This morning blew. But I honestly didn’t expect anything else. Nothing went as planned, but then again it never does when we try this. It was as if someone had physically shaken me for 60 minutes and then threw me on my feet to walk. There was just no way. I lost it driving up 95–I couldn’t even see. My eyes were flooding and last nights mascara was falling into them, and that shit stung so badly.
I pulled it together shortly after realizing that I could very well crash my car from lack of vision. Driving down RT 1 I thought, I want to see my grandmothers house, or rather, what was my grandmothers house.
In the late winter of 2016, the power in her vacant house tripped, and the electricity never came back on. Her pipes broke and her entire house was ruined. Water ran for 3 days before we knew what had happened. I remember getting there and hearing a waterfall from the second floor onto the first floor hallway. Dad and Lana were already on the move, pulling things out of the house and laying them outside. After processing what I had walked into, I joined them, stomping about franticly in soaked tennis shoes. We emptied what seemed like half the house onto the lawn, and just like that, it started to snow. I remember how cold I was, how sad I was. The walls were splitting and swelling. The basement, like a shallow pond. The only place that felt like home after my parents divorced was gone.
I drove down her road wondering if had some developer torn it down. Or if there was an ugly brand new cookie cutter house sitting there. Maybe two ugly brand new cookie cutter houses sitting there staring back at me.
As I approached it, I saw new furniture on the screened-in porch which sat on the side of the house. My jaw dropped. Someone bought it? Someone bought it and fixed it? Someone else saw value in it. Tears started to roll again. I was beyond pleased. All of my memories flooded into my head. My regret ever moving out came back, too. Every holiday, cookout, homemade dinner. The times when I would drive over there to shovel her driveway before she was even awake. Goodness, I missed it all.
I was now on my way to see her. When I got there she was tired. She didn’t want to eat. We talked a little. I wanted to tell her about her house, that someone made it beautiful and livable again.
But the thing is, she still doesn’t even know it flooded.
She quickly fell asleep. That wasn’t unusual. She’s been holding on for two years at this point. It was just another day, really. I don’t get too sad about it anymore because I don’t allow myself to think about her reality. Today, however, was a little different. I sat there on the bed and looked down at her sleeping. Even when she sleeps she looks like she’s in total discomfort. It’s like she’s frowning. I got sad. I bit on my lip to snap out of it, but inevitably the tears came. God damnit, if only I could do something to make her feel total joy one last time.
I thought about everything. I missed time with her; dinner dates, baking, talks at her kitchen table. How she would tell the same stories over and over again without realizing it. Like how she met Pabo and how he would show up at her house in the middle of the night because he hadn’t had dinner–his mom had left the state and his dad was an alcoholic. I thought about how nothing feels like home anymore. I wanted to be back in her house on her, what seemed like, 40 year old couch with my head on her lap, watching who even fucking knows, like Shirley Temple or something. I thought about how she’s been there for every achievement in my life. I thought about how I always pictured her at my wedding. Her only granddaughter. Her only grandchild. I wanted her to be here to finally see me well on my way. I wanted her to feel proud of me. I wanted her to witness me being proud of myself. I wanted her to see me so genuinely happy. I wanted her to be able to see that I was going to be ok after she was gone. I can’t even give her that. So, I put up a front for her. I have to be strong. After all, she is the one who’s 89 lbs and in a nursing home.
No one knows what has happened to me. I don’t know what has happened to me. But I screwed up. My young self never pictured my life this way at 27. My family straight up asks me if I’m done wasting my twentieth decade yet. I’m laughed at, questioned, mocked. I laugh back, too, but it’s really just to cover my own disappointment. Disappointment–the embodiment of disappointment. & I am so, so sorry.
*Update: My step-dad ended up getting murdered this day, but we didn’t find out until the following day, November 19th. It’s mind blowing how badly life can blindside you. I was upset about my grandmother one minute, and gutted from something completely different the next.