by Sonya Bhatia

My grandpa hunkers down over the computer screen. His right hand holds the mouse, clicking in slow motion. His fingers are chubby and tan, with grey hairs on his knuckles. On his hands, green veins trace over, like lines on a road map. His eyebrows are scrunched together, with a frown painted on his face. His brown eyes look at screen innocently, like a toddler in awe of their favorite toy. He wears glasses, two wide ovals held together with a skinny, golden frame, magnifying the size of his eyes. My favorite facial feature are the brown freckles on the sides of his nose. His left elbow leans on the desk, with his hand on his forehead, massaging his temples.

He looks fragile. Like one wrong word or thought would shatter him. I wonder if he hurts differently than me. If the hurt creaks through his bones and writhers through his body deeper than mine. If present emotional damage brings up layers of past misery to the surface that he has previously repressed. That behind those almond-shaped eyes, memories of sadness and hardship play over and over on a movie reel. If time does not heal, but only widens the wound. All I will ever know is his scowl.

He finishes his work and turns off the computer screen. We always tell him he can just logout and leave the computer on, but he lives in a world of right or wrong ---there is no in between. He gets up from his chair, the leather exhaling upon his departure. His right hand strokes his back, aching from overuse. Every movement is deliberate and drawn out like the creaking of an oak, brown door. His legs are tan and lanky, his knees chalky. He limps towards the door going straight to his bedroom, his right leg compensating for the weakness of his left. Black bags hang from his eyes.

As he leaves the room, I wonder if he has dreams or nightmares when he sleeps.


Sonya Bhatia (she series): a whole wheat girl living life one almost-tripped-up-the-stairs step at a time. questioning societal norms of beauty but will occasionally shave her legs because her mother (firmly) asked her too. wears her beliefs on her mismatched socks. lover of wholesome moments, good pals, and anything floral because it reminds her that you can still be delicate and remarkable at the same time.