap.
He rocked her slightly, as much as he could, and whispered the words to the lullaby he always sang. Before long she was asleep. He loved that. It meant she was not growing up and would forever be his baby Tiffany.
But, he knew better. As he softly stroked her hair, listening to her deep breathing visions of her over the years went through his mind, almost in sequence as she grew up.
“Dad, we need to talk to you,” Megan said bursting into his room. Suddenly seeing Tiffany she felt embarrassed. Grandpa softly moved aside, letting Tiffany slip down into the seat of the chair cuddling into a ball. He put his finger to his lip signalling Megan to be quiet as he took her by the arm and led her outside the room.
She had to help him manage the stairs. She locked that into the back of her memory ready to use that as an excuse for him moving into a home. He wouldn't have stairs to climb or go down. Quickly she went over other reasons she could use.
In the living room, Grandpa sat on the sofa, Megan in her chair. Bother her chair and her husband's chair faced him. They both leaned forward.
“When do you want me to move out?” he asked shocking them. Megan realized Tiffany must have told him what she heard.
'Right now' almost slipped out of her mouth. “Well we know we have to apply and that all takes time.”
“Then take me to the health unit tomorrow so I can apply.” he said and stood up before the shock could wear off. Still stunned but happy, Megan looked at her husband and smiled as if to say, 'that was easier than we thought.'
Grandpa pulled himself up the railing to the bedroom. Carefully, he picked up his granddaughter and sat down cuddling her as if he had never left. He looked out the window again and closed his eyes, hugging Tiffany tighter. He kissed her forehead and laid his head back feeling his heart beat slowly decreasing until there was none.
© 2018 Bryan Beerling