Sunday, June 03, 2007

Hands of Time

I'm looking at my hands. My arms. Their here with me. I'm really, really fair skinned for being hispanic. But most of my family is anyways. Seriously there's like blonde haired, blue eyes, and red heads in my family. How that is I dunno. I know I have hispanic, latino, and some european in me and indian. I'm a mutt, what can I say.

I look at my hands. I have freckles on them, and scars, on my arms as well. From accidents and fights, and other things that happened to me through out the years. All pieces of time I will have with me forever.

I look at my hands today because today I looked closely at the hands of my Godfather. No I'm not Catholic but I do have a Godfather. He's more than that, he's like my grandfather (adoptive gypsy grandfather) as I never meet mine, they both died before I was ever born. He was also mentor to my brother and myself and my parents.

Gypsy families aren't necessarily blood related per say. But we make do. My parents have known my Godfather for years. He actually named me. His family and ours intertwined through out the years. It wasn't until all us kids in the families were teens that we realized that we weren't blood cousins. But that didn't change anything. We still call each other that.

But today I visited my Godfather. I haven't seen him since his wife died a few months ago. I called her grandma too. Both of them complimented each other. He is an old WWII vet, a kind and generous man. He's had the hard life, no formal education, pretty much taught himself everything he knows. Like reading and writing. He was a carpenter a mechanic. He taught my father and my brother and I a lot of things we use today. We learned a lot from him.

He was always a strong man, always provided for his family no matter what. He loved his wife more than anything and did anything for her. They complimented each other in a way that could only be described as true love. They were married for over 60 years. Even when grandma's health was diminishing he was always there to do anything for her. Sadly though she died a few months back. He found her laying on the ground on her way back from walking to the bedroom. He cried in private, but he didn't let anyone see. He held her up and put her in the bed by the time the sheriff arrived to take the body. He was strong but sad during the funeral.

His sadness would grow though,. more into anger as he realized there is nothing he could have done to save his wife. Nothing, no power in the world to keep her alive. I can't imagine what it feels like to be helpless and not be able to save the one you love. The one person that you knew better than anyone else in the world. You make a vow to keep this person safe no matter what. But despite it all there is nothing you can do. You watch this person slip away from you forever. Only the memory remains. I think to myself, how could I do it? How can I protect the people I care most about, only to know that eventually I never can? My family, my friends, Mix Tape Girl?

I see my Godfather a shadow of a man he used to be. The life in his eyes dimly lit. He still carries himself strongly and goes about his day to day routine. But it seems to have little meaning now. He looks much older, and very very grey now. He didn't seem to look that way when grandma was around. He's much thinner as he hardly eats anything.

He speaks to me and asks me how I'm doing. Ok I say. I tell him about my life and Mix Tape Girl. He perks up when he hears about her. I tell him about us and even about the little tiff we had on Friday night. (I'll have to post about that later) He laughs about it and gives me some advice. It's nice having breakfast with him again. We sit at his favorite restaurant, all the waitresses know him. He's been going for years. It's the only place that makes the meal as he likes it.

He tells me about how he and grandma used to have little spats and tiffs. About silly stuff. He smiles as he tells me this. The smile fades a little after he tells his stories. He takes a sip of his coffee and then looks me in the eyes.

"You know, even though were not blood related, you are my grandson" he says to me.

"I know grandpa" I reply back.

"I don't know if this girl you're seeing is the one. But whatever happens with whomever in your life. Be strong for them, make it work. And while I'm here, I'll do whatever I can to help you, even if its just my words I can offer." he says.

I see the life come back into his eyes for a brief moment. He smiles and squeezes my hand. I get a good look at his hands. Their big and calloused from years of hard work. But they are reassuring.

"Thanks grandpa" is all I can mutter out without breaking down.

We leave and he drives home. Almost 90 years old and he still drives himself home. I've got a lot to think about.

1 comment:

Beth said...

What a beautiful, lovely post. Losing a great love is incomprehensible, until you go through it. I watch my mother adjust to widowhood, alone and scared. She spent her entire adult life with my dad, and now she has to start over. It's drawn us closer, because she needs her kids to fill that void ... as you do with your grandfather.