I know her.
Her spots are dark,
Splattered like muddy raindrops from the murky sky.
Her nails are yellowish,
Dull like a remnant snail shell by the dusty curb.
Her wrinkles are deep,
Cracked like hissing fissures on the thirsty soil.
Her veins are greyish,
Puffed like convolvulus creepers prying under the peeling paint.
Her eyes are cloudy,
Vacant like a keyhole on the wooden door with a rusty Yale lock.
She knew me too,
but not anymore.
I started losing my Grandma to dementia 7 years ago. As her memory was ebbing away, I seemed to reclaim mine. Whenever I looked upon her wistfully, memories of my childhood days spent with Grandma crept back.
It’s surprising how something that was completely forgotten, came back in such vividness. Her choppy laughter followed by a spluttering cough, often punctuated by the acrid spray of Ventolin seemed so real. Sometimes I wonder if reality is just a dream made up of long lost memories.
My earliest memory of coffee came from Grandma. Every morning, she would indulge in her cup of black coffee. I remember observing how the look of contentment eased onto her face as she sipped away. I had always wanted to try coffee as the intense aroma and glimpses of her satisfaction never failed to intrigue me. Unfortunately it was one of those things that I wouldn’t be able to do it until I was older. She said that I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I drank it. It drove my inquisitive mind wild as questions of why not turned to how come. Grandma seemed unable or reluctant to explain it. “It’s very bitter and you wouldn’t like it,” she would say sometimes. Being able to see and smell but not allowed to drink made coffee more tantalising than ever. Maybe that’s why I still have a fascination for the mysteriously dark brew.
Grandma is lying in the hospital fighting for her life now. I’m holding on to her withered hand and caressing her stiff, knobby fingers as I pray for her recovery. For some reason I keep telling her not to be afraid. Maybe it’s my turn to be unable or reluctant to explain why.
Maybe it’s because they say that heaven smells like freshly ground coffee.