I almost left this one untitled, because any title I can think of feels either too obvious or dramatic or overblown. But I think this one works for me.
"I went to lunch with your grandfather and grandmother," he says.
I go still on my end of the phone line as I realize
this conversation is not the one I thought it was.
I pause to weigh my options.
"Don't you know your grandmother and grandfather?" he snaps.
"Grandfather," I address him gently, "Doris was my grandmother."
"No no. Nope. No. That's wrong. Lynn is your mother," he says.
I don't know who Lynn is.
I wonder if he does.
"Did you have a good lunch?" I ask.
He rambles about his turkey sandwich and ponders
whether I know Rose while I breathe.
I don't know Rose - turns out she's the lady at the bank.
I store this in my memory for later:
there is so much living in the details.
"After all these years you're finally telling me that your mother is my daughter?"
His voice rises such that I can't tell if he's joking.
"I'll be damned."
We laugh and - for a moment - my heart eases.
"Happy birthday, Grandfather."
"Yeah," he says. "Thanks, hon."
"I love you," I say.
"Well that's nice to hear," he says
and silence falls between us.
I remind myself to breathe.