Bestefar

Alternate Title:  Shit Storms

"She always likes to talk about controversial things and tries to incite little shit storms!" I complained to my companion.  "You know why she does that?" I asked rhetorically.  

Before my companion could even begin to answer I stated flatly and finally: "Because she's never really been in one!"

My companion backed away from me, just a tad uncomfortable with my vehemence.  It'd been a bad week.  Ghosts & poltergeists had hung swirling around, then settled in and had haunted my last few days.  

It was getting (you know) pretty hard to maintain my composure. 

"Well... do you not want to be friends with her anymore?" my companion asked confused but trying to be loyal. 

"No.  Of course I still want to be friends!  But answer me this..." I pleaded with him.  "I forgive most people numerous and numberless things, putting most actions down to simply being human and the frailty that entails, but why..." I wailed "why am I not granted the same dispensation?"

My companion only twisted his head looking more confused & a bit more distressed.  

I turned around and left the room.

Later... not a lot later, but later enough that my voice was calm and quiet when I again queried my companion... "I've told you the story about how my Grandfather died, haven't I?"

"Yes" my companion replied "But I can't really remember it... Tell me again."

My companion, despite all or maybe because, 
loves me.  

I sighed and began:

"I can't remember how old I was but somewhere between 3 and 6 and probably closer to 6.  I was on the floor in the kitchen playing with my imaginary friend and Bestefar came by and watched me for awhile.  He chewed snuff.  Remember I told you that (?) and I couldn't help notice him standing there, arms crossed over his chest, his jaw moving up and down, up and down, scowling at me.  

Nevertheless, I continued my game with my "friend".  

Then my Mom came into the room and Bestefar shouted at her that she needed to do something about me; it wasn't good that I had an imaginary friend and that she (it would be her fault) wasn't raising me right."  

I screwed up my face and continued,  "I can't remember... it was some old-country Norwegian thing."

I paused and looked up into the memory locked in my mind. 

"My Mom came flapping over to Bestefar telling him that there was nothing wrong.  That I was just a child.  That I'd grow out of it and he didn't need to worry about it.  

Attracted by the rising voices, my Dad then came into the room and joined the fray at which point Bestefar had had enough of all of us not listening to his wisdom.  He stomped to the basement door, flung it open and then slammed it right behind him... which would have been pretty hard to do as there was no landing at the open door on the other side, just the steps down.  

Immediately there was the tumbling crashing noise of Bestefar falling down the stairs.  I leaped up and was the first to the basement door.  I opened the door and Bestefar was lying crumpled on the landing below.  

Both my parents rushed in on me, albeit too late, saw what had happened and scooted me away.  

Then there was endless chaos that... I can't really remember well either.  

Bestefar went to the hospital, 
his ribs were broken, 
he got pneumonia and 
then he died."

I look at my companion begging him to understand.  "You know how kids are" I told him.  "I blamed myself.  You know.." I told him, tears in my eyes, "I knew it was because of me. I knew then that the poor little me I was, I'd killed my Grandfather."

My companion reached out and immediately I turned away from his hand in order that I might continue the story.

"When my kids were growing up, I always made sure to talk to them for days and even weeks after anything weird that happened.  You know, so their memory would be clear and true.  I read that somewhere I guess, I don't remember that either.  The thing is, my folks, they never talked to me about it.  They didn't talk to me about much except daily stuff... pass the salt."  I paused then told him, "They weren't bad..."  My voice was just a tad choked at this point.  "That's just the way they'd been raised.  Stoic.  Quiet.  Old-country.  Hard living.  Solider on."

"Anyway..."  I continued to the finale, "That's a shit storm... you know."  And here I got a bit more intense but this time my companion stood for it.  "Why" I asked him, "Why would anyone try, just for fun, to create even a small shit storm?"

Then I walked away again until the tears were no longer collected in my eyes and after that we continued on about our day, me, my companion and that poor little I. 





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