1429 WordsJul 11, 20186 Pages
She's sitting there, a blown-out shell as hulking and vacant and lifeless as the enchanted castles of my beloved fairy-tale stories. The television cries for attention, but her eyes refuse to acknowledge even its blatant wail. Behind tinted glass-is that smudged dirt or a protective coating?-eyes finally flutter open, the first sign of life. Are they blank? Do they beg for help or scream of past and present pain? I can't say-I haven't the courage to look. The world rotates around its axis three times an hour and I run with it. "Soccer cleats, water bottle, there you go." "Fine-I'll be there in an hour." "Okay, groceries, post office, soccer practice . . . hmm . . . what do you want for dinner?" Family members dance around…show more content…
"She just needs our help." Ashley waits-this isn't enough. "We just need to be really nice to her and love her, 'kay?" Such hope and false enthusiasm in my voice-perfect hypocrisy. She nods, apparently convinced. I can't convince myself, however. I merely think of Grandma and shrink in dread. What can I do to penetrate that deadness surrounding her? What can I say that she will understand? What can I do to remove the fear and aversion and sorrow I feel in her presence? Despite my dread, I am inextricably drawn toward her, like a child demanding stories of witches and werewolves and then crying out in the nightmares that follow. I must know the worst, I believe, to accept, to understand, to recapture love. And so I tread reluctantly but persistently up the stairs to her room-running clothes on, load of laundry on my hip, book in hand, lego between my toes. I peer into her bedroom-a cave, purposefully dark and drawn away from the world, damp with mildewed history, silent and completely removed from any reminder of an outside world. Blinds are dusty and drawn, walls barren, and bureau littered with a meaningless jumble of nothings. A bulge in hospital-green has collapsed on the bed, and I strain to hear and count Grandma's breaths, to make sure there really is existence in her still form. Six seconds, and a breath. Six . . . breath . . . another six . . . and another. Marking time, but not life. "Grandma?" I wait. "Grandma?" Another pause. "It's

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