Wednesday

Right Before My Eyes by @NeilSehmbhy (499 Words)

Grandpa disappeared one day. He popped in for lunch, made me a tuna sandwich and laughed when I wrinkled my nose at my glass of milk. I wanted blackcurrant squash, and told him so. He ruffled my hair, before heading to his garden to pull weeds out of the flower beds. Watching Grandpa was one of my favourite things to do. It felt safe and secure, even though he lived three doors down from us.

At first Grandpa just got smaller and smaller. He'd always seemed a giant, but now I was 8, he'd shrunk. Clothes he once filled now hung off him, as though borrowed from an larger older brother. It made him seem frail and ancient. But Grandpa was 'The strongest man in the world,' he told me so, and when he lifted me onto his shoulders I felt so tall. At least I used to. It had been ages since he'd done that. Even his head looked tiny, white hair wispy like candy-floss adorning his skull.


I tried to tell my parents.
“Mom, Grandpa's shrinking."
"Simon, away with you. I've dishes to wash.“ A soapy fist chased me out the kitchen.

"Dad. Grandpa's so small now. I'm worried, he's my only one."

"Jaysus, I'm watching the football, go do your homework. " He didn’t even look up at me.
“I’ve done it all Dad. But he…”
“You’ve finished it already? I never finished mine till Sunday night,  no wonder you don't like sports with your nose stuck in your books. Go do something else, but leave him alone, d'ya hear me boy? He's been through enough.”


Grandpa had told me, we had no secrets. My uncle had been lost in a war that wasn't ours.
Granny had left him years ago and his siblings had all gone. His sister of pnemonia and his brothers scattered around the four corners of the earth. Earth didn't have corners. Mrs Johnson had told us.
"It's round," I said pointing at my globe, "Surely if you went in a straight line you'd eventually find em." He chuckled, eyes sad. 

Even when he came to dinner, he seemed alone, Mom hardly spoke  and Dad played on his phone. 

That afternoon I watched him from my bedroom window, working in his garden. As he watered his roses he seemed to shrivel within himself. With each step, he slowly shrank until his clothes dragged along the grass. Just the wisps of his white hair stuck up where his head had been. Air scattered the leaves, blowing him about like blossoms on the wind. Grandpa turned to look at me, except I couldn't see his face. Waving back I noticed his empty sleeves had stopped moving and the watering can had dropped to the floor, spilling onto the lawn. His shirt and trousers joined his shoes on the floor, crumpled in a heap. Grandpa disappeared and I was the only one who saw him. I was the only one who cared. 


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