I’m the second granddaughter on my mother’s side of the family and was the favorite of my mother’s father, my maternal grandfather. I remember that he’d play with me all the time and wouldn’t ground me, even if I deserved it. In my eyes, when I was a shrimp of a girl, I thought that his house was humongous. I’d take the bedroom’s size to my advantage, in which I’d hide and my grandfather would go looking for me. I remember so little of him, but what I remember are happy memories and fond feelings when we were together, save one.
It was a day when I was almost half a decade old, the weather was breeze fully warm and the sky was clear. The sun was high up in the sky, nothing blocked it, but the bulky canopy of the trees in the backyard provided day-long shade and the breeze made them dance a slow rhythm sensual to the eye. Inside the house, I was playing hide and seek with my grandfather. I was hiding inside one of the closets of the house. It was pitch dark and full to the maximum capacity, but there was a small peeking hole in the side of the door frame through which some brightness entered.
“I’m looking for a little princess, who has emerald eyes and chocolate hair. Where could she be?” I heard my amused grandfather through the clothes in the closet.
“Maybe she’s here. Nope. Maybe here.”
I heard he was getting close to my hiding place and couldn’t control the giggles that escaped through my lips.
“Was that her? It sounded like she’s in the closet. Let me see.”
With a breath drawn in sharply, my heart stopped and I knew I had blown my cover. I was about to be discovered, but nothing happened. Did he go to another closet? I decided to peek, but to see well I had to get out of the closet, so I did. I pushed my way through the clothes and the darkness into freedom.
“Aaahh. Grandpa, why did you do that?”
“I was just playing with you, sweetheart.” He picked me up and gave me a bear hug.
“Ok. Now you hide.” I told him.
“Maybe later. Grandpa is tired and needs his rest. Ok?”
“But what will I do? I’m bored.” I wailed.
“Go look for grandma. I think she’s baking cookies.”
“Ok. Sweet dreams.” I gave in quickly at the mention of cookies. So, I kissed his forehead as he lie down in his favorite armchair in his bedroom, his throne as he called it, and made my way to the kitchen.
Instead of going to the kitchen from the inside of the house through the long, dark and solitary corridor, I went out the back door. I decided to play along the way. Although we lived in town we had such a big backyard and grandma always had chickens. The backyard had very big grey rocks and many plantain trees.
“This is Deborah calling base. Come in base.” I spoke to Home Base in Earth; I was an explorer in an alien planet.
“Come in Deborah.”
“What are my orders, base?
“Find rare items and bring them back.”
I followed base’s orders and surveyed my surroundings. I moved rocks and debris, and found a most rare item base would be interested in. I picked it up and analyzed it. It was shiny made of metal and wood. The metal end had pointy teeth like a saw, it wasn’t sharp but I decided to hold it by the wooden end. It was actually a kitchen knife.
With it my role changed and I became a pirate battling other pirates with my sword to protect my ship. Swords clanked and pirates were yelling at each other, while I moved around defending myself from other pirates. I was panting and moving around protecting my crew and ship. Suddenly a big shadow came upon me. It was like it became night all of a sudden, but I realized it was a big white monster that came from the sea above me.
“Take that you monster.” I pierced the monster’s flesh. It floated away in a flash and with its disappearance I showed who was boss. The pirates cowered before me and retreated, making me victorious.
I went inside the ship to asses the damages. I opened the door of the kitchen and noticed that nothing was damaged. There was no one to be seen around, but I noticed that on top of the stove someone was cooking something, or maybe, a witch was brewing a potion. I instantly knew that I couldn’t taste it for I would die a horrible death. I looked around for a bench to reach the potion and throw it.
“What are you doing, Deborah?” my grandfather surprised me.
“Oh, you’re awake. I was playing make believe.”
“I’m awake because you’re grandma woke me up because she couldn’t find you. You know you have to tell us where you are at all times.” He wasn’t yelling at me, but I knew he was worried.
“It’s ok, but next–” He stopped abruptly when he noticed what I had in my hand. “Give me that.”
“No. It’s my sword.” So I ran and tried to hide, but I wasn’t fast enough. My grandfather cornered me in the sofa and tried to take the knife from me. I struggled with him and suddenly the knife was out of my hand. Immediately I felt a warm liquid running down my hand. It was blood, but who’s?
“What’s going on? DAD! What happened to your hand?” My mom arrived from work.
“Deborah was playing with this knife and I took it by the blade, but she yanked it away from my hand and sliced it, but I’m ok. Don’t worry.”
“No dad. That looks horrible. Mom, take care of the girls while I take dad to a doctor.”
“Mommy, is Grandpa going to be ok?” Tears were streaming from my eyes.
“Don’t worry, baby. I’m just taking him so they can clean the wound.” Out the door they disappeared.
“I’m sorry.” I sobbed to the emptiness they left behind.
The next day when I saw my grandfather, I ran towards him apologizing and saying that I would never play with sharp objects again. Over the next months I noticed that my grandfather became weaker and sleepier than before. He started going to the doctor very often, until he was admitted to the hospital. Before he went to stay in the hospital he talked to me and my sister, hugging us and telling us how much he loved us. Crying I told him I didn’t wanted him to go to the hospital because I couldn’t go visit him there. He gave us one last hug and went his way to the hospital. That was the last time I saw him.
My grandfather never left the hospital. He died just before he began his seventieth decade. I blamed and punished myself for his death because of the incident with the knife. An incident provoked by a disobedient child, who wanted to do as she pleased. Many times throughout the first year of grandpa’s death, I’d go to his big forest green armchair, which the smell it had of tobacco began fading, and curl in it crying my eyes out. In one occasion that I was in his armchair, my mother witnessed me talking to the armchair apologizing and crying for having ended his life. She rapidly advanced towards me, hugged and smooched me, and began to explain what really happened. My grandfather died out of a combination of a heart condition with diabetes. Knowing this didn’t make me forget my gloominess and feel overjoyed without guilt, just a tiny bit better because I knew I hadn’t really killed my grandfather.