A Thousand Winds
The way you look at me hurts. The message in your eyes speaks volumes: You’re old. Therefore, you’re worthless.
You have no idea.
Do you think your generation invented sex? Drugs? Rock and roll? You, with your Facebook and Instagram and TikTok? You, that can’t show your face without a “filter?” Because one of your “friends” might see your soul? So you cover it up with whiskers or a pig nose, and think that you have the world in the palm of your hand?
Do you know what it’s like to truly be loved? By the same man, for forty-eight years? Could you find joy in a sandbox? Or playing house in the woods, where the rocks are your toaster, the trees your shower stall? Have you ever had to disappear into that same forest to escape a man that would hurt his own daughter to satisfy his sick fantasies?
Coachella is a meaningless spot on the map to me, yet your biggest accomplishment. But were you marching in Selma, Alabama in 1965? Were you in the crowd for the “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, DC, 1963? Did you see the Beatles land at JFK on February 7, 1964, after hitching a ride from California? Not looking so smug now, I see.
But there’s more. Much more. The life I’ve led even overwhelms me, to the point I have to leave it in the past sometimes and keep moving forward.
You don’t know any of it. All you know is that seven years ago you found out that I’m your grandmother, and who your parents really were. You haven’t spoken to me since.
I guess you’ll never know where your grandmother has been.
Because you hate me. And I’m dying.
“You’re such an asshole.” I toss a soiled napkin at Zach. I can relate to the crumpled paper as it floats to the carpet.
“I’m just gonna sleep through the whole fuckin’ scene,” he moans.
“C’mon, you have to help me,” I remind him.
“Grandpa Jim and me don’t exactly see eye to eye, remember? And you know what happens next.”
His words sting. I feel like he should know better, and if he doesn’t, that I should tell him that he should know better. But I don’t.
Instead, I keep the light mood going.
“Do you think Kylie Jenner gets a visit from her grandfather that used to be her father the day after Coachella?”
We have a much-needed howl when Greg quips, “Did you forget that Kylie Jenner’s father is a chick now?”
My mirth is interrupted by the definitive sound of a car door slamming somewhere on the street in front of my apartment complex. A quick glance out the sliding glass door has me snatching up the napkin and running for my bedroom to put on the nearest pieces of clothing I can reach.
“Put a fucking shirt on, you sexy slob!” I shout into the living room.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Greg scratches his belly and yawns, but is soon behind me pretending to hump me doggie-style as I’m putting on my underwear.
“I see Grandpa Jim still hasn’t traded in the Oldsmobile for the Porsche he deserves,” Greg deadpans. He seems to think that Grandpa has a lot of money stashed away in his mattress. In fact, Greg is obsessed with the thought. Maybe that’s why he’s so hard to get rid of?
“Shut up.” I suck on his bottom lip and rumple his hair. He’s so beautiful that I put up with all his other nonsense.
Zach pats my butt and chases me for a few steps as Grandpa’s knock falls on the door. I’m trying to stifle a grin when I swing it open to face the man who used to be number one in my life.
The look on Grandpa Jim’s face forces my smile to disintegrate.