I was finally worth something. Someone trusted me to do something sensible. Life in the bay was going to start getting better for this one.
I remember walking away from the town hall with my cheque and instructions in hand. Skipping like a girl.
I got home and sat to the table, ready to burst. Grandfather was playing patience and didn’t bother to look up from the smear of cards.
He was drumming his hands on the table like he always did. It was that same rhythm his fists beat out a million times before but, for the first time in my life, it made me want to join in.
I stuffed the cheque into my pants, put my knuckles to the table and knocked along to the old man’s steady pulse. I was still a boy but I sure felt a little bit like a man.
We had a good beat rolling for more than a minute. Then he stopped, and stared at my eyes like he knew something in me that instant had changed. His eyes were finally looking at the young man he used to be and I had finally reached the point where he started out, as a boy. He saw hope in this hopeless good-for-nothing.
“Win the lottery er wha?”
“Something like that,” I said with a grin I couldn’t keep down.
“I been thinking about it, and I decided I’ll stay home for a while Pop, see how it goes. Been thinking about starting my own business…”
The premier could have walked into the room wearing nothing but the flag around his waist and the old man wouldn’t have flinched. He was rendered speechless. So I kept on talking.
“I’ve been thinking about maybe trying to make a go of it here. Screw the city, I’d rather be here. Help keep this place alive. Give something back.”
I was just shoveling words at him — part of me still thinks he knew more than he let on.
I hadn’t really thought about what I was going to do to earn the money I already had in my hands. There was plenty of time for that I figured. Ten years.
I got up and grandfather returned to his game, smirking face down.