#128 One More Day

by Peggy McFarland

Grandma is wearing only her bottom dentures. The last time I saw her, the top ones fit too. I concentrate on what she’s mouthing. “Open the window.”

I fumble with the window casing. She can hardly hear, so I shout. “It’s open.”

Her sunken eyes won’t see my deception. Does Grandma even recognize me?

I wish hospital windows did open. Parking lot air has got to be fresher than this room. I stare out the window so I don’t have to look at those nose tubes. Or the half-yellow catheter bag. Or thermometer-thin arms, bruised from wrist to johnny because ninety-five-year-old skin is tissue-thin.

“Open the window.”

She knows I lied about the window. Does she know I lied about soon? I meant to visit, really. Maybe she knows I’m here now.

A light pulsates from across the parking lot.

It grows.

It nears.

Grandpa appears inside that white light, smiling, arms wide-open.

I shut the blinds, turn my back on the window that can not open.

My shadow shrouds Grandma’s body, but that damn light seeps around and touches her wispy hair. She whimpers. I quickly bend to kiss her.

“Would you like a mint, Grandma?”

I brought her favorite, the Canada ones that used to fill her candy dishes. I lay one on her tongue, take one for myself. The memory-taste makes me cry.

The visitor’s chair reclines. I will wait until the light recedes.

“Open the window.”

I stroke her forehead. I am here now.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Nicely restrained in the telling, good details.