It was a white and cold day. Johnny breathed against the window and drew suns and trees and flowers with his index finger. Mr. Collins’s daughter was babysitting him because his grandmother said she’d be right back.
“Where is granny?” Johnny asked the girl. She said she didn’t know without looking away from the TV.
Johnny frowned, his narrow eyes narrowed before he went back to drawing on the foggy glass. He’d draw a car now! A car with his parents and his granny and himself in it. No Collins girl. His fingertips were cold.
The babysitter told him to leave the window alone because it was cold and he’d catch a cold and she was supposed to take care of him. He said no, thank you. She told him to at least put a coat on and he said no again but she still forced him into an old, green sweater.
He hated that sweater, it was itchy!
She said he could take it off if he sat quietly by her side on the couch and watch TV and be a good boy.
Johnny ignored her and kept drawing. Mr. Collin’s daughter sighed and made a mess out of his short blond hair.
“Leave me alone, you ugly!” he complained. She laughed.
He didn’t like her because she was always messing with his hair.
She went back to the big, black couch and offered him hot chocolate if he was hungry.
“You parents should be home already” she said to herself after checking the old wall clock. “Maybe the snow is keeping them?”
Johnny didn’t know and so he kept drawing until he saw his grandmother walking outside towards the door. She was small and had so many coats on that she looked like a big blue cushion walking hurriedly on the snow. Johnny found it funny.
His grandma came inside and he hugged her.
The Collins girl gave him a peck on the cheek. He wiped the spot with the back of his small hand and then she laughed and left.
Johnny looked up at his grandmother and wondered why she looked so sad and old all of a sudden.
She picked him up. He asked about his parents and then he noticed her face was all teary.
“Don’t cry, granny!” Johnny said, hugging her around the neck.
“Johnny… do you know what it means to say somebody died?”
The little boy stared.
He and his mom had come across a small bird once. It hadn’t moved when Johnny poked him. His mom had told him that the bird was dead and that dead birds flew up and up to Heaven. What about dead people, he had asked. Why, people fly up to Heaven too, his mom had answered.
Johnny knew that dying meant you flew so high that you got very tired and didn’t wake up anymore.
“Oh no, Ashley’s payment!” the old woman sobbed and then she put Johnny on the ground.
She ran after the Collins girl. The Collins lived across the street.
Johnny stood under the doorway following his grandma with his eyes. She slipped and fell and stayed there without moving.
“Granny?” he called out.
He put on his boots and his winter coat and walked over to the old woman.
The Collins girl ran to them and kneeled by the woman’s side.
“Oh, my God! She’s dead!” she screamed.
Johnny rolled his eyes. Of course his granny wasn’t dead! He had watched it all and his grandma hadn’t flown, how could she be dead?
He walked back inside and breathed over the window again. What’d he draw this time? He hoped his granny would wake up soon and make him some of the really good chocolate she always made him. His babysitter’s hot chocolate wasn’t good at all…
Reality 09 – Death