Old Folks, by Bernard Grant

 

Old Folks

Bernard Grant

 

At Wal-Mart, while I wait for Mamma to put my new video games on layaway, an old lady with tennis balls on her walker sits next to me. She smells like cleaning soap. Hair sprouts from a mole on her cheek. And there’s more hair on her lip, and on her chin. That hair’s black like her, like us, but the hair on her head is white and short and stands up like a cartoon character that’s stuck a fork in the toaster. She’s fat, so every time she moves, her arm, stretched and wrinkled, touches mine. I move a seat over. I miss Granny. Kids at school say they have pretty grannies, but my granny was pretty for real, with big cheeks and big eyes that got bigger when she saw you. And she didn’t smell like anything but the grape candy in her purse. She liked purple. Purple dresses, purple makeup over her eyes, and she never scared me, never made me think about death. Not until she got sick—a stroke—and died. I know old people are supposed to die. Just not her.

 

BERNARD GRANT is an MFA candidate at the Rainier Writing Workshop, Pacific Lutheran University. His work appears in The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review, Barely South Review, The Nervous Breakdown, among other journals. Originally from Texas, he lives in Washington State.

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