his last words were “close enough”

remembering grandpa

“take a seat here little one, I want to tell you a story,“ my grandpa said.
i sat on his knee, clutching my mug of hot cocoa.
“life and death are fiction and self-awareness is a bad dream that you’ll never wake up from,” he said.

§

“now what do we do before crossing into the liminal state between life and death?” my grandpa asked.
“look both ways for cars?”
“i am glad you have been listening,” he said.

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once a one-eyed crow followed me and grandpa all the way to school. it perched in a big tree just outside the playground.
“why does that crow only have one eye?” i said.
the crow flapped his wings, soared high above, and pooped on Lisa Evans as she got off the school bus.
“caw,” he said.
“caw,” grandpa said.

§

“Lisa Evans says if i don’t go to church i’ll go to hell,” i said, “but Luke Calwell says it doesn’t matter.”
“religion is an opiate and nihilism is an anesthetic, both of them let us hide from the truth,” my grandpa said.
"what do you believe in grandpa?” i said.
“regret,” he said.

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“O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams,” my grandpa said.
"for fuck’s sake blow out your candles, Fred,” my grandma said.

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one day my grandpa and i were playing pooh sticks in the creek behind the house.
“where do the sticks go when they go around the bend?” i asked.
“those sticks are objects of mind that only exist by the grace of your own perception,” he said.
“oh,” i said.

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“today at school Lisa Evans laughed so hard chocolate milk came out her nose,” i said.
grandpa swept his arms wide and looked up at the cloudless sky.
“how do you know any of this is real?” he said.
“i helped her clean up,” i said.
“i see your point,” he said.

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grandma and grandpa were sitting at the dining room table.
“i love you, Doris” grandpa said.
“i love you too, Fred,” grandma said.
“the only reason i can bear the weight of reincarnation is the hope that i might meet you again,” he said.
“happy valentines day, Fred,” she said.

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“we are all made of stardust,” grandpa said.
“even Lisa Evans?”
“yes,” he said
“what is stardust?”
“the dandruff from god’s shoulders,” he said.

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Next: Remembering Grandma