August 03, 2015 11:59:05 PM





The sun rose and everything fell. Or at least, that was the way things seemed to Grandma Thirston. She sat on the edge of her bed and looked down at her body in a way she hadn’t in her whole life. She was sagging and sunken in places she hadn’t noticed before;her maternal belly and bosom were full and yet empty. Her hands were far too spotted and her skin held the tone of the dull gray morning outside. For the first time in her life she felt her body finally catch up with her age. Before this moment she had always felt so young and spry for her 78 years. She had walked with a spring and puffed far ahead of her friends when they went out on walks, and had hardly ever really needed her glasses. Grandma Thirston had always prided herself in feeling and looking young. To be sitting on the edge of her bed feeling heavy and stiff did not put her in the best mood for the day.
Behind her, Grandpa Thirston stirred. She had forgotten he had slipped into bed with her last night. The couple had long since decided that they should sleep in separate beds due to Grandpa Thirston’s thrashing. He had been in the war, and his restless memory-wielding sleeps had taken a heavy toll on Grandma Thirston’s patience and rest. So he had moved into the guest room, with all of its quilt racks and cherub figurines and watercolor seashore paintings. But some mornings she would wake up to find Grandpa Thirston’s wiry old hawk body right next to her, and even though he wore his tattered striped pajamas and she wore her ancient bed moomoo, on those mornings she would feel young again at the sight of them lying together.
But she definitely did not feel young on this morning. With all her might in her doughy arms Grandma Thirston huffed herself off of the bed and onto her stodgy little feet. In their bathroom she tried to avoid looking straight into the mirror. But that just made all of the wrinkles she could see blur into what she considered a gray monster. She put on more makeup than usual, sprayed more of her stiff perfume. But that just made her feel like a geriatric clown.
As she padded along the landing to go downstairs Grandma Thirston passed the other guest rooms that her son and his family were staying in for the summer. Her little grandson, Alex, was her absolute weakness. His chubby cheeks and freckles never went unpinched when she was around, and she was extremely proud of how mature he was for just being seven years old. Quietly, she crept into Alex’s room and began to collect all of his little clothes out of the suitcase and dresser to wash and hang out to dry. Her son’s family had stayed with them long enough that summer for Grandma Thirston to know that little Alex’s clothes could definitely use a washing, and Alex’s mother didn’t seem to care or notice at all to wash them herself. She didn’t like her son’s wife, not at all. Looking at her, one wouldn’t think she possessed anything of much character. Or at least nothing emanating maternal instinct. The wife was a “health” addict, sleek and polished, always toting around the newest craze in becoming as little and gaunt as possible. All the clothes Grandma Thirston could see packed in her bags were ungodly tight spandex, and Grandma Thirston cared only for cotton. She felt that you could tell a lot about a person by the level of comfort in their fabrics. But Grandma Thirston had always kept these judgements of her daughter in law to herself.
Down in the kitchen, there were too many reflective surfaces for her to handle. The brass teapot morphed Grandma Thirston’s plump body into something she had never greatly recognized in herself until now; decrepitude. Even carrying her grandson’s laundry out to the line felt like a day’s work. She felt disgustingly useless. Everything in the fridge seemed to be a food that had caused the onslaught of her sagging tissue and bloat. Grandma Thirston puttered around in circles for quite a while, dodging any food that could be the culprit of her newfound feebleness.
As she was about to surrender to this end-of-life- crisis and go back upstairs to bed for the day, Grandma Thirston noticed something out of place in her meticulously organized kitchen. It was a box of tea. But unlike her own bargain-brand blends, this tea must have been her daughter in law’s newest source of hungry unhappiness. The box had sayings of encouragement and boasted to be the newest miracle in “cleansing” and “detoxification” to get “fit”. Before this terrible morning, Grandma Thirston would have scoffed at the claims and speed walked away, But she would try anything now to feel the least bit fresh and shrunken. She began to brew herself a cup of the tea as she went about making breakfast preparations for the rest of the household.

Upstairs in the quiet, Grandma Thirston’s grandson was just waking up. Just as his grandmother had woken up to what she found to be one of the not-so-good days of her life, Alex had immediately woken to one of his not-so-good days as well. He had been in a dream-like consciousness for a few minutes, but the sudden and sharp realization of wetness in his bed immediately woke him with a horrific start. He knew the feeling of urine on his pajamas quite well. But never in someone else’s sheets. Especially never in his grandmother’s quality guestroom ones. Alex had never really been a brave boy,and he never felt inclined to speak that much because he had found that sooner or later, someone would always speak for him. When he had wet the bed at home, He only ever felt comfortable telling his father.
Alex had been taught how to change out the soiled sheets and pajamas, clean them, and how to deal with his mattress. In his own home he knew where the clean sheets were kept and where the cleaning supplies were stored. But this was not Alex’s home. He knew absolutely nothing of where anything was in his grandmother’s large, bare house. And in his innocent adolescent mind Alex seemed to think that if he told a soul he had wet the bed in a house other than his own, he would be scolded. Alex constantly feared a scolding of any kind.

Alex knew he had to hide it. Somehow.

Grandma Thirston had just finished with the eggs and Alex had just finished stripping his bed when a loud and chilling scream roared through the whole house. It was Grandpa Thirston finally waking up. Alex heard covers being ripped away and heavy thuds coming from the next room as his parents drowsily scrambled to help with his grandfather. As Grandma Thirston puffed and trundled her way up the stairs to soothe her husband, she began to feel a very strange sensation growing in her stomach. Fearing someone might burst in to check on him at any moment, Alex immediately bundled up the soiled linens and whisked them under the bed. He sprinted over to the dresser to throw on some clean clothes, only to find that it was completely empty, and his clothes nowhere in sight.
Ignoring the strange fluctuations of her colon, Grandma Thirston brushed by her scrawny daughter in law hesitantly cowering in the doorway aside to help her son in restraining Grandpa Thirston. It never took much for him to explode into his episodes. Anything from loud noises and shrieks to random out-of-the-ordinary occurrences would send him spiraling into fits of screaming and physical confusion. The morning attacks happened most often from Grandpa Thirston changing from a sleeping state to being awake. The few times he had visited his grandparents, Alex had become scared to death of his grandfather. He had witnessed too many holiday episodes involving the Christmas tree lights or the family dog to ever feel completely at ease around the old man. So on their occasional visits Alex found it best to be out of the line of sight or aim of his grandfather just in case he might be triggered. During his episodes, Grandpa Thirston’s family had found that it was best to just hold him down and wait the tantrum out.
Grandma Thirston’s husband lay on her bed fighting back against his son as hard as his little toothpick body could fight. His eyes were wide and wild and didn’t seem to be focusing on anything. The old woman would bustle back and forth around her wrangling son and husband trying to find little holes where she could stick her hand in and smack at whichever part of Grandpa Thirston she could reach. She usually found that this would calm him down, but this particular morning was special, and all the smacking did was make Grandpa Thirston scream louder and louder.
As the sounds of the domestic uproar occurring down the hall continued, Alex nakedly scampered around his room trying to place the location of all of his clothes. They were nowhere to be found . Just as he rushed by his window, he noticed outside and below all of the clothing that he had brought with him on this “vacation” ,freshly washed and hanging up on the line. That was the moment Alex remembered the night before, when his grandma had asked if he would like for her to wash them. Panic spread through his little bare body. Alex knew that the freshly washed clothes would be far too wet to go by unnoticed, and if he wore his pajamas from the night before, everyone would know he had peed himself. And Alex just would not allow that to happen.
He couldn’t think of what to do. Alex knew that at some point his grandpa would eventually calm down and become somewhat sane again. And when that happened his parents would come to check on him. And when his parents would come to check on him, they would find Alex completely naked, next to a completely naked mattress. With no clothes or sheets in sight. And then everyone would know of his case of urinary incontinence. The horror.
Alex knew then of the only thing he could possibly do to save himself. The only thing that would save him from what he believed to be the most embarrassing judgement from his family, and disappointment from the wonderful grandmother who had trusted him with her wonderful cotton guestroom sheets. Alex acted quickly. Amidst the screeches still coming from down the hall, Alex reached under his bed to the very back where he had tossed the tainted linens. He dragged them out and shoved them into the darkest, most ominous corner of the surprisingly spacious guest room closet. Then came the hard part.
The only way Alex could avoid being seen in the nude and covered in urine was to be in the shower and showering by the time Grandpa Thirston calmed down and his parents came looking for him. If they heard him in the shower before they reached Alex’s room, his parents wouldn’t bother to open the door and find his mattress bare with a very noticeable urine stain on it. And by the time Alex was out of the shower with a towel wrapped around him tightly,his clothes out on the line would be dry enough to be worn without a hint of suspicion. Then, while clothed, Alex would be able to nonchalantly search around the house for cleaning supplies at his leisure. He just needed to get to the bathroom.

Alex cracked his door ever so slightly. He could hear Grandpa Thirston’s screams beginning to die down. This was Alex’s only chance to act. Ever so quietly, he poked his little head out and looked down the hall to his grandpa’s bedroom. Everyone was turned away from the door and facing the drama on the bed. Grandpa Thirston’s screams had turned to moans. Alex darted his eyes away from the scene to the door of the bathroom directly beside it. He would have to move quickly and stealthily without any hesitation in order to make it. From where he was thrashing on the bed, Grandpa Thirston would have a very clear view of the hallway where Alex most desperately needed to run without being seen. Alex just had to hope that his grandpa would be looking away or would be too dazed and confused to notice him.

Alex threw open the door and began to sprint down the long hallway.

This was the longest tizzy fit of her husband’s that Grandma Thirston had ever witnessed. Through the whole duration of smacking at Grandpa Thirston, Grandma Thirston had ignored the restlessness in her bowels and stomach. She realized that she most desperately needed to use the restroom. Grandpa Thirston was calming down enough that she believed her son could take over until her husband was as well as he could be. When she tried to straighten up again after bending over the bed, Grandma Thirston found that she couldn’t. The abrupt aging from earlier that morning mixed with the new and extremely prominent pressure in the depths of her innards made it quite impossible to move smoothly. Grandma Thirston relinquished all control over to her son and began hurriedly shuffling her way to the door,where beyond sat the porcelain throne her body was screaming for.
Grandpa Thirston was the only one to look up in time to see the blurry naked child dart into the next room. The sight of such an odd thing once again raised his blood pressure and Grandpa Thirston became even more agitated than before. His body spasmed in all directions. One misdirected kick was hit straight to Grandma Thirston’s gut in her attempt to escape to the bathroom. Before she could move any further, Grandma Thirston felt her poor bowels release the “detoxed” liquid they could hold no longer. She faintly heard her daughter in law shriek in repulsion, but all Grandma Thirston could really focus on was the alleviated and relieving stream of fecal matter tainting her wonderful cotton nightgown. She felt young again.

Alex had begun to hear the screams as he wrapped himself up in his towel. He heard not just his grandfather, but his mother and father too. He walked up to the bathroom door. Alex stared at the door and slowly turned the knob.