I’m going to try to write once a week this year, for a couple of reasons. First, I often struggle with the “who gives a fuck about this”-ness of the act, but it’s interesting to look back on these key pecks from time to time. Second, my son is getting older and part of me thinks there should be something of me in writing for him to have someday.
About a month ago, I found out my Abuela has maybe six months to live and I’ve avoided going to see her. My aunt said she hasn’t informed her about the predicted remaining time. Couple days later, she told me that she HAS told her and I can’t really get it in me to push the point and find out if she’s fucking with me or what, because it’s not MY mother this is happening to, though I’d trade my mom into my Abuela’s situation in a heartbeat. Man, I hope it’s not 52 posts of me being a complete asshole for a year…
I haven’t lost anyone close to me yet, so this sucks. Such a weird thing, being told someone has x amount of time to live. Predictor of the ax swing. The first thing I thought about was who the hell figures out how long the person has left to live? Is there an app that figures this shit out? Do you enter the weight and the height and the cancerous organs and the percentage or the kind? Is there a menu where you select the cancer by how it looks? Do they ask questions like, are you going to fight it? She doesn’t seem to want to. When my aunt asked her to take some sort of medicine, my Abuela said, “Pa que?” This makes me sad because I remember one time she threw a bag of beans at my head when I was a kid. I’m sure I deserved it. Now she’s all “for what?”
Whenever I think about it too much, I have to bite my lip or get up and pace. I figured if I don’t think about it or go see her, it’ll be easier somehow. But I went to see her the other day and she seems thinner. Maybe she isn’t. Maybe she’s been this thin for a while and it’s just the real life Photoshop filter called “she’s gonna die” that makes her look thinner. Her big gray fro has less volume in it. Even her big ass feet that she always shoves into tiny shoes look smaller. She sat in her big backed green chair and just stared straight ahead at her furniture.I wondered what she was thinking about. The tv wasn’t even on. She seemed to stare at the red laser point of the power light on her radio. I asked her if that’s what she was watching and she said oh yeah, she watches it all the time and then one of her little scoffs. She asked me to check the cable on her HD antenna and I did. I asked if she wanted to watch any movies and my aunt came in and said she’d never watch any modern movies. My aunt who said now she has to be like a rock. No bleeding. No tears. She is the strongest person I know. Puts all these broken crazy old people on her back and sticks them in her little Toyota sortaSUV and takes them where they need to go, with her one brownish tooth and her pretty eyes and her soft soft hair I cried in her neck after one bad break up and she laughed and called me pobresito. Laughed at my crying and made it better. And now she’s gonna carry my grandmother into her grave as best she can.
I feel like I’m not allowed to ask my grandmother anything. Part of it is I’ll explode into tears, but also it’s like if I go and open my mouth, I feel I’m being selfish. Like helping her or pretending to help her is more for me than for her. I want to ask her if she wants to go on a cruise. Or some restaurant. Disney! A beer! Has anyone asked her if she wants some rum? She’s Cuban for fuck’s sake! Maduros! A big comfy chair and a giant umbrella at the beach! She can go in her regular clothes! Pants and one of her flowery blouses! A floppy hat and her little annoying dog, Chispita, and a quiet spot in the sand, good sunglasses to stop the sun, it never snows and the best time to go to the beach here is in the winter when everything is dying everywhere else. She doesn’t even have to get in the water. But let’s say we went to the beach with Abuela in the winter and we didn’t just sit there in that room with the red light from the radio and no music. We could play some Juan Luis Guerra for her. 440 is the only Spanish music I know a lot of the lyrics to and she let me copy it off her cassette. Ha. Cassettes. Let’s fight it, just a little, with some sunshine and sand and sunscreen and a little Me Sube La Bilirubina.
My grandmother is going to fucking die and my piece of shit grandfather is going to outlive her all senile and not remembering the horrible shit and irresponsibilities he has delivered to people. Why not him? Why not that stupid fucking chihuahua? Why not anyone but my son and his mother, my father, my aunt, I’ve got a list, I swear, it’s not very long, I hate most people, look, take anyone but these, like, fifty people.