Original publication can be viewed here.
Our grandpa is dead. Neither of us will ever get answers to the questions we seek. Our grandfather is dead and I sit here alone in my apartment. I’m wondering…wondering. I don’t know what to think. I’m only my senses, the feel of the carpet on my feet. It’s summer and I’m sweating. I don’t have a job yet and here I sit writing letters that might not ever get read. The keyboard feels too tense on my fingers. I know I was selfish.
I chose not to visit because I could not see him die again. You’re younger, you don’t have a choice, and so now we are states apart, you confronted with the limitations of life, and I have the privilege of ignoring it.
He already died. I want to tell you specifics but I don’t remember any of them. I only know the feeling of being forgotten. Of not being able to remember. It’s as though my tongue is tickling the roof of my mouth. My memory keeps nagging me the way a parents’ voice should remind their kid to take out the trash. Why can’t I remember taking out the trash? Why can’t I remember a hug?
All I remember is a feeling. Maybe there was one day where my five-year-old feet ran across the hardwood floor into his extended arms? Maybe there was one day in a pool? I wonder if this is how he felt. I’m trying to remind myself to remember something but all I see are these short snapshots. The only thing I remember for sure is him forgetting me.
See, you never got the chance to know our grandpa. When I was a child there was some sort of falling out. It had something to do with homophobia. To be completely honest, I don’t know exactly what happened. We were visiting and then all of the sudden we weren’t visiting. All I know is that it seemed like six years had passed without seeing him. You were already born; so young that you didn’t notice the absence. By the time he got Alzheimer’s it was too late. The years had already gone by. I didn’t expect homophobia to look like this.
Once, when we visited, he kept our photos in his pocket; our names on the back to help him remember. Maybe he loved us. Either way, something as beautiful as love got in the way of love. Now, we won’t ever be able to ask what happened.
My roommates are awake. In their footsteps I hear the same movement, clank of cups, smell of egg that I experience every day. I haven’t told them what happened. I want to hold on to the sound for a minute longer. I don’t know what to think, all I know is that my eyes are tired. I wonder: what you are wondering? Do you remember enough to wonder?