i don’t have a title yet

Whispering in my ears was the cool twilight breeze that sauntered around the lamp posts shining faintly on the translucent windows of the red bricked apartment towering before me. My eyes traveled over to the moon; how intriguing was the impalpable distance of thirty-two earths between us. The thread of my musing, however, was broken by my mother’s voice, and I turned back to face the ponderous glass door through which not a single bone in my body desired to advance, for in it lay the room I had now avoided for two years. Regardless, my feet reluctantly carried me into the building and thereupon, my nose was met with the distinct smell of residual cleaning products, urine, and grease.

I was called in by my mother to hold him erect while she scurried into the bathroom to find a diaper. I stepped into the small room made cramped by the monstrous heap of boxes overfilled with clothes and miscellaneous items protruding out from the wall. There, I was confronted with an image now forever impressed in my mind: torpid was the fleshly bag of aged bones and moribund organs cloaked in ragged raiment that sat against the white concrete wall before me. Wispy, hoary strands of hair laid flat on its head; a lassitude weighs on the shoulders. Its first movements were made: wrinkled, bony fingers slowly met on its lap, and its melancholy, morose eyes drooped heavily; its soul asleep.

I walked over and placed myself in close proximity, the tips of my fingers grazing his shoulder. The most painful six minutes of my life it seemed like as I stood next to a stranger — but he was not a stranger for it is he to whom I owe my existence. Such familial ties held us together, but this creature, this dwindling human life, was, indispensably, a stranger to whom I had not so much as communicated a word to in the past five years.

Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw the frail head below me make its next movements: turning slightly upwards, weary eyelids lifting to reveal translucent eyes. My breath stopped; my heart stood still; my eyes ceased to flicker. I did not reciprocate. I did not dare to look into the eyes because in it I had recognized a human being, a soul with a previous life in which he laughed, cried, mourned, chattered; I saw my grandfather, now decaying, now ridden with Alzheimer’s, whom I had forsaken by never endeavoring to learn his language, never visiting so that now a sense of reprieve from my regret I sighed as the frail head slowly returned to its initial position.

Reader, may you never feel what I then felt! May your eyes never wield such fiery, heart-wrenching tears as mine! The moment I walked away from the impotent creature, hastily wiping away hot tears of frustration that had marched out of my eyes, you must know I was fully confronted with the consequences of my actions or lack thereof that had severed my relationship with my grandfather. Because until this day when the ravages of time have left him immobile, we have remained strangers. With profound sense of affliction, I now understand Elizabeth Bishop’s great suffering, because in the protracted expanse of time where we exchanged was not a single word, not one whisper nor glance, I had come into full consciousness of my mastery in the art of losing — how I had lost my grandfather’s wisdom woven in his lived experiences, his memories, like all my family’s, are my history, my roots, yet they are all trapped in the unspoken space between my elders and me.

I was and have always been diseased with the virulent thought that any attempt to approach my family was confounded futility. Etched out already on the surface of the dirt was the line demarcating me and my elders. Taking a branch I stabbed it further into the dirt ferociously, soil flying out until all the loose brown laid around me and I had hit solid earth. No such fertile soil for the lotus to blossom I think to myself.

Special thanks to Mr. Nick for his assistance in editing and inserting this creative prompt — to articulate a personal experience using the prose of Charlotte Bronte — in HP Literature. and for forgetting who i was when i came to visit you after graduating.. even though your class was my favorite.