The Old Woman - Kevin Bao '17

    I try not to think of her, but on this day each year.I am always reminded of her. She was paddling on my shoulder while I was looking down, concentrating on my games. Brown face with a forehead full of wrinkles. Her smile created more wrinkles.Her mole on her left cheek seemed so exaggerated because she was so close to me. She seemed to be talking to me or asking questions, but I could only see her lips moving.
    I kept dreaming of this scene of me going over to visit my great-grandmother many times, but I had only spoken to her a few times. I could not understand where my respect was and morality for the elders at that time, I think I was just scared of her appearance. She had brown skin, wrinkles on her forehead. Her smile was always hanging upon her face And that gigantic mole. 
    Today, I am here, again. Sitting beside her and talking softly to her. We are alone. I wish I did this when she was alive. When I could actually hear her saying tenderly “You made me proud, Yang Yang. Keep up the good work” Every time she would ask me if I am hungry or not, but I would not respond. That’s my response to a “scary” old person. 
    The night was always a yesterday to me. I visited her again at the end of  August when I was eleven-years old. When I walked into the apartment, I greeted everyone in the house including my great-grandmother then I walked straight into the small room in the corner of the apartment and waited for dinner. As I was playing games as expected, she came in as expected, too. She still had that same appearance: brown skin, wrinkled forehead, with a smile on her face, and the black mole that scared me. Her voice was gentle, so gentle that made me feel annoying. I was that anti-human that time. She asked “ Are you hungry? Do you want to eat something first? I have some candies for you.” “No, thanks.” “How was school? Are you ready for this year?” “Great, and yes.” “Do you want to talk……” “I am playing right now, do not talk to me.” 
    That was me, a kid who had no respect for the elders. I had no regret for my action at that time, but now I have. I just wished time could rewind. 
    She left the room, and closed the door with her smile still hanging  upon her face. While I was eating dinner, I did not say a single word. I just ate as fast as I could and went back to that room, waiting to go home. After a month, I heard that my great-grandmother was severely sick from my mother, but my life kept moving on. I did not visit her once while she was sick, either in the hospital or at home. One day at noon, I heard from my mother about the death of my great grandmother. I wasn’t aware of what death was. 
    I did not go to the funeral, and I did not understand what death was. That night, my mom taught me to reminisce the time that I had been with her. To think of what was her like when she was alive, and I started seeing her smiling face again. Then I started crying.It was loud and awkward as I looked back, but I could not think any of that at the time. My mother held me in her arms.After I stopped, she brought me to bed. 
    I wake up and my pillow is soaked wet. My eyes are so red like they have been pressed against something the whole night. Today is the day.The sun is bright, the wind is gently blowing ,and the leaves that fell from the tree are blown away to the far side of the sky. It was a weekend in September, the first weekend of a new school year. I sit in front of her tomb again, and whisper “Great-grandma, how are you? I am here now. Anything you want to talk about? Are you hungry? I just started school this week…...” 
    Sometimes, I wish time could rewind, so I would not be carrying her with me. Although, then I would not be who I am right now. Sometimes, I hope I would know more about respect and loving the elders because they are related to give me life. But, all I can do now is to meet her in my dreams each time I think of her. She would still be the same: brown skin, amiable temper, smiling face, and her endearing mole. She would say “ Are you hungry? I have candies for you.” “I love you, great-grandmother, and I miss you.”