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Blog of the Bartender

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Response #1: Guo Xiang

It was the summer before my sister started Kindergarten when our Grandpa was taken to the hospital because of problems with his lungs. After nearly a week we got a call from his hospital informing us the he was getting much better. My sister and I were ecstatic and wanted to see him as soon as we could.

“Kiersten, when do you think Grandpa’s gonna be able to go back home?” I asked, twirling a strand of my long brown hair around one of my tiny fingers.

My sister carefully picked up a piece of bright green chalk.

“I dunno,” she shrugged, “maybe tomorrow!”

I grinned, sure that my older sister was always right.

We drew a picture of Grandpa, Mommy, Daddy, and us holding hands in front of a cheerful little building that was supposed to be a hospital on the chalkboard our parents had given us for our birthday. (A/N: My sister and I are only a year and 13 days apart, so sometimes we celebrate our birthdays on the same day)

It as slightly past noon when the phone in the kitchen started ringing. I heard Mommy answer the phone in the professional voice she had talked to the hospital with. After she finished talking, Mommy hung up the phone and walked into the dining room where my sister and I were eating lunch. She had a strange look on her face, and she was biting her bottom lip.

“What’s wrong Mommy?” I asked, concerned.

Mommy sat down in the chair next me. “Kelsey, honey,” she said quietly, placing her thin hand on my forehead, “Grandpa’s dead.”

Kiersten furrowed her eyebrows. “No he’s not!” she said defiantly, “You just told us he’s better!”

Mommy closed her eyes, and tears began streaming down her face.

“Does this mean Daddy’s an orphan?” I choked.

Mommy nodded and wrapped my sister and I in a tight hug.

That night after we had all stopped crying, I sat on Daddy’s lap.

“Daddy, you and Mommy aren’t going to go anywhere, are you?” I asked, on the verge of crying again.

Daddy kissed my cheek. “Never,” he whispered.

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