MY GRANDMOTHER IS LYING IN BED
My grandmother is lying in bed, she can’t talk any more. There’s another bed along the other long wall and someone’s lying there talking nonsense all the time. I’m sitting in a chair next to my grandmother’s bed. My hair is so long, down over my shoulders, that it reaches her bed when I bend forward. My grandmother smiles at me. I smile back at her. I ask her how it’s going and she shakes her head from side to side.
Do you want to come back home? I say.
I see her mouth trying to move.
Yes? I say.
My grandmother looks at me. I say yes again, slowly, clearly moving my lips. My grandmother looks at my lips. She shapes her own lips copying mine.
Yes, she says.
My grandmother smiles when I walk into her room. I see that the woman who was lying in the other bed isn’t there any more. I see that someone has combed my grandmother’s thin grey hair straight back from her forehead. I’ve brought my grandmother some bananas. I hand her the bananas and she puts them down on her duvet. My grandmother takes me by the hand, I sit next to her and she sits holding my hand. I came to this town to go to school, my grandmother came because she got sick. We are both living far from home now.
Everything all right? I say.
My grandmother doesn’t answer.
No, I say.
My grandmother looks at my lips. I say no again, slowly, moving my mouth clearly.