by Marcus Jonathan Chapman
God’s coming she’s just tying her shoe laces and once she gets her kicks on she’s gonna kick some ass. At least that’s what grandpa told me. He assured me, on multiple occasions that every mother fucker would get their comeuppance. Not exactly in those words but something like that.
Grandpa also said that if I kept up my hustle the money would flow in. That seemed like more pertinent, relevant advice than anything about god. If I had to wait for god to tie her shoes, then I might as well lace up mine and get out there to kill some time.
Grandpa and god. Two figures that let me down, albeit unintentionally. Grandpa let me down, not with his words but with his actions and god can’t let me down or lift me up, if you catch my drift. Grandpa could fix a car, build a house or make water flow in any direction through pipes. What grandpa couldn’t do was make himself better.
I remember the things he said about god and shit. He pointed at the stars and told me which constellation Jesus would return from, where heaven is, where I told grandpa he would be when I held his hand right before his last breath. I remember the way grandpa smelled after working on his cars. He washed his hands with a cavernous bar of soap and when he hugged me the smell of motor oil and grease was overwhelming. I wish he’d told me more about fixing cars, pipes and houses than he did about god. I can fix a car, I can’t do anything with the other information.
I remember the way he used to say orange, “oyenge.” I loved it. For a few years I made myself pronounce the color and fruit like that. Right up until he turned on the car, hooked up a hose from the exhaust pipe to the driver’s side window and closed the garage. He might have met god that day had grandma not opened the garage door and found him.
Like a plumb in my memory is grandpa. The skin is bitter and I have to get past it to get to the sweetness in the middle. I loved him. As for that other figure, what’s there to say?