My grandfather’s face speaks more than he does.
His face has taught me a lot in my 25 years, and when I make a decision I imagine what my grandfather’s face would look like if I told him. Would it be the proud face of an A on my report card, the disappointed face of him overhearing my mother and I fighting again, or the infectious laugh that erupts from his chest? Most of the time I try to listen to his face. Even if I fail to agree, his face is in my mind.
Last year so many things changed in my life, so many times I asked my grandfather’s face what to do. Would it answer with a british humour inspired look of sarcasm? Would it answer with a look of utter disappointment? That last face I saw far too much last year. Utter disappointment, hopeless exacerbation.
When I close my eyes and think of my grandfathers face, I only see one.
Not the anger when I hurt my grandmother and made her cry, not the sadness when the beloved family dog passed on…
I think of Warwick Castle.
My grandfather took me to England when I was 19. We spent two weeks touring around the home I’d never been to. Many of the places we travelled were my grandfather’s stomping ground; The streets he grew up on and the houses he walked past daily. The one place we went to that he had never been, nestled into the English countryside, was Warwick Castle.
I remember everything about that day, about the smile on my grandfather’s face, the blue streaked across the sky, the bangers and mash at the local pub.
But the thing I remember most about Warwick Castle was the look of wonder on my grandfather’s face. It’s burned into the back of my eyelids. It’s the memory I look back to when I realize how much I miss the man that lives fifteen minutes down the road. How fully content he was in that English afternoon with the Castle ramparts behind him.
Now when I see my grandfather’s face it is often covered with indifference. I know I caused that indifference with the choices I made but it still hurts. I pushed everyone away and they pushed too. Instead of seeing how happy I am, how much I love them, they see the choices I’ve made. The choices that my grandfather’s face wholeheartedly disagreed with. It would be easy to say I regret my choices, that I regret the look on his face when he found out, but I don’t.
I regret that things will never be the same, that the sour grape was found mixed with the sweet.
I regret that I will never see my grandfather’s face the way it was that day. I will never see Warwick Castle.