I woke up with a jolt. It happened again. I had a bad dream. But, it was okay. I was awake. I slowly climbed out of bed, and crept downstairs. The sooner I did my homework, the quicker I could relax. As I was about to begin my math, I heard the floor creak throughout the house.
“Hi,” a voice said. I practically fell off my chair due to surprise. I turned to see who it was, and realized it was my mother.
It was the summer before fifth Grade. This summer was pretty normal (depends on what you call normal). Each day I would wake up, do some homework, play outside, and sneak in some Xbox 360, if possible, though that only happened once in every 10 years. Mom ruled the house and I simply lived in it. During this week of the summer, my sister Sydney had a soccer camp at Samuel Staples Elementary School, 5 minutes from our house.
Why did today feel weird, though? Maybe because it was Monday. I hated Mondays. After finishing my homework, I decided to play basketball. I grabbed my ball out of my garage and walked onto the pavement, the bright sun temporarily blinding me. Even though our grass looked like a dust bowl, I could still smell the scent of freshly cut grass from a few days ago. The smooth, leather, Spalding ball left my hands as I took my first shot. The satisfying sound of the ball swishing through the net was followed by an echoing bounce. But, that sound was soon drowned out by the sound of construction and cars on Sport Hill Road. When I went back inside, Sydney had woken up and gotten dressed into her soccer gear.
“Guys, are you ready to go?” my mom asked. My sister and I nodded.
Then, we hustled off to the field and Sydney got out of the car to play soccer. Mom and I stepped out of the car and onto the crunchy gravel underfoot. A slight breeze whistled in my ear, which always happened to be here no matter what time of year. As I ducked under the rotting wooden fence surrounding the small fields, I felt the soft glow from the sun. We watched Sydney play for a while, as we sat in the soft, thick grass. Then we returned back to our vehicle.
There was an awkward silence as we sat in our silver car…. Finally, Mom said that Grandma (Dad’s mom) was sick. Though it was a week from Sydney’s birthday, I said it was okay. Grandma could miss the party. Mom sadly shook her head, saying that it wasn’t that type of sick.
“She’ll get ready… right?” I asked, looking directly into Mom’s eyes.
“Hopefully,” she responded, resting her hand on mine. Why did this have to happen to my family?
I fought back a tear, and promised myself I WOULDN’T cry. When we got home I said in a sad voice, “I’m gonna shoot some baskets. Call me in for lunch.” I continued this for every day of the week.
We’d go to Syd’s soccer, come back, and I’d shoot baskets. Each day I asked how Grandma was, and each day Mom would answer that she didn’t know. I began to feel uncomfortable. It was always that she didn’t know. Every night I prayed. Telling God that if Grandma lived. I would behave. And never do anything wrong again. I knew I would keep my promise. I had to.
Later that week, on Saturday, I woke up super early to shoot baskets. I needed something to distract me. When I came inside with a thump of the door, I saw Mom and Dad talking in the TV room. As I made eye-contact with Dad, I saw tears in his eyes.
I knew something was wrong, since my Dad never cried…
He told my sister and I to come into the room and sit down. I knew what was coming. But, I couldn’t bear to hear it.
“I… I’m sorry, but Grandma passed Wednesday. It was due to a stroke. The doctors couldn’t help her,” Dad sad quietly.
Wednesday. The whole time I had shot baskets and prayed, I hadn’t known. I couldn’t understand why they hadn’t told me sooner. Yet, I really did. It was because they loved me. Sadness racked my body, and I began to cry. I couldn’t keep my promise, but it didn’t matter anymore. After sitting in a deep silence and a long hug, I went back outside.
I felt the leather ball in my hands and took one last shot. I didn’t need to know that I made it. I heard the swish right before I ran back inside. As I slowly closed the door, I thought…
That was for you Grandma.