Grandma Died. We all gathered at her house for pizza and cups of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate after a long, cold day at the funeral. There were a lot of us – family members from other cities and other states with our children.
Grandma’s house was just as she had left it – ‘spic-n-span-spotless’ with everything in its proper place. The dusted piano rested against the front window where dry-cleaned curtains hung. The black couches with red and black show pillows on them were comfortably arranged around the television set though she never watched television. A coffee table in the center, held a crystal, Libra scale and Grandma’s high-school graduation gift from the Los Angeles Times. She was awarded for going back to school as a senior citizen after dropping out at about thirteen. At this young age, she went to work to help her mother. With her extra money, not only did she contribute to the purchase of food but she also bought whatever the house could use for beautification (like colorful rugs to brighten the floors). The gift that she was awarded was, “Front Page – 100 Years of L.A. Times 1881-1981” Just opposite the living room set, was Grandma’s dining room table which was always dressed (unless the table cloth was in the laundry). A bowl of plastic fruit sat, as the center piece (the fruit was always a conversation piece for their authenticity). The kitchen was small but always clean. The walls were white, the cabinets were white, the sink was white, the counter top was white and the stove was white – not one grease stain although it was in use every day. And the refrigerator was white, not one black fingerprint though it contained all the little fruit magnets that all the great grandchildren wanted to play with. Even the bathroom was just how Grandma had left it. No dirty rings around the tub or greasy dirt sticking to the face bowl and no sign of water droplets in either one. The toilet was even free of yellow stains. The wall paper was the same as what I have always known for twenty-seven years – the bathroom was clean and bright. It was the perfect example of how Mom always told me to keep my bathroom. “You never want your bathroom to smell like a bathroom.”
Once we were warm and had a few slices of pizza in us, something very strange happened. Some of us became unusually comfortable as if we could finally do whatever we wanted. For entertainment, a few of us played dominoes. The bowl of fruit was removed from Grandma’s dining table. Then, because some of us enjoyed slamming the “bones” on the bare table, the table was stripped of its cloth without a second thought and thrown to the side in a crumpled ball. The children ran breathlessly throughout the house. They over-turned rugs and plastic runners and tossed the show pillows from the couches, across the living room and sat on them. The fruit magnets on the refrigerator were pushed down to the middle of the appliance so that the children could play with them. Not only did they play with them but they snatched the magnets off of the refrigerator and threw them clear across the kitchen one by one.
Grandma’s house had truly been violated. Surely something should have been said but then the worse could have been expected as a reply. Why not take the table cloth off? Grandma’s not here! Let the kids play with the magnets the way they want, Grandma’s not here!
Yes, Grandma was really gone…and these actions proved her absence more than seeing her corpse in the casket.
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