JJ wants to kick his grandson out.
|Cottage cheese. JJ Adams thought, looking up at the shadows of his bedroom ceiling. That’s what it looks like. He smiled a tired smile without humor. “That’s it exactly. A freshly opened container of Knutson 2% small curd cottage cheese. Other words were in his head too, mocking him, laughing at him, chiding him, but he wouldn’t say them, and he wouldn’t think them, but there they were anyway, floating about, fingers waggling from their ears, looking cross-eyed and smug as they danced in cruel mockery inside his head: “I have fallen, and I can’t get up…”
It was true. He had fallen. JJ tried to remember how it happened. He had gotten out of bed to get a glass of water, thinking, “I bet that damn kid is out partying!” He had looked out his window to see his car was not in its reserved parking space and knew he was right. Well, that’s it, JJ thought. The kid’s gone. I warned him. I made a New Year’s Resolution. He took my car and went out. Do you think he wears a mask when he goes out? You’ve asked him to. You’ve begged him to. Do you think he might do it? Are you kidding me? Your grandson never does anything you ask. Well, JJ said inside his head, You’re going to tell him tomorrow. Then he thought, Today’s tomorrow. He wasn’t absolutely sure what time it was, but he had a pretty good idea that it was already January 1.
JJ was now going to make a third try to roll over onto his stomach and this time, he told himself, he was going to make it. He was a good, strong 81 years of age and the very idea of not being able to get himself up off the floor was insulting. Also, humiliating. Also, very fucking scary. His first task was to turn himself over. He took three deep breaths, the fear growing inside him of what he was going to do, what choices he would have left, if he failed this third time, and with the fear came great anger, and maybe just a touch of claustrophobia mixed in as well. He raised his arms over his head, brought them left and took a final deep breath and with a great howl flung his arms right with his shoulders in pursuit and thrust his torso with all the strength he could muster to follow suit.
It didn’t work.
JJ’s eyes went back to the cottage cheese ceiling. He felt sweat beading on his face. His heart was thumping at great speed now.
“Uh-oh,” he said in a whisper. He closed his eyes. He would try again, later.
The feeling of being lifted. Bright light. Clanking of aluminum sliding against aluminum and his head being lifted. Then his face being screwed with.
An ambulance. He was being put into an ambulance. His son was looking in at him. “Teddy!” JJ said.
“No,“ his son had said. “It’s me, Granddad.”
The ambulance rear doors were closing. Then they were closed.
“Teddy!” JJ called. He heard how weak his voice sounded. Now they were moving. They were bouncing and swaying and a great noise warbled in his ears.
A strange face peered down at him. “He’s not coming?” JJ asked the face.
“He’s coming, Mr. Adams. Your grandson said he would follow.”
“Well, you don’t know my grandson,” JJ said.
“You should be proud of him, sir. He brought you back. You were gone. He kept at it. Yeah, you should be proud of him!”
JJ smiled and closed his eyes. Oh well, he thought. I’ll give him one more year. Then he’s out. And yet another of JJ's resolutions was flung to the wayside.