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Closer To The Sun (standard:romance, 8046 words)
Author: 525Added: Sep 22 2000Views/Reads: 2721/1490Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A young man experiances and learns about love and death.

Closer to the Sun 


When I was fifteen, my grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer. She
had fallen in the shower and, amazingly enough, had not broken her hip, 
but while she was at the hospital having it checked, they had insisted 
on a full physical because it had been a long time since she had had 
one. That's when they found the cancer. It was in a pretty advanced 
stage and she was only expected to live about another six months. My 
family lived in Seattle, and my Dad worked at Boeing like sixteen hours 
a day, so my mom packed up my seven-year-old sister and me, and we went 
to Lakeside, California, to live with and take care of my grandmother 
in her final stages. 

Needless to say, I hated the idea. I had friends in Seattle, and a whole
summer vacation with them would be taken from me. I had never spent 
much time with my grandmother so we weren't that close, and I didn't 
really see why I needed to be there, but my mom said I would have to 
help watch my sister, Anne, while she was looking after Grandma. Plus, 
Dad was never around, and she thought fifteen was still too young to be 
hanging out by myself all of the time. 

So we flew down to California and moved into my grandma's house. My
first impression was that she didn't look very sick, but nobody talked 
about it openly (at least not with me), and the only real information I 
got was from overhearing her and my mom whispering about it at the 
kitchen table. I guess she had some pain that medication pretty much 
took care of, but she felt really tired all the time. 


Two things stand out in my memory about this time and about the issue of
my grandmotherís dying. First, in all of the secret meeting, kitchen 
conversations I eavesdropped on, I never heard any emotions. No crying, 
no declarations of love or regret, it seemed totally passionless. They 
would just talk like two people on the clock doing their part of a 
boring job, "Mornin,í Bob.  Morning, Sam. How's the missus? Fine and 
yours? Fine..... Fine. Well I'll get to dying now. Great, I'll get to 
watchin ya. Have a nice day." 

The second thing that stands out in my head is that I hated that house.
Maybe it was just the association with my grandma dying, but I swear, 
to me, that house was the tangible incarnation of the concept of death. 
What few lights there were, were rarely on and the sun shining on the 
back of the window shades seemed to cast evil shadows in corners and 
other places you might question. The shades themselves were the color 
of lifeless desert dirt. I imagine they got that way from years of the 
sunís hitting them, at one time they were probably off-white or maybe 
even white, but they had done their job - the job of keeping life out 
of the house - very well. There were bowls of hard candy that must have 
seen several presidents come and go, and if you tried to take one piece 
it was just the tip of the iceberg. They would all stick to each other 
and you would just end up with an inedible five pound piece of pure 
sugar. Weird faded wallpaper, weird furniture, weird floor coverings, 
but I guess all these things are probably run of the mill weird 
grandmother stuff.  The thing that really got me was she had these big 
paintings hanging all over, portraits of people I didn't recognize. I 
don't know if they were famous, or family, or people she knew, or if 
she just liked them, but I know I hated them. They were scary. They had 
an overall darkness. None of the people in them looked happy or 
comfortable and they all had something (something you couldn't quite 
put your finger on) wrong with their eyes. I thought they were evil and 
I could convince myself the eyes would follow my movements. Maybe 
fifteen is a bit too old to be scared by paintings, but they were evil; 
the eyes did follow my movements. Needless to say, I wasn't interested 
in spending any more time in the house than I had to. So I tried to 
figure out what else there was to do. That was how I met Jessie and 


The first time I met Jessie (well I guess I still didnít actually meet
him), he scared the shit out of me. He came running around the corner 
of my grandma's house. He had put some kind of black face paint 

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