Thursday, July 28, 2011


Kiss her on the cheek, tell her who you are, but be prepared to keep doing it, over and over.’

I hadn’t been ‘home’ in years. Since then, my 94 year old Grandma has been having memory lapses. Not many and not severely. But my father would visit her and she’d keep asking him, “Where are your children? How many do you have? Why don’t they live with you?” and my Dad would keep answering.

Every now and then he’d say “I don’t know, you ask me so often I forget!” Then they’d laugh and five minutes later, she’d start up again. Then one of my aunts would fetch the photo, the one where Grandma’s holding my Johnny, her great grandson, and she’d say, “Oh! Yes, I remember now. Show that picture to your sister.” And they’d laugh again.

“She’s already seen it Mum.”

Apart from that, she’s as strong as a water buffalo. Even when the freak cold front hit Bangkok recently, Dad got influenza, Mom got strange rashes and everyone was bundling up in jackets and scarves, but Grandma just wore a shawl around her shoulders.

While we’re eating lunch, Grandma starts up again. “Where are your children, why don’t they live with you?” Even as I’m sitting there.

Everyone points but Johnny and I look different now. Grandma squints, then smiles, then repeats the questions. She only asks them of my father. I look around the room at my uncles, aunts, cousins and realise why. They all live with her or within a few miles of her.

I think of my London flat, all the days I spend alone with Johnny, trips to the playground just the two of us, going to play groups to be with strangers.

I used to be relieved living so far away. I didn’t want all the noise and scrutiny, the crush of such familiarity.

I look at my Grandma as she waits for an answer.

“It’s a good question Grandma, a very good question.”

(333 words ~ prompt: "remembered" – from one of my books)

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