Crunch, crunch, crunch, go the dead leaves under my shoes as I approach the window. Warm lights greet my eyes as I look in, Bach resonates from his cello. His back to the window, his bare feet tap softly on the floor. My insides whisked away by the harmony, drowning out the cowardice. Crunch, crunch, then a loud snap. The cello stop, I make myself thin against the wall as I hear his feet slap against the hardwood as he hastens to the window. I try my best to control my breathing, to stay calm, but my heart was about to punch out of my chest. My fingers slip into my pocket, to my device as the window’s lock comes undone. I hit my device as the window slides open. This is the ineluctable meeting of my father’s father.
Heart at a thundering beat, with shaking hands I try my best to pour myself a drink. The bottle rattles against the glass as I pour a gin and tonic without the tonic. The liquid courage helps slow down my pace. I sit on my couch sipping fast at the gin, the photo’s of my family strewn across the coffee table. The only evidence that I ever had a family could be stacked into a neat pile. I set the glass on a clear spot and begun to gather the pictures, to put them away, to put them all away for -now-. I scrape the tiny flowers with pieces of paper and set them on top of the photos. While I walk to stuff these in the distant corner of my dark closet my cell phone rings. Cello Suite No.2 v-Menuet plays through the awful speaker of the phone I let it play as I stand there in front of the open closet, frozen. The phone beeps with one missed call when it finishes, I take from my pocket throw it on the bed. Gently placing the photos on the ground I walk to the coffee table, drink the last of my gin and head back.
He’s returned to playing his cello again, I shake my arms to give myself courage and walk to his door. I stand in front of it for quite some time not wanting his playing to stop once I knocked. There’s a slight pause and I jump on it, I knock on the door four times. Scraping the end of my knuckles, I have them in my mouth when he pulls the door open. I try to speak, but they’re muffled by the knuckles in my mouth. I remove them and try again. “H-h-hellos!”, fuck I was stammering. He just responded with a hello and a smile. “He looked just like me, could I grow a beard like that?” I thought while we both stood there. “Would you like to come in?” He asked gesturing his free hand towards the insides of his house. “Yes!” I said. I walked straight to his liquor cabinet, the same one that sat in my house. Before he could offer I had one drink in me. “Feel free to have as much as you need.” He said as he took a seat and lit a cigarette. I poured a second drink for me and one for him. I sit across from him. “So now that you’ve had your way with my liquor, are you going to tell me who you are and why you’ve been watching me play?” he asked. “I’m your grandson.” I said. He stared at me for a moment and let out a laugh. “Are you kidding me, you’ve been reading too many dime novels. So be straight with…” I interrupted him by pulling out the photo with him and his family or well my family. He takes the photo from my hand and goes over it. Back and forth his eyes go in their sockets, studying every detail of the photo. “They said it was possible, but it’s just, wow..” He said trailing off. I finish my drink as he finishes his. I pour the last bit of whiskey into his cup and return to where he was seated. I hand the drink to him and he goes over my face like he did the picture. “So it’s real?” He asked. “Yes, it’s real, I am Karl your grandson.” I said.
We’re walking up the street as we came to a consensus that another drink or two was needed. He asks me about the future as we walk. I tell him about personal computers, cell phones, mp3’s, the internet and anything else that wouldn’t be a total let down. Amazed by all of this he asks me about the flying cars. “We don’t have those yet…” I could see his disappointment. “Funny I always expected the future to have flying cars.” he said. “Pretty much everyone does.” I said. We walk into the bar and everyone greets him with a warm welcome. We take a seat at a booth in the back. A girl that would be my grandmother someday comes to our table. “What can I get you guys this evening?” She asks. He clamors for words, so I ordered us two gin and tonics. She brings us our drinks and gives him a wink. He smiles. “I can’t believe I’ll get the nerve to ask her one day.” he said.
We’re two or three more drinks in when he asked me the question I didn’t want to be asked: “So why did you come back here, to meet me?” I take a drink, though there was nothing left, so I fumble with my cigarettes and light one. “I..I just wanted to meet you when you were my age I guess.” completely glazing over the fact that I’ve never met him before, or well anyone in my family. “I see.” he said with a hick-up. She brings us two more and we drink. I cool the sweat on my palms with the glass.
He’s good and plastered as I pick him out of the booth. As I carry him outside he turns me and himself to her “I’m going to ask you something… one day, you’ll say yes!” He finishes with a chuckle. “I think the only thing you need to do, honey, is get some sleep.” She said giving him a peck on his cheek. His cheeks turn a brighter pink as we step into the brisk night. I am dragging him by the time we get to his house. “It’s there.” He said pointing at an out of place ceramic cat. I lift it and a key falls out. I drag him to the couch and he sits somewhat up as he lights another cigarette. “It isn’t a bad, huh?” He asked slumping further down. “Not in the least.” I said. He dozes off with the cigarette in his mouth, I put it out in the ashtray, pick the photo out of his breast pocket, and leave the house. I stand on his porch when I hit my device, the brisk air turns warm and I stand in my room. I put the photo back into the pile and tuck them in the dark corner of the closet.