h2>Dating : My Grandmother Turned Into a Cactus
The silence that followed his misplaced question wasn’t lifted until
Curtis was home, explaining to his manager why he needed the next few days off.
“I know it’s last minute,” Curtis stammered. “But I’ve got to go to Seattle. It’s a family emergency…it’s my grandma.”
Since his grandparents had divorced in 2012, Curtis’ grandma hadn’t been to a single Thanksgiving, nor Christmas, nor birthday or graduation. Years, landmarks, life had passed by for everyone in his family and his grandma, perfectly distant in a condo somewhere near Seattle, had been a part of it only through Facebook status changes and the one call a year she could squeeze out of his sympathetic dad. Since he’d graduated college, Curtis had even taken to telling anyone who asked that his grandma was dead — may she rest in peace.
“No, it’s not the dead grandma,” Curtis struggled to sneak responses in-between the assault of questions. “No, it’s the grandma in Seattle-the dead grandma doesn’t live in Seattle-she lives-lived-in Charlotte-it’s a Thanksgiving emergency man.”
Saying your grandma was dead was so much easier, he had found, than the truth: “my grandma’s very alive, my whole family just hates her.” Hating your grandma was never the best look, and that confession always necessitated a subsequent discussion of exactly why Curtis’ family despised their grandma; as if this person he had just met was somehow owed that information; as if Curtis himself even knew why. He wished he knew why; he always wished, every Christmas, every Thanksgiving. Whatever she’d done, whoever she really was, Curtis had only ever wanted to know.
“I don’t want to get into it over the phone, ok, but I’m gonna be in Seattle tomorrow whether you give me the time or not,” Curtis capitalized on a moment of courage. “I just need to be.”
His grandpa was dead a week before Thanksgiving and no one wanted to tell his ex-wife, their grandmother.
It was the last insult. That was certain. If she found out through Facebook, that was the end. The schism would yawn open and any family left between this woman and his family would be swallowed up — annihilated. So Curtis did what Curtis always did. What he had done 15 years ago, crawling over to give his grandma the present he’d made for her on Christmas Day. She had been sitting apart from the rest of the family then, placed in a brief, slightly prophetic exile after an outburst at the breakfast table about something Curtis could never remember. While everyone else in the family unwrapped presents, his grandma lounged proudly by the window and watched the measly layer of snow Charlotte had gotten that winter melt into their front lawn.
Curtis had made her a present. He’d made everyone presents — handmade cards cobbled together with whatever he could scrounge from the floor of his room — but hers was special because it was the only present she would get that year. Even as a child, Curtis knew this. So he made it as beautiful as he could and wrote in the only word he could think of to make her feel included.
So, on Christmas morning, while she waited out her banishment, Curtis staggered over the way children do and handed her this inane card coated in glitter and stickers and one huge word scrawled dead center:
“I’m sorry, man, I really am,” Curtis said sincerely. “It’s a family is family is family situation. I already booked my flight.”