My grandma did not always have big tits. They came later on in life, when she let herself go. Women have a tendency to do that after roughly fifty to sixty years of marriage, they feel relatively secure in their position–or at least oblivious enough at that point to simply ignore any infidelity on the side. Not that she wasn’t always ready to ignore his transgressions. Not solely because of being the quintessential repressed 50s housewife, but because she genuinely loved him in that Sandy in Grease “Hopelessly Devoted to You” type of way. He was all she had ever known, the man she lost her virginity to, the man that took her on her first boat ride, the man that took her on her first trip to Europe. The imprint of his personality was so firmly ingrained on hers that it was impossible to know where he ended and she began. If she began at all.
I wonder about the future of grandmothers and grandfathers in this highly insensitive present, an insensitivity that will only increase as we’re hurtled into the future. One where the former aesthetic meaning of the word “grandmother” will change shape entirely, as a consequence resulting in a total loss of its non-aesthetic definition. Maybe, to put it more in layman’s terms, try to picture Kylie Jenner looking in any way like Iris Apfel when the former reaches her nineties. It simply isn’t going to happen. The more widely available good skin care becomes even to poors, the harder it’s going to be to tell anyone’s age. Most especially a woman, once born to play the eventual role of aging grandmother/fading beauty. But in the future, the only thing about her that will fade is her sense of tenderness toward a granddaughter that she might have served as better counsel to in the 1980s or 1990s, when grandmothers were at their peak of wisdom. Just like my own. Granted, she wasn’t so bright when it came to even remotely acknowledging that my grandfather was a cad, like all men, most especially of his generation. I didn’t start to notice and therefore be vexed by this until I reached my teens, that age at which it’s impossible to look at anyone you once admired with rose-colored glasses any longer.
Accordingly, the time I spent over at their house began to diminish in correspondence with my increasing interest in mood-altering substances. How else was I to cope with a distorted body image and an unshakeable contempt for all my classmates? Most afternoons, you could find me in my car hotboxing to Christina Aguilera’s “Dirrty” on repeat (I was convinced she was saying, “Hot boxing, everyone’s talking” instead of “Hard rocking, everyone’s talking”). Then I would drive to Taco Bell by myself stoned and order three soft tacos with cinnamon twists. And maybe a chalupa. I didn’t know that my sudden abandonment of the ritual of going over to my grandmother’s to enjoy her TV tray cuisine stylings would be taken with such offense. But evidently, it was. And I had to hear about it passive aggressively and secondhand from my mother, who was judgmental of my bloodshot eyes as she delivered the news about my grandma’s distraught state over my sudden desertion.
“What does she want from me? To sit there and watch her tally up her costume jewelry while Roland ignores her in the other room until he calls out wondering where dinner is? No thank you. It’s too depressing. As a child, it’s fine I guess. But maybe not even then. Because I’m only just now realizing how it’s affected my view of relationships…” I trailed off a bit at the end, amazed I was even able to form something that cohesive to tell my mother, who was too busy whipping up some disgusting cream of broccoli concoction anyway to fully appreciate the extent of my eloquence. I sort of forgot about myself for a moment as well as I gnawed on my hair for support, for validation.
Erin–that was my mother’s unfortunate name–glanced over at me curiously, but not with enough scrutiny to truly ascertain that I was high. “I think you should go over to their house tomorrow after school. It would mean a lot to her.”
“Why don’t you come along? She’s your mother.”
Erin arched her overly penciled in black eyebrow. “I’ll be at work.”
“Excuses,” I muttered to myself, staring at her brows with ire. She must have learned how to pencil them from Agatha. But then, you’d think she would want to avoid looking even remotely similar to the woman she so clearly abhorred. Maybe she wasn’t aware of how similar they looked. Refused to even consider it when she considered herself in the mirror. It made me wonder if I was going to be the same one day. Just wake up around the time I turned forty and start plastering on the black liner wherever I felt the caterpillars of my face weren’t dramatic enough.
Satisfied with her gross mixture that she had placed in a pot on the stove, Erin could finally focus long enough to say, “You’re going over there tomorrow, no getting around it. I want photographic evidence.”
“You don’t find that a bit extreme?”
“Not when it comes to how squirrelly I know you can be.”
To spite her, I made a high-pitched screeching noise as I imagined a squirrel would, then scampered from my seat into my room. Really, it was the best way I could think of to get out of eating whatever it was she had just attempted to make.
The following morning, I arose to my radio alarm clock playing “12:51” by The Strokes. It made me wish that it was actually that time, rather a.m. or p.m., because it would mean I had still evaded Agatha’s house. That house that smelled as only an old person’s can. I wonder if that smell will be gone in the future too, just like the formerly expected ancient look of someone in their seventies. But no, I wouldn’t tend to think that any modern invention could truly eradicate what was happening inside of us all: decay.
I pulled up to the driveway fresh from Taco Bell. I actually think my Taco Bell diet had made me the thinnest I had ever been. I took a quick look in the rearview mirror, slathered my eyes with Visine and inhaled deeply. It was strange to think that this was once a place I relished coming to, looked forward to it every time. Now it was just one more burden that made me resent it for being forced upon me like a chore to fulfill.
Slamming the door to my beige Honda Accord–and rattling some CDs on the dashboard in the process–I wondered if I could get my grandma to do something else. To leave her house. To, for one second, forget about preparing Roland his expected six o’ clock dinner. When she answered the door with an apron stifling her always burgeoning tits poking out of whatever “modest” shirt she was wearing, I knew it would be impossible to even bother trying to convince her of taking a joy ride with me.
She opened her arms to me and tried to embrace me. But all at once, her breasts kept increasing in size, getting in the way of our bid for affection. The spurt continued until finally both tits bounced me back onto her lawn. As I landed on my back, legs up from the sheer force of the blow, she called out, “I miss your grandfather so much. He’s the only one I love. Could ever love.”
It seemed a strange statement for her to make as she should probably be with him up there in heaven, or whatever the afterlife was supposed to be called/entail. They say you always reunite with your true love in heaven. Maybe it was only at the end of her life she was forced to see, once and for all, that it wasn’t Roland.