1. Papou's Visitor
I try to live day by day. Every day, I wake up and I tell myself to live just another day. It has been a routine and it has been the same phrase I’ve kept repeating to myself day after day. I am not sick, I just feel sick. Every time. I have tried to get by just as anybody else but normal doesn’t seem to fit in my vocabulary. For me it’s just another alien word; like a man wrapping its bald head in a sack and hang it on the gallows. For me there’s no ordinary day. Just another day to get by. I am not like anyone else. I guess that’s a rhetorical phrase, not even an original one—it’s a phrase you usually hear from people who struggles with their lives. In the biblical sense, that phrase would explain that there is a higher power who made us in a unique way. But I believe that everyone was made for something or at least for someone. Everyone was made for life because they needed to get by. When people walk on the streets encountering fifty people, I see a hundred. When a man sits on a bench alone, I see he’s with someone. And when a kid’s kite is blown away by the wind, I see it flying with something else. That’s my vague description of unique. I see things not ordinary people can see and that made me different to them. As I made my way out of the apartment building, I stopped by the front porch. I looked down at my old shoes. They’ve been with me for the past two years. I’ve watched the skies change every day and the cities grow large with taller skyscrapers. I wonder if they’d get soaked in the rain today. I’m on my way visiting my grandfather who’s made the hospital his home for the past six months. He’s lonely there with only me as his favorite visitor—that’s the best way I could say that I’m his only visitor. Just as I opened the door to his room, his eyes open and he welcomes me with his toothless smile. “Hey there, Papou.” I said in greeting as I set my things on the table. I sat beside him on his bed and I leaned into him so that he could hear me. “What’s kickin’?” He chuckles at me and he nods at the vase. “Such beautiful fresh flowers.” I smiled back at him, appreciatively. “Xavier my boy, could you thank that nice girl who brought them for me?” he says to me like he’s sharing a particular secret. I turned to look at the opened door, expecting to see someone but the hallway was empty. That I suspected he’s been having “other” visitors too. You see, my grandfather and I have this strange bond together. We both see things unnaturally and some people don’t understand this. It’s actually one of the reasons why my parents don’t want me coming over to visit him. My parents think that Papou has filled my head with illusion and that he’s being a bad influence to me. But how can you just abandon a sad old man in the hospital alone? My grandfather is the only person in this world that could understand me. I visit him every day after school since his day one in the hospital. He had taught me a lot of things like how to control my feelings concerning to the “things” that I see and how to act normal with them without getting scared. The hospital is one place where souls usually drift because they can’t see the light or they’re not dead yet. As much as I want to pretend that I don’t see them, that I don’t feel them, that they don’t bother me the fact that I still see them doesn’t help. Papou likes to call these souls as drifters because mainly they just drift. I see them like any normal person that you could see and not in their dying state which made them look less scary. I’ve never been close in touch to one before so I don’t know if drifters are like shades that are lost or they are even intangible like other souls. Sometimes I get confused with the living and the dead myself; that is how people and my parents think I’m a loon. But that is how my grandfather comes in. He teaches me everything about them but I still think I have a lot to learn. My grandfather said, when you see a drifter you’d have this cold feeling inside you like nausea creeping in. But usually, it doesn’t work on me. I still mistake the living people as the dead people. I stayed with my grandfather for the next couple of hours until he finally falls to sleep. That’s when I decided to leave and search for that “girl” he asked me to thank for the flowers. But as I step out of the room, I found no girl, just a couple of nurses rushing to the next room. If she was a drifter she might have drifted away by now and if she’s not maybe she has left the hospital already. But I did saw a drifter though. It was an old lady hovering by a mourning couple on a hospital bench. She was looking sadly at them as the woman cries on her husband’s shoulder. Deciding that I have no business there, I went home and prepared myself for another day.