My grandfather exists in my head two ways–
as a memory
and as a fable.
My memories seem defined but are warped by time and the naiveté of a 7-year-old’s sense of perception. That’s where mine end, at age 7, when he died after a long battle with kidney failure and an old battle with alcohol. As they said in those times “he liked his drink”, and my memories are of a man who wore the wear and tear of a life…lived. But then there are the stories from a time that precede my memories, of that man who loved life. One who cared about his presentation, the finer things and the way in which things should be done. His outfits were impeccable, his shoes had to be shined every day, he liked to throw parties, be at parties, celebrate. In more ways than I may realize, I take after him, and he sounds like someone I could have a damn good time with.
If in some alternate universe, he’s still my grandfather, but much younger and stronger than he was in my childhood, and I am, well, me, now, then we’re definitely best friends. There, my grandfather and I are in opulent room in Paris, windows open at dusk. The best food from Sri Lanka, France, Greece and Japan are on one long table before us, as are the best spirits and wines to go with each, and we’re toasting and taking our first bite right about…now.