By Eddy Montilla.
(Taken from the book Real stories told as fiction)
“I know where the pixie is!” The child said and rushed into the bedroom.
“No, Grace!” Her mother yelled, but it was too late. The child had pulled the blanket that kept her granny warm off. Except for the younger sister, the entire family could see and think that this was what her body and life had reduced to. She weighed 39 kilograms or less. The distortion of her bones began with her lower jaw and teeth and ended in her toes. She could not close her mouth and had lost most of her hair. Her arms and legs were bent inwards and did not respond to her brain. Except for a weak blinking of her eyes, she lived her life trapped in a paralyzed body connected to three machines. Mrs. Brown spent most of her time on bed, looking at the white ceiling of the room with her head slightly tilted to one side to prevent her from choking. For one or two hours, the younger sister sat her mother in a wheelchair and took her near the window to get some sun. At that time, it could be seen in her how small we are when old age and disease come together.
“Most people know what hell is after dying. For some, this comes a little earlier. It’s just a matter of luck.” Amanda’s husband thought after seen her mother-in-law’s condition and he downed his glass of scotch in one go without waiting for the almost forgotten speech of her wife.
The younger sister was the most prudent person of the family. For that reason, perhaps, everything turned around her and everybody leaned on her. She was also the most intelligent, so to avoid the arrival of that awkward silence for the third time, she encouraged the other members of the family to start the party and she would join them minutes later after giving her mother some massage. Amanda could finally deliver her tremendously exciting speech (as some relatives said), full of praise for her sick mother, family anecdotes that all those present had heard several times and, of course, subtle criticism. After that, men were eating and drinking gluttonously; women, however, were only drinking since they had to drive later instead of their husbands. Only the mother of the child was eating sparingly and her daughter had not touched her food yet.
“Are not you hungry, sweet heart?” Amanda asked the child, and her answer deciphered the mystery about what happens when a child is present at a family gathering for adults: He or she will make them laugh or embarrass them.
“I don’t understand why you can eat so much if this is granny’s birthday and she’s not eating anything.” She said. “If she doesn’t eat in her birthday party, I will not eat either!”
Like one of those jokes that cannot even put a smile on the face of a clown and only make laugh the one who told the story, Patrick said to her younger sister that Grace was a perfect photocopy of her.
“Remember that your grandmother can only drink the magic liquid because it gives her more energy and life, Grace.” Her mother told her.
“But, why can’t she drink it herself?”
“Because it is a magic drink, so she doesn’t need to use her mouth. It goes directly to her stomach.”
“The pixie is back!” Grace suddenly said and ran into her grandmother’s room. A few moments later, she walked slowly back to the living room with her head down.
“I couldn’t catch him. I have never seen him. I don’t even know how old he is!”
“A pixie? But who on earth is she talking about?” Patrick, half-drunk already, asked.
Only Amanda had a grasp of what was going on at home. Her younger sister needed her daughter’s eyes to help with the care of her sick mother, but at the same time, she didn’t want to see Grace suffering for her grandmother’s condition. Thus, before Patrick put his foot in it, she said to her niece this:
“His name is Parkinson, Grace, and even though he’s small, Parkinson is 25 years old. He has been with your granny all these years.”
After that, Amanda’s husband cleared his throat and said that it was time to leave since they had a long journey ahead of them. All members of the family wolfed down everything in front of them, including the apple pie for dessert and drank coffee quickly. Then, they left the house, but this time, different from the way they came, they left together. Four or five days later, Mrs. Brown died. At her funeral, nobody mourned her death, except for the child.
“I want to see granny again!” She said. “I want to see Parkinson!”
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