>Husband and I drove my grandmother home after dinner last night.
Before we left, we bid goodbye to my sister and brother-in-law, and to
our sleeping nephew. They planned to depart on Sunday at 5 am, as
Ryan had to work.
The streets were quiet as the car headed south to Grandma's house. We
made small talk, but I was thinking about when I would see everyone
next and not concentrating on the chatter.
After we glided into Grandma's driveway, Husband waited in the car
while I helped her up the concrete stairs to her dark house. I
grabbed the mail from the slot while she struggled with the lock.
She finally spotted the keyhole (she needs cataract surgery), and we
stepped into her warm home. The living room looked like Ms.
Havisham's house in "Great Expectations," dusty and frozen in time,
sans the moldy food. I put the mail on a metal table next to a
recliner that no one uses any more.
When I turned back to say goodbye to Granny, she was cradling a large
face digital clock.
"I'm sorry to bother you," she said, "but do you think you can set the
clock back an hour? I know I shouldn't ask, but your mom tried and
she didn't know how to, and... Oh, I shouldn't have asked."
I took the clock. "Of course you should ask! It's no problem!" I
fiddled with it for a few minutes before I figured out how it worked.
Grandma apologized over and over for bothering me, and I smiled at her
and said it was no bother.
Finally, I set the clock back an hour. When I embraced Grandma's
shrinking frame in my arms as I said goodbye, she told me to come home
again soon. I promised I would try. If only I could turn the clock
back for real, we could have a little more time.
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