Sad Day

By Alena Shmakova

It was a sunny and very nice warm Russian day and everything was going fine. It was early in the morning and everybody was still sleepy. I had just gotten to my grandparents' about fifteen minutes ago, and I was going to stay for a whole week, but it was said too soon. Later on I found out that my parents were going to stay with us too. It was too cold in my house without light and heat for a month.

It was fun staying at my grandparents'. My uncle Varya told me that he was going to make butter - peanut butter cookies and I could help him. I loved the way the house smelled when we make them. It smells very fresh and sweet and the house gets very warm.

Later in the afternoon Grandma, my uncle, and my parents left. My grandpa had to go downstairs to the store to get some bread for a big dinner we were going to have. You had to stand in line for four hours to get some bread. By the time Grandpa Michal got back everybody else was home. Grandpa was tired. He said, "I'll lie down to rest before the dinner." On his way to the couch he started to choke.

"Grandpa, are you okay?" I asked.

"Yes, I am fine," he said. But he wasn't - he started to choke again and he couldn't breath.

I asked him a couple of questions, but he couldn't even remember my name. I couldn't believe it - he had lost his memory. I was scared I was going to lose him. I thought it was my fault that I sent him to the store when I could do that myself. Everybody was in a panic and didn't know what to do (you couldn't call the ambulance because you had to pay 5000 rubeles for the gasoline and it's twice as much for the doctor).

It was getting late, way past my bedtime, but I couldn't sleep. Everybody was crying. We thought he'd never make it, but he got better and started remembering everything. But he lost his memory again the next morning. We were not sure he'd make it till the next day....

He is still ill - he can't talk, he can't walk, and he has trouble remembering our names.

My grandparents and uncle and aunt are still in Russia, we are trying to call them everyday but the line is always busy, but when we do get them I am scared to get the bad news.

I never lost anyone close to me except my great-grandparents; but I didn't know them very well so it didn't make any difference. But I really care about my grandpa and I don't want to lose him. I love him very much, and I don't think I can explain how very worried I am about him.

"Sad Day" belongs purely to Alena Shmakova © 1996

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