Jack!!! (Part 1)
I’m sitting in my boxers at our kitchen table. I can feel my hair smashed down in the place where the pillow pushed against it all night, creating that irreplaceable ‘just woke up’ look. I brushed my teeth, but the mint taste in my breath is coupled with that biting morning breath that always seems to find its way back into my mouth. I try to focus my eyes on my computer screen as it comes to life. The phone rings. My dad peels himself away from his corner, only about a foot away from the kitchen TV. The same spot where the silverware drawer and microwave are, making it the most inconvenient point in the kitchen for him to have chosen as his spot, aside from maybe right in front of the fridge. The corner seems to breath as he answers, “Hello?” Pause. “This is Russ.” A long pause. “He’s in the room now?” I peer up from my laptop that I’ve opened up next to a peeled back banana. I think how my mom will be angry that it sits directly on the wooden table, no napkin to shield the two from each other. “He’s moving her out right now?” Its during this next break from my father’s questions that I almost immediately know that I’m gonna need to get dressed…and quick.
I minimize the window on my screen. An old, knobby tree is revealed, its base disappearing into a bed of green moss covered by its own fallen dry leaves. The tree was a photo taken just days before during our family christmas vacation in Spain. The tree represented what was left of the old jewish district in the southern town of Malaga. Its beauty seems to be the last in a small courtyard boxed in by a museum and its gift shop. My father hangs up the phone. By this time my mother has made her way to my father’s side, always inquisitive about a dramatic conversation not involving her.
“They’re moving Barbara today.” My father sighs, “and my Dad’s in there raising hell.”
“Oh great!” my mother says in her all too often exasperated tone. She seems to carry more stress about the situation than him. “Well are you gonna go over there?”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea right now.” There’s a pregnant silence. Both seem speechless as to what to say or possibly do.
“I’ll go,” I say.
They both look at me. A beat. “You know that might be good,” my dad finally says. “Sure, and you can play dumb.”
“That’s perfect, honey!” my mom chimes in. “Shane was planning on going over there for lunch anyway.”
They’ve agreed. I will be the one to get my grandfather out of his fiancé’s room, Barbara’s room. I’ll distract him and take him to lunch so that her own Grandson can move her and her things out of the Assisted Living Home…for good. And hopefully, permanently out of my Grandfather’s life as well.
I’m in my former Ford truck, attempting to start the engine. The car has clearly been abandoned here in the driveway, as is evident from the frost that covers its body and surrounds the ground around it. By the fourth try, the truck moans to life. And I’m on my way to rescue my 87 year old grandfather from making the biggest mistake of his life.