A Gift I’ll Never Forget

He touched me with gentle hands. A single finger that slowly traveled down my spine and up again, over my face and down again. Ceaselessly, tirelessly. Some would say, a lover’s touch. I might would say the same thing now, but I knew then it was the touch of a man who loved me, cherished me, and adored me.

I touched him in turn. Sliding my finger along the raised vein on his hand. Watching it disappear beneath my finger just to pop right back up as my finger passed along its length of blue-green color. His skin darkly tanned, gnarled knuckles like the knots on an old tree. He was beautiful even with the aging spots upon his leathery skin.

For as long as he lived with us, I spent as much time as I could with him. Watching him prepare the rinse he would use to wash his eyes out every night before bed. Or to sit with him and just let him touch me. It didn’t matter what we did together. He was the only one who touched me anymore. He was the only one who sat with me, actually talked with me. He seemed to understand, I needed nothing except him and the love he gave me. So I loved him back fiercely.

I missed him after my father, his son, pushed him away. I miss him still. It wasn’t until some four or five years later I heard of his death and only then by reading the announcement of his death that my father had wrapped within one of my Christmas presents. I wanted to scream at my father, yell at him for not calling me so I could have said my good-byes. Instead, I clamped my lips tight, held back my tears, closed the lid of the gift never remembering what else was in the box, only the announcement of my grandfather’s death.

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