|The Taylight Zone - Anthology Seven
15 - As I Always Will - Lee
"Looks like I win again, son,"
"Guess you do grandpa. You're just too hard to beat," Isaac offered with a smile.
He and his grandpa were seated on Isaac's grandparent's fron porch playing a friendly game of chess, enjoying the cool breeze that brushed past them with every brush of the branches in the trees. Isaac always allowed his grandfather to beat him at chess; he gave his grandpa a sense of self satisfaction when he beat Isaac, and Isaac wanted him to enjoy that feeling.
"Come on Louis, it's time for your medicine. You're already an half hour late of taking it. Come on now," Isaac's grandmother appeared from the door, ushering her husband into the house for his daily dosage of medicine. Isaac's grandfather had gotten sick 2 years back, being diagnosed with cancer, causing him to take sevceral pills daily. They didn't expect him to last much long; when he was diagnosed with the sickness, the doctor suggested he had 6 months to live, maximum. But luckily for Isaac and his family, he had last a year and a half longer than that. When thinking about it, Isaac's grandfather seemed to be doing much better lately, which caused much less stress and worry for his family.
"One more game, Margie, just one. Isaac is enjoying my company, aren't ya son?"
Isaac smiled, and looked up at his grandmother. "One more game Grandma,that's all. Perhaps this is a better dosage of medicine than some chalky pills he pops in his mouth. What do you say grandma?"
Isaac's grandmother threw her hands in the air out of frustration, and walked back in the house, mumbling to herself. Through the muffled gripes she was speaking, Isaac could hear her say "Two men against one old lady.. This should be illegal!" and laughed to himself, turning his attention back to the chess board positioned on the wooden table in front of him, seperating he and his grandfather by about 4 feet. He took a deep breath, inhaling the air around him which held the strong scent of his grandfather's cologne. In all of his 2 years of playing chess with his grandfather, he could always, no matter what the condition, identify the strong scent of his grandfather's cologne. He had gotten his grandfather that brand of cologne a couple Chrsitmas' back, and since then, his grandfather was always sporting the scent.
Isaac's thoughts were intruded by his opponent's, or grandfather's. "It's your move son. Has been for the past 5 minutes. Now take your turn," he fussed, using his hands to gestur for Isaac to move.
"Sorry grandpa," Isaac apologized, and offered a small apologetic smile. He glanced down at the board and mindlessly moved one of the black pawn's two spaces up,waiting for his grandfather ito take his turn, which usually took 3 to 6 minutes because of all the decision making his grandpa tended to do, reguardless how many peices lay before him.
After another 45 minutes of following the same routine, Isaac's grandpa made him triumph known once again. "I win again, son."
"Don't you ever get tired of kicking my butt, grandpa?"
"Never," he answered, getting up from his chair. "I better go satisy your grandmother by taking my pills. Don't you go anywhere,son. I'll be back."
Isaac smiled once again as the wind blew through his hair, causing it to whip in the air softly.
"Come in." Taylor said from his position on the bed of his room. He, Isaac and Zac were occupying the bedroom, the brother's sprawled about; trying desperatly to think of a verse of a new song they were presently working on.
Diana walked through the door slowly, her face flushed a dark red matching her blood shot eyes as an indication she had been crying. Isaac's attention was immediatly grabbed as he got up and walked over to his mother offering a caring hand on her back.
"What's wrong, mom?" Zac asked, the worry extremely evident in his voice.
Diana looked up at her sons, helplessly. She took a soft step foward, and seated herself next to Taylor on the boys bed. She stared at the ground. Her vocabulary seemed to shrink amazingly as she was left with loss of words.
When she finally felt she could speak without breaking the dam of a new river of tears, she spoke, her voice shaky. "Mom called this morning. Dad passed away last night. He was in his sleep, so he didn't suffer." she choked, looking mainly at Isaac; alerted of how close he and his grandoa were.
Isaac gasped, and fell limply to the bed, ajoining his mother. He stared blankly at the floor, his face and eyes showing no emotion; no sign of life what so ever. He seemed to go numb, and his breath was lost, and he breathed in chops of air. How could it be possible? He had just seen him yesterday, and he was all of fine.
His sadness was replaced by anger that instant, and his face was colored a crimson red and hatred eroused in his body, releasing through his voice. "How? No, why? He was just getting better dammit! How the hell could he die? He was getting.... he was getting... well. How could he die mom? It's not fucking fair." he stopped, not being able to go on. Tears flooded his vision, and ran down his cheek in thick, water filled bubbles identified as tears.
Diana gave Isaac a reassuring look, and placed her hand caringly on Isaac's back, rubbing it for comfort. Isaac shook it off furiously, and got up, storming out of the door; leaving his confused family to cope, and wonder.
Isaac sat on his grandparents porch, staring blankly at the chess board positioned in front of him. That chess board would now be the most sentimental thing in the world to Isaac. Part of it held the fun going part of his grandfather. A small tear rolled down his cheek.
For the heck of it, he slowly pushed one of the pawns foward. How could he get used to not having his grandfather there to push one back? He sighed, and began to get up from his chair, when a scartching noise made him look back at the board. He felt as though he wis mind was playing tricks on him as one of the bishops slowly moved foward; noone around beside's he who could possibly be causing the motion.
Fear filled his eyes and body and he intensly, fearfully, looked at the Chess board. He sat back down. He breathed deeply, trying to regain self control. With the breath he had just taken, he sensed a smell. He scrunched his nose up, sniffing slightly. The smell was vaguely familiar. Then it hit him like an arrow to the chest. It was the smell of his gradnfather's cologne. More fear eroused within him as the wind brushed through the trees, sending his hair flying like it had always done before.
As the wind shuffled, it carried a small voice with it. Forget it son. You'll never beat me. But promise me, you will continue to try...
"Ah, you beat me again grandpa!" Isaac exclaimed.
Diana glanced out the window of her mother's kitchen. She watched Isaac sit and talk to the empty chair in front of him. Although she saw nobody, she could see the Chess peices moving across the board; with the help on noone else. She thought she was crazy, but knew both her and Isaac weren't crazy. It was too coincidental that they would see the same thing.
Isaac inhaled the air, taking the smell of his grandfather's cologne with him. "You've always worn that cologne haven't you grandpa?" Isaac asked, or stated. Although he couldn't see his grandpa, he knew he was there playing chess with him. The scent of the strong cologne was proof of it.
And I always will, as I always beat you at this game, son.