“You are cold, grandpa.” I tell him placing my hands over his cheeks. He shivers lightly as the warmth of my finger seeps into his frigid sun-tanned skin.
“I don’t feel anything.” He says vaguely.
“But you are cold.” I tell him while I cover all of his bare skin with a comforter.
“Grandpa, do you want to take a nap?” I ask him as he yawns for the fourth time.
“Yes, I think sneaking into my warm bed would do me good.” He admits bleakly.
With much tugging and pulling, I help him stand on his feet. He holds the edges of the door as we make our way to his bedroom. Other than the uneasy ragged breaths, he doesn’t say anything. After what seemed like eternity, we reach his badly lit room. I could smell the faint odour of antiseptic my aunt had used to eradicate all foul smell that lingered due to inappropriate number of times he had to attend the natures call and the same amount he’d recklessly got entangled in the blankets, taking him forever to empty his excretion.
I tuck him safely into his bed.
He sighs in exhaustion as I heave a breath of relief myself. I pull the sheets up to his chin and stuff it’s corners under the mattress in case he turn and toss in his sleep.
“She’s gone forever, hasn’t she?” He asks me quietly; voice so faint I had to repeat his words in my head few times before I could register what he was actually saying.
“Of course not. Grandma will always be with us. Nobody can take her away.” I tell him shaking my head in horror at his train of thoughts. “We love her as much as you do.” I add mildly, suddenly forming a lump in my throat.
“Do you want me to stay while you are still awake, grandpa?” I ask him when he, instead of dozing off right away stared at the charcoal black ceiling, decorated with endless silver like cobwebs.
“I have been sleeping here by myself all this time, haven’t I??Did your mother ask you to keep an eye on me?? I won’t go out on my own again. Even if I did, tell her I am not a child anymore.” His anger flared up without a head start warning.
“I know it’s annoying sometimes but grandpa, the stairs are too steep. If you topple down, you could get hurt. She worries about you. In fact we all are because we care. Because grandpa, you are all that’s left for us now.” I insert hastily trying to avoid the tantrums he sometimes threw when mother was around, like a kid he pretended he was not.
“I miss her.” He sighs heavily, pain visible in every single pore of his skin.
“I miss her too.” I admit weakly. “Promise me you will not go out when we are not around. Do you?” I ask him softly. He doesn’t reply to that. Well, not right away.
“I want you to stay nearby. ” I nod half amused at his stubbornness. Seconds later, a peaceful snore floats about the room.
“Goodnight.” I whisper aloud; a smile playing on the corner of my lips