“Are you tired, Grandma?” The boy asks as he sees her eyes flicker.
“Tired?” the boy’s grandmother says. “Sometimes I’m tired.”
Her words come out as a mumble as she can’t have her teeth in.
Her speech isn’t as good as it used to be.
“Sometimes, I get tired of walking.”
“You gotta get walking if you’re gunna get better!” the boy’s uncle says.
“I like it in that wheelchair; the nurse wheeled me out to get some air.
“Then, I wasn’t tired.”
The boy watches as his grandmother smiles her famous smile.
“I wake up every morning and say ‘HAH!’”
She coughs from trying to speak loud.
“I say ‘Hah! I wonder if today I will live or I will die.’”
“Let’s stay on the ‘live’ side for now, huh, Grandma?” the boy says.
She makes a noise to show she heard him speak.
She nods to tell him she couldn’t make out what he said.
Her ears aren’t as good as they used to be.
He smiles widely at her.
He sees that she’s looking at him, but she cannot see him.
Her eyes aren’t as good as they used to be.
“Every day I pray ‘Oh, Lord, please take me peacefully in my sleep.’”
“Oh, Grandma, you’re close to 100.”
“Oh, I don’t think I’ll make it that long.”
“You’re gunna be 95 in a few weeks, Grandma. You got this.”
“Yeah,” she says.
He knows she didn’t hear everything.
A nurse walks in, an Indian middle-aged woman.
“Okay,” she says as she takes out equipment to test her blood pressure.
The boy’s grandmother smiles and reaches out her arm towards the nurse.
“Oh, she’s so cute,” the nurse says to the boy and his uncle.
The blood pressure strap fixes itself around her arm, bunching up.
Her skin isn’t as smooth as it used to be.
“Keep breathing,” the nurse tells his grandmother.
She stares at the monitor worriedly.
“75, come on,” she says under her breath.
“Keep breathing,” she says again.
She grabs his grandmother’s hand and tries to warm it up.
“Take a deep breath, Grandma,” the boy’s uncle says.
“I don’t have my teeth in.”
“No, just breathe, Grandma,” he says.
“Just breathe,” she says.
He reaches out and grabs her hand tenderly.
“Look, look at me,” the nurse says.
She makes breathing actions with her mouth.
“Do this. Keep breathing.”
His grandma opens her mouth wide and takes big breaths.
Breathing wasn’t as easy for her as it used to be.
“83, come on,” the nurse says under her breath.
“93, yay! There we go,” she says with a smile.
“How old is she?”
“She’ll be 95 in a couple of weeks,” the boy’s uncle says.
“She’s doing very good for her age.”
She takes off the blood pressure strap and leaves the room.
“I got two good drivers,” the boy’s grandmother says to his uncle.
“You and Jacky.”
She mistook the boy for her son, his father.
He cannot bring himself to correct her.
Her memory wasn’t as good as it used to be.
“I’m glad I don’t drive anymore.”
“I’m glad you don’t drive anymore, too,” the boy’s uncle says.
“You crashed when you did.”
He laughs because of the joke.
She laughs because she knows he must’ve said something funny.
“I’ve got two good drivers,” she says.
“I couldn’t ask for anybody better.”
Again, she smiles and laughs the same way the boy always knew her to.
It was a laugh that showed the boy how light his grandmother was.
How light she is in a world that always seemed so dark to him.
He remembers that laugh from his childhood.
Accompanied by that smile, it never failed to warm his heart.
The boy felt tears welling up in his eyes but holds them back.
“She’s just tired sometimes,” the boy says to himself.
“Hey, Grandma,” the boy says loudly so she hears him.
“What?” she replies.
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
She looks at him and smiles and laughs.
“L-O-V-E,” she spells it out to him.
“Yup,” the boy smiles back.
“Thanks for coming out to see me,” she says.
One tear escapes.
“Of course,” the boy says, holding her hand tight.