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April 2, 2012 / austreberto

Day two

happy birthday stranger


my sister was on the piano

my brother and i on either side

mother held the phone

her grip showed the tension behind her soul

and how she was much more alert of the situation


we young ones weren’t aware of the approaching death that was enveloping our grandfather

i don’t think we understood the concept of death just yet

hadn’t yet lost any loved ones


we started singing happy birthday to him

he in the hospital

three states away


brain tumor


he wasn’t his old self

used to call me george

my brother henry

even though he knew my real name

though he didn’t know any of our names that night


passed the phone around

said our hellos and i love yous

he still didn’t recognize us

we blamed it on the knife he was under the previous day

it takes a lot out of you apparently


he was too tired to talk by the time the phone came to me

never knew what he would have called me

though apparently it didn’t matter


our grandfather checked out early that day

they filled the room quickly afterwards

so quick that our grandmother had not called us before we sang happy birthday to a complete stranger

though he didn’t complain

maybe it made his day


i’d like to think that we did


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