When We’ve First Begun

“He’s nobody,” he said.

“And who are you?” I asked him.

“I’m yesbody,” he replied.

Fair enough.


We sat and discussed the matters that must be discussed and listened to things that we didn’t want to hear.

I was standing in the kitchen and I watched the nurse across the counter as she waited for my grandmother to sign the papers that would start the hospice care.

I didn’t want to be there, but there is where I belonged. I was surrounded by family and boxes of memories—the breathing was labored.

My grandmother spoke of faith and acceptance. I peeled an orange and felt the pulp as it stuck to my fingers.


They were the second car in the parade. They rode high on the backseat of a convertible Cadillac with their grandpa the mayor and they threw handfuls of candy to the children that lined the street.

We yelled their names and they looked at us and smiled. They were waving at faceless crowds and they found us in the blur. One of them threw candy in our general direction while the other looked ahead at the children on the sidewalk, cheering, clapping and eying the sweets with palatable anticipation.


A stool fell beside me. The bar was loud and vulgar. The six of us took a table by the door and I ordered two pitchers from the bartender that didn’t remember me.

I had just paid when someone got the phone call. Then they were out the door and I was standing amid spent locals and wasted paychecks with a jug of beer in each hand.

“She fell,” someone had said. “He thinks this is it.”

I turned to the loud and the vulgar and handed them a round of free beer. They begged me not to leave.

Tomorrow the boys will visit their grammy and they will be excited by the bells they can reach and the dogs that they can fit into their pockets. They will see places to run and play—possibilities where I only see what used to be.

Grammy will love them more than anything and she will wish that they could just be still.

Then they will laugh as we drive away, and they will see things out the window that we have missed. It will be another long ride in another hot car and they’ll nap lazily in the afternoon sun, never knowing if they will see her again.

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