Stories of Grandmothers

Heard from grandma that she fell down a flight of stairs, while coming down from the 10th floor doctor’s office. The elevator had been broken, and she had already walked up the ten flight of stairs to go to the doctor’s office. Had to stop half way up the stairs at every floor. Almost took me half an hour, she said, as she pulled up her pant leg to show me a round black-and-blue bump on her knee. Said she had some pain in her head, too. Didn’t recognize her friend that walked by this morning. But she laughed, saying that she was fine. “They took x-rays and said nothing was wrong. Nothing broken, pulled, or sprained.” I just stared at her, in shock.

She smiled a sad smile and told me, “The first thing that came up in my mind as I rolled down the stairs was ‘How am I going to make my granddaughter dinner?’” That pained my heart so much. To know that she didn’t think of herself even while she thought she was going to die.

The other morning, my other grandma told me about her friend who married a marine. Her friend worked at a Marine base, and one day he forced her to marry her. “He had picked her out of a crowd. Saw her going to and from work everyday and just picked her out,” she said, while rearranging the Virgin Mary figure on top of her dresser. Said she got beaten up frequently at home. He was so scary, she told me. I asked her if she had met her friend’s husband. “No, but we would meet for lunch. Sometimes he would call before we even got our food. She had to leave right then and there.” She sighed and continued. “Only if she had a father or a brother. Then she wouldn’t have had to go through all of that. If she had male family members, they would have come and pulled her away.” I sat there looking at her, wondering how easy it was to sum up this woman’s life in these couple of sentences. How no one will give her an award or a period of promised happiness for her pain. How she will just end her life like this — and no one will remember.

— find the politics in all this


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