My grandfather

My grandfather’s body wanted to forget about its missing left lung. Alzheimer’s! Perfect. His transition from a hard-ass, selfish, son of a sharecropper to a crybaby, manipulative, hoarder of frozen food did
nothing to thaw my frosty feelings for him. Handy indifference: no embarrassing tears to hide or frogs to swallow. Easy death.

My uncle told him that he loved him as we wrapped up our visit. I told him I’d bring him fried chicken and chewing tobacco the next day, trusting the disease to get me off the hook.

My uncle’s unsteady voice on the phone the next morning got me off the hook. Mortal-wrapped “what ifs” repainted history with soft edges and warm light. But naked love seen through tear glasses is
vicarious. I wanted to mourn defenselessly, devoid of juvenile aches for acceptance: damned indifference.

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