Saturday November 13th, 2080. Early Morning:
“Grandpa, are you awake?” A tiny voice called out. Randy lay in his bed, unmoving but still breathing. Lori grabbed onto one of his free arm sleeves and started pulling on it while still calling out his name. “Grandpa…? Hello?” She asked. Her tiny voice was just loud enough to wake Kolleen up. She stirred a bit on her side of the bed, before opening her eyes. When she sat up, she looked around for the source of the voice and located Lori still holding onto Randy’s sleeve. A wide grin broke across her face as she saw the little one trying her hardest to wake up her great grandpa. “Darling, what are you doing out of bed?” Kolleen asked her. The little girl let go of the sleeve, and turned her attention to her great grandma.
She was holding her hands behind her back and kicking her feet around. “Well, I had a bad dream Grandma. I couldn’t sleep, so I came in here.” Kolleen just laughed a bit, and waved towards herself, indicating Lori could get in the bed. “Come here, Lori.” The little girl jumped with all her might, to get into bed. Randy started to move a bit, but not enough to where he woke up. Kolleen grabbed Lori under her armpits and lifted her over Randy’s legs. She set Lori on her left leg and kissed her on the cheek. “Grandpa’s a heavy sleeper isn’t he?” Lori nodded, rubbing her eyes gingerly.
“You’re so adorable, did anyone ever tell you that before?” Lori nodded, looking up with her big blue eyes. Kolleen pushed the hair from her face, behind her ears. Lori giggled; she was ticklish back there. “You were always the tickling kid. Your brother and the twins never really had a ticklish spot.” Kolleen told her. She started to tickle Lori behind the ears again, and then moved her hands all over her, tickling her as much as she could. Lori just burst into loud giggles, something that was loud enough to even jar Randy out of a sleeping stupor.
He coughed a bit, pulling his pillow up over his left ear. It wasn’t out of anger though; Kolleen knew he was smiling towards the opposite wall. Lori looked back up at Kolleen, with a confused face mixed with a tiny bit of worry. Her great grandmother just shook her head at her, “Don’t worry young one. He’s smiling, trust me.” “Are you sure Grandpa isn’t mad?” She asked. Kolleen giggled this time at how innocent she sounded. That was when Randy rolled onto his back, gazing at the ceiling.
He faked an angry face, scowling all the while. Kolleen knew better though, he was trying to play. Kolleen pushed her towards him, which she easily slid across the blanket. Randy quickly jolted, turning his head fast towards her. Lori gave out a little scream of terror, then quickly began laughing as Randy started to tickle her. She doubled over hard while Randy continued his tickling pursuit. “I knew I would get ya Lori!” He yelled happily. After a minute or two, Randy halted his playful assault so she could catch her breath. It was then that Charlie and the twin boys walked into their room. All of which were still in their blue and red pajamas.
Charlie was rubbing his eyes, whilst the twin boys had thumbs in their mouths respectively. Both of which were playing with their hair as well. “Oh, I see we woke up the roosters.” Randy said as Randal and Roy neared the bed. Randal just smirked at him, Roy continued regardless of the comment. When they all got to the bed, Randy kept his gaze on them. “Why are you in here so early?” He asked them all. Charlie groaned, still rubbing his eyes. “Lori’s loud giggling woke Randal and Roy up. Naturally they had to go to my room and pull me out of my bed, ugh!”
Randy leaned over towards the twins and punched them lightly on the arm. “Atta boys!” he said. They laughed at him, and stuck their tongues out to Charlie who did it back. Outside, rain was slamming hard into the big windows in their room. “Well, it doesn’t seem like you’re going anywhere today kids. What would you like to do?” Almost immediately, the three younger children all chimed that they wanted to hear more of the story. Randy could barely look at them fast enough as their voices rang through his ears. He just smiled hard then looked over at the eldest. Charlie rolled his eyes and nodded then sat down on the end of the bed. “Alright, then it is settled. I shall continue the story; Kol, my dear?” he asked, patting Kolleen on the shoulder. “Yes, my love?”
“Would you kindly get the journal out of the living room? And… what would you all like for breakfast?” He stopped, looking at all the children. Roy and Randal yelled they wanted cereal, which Lori automatically agreed. Again, Randy turned his attention to Charlie. “Of course I want cereal Grandpa! I’m a kid, aren’t I?” he replied. Randy nodded at him, and then turned back towards Kolleen. “Kol, could you please…?” He began. She hushed him, kissed his cheek then left the bed to go and get the materials. When the door shut, Randy pulled himself up to a sitting position. “Charlie, would you mind watching over the younger ones for a minute or two?”
“Sure thing, Grandpa.” he replied. Randy whipped his legs over the edge of his bed, and slowly got up to his feet. “I’ll be right back kids; I just gotta go to the bathroom.” Even with cane in hand it took a while for him to begin moving. He had to slowly move a foot or two every five seconds. The rain continued to pound at the window, echoing almost, throughout the room. When he was three quarters of the way across, he felt his heart beginning to beat fast again. He quickly held onto it with his free hand, closing his fist tight on his shirt. It’s just a little pain Randy. You’ve dealt with much more than a tiny heartache. Come on now, keep moving! he thought.
He pushed onward, until he was at the doorway. Once he got there, he nearly leapt towards the wall. He just barely caught himself when Kolleen re-entered the room. “Randy! Why didn’t you ask me to help you?!” Kolleen yelled. “Charlie, come and grab this tray please. I have to help your grandfather to the bathroom.” The eldest nodded and rushed over to grab the tray. “Thank you darling, you go and enjoy your breakfast with the other kids. We will be right back.”
Kolleen put one of Randy’s arms around her neck and guided him through the doorway. Before they left, she quickly shut the door, but did it gently so she wouldn’t startle the kids. As they slowly made their way across the hall, Randy was cursing under his breath. She noticed sweat forming on his forehead and felt the wet stain on his back. “Were you having chest pains again?” She asked. He saw the fear in her eyes, and then quickly shook his head. “It’s nothing Kol, I just had a few chest pains. I’m doing fine now, thanks!” They were both nearby the stairway, when Randy stopped for a second. “What’s wrong, Ran-Ran?” she asked him. He waved her off then leaned up against the railing. “I just needed a slight break is all.”
“Now, would you please let me help you down the stairs? I know it’s quite a trip. “It is fine Kol, don’t worry about me. Just, please go tend to the kids. I’ll be down in the study room, waiting for them.” Kolleen nodded and waited until he was on his way down the stairs. When she was sure he would be fine, she made her way back to their bedroom. Randy stepped down the stairs one step at a time so he wouldn’t make himself too tired. “Curse this old body! If I try to take more than five steps faster than a couple seconds, my heart goes into a panic attack!” Randy complained.
He got to the bottom of the steps and took an immediate right, walking down the long, dark hallway next to the stairs. He knew the bathroom was the first door on the right and it was only about ten feet away. This hall was still the same color as the other rooms, except there were multiple paintings on the left side of it. The first was of a pond, where two old men were fishing in the middle. What was ironic about this was their hooks were in the water around the boat, but all the fish were swimming around them. They were too smart for the fishermen, avoiding all their attempts in capturing them. Randy smiled at this picture and continued on, into the shadowy hall.
The second picture was of the Statue of Liberty. The statue’s dress was painted with the American flag colors, with the base painted gold. Standing out front of the statue was a square formation of Army soldiers. Two Navy ships full of seamen were floating in the ocean. A U.S Air Force plane was flying around the head of the statue. Two small groups of the Marines were on either side of the island. This was a rendition that his father added when he was home before he joined the Army. Randy ignored the rest of the paintings, since the bathroom was directly to his right. He walked in and shut the door behind him before flicking on the switch. The bathroom was perhaps the smallest room in that house. It was made just big enough to hold one toilet, a sink, and a shower that was tucked in the far left corner.
Randy was too lazy to walk all around the house to find a bigger restroom and he only had to freshen up a bit. He leaned against the sink, staring at his own reflection, feeling a disgust at the person looking back at him. His once puffy face was now very gaunt and thinner than usual. He figured it was due to his age, but he still disliked his appearance. Shaking his head, Randy looked away and inched his body over towards the toilet. The room was painted red like the rest of the house, and the tiles were pure white. The toilet, sink and shower were red as well. When he was done, Randy washed his hands and again, looked deeply at his reflection. His eyes were bloodshot as well, despite the fact that he had a good night’s sleep.
He got some cold water and threw it onto his face and neck so it would help wake him up. When he was satisfied, he dried himself thoroughly. Opening the door, Randy walked out into the hall and started his trek towards the study room. All the way there, he had his mother and father on his mind. He remembered the day that his mother passed; it still pained him so much to this day. He never expected it, not the way she went. His eyes began to sting; he couldn’t cry, not now. Kolleen relied on him to be strong and that’s what he was during their entire young lives. Randy turned into the hall, leading to the study room.
Words never really came to his mouth as he observed every inch of this hall. The same went for when he was given the news, that this house was his now. The memories came flooding back to his brain all at once. When Randy turned his attention to the back room, he nearly jumped out of shock. He had already gotten to the doorway, and inside he could hear the tiny voices of his great grandchildren. And then the unmistakable soft voice of Kolleen broke their chatter. “I think your great grandfather is outside the door, let me go help him over alright?” Randy patted his forehead with his arm sleeve and waited.
When Kolleen was near the door, he smelt her intoxicating aroma wafting through the cracks. He leaned his face towards the open crack and whispered as coherently as he could. “You smell so wonderful.” He said. That familiar giggle escaped Kolleen, making Randy’s heart jump around as it did years ago. “How did you know I was here though, Kol?” “I know when my soul mate is near me Ran-Ran, don’t worry about that.” She opened the left door, and leaned against the edge of the right one. “How are you sweet pea?” she asked him. He felt his face burning up, chuckling nervously at her. He looked down at his feet, shuffling his cane between each hand. “Not too bad darlin’.” He replied. “Come in Ran-Ran, the kids are waiting. And we only have so many days until their parents are here.”
She held onto and guided him across the room. All of the kids were situated as they were the day before. Charlie stayed on the floor; today he was wearing blue jean overalls with a red shirt and was in his socks. Lori was still in her pajamas, whereas Roy and Randal were wearing black shirts with matching brown pants. They too, were in their socks. Randy felt so bad at this point, knowing he was wearing the same exact outfit as he was yesterday. “Don’t worry about the clothes Randy, they’re kids and they understand that we’re old. I’ll get you an outfit out later, alright?” Randy nodded and patted her hand.
When he was situated in his chair, he exhaled hard and grinned at all his great grandchildren. They looked so beautiful to him, which brought him joy in his old life. Seeing the generations of his family continuing on was Heaven to him. “Where were we kids?” Randy asked as he set his cane aside and positioned himself to a more comfortable spot. Kolleen settled down next to him. When she was situated she grabbed the thick journal and handed it over to him, tapping him on the arm. He jumped a bit, staring at her and then the journal. “AH! Thank you darlin’.” “No problem Randy.” She replied. “I’m going to skip through the rest of the night that we were working, since it was a relatively boring night. Let’s go to the morning, near the end of the shift, shall we?” He flipped through a few pages and then cleared his throat, readying for the reading session.