Morbid Moment

Imagining my grandparents passing away next to each other at the kitchen table-they died years apart actually-while I ask them questions about how they met, questions I never asked them while they were alive, though perhaps I did and just can’t remember doing it, I’m reminded of the two dolls that used to sit beside each other in their den.

Smiling ear to ear, each seemed to lean on the shoulder of the other and look at my twelve-year-old body from across the room as if to say they thought it quite something to be asked about first meetings in the end by a grandson who’s all grown up now and no longer needs them.

I remember, one was a clown with rosy, spidery, alcoholic cheeks and a long, shiny nose in the shape of a hot dog, and the other one was a bear with its nose missing.

Like me gazing happily at my imagined and long-departed grandparents, I can still see myself standing in the den, gazing at those dolls, and their sitting in their tiny spindle-back rocker, leaning lovingly against each other, like the first two sticks arranged in the perfect tepee fire. A child of the family defined by separation and denial I couldn’t understand how merely looking at two things leaning on one another could make me feel so warm and good. I wanted to believe being supported was possible.

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