The In Between


Morgan held her grandfather’s hand and wished he were dead.

Even though the old man was unconscious, he still looked as though he was present but present somewhere else. His cheeks were pink. His skin was warm. However, instead of a face of rest, however, he wore a disturbing look of anguish. His thick hair, completely white now for decades, lay splayed against the pillow. He had always kept it shoulder length, as the ‘Celt warriors’ of the past, he had said. Thank god he had never pulled it back into a hipster ponytail. That would be going too far. And his beard. That beard she loved to nestle into when, as a little girl feeling it’s wiry warmth on her face. Warm, familiar, her grandfather.
She had been looking at her grandfather’s face for over an hour, devastated that she hadn’t been there for him.
That she couldn’t be There for him.
Two weeks ago he called begging her to come home;
“They’re getting worse. They won’t leave. You have to do something.”
“Grandfather, I’ll be there soon. The next train is in an hour. Can you hang on until then?” Morgan pleaded while cramming paperwork from her latest court case into her briefcase and shutting down her computer.
“I knew they would come again; I just didn’t think it would be this soon.” Morgan heard fear in the voice of her once fearless grandfather.
“I’m on my way.”
But she had been too late. Within minutes of that last phone call, Fitz had found him lying on the floor of his library. The butler had said he was pointing accusingly at the corner of the room at the bookshelf that housed a multitude of poetic works (one of her grandfather’s weaknesses were ballads) whispering the words “You said you’d wait. Please, not yet”. Telephone receiver still in his hand whatever he had seen made him incapable of placing it in its cradle.

Now two weeks had passed, and Morgan had to accept the fact that she had abandoned her grandfather at a time when he had needed her most. All she could do now is hold his hand and hope he could feel her near him as he battled the war that was waging outside her vision. She loved her grandfather more than anyone. He was more than family, more than a father (she never knew her real father). He was her hero. Her protector.
The only other person who knew.
Her heart felt as though it was being ripped out of her chest.
And then there was that incessant itching.
But she would not cry. No, there were no tears in Morgan’s eyes. She had given them away long ago.