My Omi and I were sitting on the deck in the sunshine of a summer’s afternoon. She was talking and I was just sitting there listening. It was so nice to just sit, talk and drink coffee – simple things are so charming sometimes. And I know these are the days I’ll wish I could go back to.
I showed her some pictures of my sister’s trip to Europe. She asked me if I was jealous. I had to stop and think for a minute before answering. No, I wasn’t jealous because I know that I’ll go to Europe eventually. She asked me if I was jealous she was with her boyfriend. I had to stop and think again. No, I want to go by myself. Oh, it’ll be nice to travel the world with a boy eventually – but at this time in my life, I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone but myself. Because I think having someone by my side would make it a lot less personal.
Then – in the typical style of a grandma – she asked me why it’s so hard to meet boys these days. I told her I sometimes wondered the same thing. “Back then, we met people at school, or at dances, or on the street. Didn’t you meet anyone at school?” I smiled a little and shook my head. Suddenly she peered at me intensely as though she was trying to determine what I was feeling. “Be a happy girl. Make sure you dance,” she said. I promised her I would.
Neither of us said anything for a few minutes. I was thinking about how nice it was to be with her. I’m not sure exactly what she was thinking about but momentarily she began to speak again. Her voice sounded tired and faraway. “Things don’t matter,” she said sadly shaking her head. She told me about all the porcelain figures and other articles she had collected over the years – things that she was once so proud to own. “Plates and jewels don’t hug you back,” she explained. “And they don’t talk to you.” Ever since my grandpa died, she hasn’t cared about anything. She realizes that he was the only thing that mattered. Now she’s all by herself in a house that’s too big for her with nothing to do. Her day consists of cleaning things that don’t need to be cleaned and sitting in her chair and crying. What else is she supposed to do? When we were watching the news together, she said that even though Opi was always sitting in his chair in the other room, she always knew she wasn’t alone. It makes me sad to think about that and it makes me feel incredibly sorry.
When I think about Opi dying alone in that room, it makes me sad too. I hope he knew that I loved him. I hope everyone I love knows I love them. And if they don’t, I hope I am one day able to show them.