Rising Red Elevators

We had to file up violating hospital policy to see Grandpa before he died. I only remember standing between my sisters and our parents leaned toward us in the lobby. Behind them, a white hall seemed to rise toward red elevators. I tend to think it was all designed by our parents as something that would be good for us, help us to organize this new phenomenon, which seemed like another event in our lives that involved him, somewhere between letting him give us noogies at Christmas and shaking hands at our graduation, as if this in the middle wouldn’t exclude the latter. Grandpa’s funeral seemed like it should have been followed by us watching Grandpa play pool with our uncles in the basement. I like to think he wanted to see us, that the visit wasn’t one last thing our parents needed from him, that he asked to have us lined against the wall of the room he would die in: eleven, seven, and five. Little kids reflecting our ignorance, our expectation—despite what we’d been told—that death would happen and Grandpa would still show up at our graduations and shake our hands.


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