He lay in the narrow cot, covered up to his chin by a light cotton blanket. His skin was almost as parchment white as the blanket. His mouth was agape. He was as still as a mountain. I came close to Grandpa, and touched his shoulder gently.
Red-rimmed eyes opened. A slow smile of recognition spread across his pale face. "Hello darling!" he exclaimed. "Happy Birthday Grandpa", I proclaimed proudly.
Later, we sat around a plastic table in a courtyard - Grandpa, my daughter, my son and I. The children drew with pens on scraps of paper from my handbag. Grandpa watched the children as we talked of his health; as I told him a funny story; as he recalled tales from his life. He ran his hand over his grey hair as he declared himself pleased to have reached 94 years of age.
Out of the blue, Grandpa declared earnestly, "I'm staggered by the beauty of those children!". I felt a flash of motherly pride (Yes! Someone else has finally realised! My children are unusually and incredibly beautiful!), before I recalled that Grandpa has quite poor eyesight.
After half an hour, the (astoundingly gorgeous) children and I said our goodbyes. Ben permitted himself to be hugged, and Laura gingerly kissed Grandpa's dry stubbled cheek. Grandpa's eyes watered and he murmured huskily, "I'll never forget this day".
And now, in writing this down, I'll never forget either.