If Only

I was sitting on my rocker one gloomy afternoon. Heard voices going through the back of my mind and weird pictures going through my head. Indescribably weird. It was like I was trying to put together a puzzle with no sensible clues or pieces that didn’t have pieces that matched or fit together.

Suddenly a sound exploded in my head.

“Papa?”

I’m sure that my eyes started to flutter.

“Papa? You sleeping?” It came across a little softer that time.

My eyes opened but only barely a slit. I looked over the frames of my spectacles and saw a blurry figure in front of me.

“Did you know you were sleeping, Papa?”

I removed the spectacles and wiped the sleep from my face.

“I guess not, Andrea,” I said as I returned the spectacles to my nose.

“How can you do that, Papa?”

“Oh,” I said sagely, “when you are as old and tired as ole Papa, you just go to sleep for a while.”

I felt kind of embarrassed. So to shore up the ‘Papa pedestal’ my granddaughter had me on I followed up with this; “I don’t always fall asleep and don’t know it. Sometimes I want to go to sleep and I do.”

The ‘smarter than needs to be’ seven-year-old giggled in a little girl manner. “Yeah, but Papa, it’s only three o’clock. How can you be tired now?”

I picked up the precious little angel and sat her on my lap. I kissed her on  top of the head. She looked up at me with huge brown eyes as if I was going to say something world changing or something.

“You just wait, dear little one. Someday you’ll be old like Papa. Then it’ll be your turn to fall asleep and take naps in the middle of the day.”

“You’re funny, Papa,” she giggled in utter innocense.

“Really? Why’s that?”

“Because I won’t grow old. I’ll stay young aaaallllll my life.”

I thought to myself; If only… Then I posed this question to her.

“What is the oldest you will ever be, baby angel?”

She put her finger to her chin. She thought and she thought. I pretended to go back to sleep complete with a snore. Andie tried tickling my belly to which I burst out with a fake laugh. She laughed with me thinking she got the best of me.

After we settled down, I asked to get her back on track; “Now, what is the oldest you will ever be?”

She knitted her delicate brow returning her finger to her chin. Finally, she burst out; “Twenty-five!” A moment past. “No. Wait. That’s too old. Isn’t that how old Mommy is?”

I smiled at her warmly. “No, no. Mommy is a few years older than that. But not by much. Okay?”

“All right. But how old is Mommy then?”

I fought the urge to laugh. “Do you want to be as old as Mommy?”

“Not if she’s too old. I think I’d rather be younger than Mommy.”

“Then what is the perfect age to be, Andie?”

“Fifteen.”

“Why fifteen?”

“Because Mommy always talks about being ‘sweet sixteen and never been kissed’. I figure right after their sixteenth birthday girls will kiss a boy. I don’t want to kiss boys. They’re yucky! So, I will stay at fifteen. That way I’ll never have to kiss a boy the day after my sixteenth birthday.”

“You’re a good girl, Andie.”

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