Abuelo

Death came with me on the plane to Puerto Rico. I should have known he would because of my grandfather’s lung cancer. In the airport of San Juan, Death picked up his suitcase that was covered in stickers of foreign places and rushed away from us. I was relieved when I saw him disappear through the sliding doors imagining that he evaporated into the hot humid air. I forgot about Death when I was sliding across a basketball court during an aguacero, the warm rain making the concrete sleek and smooth against my bare chest. I forgot about him when I trekked the rainforest behind my great grandmother’s house, hearing the coqui trill their tropical song. I almost forgot about him on Christmas, but Death had his gift to give. My parents left my sister and I on Christmas Eve to see my grandfather. The next morning they returned and told us that God had taken him away. I saw Death closing the casket. I saw Death put tears in our eyes. I saw death. It’s been over twenty years, and I haven’t gone back because I’m afraid of him.

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