The man lying in the bed tried to look at the one who just entered the small room. First him, then followed a young girl. She smiled but it was a sad smile.
“Let me help you.” said the man and started to lift him.
The old man said nothing, but you could see on his face it was not easy. Not easy just lying there all day long, not easy standing. He continued to look at the two strangers. He recognized the man, he came to visit before, but the girl… it was something about her, something so familiar.
“Do you know who she is?”
He grumbled something hard to understand.
“She is Maya, my daughter. Your granddaughter.”
Maya… he started to cry
“Don’t grandpa, don’t cry.” she said and kissed his wrinkled cheeks.
She wanted to cry as well, but it was not the moment. It’s been a while since she was there, and even if she knew he was sick, seeing him like this hurt. It was not the man she remembered, not the grandpa that taught her to ride the bike. Not the grandpa that always checked the gate at night when they returned from the disco. Not the one that knew they were exiting the window to go back and never say a world. That man there was just a shadow of what he used to be.
He was not able to talk anymore. He tried to say something and started to cry. The girl took his hand and hold it for minutes. It was the only thing she could do. She wanted to say things, but all that she did was hurting him.
He cried, seeing her after so long. They might not be closed, but it was still his granddaughter. He wanted to kiss her, to hold her in his arms, to ask her how her life was… but he could do nothing of it. He just stood there, listening to them talking, hearing them talk about him, about how hard it was to deal with it all. He listened and cried from time to time. There were moments when it was all lost, when all he saw was some strangers sitting next to him and he was scared. Then he remembered them. And cried.
They were struggling. He could not walk anymore, he fell of the time. It was hard bringing him to his feet, and even if grandma was still ok, she wasn’t young. They were having a hard time dealing with it every single day, sometimes they said bad things, but it was ok. No one knew what was in his soul. No one knew how hard it was for him as well, how much he wished he just died and let them live. It wasn’t life what he had, but there was nothing he could do for it.
The girl watched. As he tried to eat alone, the small moves his hand did. She wanted to help, but she felt ashamed of feeding him like a little baby.
I can do it, he told himself
You can do it, grandpa, she thought looking at him.
There was only silence. The two of them together in the room, one that could not talk, one that did not know what to say or how to behave. She tried to act like nothing was wrong, to joke with them and remember the childhood days spent at the country side. He smiled remembering and then cried for not remembering it all or for feeling bad in not being able to say something. Not being able to be him anymore. She was hurting him, no matter what she did, thus she just stood there in silence and watch him eating.
She smiled understanding the world and brought him a glass of water. He drank and started to cough and she just look at him helpless. Was he ok? Could she do something?
“It is his throat” grandma said entering the room. “Sometimes is just like… blocked.”
It went on. Coughing, crying, two sad eyes looking at her that could not tell everything the old man wanted to.
She kissed them goodbye and wished them well. But they were not well. She was not well. That… that wasn’t what she ever wished for someone. It was hard to say if visiting them was a good thing or all she did was bringing more sorrow. She did not know if she will ever see him alive and big tears started falling from her eyes while she looked on the car window while returning home.