Write about something involving a Grandfather, write for 15 minutes (prompt found on the Write Practice).
I squeezed into the room, it was packed with people. Five generations standing together for the last time. Nine children, 7 spouses, 31 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren pushed in to fill the space around the bed that had been moved into the den. I hugged the wall as I edged away from the door. I was the last one, late, but then I’d come the farthest. I made eye contact with the imposing man standing at the front of the room. My uncle just smiled at me, forgiving, as always, and indicated with a nod of his head that I should close the door.
“Is that Bebe?” asked the voice from the bed.
“It’s me pops,” I said, edging my way to the center of the room.
People parted, touching my shoulder or giving my hand a squeeze as I passed. When I reached the bed I sat on the edge, next to my grandmother and took my grandfather’s hand in my own. He was only 65 but his hand felt as thin and small as a man of advanced age. Cancer had shrunk the man who raised me to nothing. My mother had been his oldest child. She’d died in a car accident with my father when I was just five years old. My grandparents, in their mid forty’s at the time, still had four of their 10 children living with them, their youngest two, the twins had been 12 at the time. I had been raised as the baby of the family, an 11th child. My grandfather had started calling me Bebe and it had stuck.
“Where’d you blow in from?” he asked.
I squeezed his hand tightly in my own and held back a tear. He’d started that joke when I was still very small, I’d always come and gone in such a rush, leaving a trail in my wake, like a tornado, it was more relevant now that I traveled for work.
“Nepal,” I replied, kissing his forehead.
“What happened to Thailand?” He coughed a little as he finished the question. His mother took an ice chip from the cup on the bedside table and slipped it between his lips. At 83, she was still sharp but she was about to bury her only child and the toll it was taking was obvious.
“I took a detour,” I said, brushing tears from my face with my free hand. If I had stayed in Thailand I would have been home days ago. I would have been here when he started to fail.
“I missed you Babette,” he said, “I’m glad you came home.”
“Me too, Pops.” I said as he closed his eyes to rest. My grandmother hugged me to her and I released his hand. She kept one arm around me and placed her other hand in his.
“We were just waiting on you Bebe,” she said, “He’s ready to go now, he just wanted you to have a chance to say goodbye.”
My uncle started to read from my grandfather’s favorite bible verses and we waited, all of us, for the last moment to come.