My earliest memory of my grandmother was of her smooth, soft skin of her hands.

They were always warm, as if she were the fireplace, keeping me warm in this empty house. As a toddler, she would sing me lullabies, that, as I lie trying to fall asleep, would fly from her very lips and weave into the best dreams a child can ever have. She would stroke my face with her warm hands and sing from the bottom of her heart, even as a child, the emotions melted in the lyrics touched my young and untainted soul. When I was five, my mother came and took me away from the loving care of my grandmother. I never saw her much, at that time, she was a little more than a stranger who occasionally came and stared at me as if I were an alien. I sobbed and screamed when my mother came for me, she pulled and yanked at my arm. I did not understand what was going on, but my stubborn little self held onto my grandmother’s dress, clutching the hem as if my life depended on it. And perhaps it did. At my unrelenting grasp, my mother had almost given up. As I lifted my questioning gaze, my begging and confusion in my eyes were greeted by the coldness in my young grandmother’s face And it was the passiveness of it, the way she watched, unemotionally, unaffected by my pleads that broke me. I stopped. Abruptly. My grasp on her dress released. Something in me, as I watched those cold eyes staring upon mine, made my heart shrivel up. It did not throb with pain, nor did it break. Instead it withered and wilted. The wrinkles I left on the dress when I let go stayed like a stain as I obediently followed my mother out into the car. My young self turned his head, in one desperate hope, that his grandmother, whom he loved so, so much, would say something, anything, to declare her love or at least a farewell. But she never did. And so that was the last time I ever saw her. Perhaps if I had been older, more mature when my mother came to fetch me I would have understood. Perhaps if I had known her story sooner, I could have saved her. But what can you say or do when everything’s said and done? The memory of my grandmothers hands burns as it presses against my cheeks.

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