first brush

my first brush with death was watching my grandmother waste away in her bed, she had lost both legs years prior but was still a stern and beautiful woman

in the end she was a husk that barely recognized we were there as she lay panting in her too large bed, the light slowly fading from her eyes like a television shitting off

i cannot recall the color of her eyes now, not her voice, just the ramp in front of her house that went from the right and turned sharply at a ninety degree angle

scuffed grip tape lines on weathered wood, it had been the tan of fresh lumber but the years had left it gray and splintered similar to her skin in bed

i remember being given a glass of wine at xmas and feeling like an adult at eight until the first sip left me wanting for pop as the dismal taste of fermentation stung me

i would not go to her basement for fear of the one lightbulb hanging freely from the center and the idea a living corpse shambled behind the freezer

after she died, for the longest time, in my nightmares she was the corpse, crawling and screaming for her legs with milky white eyes and hatred dripping

we went for xmas, the entire clan alnost flew in as they knew this would be her last, we all kissed her sunken cheeks and said goodnight to her as she lay unaware

she died hours later, everyone said she had held on for one last chance to say goodbye, the call came at two in the morning and i sat and played video games as they wept

i was the first and only grandchild for the longest time, spoiled rotten for it i am sure, though my childhood recollections are tinged by different events

she was not the first death, but the first one that was immediate even if not as visceral for long time it took to occur, a morbid waiting game of sorts

she came to my dreams last night, for the first time in decades, her voice a soft wheeze i could not make out, but there was a sense of calm in it as well

that was my first brush with the spectre of death, the first of many that would cast a cold breeze across the halcyon days of youth only to be relegated to memory

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