It was by accident Grace was left in the room. Her parents had been pulled outside to speak with the doctor and her aunt went off in search of something to eat. Which left her alone with Grandma.
She looked at Grandma.
Grandma was no longer the plump smiling lady who would waddle about the kitchen cooking macaroni and cheese. She was replaced with this weak, sick woman. Needles broke Grandma’s skin on her hands; tubes linked them from her to the whirring and beeping machines.
There wasn’t Grandma’s usual perfume filling the air, all Grace could smell was the disinfectant and bleach of the hospital.
Grandma blinked slowly and tried to smile.
Grace couldn’t return it.
People came to the hospital to get better not worse. She couldn’t understand why everybody kept on telling her she had to be brave, especially now. Why did she have to be brave? It wasn’t her dying.
“Grace,”Grandma’s voice scratched its way past her thin lips. “I have a secret for you.”
Grace leaned in closer. She liked secrets.
“I love you. I’ve loved you since before you were born and barely an idea for your parents. I’ve loved you when you would cry when you didn’t get what you wanted right away, or when you would be laughing at the most ridiculous things and no-one else would be.” Grandma paused, catching her breath in hard gulps. “I just want you to know... that I love you. I will always love you, even when I am dead and gone elsewhere, I will still love you.”
Grace smiled. “I love you too Grandma.”
Grandma nodded, a happy smile blooming across her face.
Just for a moment she looks like the old Grandma from before she got sick. Grace relaxed her shoulders. Her fear was pushed aside by a bubble of hope that rose up inside. Maybe she would get better.
Grandma blinked. “Honey, can you go get me a nurse?” vaguely nodding her head towards the door as she speaks.
Grace looked at the door.
Even though she had been at the hospital everyday for the past week she didn’t know where to go, the halls all looked the same and the other patients scarred her. She didn’t know where to find a nurse.
Grace turned back to Grandma, about to ask her where to go.
But Grandma was no longer there. Only her body remained. No light twinkled in her openedeyes.
Grace screamed and went running out of the room.