Day 13: One A Day: Slipper

Older than Granddad

“He’s missing a slipper! He can’t go without his slipper, they’re his favourite!” Granddad can’t talk for himself. He has a plastic mask over his face. All of his hair is everywhere. He looks like a goblin. It’s funny, but now is not the time for laughing.

“He doesn’t need it right now,” the ambulance man tells me. I hold it out still. The diamond shaped patterns on the inside are all grimy. I can only see a few golden patches left. Granddad likes to walk barefoot a lot, so the bottoms of his feet are always black. I turn around to sniffle. I need to hide my hurt or they won’t take me in the ambulance. One of the lady ambulance people notices me.

“Hey little man. You look frightened and cold. Here.” She wraps a think blanket around me, but it’s really warm.

“I’m not frightened I tell her. Granddad is going to make Jacket Potatoes for tea. He’ll be okay soon. This has happened on a different day too. He’s going to be fine.” I’m allowed in the ambulance, but I can’t hold Granddad’s hands. They have all different coloured wires sticking out of them. His old skin doesn’t like it. But there is nothing on his head other than the mask. So I can talk to him and he will hear. “Remember when you did toffee apples last year, Granddad? You said ‘come get your apples,’ and we all played out in the garden for a bit longer because we thought you mean normal apples, but when we did get inside, you had made toffee apples.” I push Granddad’s slipper onto his foot.

“Are you going to grow up really old like your Granddad?” The same ambulance lady asks.

“Older,” I say. I watch Granddad like I’m watching a bee collect honey. His fingers stop twitching and the wobbly green line of the bleeping, buzzing machine goes flat.

The ambulance lady gives me another blanket to cuddle into and cry and this time, I don’t care who hears me.