Chapter six – Until Death do us Part
Micah… Micah Adams…
No, dear… stay away…
You’re not supposed to be here…
‘MICAH! IT’S MORNING!’
The light went on abruptly and force-waked me from my slumber. I could vaguely hear dad’s voice yelling at me from downstairs. What time was it…?
‘You’re going to be late like this again, kiddo! Get up and eat breakfast properly this time!’
I mumbled something back and pushed the blanket off of me, sluggishly getting out of bed. The clock above my head indicated half past eight.
No dreams tonight.
I yawned loudly and stretched my arms to try and wake up some more. There was a scent of freshly baked pancakes drifting through my open bedroom door. My stomach growled from hunger.
I yawned again and walked downstairs in my pyjamas, straight into the living room. Dad was already sitting at the table, dressed and ready, with two plates in front of him.
‘Me buying that alarm clock won’t do you any good if you don’t turn it on, young lady,’ he said with a strict voice.
‘Sorry, I forgot,’ I smiled back. ‘Did you make pancakes? They smell delicious! Which one is for me?’
‘The plate on your side. And don’t change the subject. I’m only going to wake you like this once, got it?’
‘Thank you for the meal!’
As dad got up and stacked the plates on top of each other to wash, I made my way to the front door.
‘I’m off, dad!’ I yelled over my shoulder.
‘Okay, have fun! And tell your grandparents I said hi.’
‘You can just come with me, you know.’
‘And be forced into another arm wrestling contest with Julian? Thanks, but no thanks.’
I grinned and walked out the front door.
After a long, refreshing morning walk, I finally arrived at the house of my grandparents.
I’d spent the first five years of my life being raised by them, and even now we still had a close bond. I’d often pop by after school and they’d visit my place for tea, and, especially the last few months, grandma every now and then asked for my help to lift or move something when my uncle wasn’t available. Which he wasn’t, not after getting triplets.
This day was no exeption. Grandma had called yesterday evening just after dinner saying she needed help, and I quickly decided to come over again.
The door was already open; I knew because Pooch came out to greet me. My uncle left him behind when he moved out because his wife was allergic, and so he became my playmate until I moved out as well. With exited-sounding barks, but not his normal speed anymore, he came running to me.
‘Morning, Pooch. You look good today.’
I gave him a quick pat on the head and went inside. Grams was already there, fiddling with her kitchen.
‘Heya, grams! I’m here!’
‘My, Micah, good morning!’ grandma said, her eyes shining happily. ‘I didn’t expect you here so early. How have you been?’
‘Great!’ I said, ignoring the happenings of the past week. ‘Dad bought me an alarm clock, so we won’t ever be late again!’
‘That’s good to hear,’ grandma laughed. ‘I hope it wasn’t too much trouble to come here today?’
‘Of course not!’
‘Good,’ she nodded again. ‘Here’s the deal, love. The fruits in our backyard are ready to be picked, but I’m getting too old to kneel down on the ground every time, and so is Julian. Besides-‘
‘Who are you calling old?!’
Grandpa came out from behind the staircase, leaning on his walking stick.
‘I’ll have you know I’m still as buff and agile as twenty years ago, young lady!’ he boasted. ‘Look, these muscles are just as strong as they were then!’ And he spun around his walking stick to prove it.
‘See? I bet you’re too stunned to say anything, eh?’
‘Besides, your gramps is so horrible at gardening the fruit gets thrown out with the weeds,’ grandma continued, ignoring her husband. ‘He’s no good, so do you think you can give me a hand?’
‘Sure, grams,’ I grinned. ‘If you don’t mind me pulling the fruits out with the weeds instead.’
‘Oh, you. You know where to go, right?’
Tending to plants wasn’t exactly what I was used to, but it provided a welcome distraction. There wasn’t much left of my grandparent’s garden, really, other than a few bushes and a tiny fruit tree. What was still standing, though, obviously got carefully taken care of.
I spent the rest of the afternoon tending to that garden, while being strictly instructed by grandma and getting poked in the back by gramps with his walking stick, saying he was bored and we should hurry up. We ignored him again, of course.
At the end of the day, we finally retreated into the house. I was tired and smelled like dirt.
‘Kids these days. I’m telling you, Micah, back in Bridgeport, we’d keep going until we’d collapse.’
‘But we’re done. And you’ve never lived in Bridgeport.’
‘Oh, is that right? I guess I haven’t.’
Yes, he grew up in Twinbrook, where he met my grandmother. They’d been high school sweethearts, and got married after four years. That’s what they told me, at least.
Then why’d gramps start talking about Bridgeport all of a sudden?
Oh, well. I guess he was getting old, after all.
The thought quickly disappeared again and a minute later I was happily talking about movies with him, while grandma made us some hot chocolate.
‘Here you go, Micah. But be careful, it’s still hot.’
‘We really appreciate the help, dear,’ grandma said with a smile. ‘You’re always there when we need you.’
‘No problem,’ I smiled back, grabbing a mug of chocolate. ‘I like being here, after all.’
‘We’ll call you in again, I assume,’ gramps said while taking a sip. ‘I hate to admit it, but my age really is catching up with me. It still seems like yesterday since Natalia was your age… but it’s not.’
‘A lot has happened…’ grandma muttered. ‘A lot indeed… perhaps it’s been enough.’
They both weren’t acting like their usual selves. I was about to open my mouth and cheer them up saying they still had years ahead of them, when I saw something appear behind grandmother’s back.
What in the…?
The mug slipped out of my fingers. It fell to the floor and I was only able to grab it right before it hit the ground, with my eyes glued to the spot behind grandma. Was that… that was…!
‘Are you all right, dear? Did you burn yourself?’ she said worriedly. Unaware of what was behind her. Of the fact that she was behind her. That was grandma. But… how could that be…?
‘I’m… what… I mean… Can’t you see..?’
‘I’m… I’m fine,’ I stuttered. ‘But… are you sure you’re… feeling… okay? Grams?’
‘Of course I am. You’re the one that’s acting weird.’
What the plumbob was going on now?! Was I really crazy, after all? I mean, that was grams! Right behind grams! How could she be in two places at once? And why did the.. floating?! The floating grams look just like little Gerry Custard I saw in the playground?
Maybe there really was something wrong with me…
Just ignore. I had to ignore it. This was just an illusion. I was sure of it.
‘I, umm… I have to… go…’ I muttered. ‘Homework. Yes. I have homework for next week. Important homework. Goodbye.’
‘So soon?’ they said with a bit of disappointment in their voice. I didn’t respond and walked to the front door, first slowly, then faster and faster…
Until I was pretty much running and fled outside.
Why me? Why did these things have to keep happening to me? It wasn’t fair, I just wanted to visit and forget about everything. So why couldn’t I?
Why couldn’t I be normal?
‘I wish you could see how beautiful she’s become, my daughter… just like you.’
Slowly, she stopped what she was doing and rose up to normal height.
‘You’ve felt it too,’ she smiled.
Catherine Adams closed her eyes. It’s been enough. She could feel it. There was a peaceful calmness in her heart, that slowly spread throughout her chest to the other parts of her body. It felt right. It was finally… time to say goodbye.
They’d been through so much together.
‘It has been a good fifty years,’ Julian smiled. ‘They were… the greatest years of my life. Cathy… are you still happy you married me?’
‘I am, too. Even with the sad memories we’ve made… I never once regretted the day I’ve come away with you.’
‘Julian… will it hurt?’ Catherine asked.
‘I don’t know. I’ve never gone before.’
‘I know. But… I don’t want to go by myself…’
‘You don’t have to, love,’ Julian whispered. ‘I’m going too.’
He gently put his hand on hers. It felt soft and warm, as always. But this time was different. This time… would be the last.
‘But that’s okay, isn’t it?’ Catherine thought aloud. ‘After all… this is merely the next adventure.’
‘You’re going to stay with me, aren’t you?’
He put his arms around her in the same way that they’d done so many years ago, and gave the same answer, genuine as back then.
‘As long as you want, Cathy.
I love you.’
‘I love you too.’