after history (8-9)

Whenever he re-visits the old house, he finds that something has been moved, taken or changed in some other way. One time the doorbell had gone, another time the bathtub, the next time an entire interior wall. Vanished as if they had never even been there. The street in which the house lived had changed its shape, its entry and exit points had moved. Even the views from the house were being distorted beyond recognition: the factory had lost its chimney and now served some other function. After a number of these visits, he understood that the old house was slowly but irrevocably stealing his past from him, leaving him exiled from his memories. As the house became gradually more unrecognisable to him, he found that he was becoming gradually more unrecognisable to himself. He covered all of the mirrors in the house with scarves, shirts, shawls; whatever he could find.
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I was upstairs in the Old House and I found my grandfather, who despite having been dead for half a year, was shuffling awkwardly around a room that used to be his kitchen but was now some kind of dressing-room. He looked confused, understandably so, but more surprisingly he had grown by about two feet in height. Furthermore, the skin on his face was as taut as that upon a 20-year-old. He had been 101 when he died. Things had changed.
“Granddad,” I said, “Look at me; come here
and look at me,” I said gently.
He shambled over towards me dutifully but somewhat sheepishly, and looked down upon
me from his newfound height.
“Look how tall you’ve grown!
You’re a giant, Granddad!”
Slowly it dawned on him how much he had changed and he smiled and started to move
away with what looked like a plan forming
in his slowly-moving mind.
“Be good now Granddad, won’t you?” I said,
as if talking to a young child, sensing that he might be up to some mischief with his newly realized size and vitality.
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al
April 2018

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