Folds Of Your Skin

May 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

“There comes a time when the folds of your skin betray your eyes.” There was a crinkle in-between his eyebrows when he spoke and when he smiled the folds of his skin sagged down so that the smile never reached his beetle black eyes.

I sighed as the summer heat pressed onto the back of my neck, sweat trickling from the roots of my hair and down the length of my spine. Shifting in my seat, I tapped the yellow notepad that rested on my knee with a pen, the words “Local History Project” printed in neat, slanted handwriting at the top.

“What do you mean exactly, great grandpa?” the title was lacking in affection, this was the first time I actually remembered meeting the man, despite my dad insisting that we had made many family trips to the old folk’s home when I was younger.

He smiled that lackluster smile again, accentuating the wrinkles on the edges of his eyes.

“There are things you see,” His voice was nimble, barely audible. It felt as breakable as the brittle bones that his sagging skin clung to desperately. “And then your skin turns as rough as sandpaper, the colour of dust, resembling the folds of a crinkled up cloth.” I wiped a drop of sweat from my forehead and looked down at the almost blank paper of my notepad.

“This project…” I began before drifting off. The colour of his eyes reflected mine, as black as the ink that dotted my paper. And the smile, when you forgot about the sagging skin, was too much like my dad’s to forget.

There comes a time when the folds of your skin betray your eyes.

His were far away now and I wondered if he had even registered that I was here.

“Your great grandson,” the nurse had told the man loudly earlier that evening. “Come to visit you…take a seat honey; he’s not used to visitors.”

I wondered what he really remembered, if he remembered, or if this had all been a waste of time.

“If you could just answer a few questions,” I tried again. “First of all…” but I could see his eyelids drooping to cover the black of his irises. The skin around his cheeks hung like cloth sacks that clung to his skull.

“There comes a time when the folds of your skin betray your eyes,” I wrote down the phrase in my slanted handwriting and sighed again.

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