Day 318: Grandpapa

Matt Zurbo


Hi, this is a story about my Grandpapa.
(Cute painting, pref watercolour, of baby, nine months old, playing with building blocks.)

We live far ‘Up North’.
(Mum and Dad and Baby, tropical bush in the background, with rock-filled river. They are putting Baby into a harness that Dad is wearing.)

(Baby’s wide-eyed, inquisitive face, Dad’s walking up a river rock. Mum standing on top of other, large rock, where water flows down.)

Bad news comes in. My Grandpapa had a stroke. Dad says that means he’s not very well.
(Dad, standing on rock above rock pool, using his phone, Mum, in rock pool with splashing baby, looking back at him.)

The doctor says if we want to say good-bye to him, we had better come fast!
(Parents, baby in arms, running through riverbed, towards ute parked on 4-wheel drive track, under trees.)

We drive a long way.
(Baby in baby seat, crying, Mum beside her, calming. Half moon on ocean through window beside them.)

And arrive at the airport with a minute to spare.
(Running from ute to airport entrance, Baby rugged in blanket. Airport clock says 11pm.)

(Plane, above clouds, with half moon)

A relative gives us a lift to the country town where Grandpapa is.
(Running through hard, sideways rain into open door of waiting car.)

The doctors say Grandpapa is still critical. Mum says that means he could die.
(Doctor’s mouth talking to Mum and Dad’s mouths, while, in middle of frame, baby, still in harness, is trying to play with doctor’s stethoscope.)

He’s sleeping, so we wait.
(Profile of sleeping Granddad, while very tired looking Dad –playing baby on his knee – and Mum, wait.)

While we wait, Papa tells me about his Dad. I can’t really understand, but feel the love in his voice.
(Dad’s mouth profile in top of frame, in bottom, Baby is watching him, while chewing/slobbering on a wooden block.)

On Wednesday nights Grandpapa would take his kids out for pizzas and inspire their imagination just by watching the moon.
(Pizza fun in bottom of frame for three other siblings. Dad and Granddad sitting on boot of car, staring up at the Milky Way and a huge, full moon.)

Grandpapa is awake! We just stare at each other for the longest while.
(Dad’s in chair, sleeping, mum sleeping, baby over shoulder looking at Grandpapa. Grandpapa, head still on side, tube in nose, staring at Baby.)

Grandpapa hasn’t spoken since his accident. It takes five minutes of trying for him to say the word “B… B… Beautiful…”
(Old man’s mouth just open/whispering.)

(Mum and Dad startled, awake, baby playing with Grandpapa’s wrist tag. Grandpapa unable to move, but staring at baby.)

He’s too weak to move.
(Baby and Grandpapa staring at each other.)

He stares forever… and somehow manages to talk.
(View from above of Grandpapa on back, in bed, head turned to his son. Baby is playing, holding onto the rail between them)

With each word, his voice gets a little stronger. He mumbles about how I have given him reason to live.
(Close up of Baby, eyes down, hand in air, playing with something in its lap. Maybe pulling at sheet.)

He says that he is grateful for this day, because we are all together.
(Dad and Mum and Baby – still held by Dad. Grandpapa’s frail arms reaching out, tube in vein, baby playing with his outreaching finger.)

(We can only see nose-down of Dad’s face, tear running down. He is holding baby, who takes up most of the frame.)

(Image from outside open room door, of nurses looking shocked as Grandpapa is sitting up in bed, watching Dad and Mum, sitting, while Dad’s hands hold baby as baby climbs across from Dad’s lap, onto bed.)

I can’t quite kiss yet, but its obvious I am trying. If Grandpapa could, he would hug me. (Double page spread of Grandpapa and Baby’s foreheads butting. Baby is happy/curious/gentle, Grandpapa has the slightest lips together smile and warm, sad, half-open eyes. His hospital smock is open, reviling tubes taped to his chest. There is still a small tube in his nose.)

After a few days, it’s time to go.
(Background of relatives with flowers, etc, surrounding hospital bed, foreground of Dad and Mum walking towards viewer, Mum his holding Baby, who is looking back over her shoulder. Family are happy. We can just make out Grandpapa, tubes still in him, but propped up in bed, talking.)

It takes the longest time to travel back home.
(Reverse image of plane flying through night)

Mama says I won’t remember, but I helped, oh so much!
(Mum, Dad and Baby huddled, sleeping in the plane)

(Dad and Mum walking towards viewer, tropical bush in background. Baby in Mum’s arms, Mum is fussing over her. Dad has arm around Mum.)

We love you, Grandpapa.
(Granddad sleeping in hospital bed with a content smile, holding photo of baby.)


The End


 jz and c    

3 thoughts on “Day 318: Grandpapa

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