The tighter I hold it, the faster it slips away.
Ironic – how things haven’t changed here. It’s been years. Here, ahead of my eyes, I have that table for kids. We played so many games around it.
Here are these books. Stories that my heart remembers. It could be only because of them that it’s holding itself together… and yet now it’s cracking and breaking. Because the tighter I hold it, the faster it slips away.
One of them died here, on this bed. My head’s resting on a pillow which still smells like him. Grandpa. Just a month ago.
Grandma. She will leave this flat forever and find herself in a nursing home in a few days.
Grandma… who let him go without the slightest pain. Without realising that he went. (And oh, how they loved each other.) Grandma who has Alzheimer’s. Grandma who has forgotten all of those stories. Games around the table? She remembers none.
The tighter I hold it, the faster it slips away. The thing is… I can’t help it. I hold it so tight my hands are burning. I hold it with blood leaking, that’s how much I want to save them. Save them both – and save the myself I was while I had them. If only I could rewind the tape and find us in those moments.
Grandma… I want you to realise that I have finally outgrown you. We were always wondering if that would happen someday. If your memories remain the same, I’d rather stay short. I want to tell you about a day I found the second part of our favourite book in a bookshop. How will I ever be able to read it? How, when instead of the sentences, I am going to see the past us reading together?
Grandpa… I want to listen about all those girls chasing after you when you were young. I want to listen about you choosing among them until you chose my grandma. A story I know by heart. But I want to sit across from you with a cup of tea and listen to it for the hundredth time.
I’m thinking about sleeping here as a child. We had a thing: in the morning, I would hurry out of bed and knock on the door. She would come let me in the kitchen where hot cocoa was already prepared on the table. We were so happy that we see each other… as if it was years. Smiles on our faces, so much love in the air. I remember. Grandpa standing above pots, thinking about the lunch he’ll be making in a few hours. I remember.
When I wake up tomorrow, no one’s going to be waiting for me. There are no loving arms for me to jump into. My childhood slips away. It slips away tonight, I know. I’ve grown old. She’s grown ill. And he’s off to a place a living person cannot reach.
When I wake up tomorrow, it’s going to be me who will prepare breakfast. Breakfast and the pills.
A cycle of life. Unbearable, but fair.