Posted in Short Stories

My Treasure (Part V)

Grandpa’s downcast face and gentle eyes looked troubled. In a small voice he said, “I’m 87 years old, and I have nothing to show for it.”

“Sure you do,” replied Grandma.

“No, I don’t. I don’t have a lot of money, and I’m not able to buy you everything you want.”

“Ben,” said Grandma. “You have five healthy children, sixteen grandchildren, and twenty great grandchildren who love you. You have a wife who loves you, a house you own outright, and no outstanding debts. Ben, you’re the richest man in the world.”

Later that afternoon, I watched Grandpa mowing the lawn on his riding mower. His cheeks drooped with an expression of sadness. His eyes reflected melancholy. It was as though he knew something upsetting about himself. Around in circles he went, sometimes mowing the same patch of grass twice. This can’t be the same man that used to be so strong long ago. I felt his sadness, but there was nothing I could do to change the fact that he was getting worse.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, inhaling the smoky, rich scent of the pine trees along the edge of the lawn. This smell I knew all too well. The different campgrounds Grandma and Grandpa used to take us to when we were kids boasted the same fragrance. But the camping stopped as we all grew older, and soon Grandpa sold his trailer. It’s hard to bear the thought that all things are forever changing, and that nothing gets stuck in time. When I opened my eyes, Grandpa was still sitting on his mower. He had a smile on his gentle face. I smiled back and took in the memory of his smiling sweet face. I would always remember this moment.

On my way home that evening, I had an uneasy feeling I couldn’t shake. I needed someone to talk to so I decided to stop off at mom’s instead of going directly home. When I walked in my parents’ house, I noticed my mom’s red eyes.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Apparently, after you left, Grandpa fell,” she said.

“But he was fine when I walked out the door. How did it happen?”

“He was making his usual rounds between the kitchen and the living room, when his knees gave out.”

“So what’s going to happen now?”

“Well, he can’t walk now, which means your Grandmother can’t take care of him. After all, it’s too much for her to handle. The only thing I can think of is to put him in a nursing home.”

“I thought you were against that.”

“I was, but that’s the only option we have.”

(To Be Continued)


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