Without one teardrop

Without one teardrop

Felicia - JRB Youth

Felicia, JRB Youth

He leaves her life in the only place she ever remembers him being.

Sitting in his favorite tan armchair, the former Korean war trooper.

Dad. Husband. Loving Grandfather.

He closes his eyes lightly, gasping as though he couldn’t quite catch his breath. Kaitlyn sits on the air mattress she shares with her cousins, inches from her grandpa.  Looking down, playing with her fingers. Admittedly bored, she quietly slips out of the room and  heads to the kitchen with her DS.

She can still hear his breathing.

Moments later she walks back into the living room. Her mother is sobbing.  More than Kaitlyn has ever seen before.

And then the four letter sound.

“Uh – Oh”

Suddenly her mind is blank.

Nothing comes out when she tries to comfort her mom.

Nothing happens when she tries to cry.

Nothing pops up when she tries to recall their memories together. Her mind is blank.

Sitting on the inflated bed, she stares at the floor. Silent.

Without one teardrop slithering down her face.

****

She approaches the small brick house, the smell of cigarettes smothering her nose.

Kaitlyn, her sister, and her mom walk into the living room. She glances at her grandpa, sitting in his favorite tan armchair. Her mother comes behind her and greets her father. “Hi, Daddy!” she says.

“Hi Chris!” he says.

Kaitlyn’s mom gives him a confused face. “No, Daddy…. It’s Monica.”

It’s one of the last, and only, memories she has of him.

****

His body looks pale, laying in the polished oak box at the front of the room.

She doesn’t pay attention to what he’s wearing.  Just numbly watches as family members cry and feel sorrow over the man she barely knew.

Wondering inside why she doesn’t feel sad.

Wondering why her tears stay frozen but everyone else’s flows like waterfalls?

Kaitlyn stares at her black flats as the sound of the 21-gun salute sends off her grandfather’s spirit.  Send off her few memories of them.

She feels sad.  But mostly, she’s sad about the fact that she doesn’t feel sad.  Feels guilty that she can’t feel sad.

Because she didn’t know him.  Because she could have known him.