After one week, he made my name the lyric for every song on the radio.
After one month, he gently rocked me to sleep in his cradled arms.
After six months, he scurried to my house every day just to catch a glimpse of my drooling smile.
After one year, he sat on the pink carpet as I bounced on my tiny legs. With his worn hands, he beckoned me closer. When I could no longer support my chubbiness, he caught me in his arms.
After two years, he rose from the chair as I tugged off his wedding ring. Although he predicted my movements, he let me guide him to the center of the living room to begin our routine performance. As the music filled the air, we became lost in our simple dance of carefreeness, joy, and love.
After three years, he tickled me to tears until I fell onto his lap. He grabbed the nearest book from the bookshelf, and while his right hand flipped the pages, his left hand provided an armrest.
After four years, he defended me against bullies. When my cousins locked me away in the prison of my aunt’s dark bedroom, he rescued his crying princess.
After six years, he took me on mini road trips. Even though I insisted that I was a big girl, he guided me through the sea of strangers’ faces with the warmth of his hand.
After eight years, he only visited during the holidays, but I didn’t care. While my family became lost in mahjong and gossip, he wove magical tales about his home and slipped twenty-dollar bills into my ponytail.
After eleven years, I decided to visit him. As I scribbled a mental list of my many updates, he opened the door and welcomed me inside.
But something seemed off. Maybe it was because he skipped our usual handshake. Or because he didn’t make my favorite peanut butter banana sandwich. Or because he had not once said my name.
After twelve years, he and I lost something dear. When my family and I arrived at the holiday party, I heard his voice drift from the living room. I bolted up the stairs and reached out for a hug, but he just grinned and asked, “Who is this girl?” He had lost his memories, and I had lost my best friend.
After thirteen years, I watched him enter the boarding terminal before his flight back home. As I stared at his retreating figure, I thought about his turning his back on everything we had experienced.
After sixteen years, I received the news in the early morning: he had passed away. His memory was foggy, but he lived peacefully.
After eighteen years, I live peacefully, but my memory is crystal clear. Although I did not know it before, the man I had grown to love – my grandfather – lives in my memories.
Allyson Abad ’16