Loren and Grandpa

Submitted into Contest #78 in response to: Write about someone who keeps an unusual animal as a pet.... view prompt

2 comments

Friendship Inspirational Drama

As I pour coffee into my favorite black mug, I recall the time I went on vacation to my grandparents' place. I was quite young at that time, barely 8 years old, but I was aware of my surroundings. Their place was built at the beginning of the 20th century, when my grandma's father, my grand grandfather, was still a young man. Whenever I think of their house, I remember the smell of wood and incense, and I can't help but remember all those landscape paintings on their house's walls. Since her father died, my grandma had been collecting those paintings. She told me once that her father's desire was to become a renowned artist and that he especially loved landscape art. This was due to his love for nature, something that my grandma inherited, but she also told me that he had to give up on his dreams in order to take care of his three children.

My grandmother was quite a lovely woman. Her hair was short and white, full of curls. When she smiled and laughed, the entire place's mood changed. She was like a candle in the middle of the darkness. My grandfather, on the other hand, was quite grumpy and shy. He had wear glasses for his entire life, and he was slender and tall. He was a man of few words, and he spent most of the time reading newspapers. I still don't understand how they fell in love when they were so different, but I guess there was something in their relationship that many of us wouldn't be able to comprehend.

At first, when I arrived, I really didn't want to stay at that time. As a child, I was easily scared by everything, especially my grandfather. He was never warm or affectionate towards me, so, at that time. I believed he hated me. Of course. I couldn't be more wrong.

During the first days, I only talked with my grandma. She liked baking cakes and cookies, and I couldn't be more delighted. I remember my Grandpa sitting in his favorite chair and reading newspapers as always. He watered the garden twice a week and then he spent the rest of the time sleeping and eating. I usually watched him from far away. I always considered him as a mysterious person, and, like any kid, even if I was afraid, I wanted to know more about him.

One day, a friend of theirs came to the house with a small box. His name was Óscar and he was chubby and short. What really captured my attention was his big mustache. I remember he smiled at me and gave me a candy.

"Alfredo, Margarita, how long has it been since we met? Maybe ten years?" He smiled widely. "Margarita, you are as beautiful as always! Alfredo, my dear friend, you have not changed even a bit!"

"Glad to see you again, Óscar." My grandfather forced a smile and I couldn't help but laugh. "Did Margarita—"

"It's nice to see you again, Óscar. Of course, you can stay here as long as you want." My grandma was smiling whereas my grandfather was grumbling. "Have you had dinner yet?"

"Oh no, it is not necessary. In fact, I came here to give you a gift."

"A gift?" my grandfather asked.

"Yes, it is in this box. Open it and see it yourself."

I looked at the beautifully decorated small box that now was in my grandfather's hands. He seemed quite wary but opened it carefully. Inside the box, there was a small green animal looking at us. It had long fingers and its eyes seemed dark. He had a long green tale that was mesmerizing. As I kid, I had never seen that kind of animal and I couldn't help but keep looking at it.

"An iguana?" my grandmother asked.

"Yes, isn't this little creature lovely?" Mister Óscar seemed quite happy with my grandparents' reaction. "My son came back from a trip with this little friend, but we can't take care of it. Our house is small, so I thought, what about my dear friends Margarita and Alfredo? Their house is huge and they don't have any pets yet."

"But an iguana is—"

"I'm afraid that if you can't take care of it, I will have to let it go. There is no one else I know."

He seemed quite sad and worried. As I child, I really didn't care about what they were talking about. I just wanted to pet that unique animal.

"Alfredo?"

My grandfather hadn't said anything until that moment. He was analyzing the situation, as always, and was silently deciding what option was better for them. Unexpectedly, the iguana jumped from the box to my grandpa's arm and looked at him in the eyes. I can't even explain what happened at that moment, but it was as if the iguana bonded with my grandpa. It looked at him with care, as if it was telling him: Please take care of me.

Grandpa just nodded and Mister Óscar smiled. Neither my grandma nor I could believe what we were seeing. I looked at my grandpa and I could swear he smiled just for a moment.

After dinner, Mister Óscar left and we were now with this new friend. I still wanted to pet it but I didn't know if the iguana would like me.

"Alfredo, this can't be serious."

"What? You let him in."

"What are we going to do with an iguana? Those reptiles are not pets! And there is a kid here! What will their parents say when they come back for him?"

"Kid" He called me and I stared at him. "Do you have a problem with this iguana?"

I shook my head.

"See? There is no problem, dear."

My grandma, who can no longer tolerate it, just left to the kitchen. I stayed there and saw my grandpa holding the iguana.

"How can I call you? Loren? Yes, you will be Loren."

I wanted to ask why he wanted to give an iguana that kind of name, but I knew it was useless. I just watched them until we had to go to sleep. But, as far as I remember, I couldn't sleep during that night. I keep thinking about the iguana and my grandpa's weird behavior.

As days passed by, weird things keep happening. My grandpa spent more time with the iguana than with my grandma and me. He usually can Loren for a walk on a sunny day. When he watered the garden as always, Loren was by his side, looking at him. As it was small and green, people could not even see him. Maybe they thought that my grandpa was alone there as always, but Loren was always with him. Even when my grandpa was reading his newspapers, Loren was next to him, looking at its surroundings.

I am not a pet person, so I even now can't understand their bond. I've always believed that reptiles do not have feelings, as many people have said that in the past, but maybe Loren was different. Even if it was not as expressive as a dog or a cat, Loren was not emotionless. I personally enjoyed touching his tale when my grandpa didn't see me. Loren didn't like this and looked at me with disdain. But when my grandpa petted Loren, it seemed quite happy. It was almost as if his eyes were smiling if that makes sense.

Some days before my parents came, I saw my grandpa playing with Loren. He seemed in good humor, so I guessed that it was okay to get close to them.

"Grandpa?"

"Oh, kid, come closer. Don't be afraid."

I did what he said and sit next to him. Loren looked at me as if it was expecting me to pick on it as always.

"Can I pet Loren, Grandpa?"

He was silent for some second but then he nodded.

"Be careful. You have to be kind to Loren. It is more intelligent than what you think."

I put my hand in Loren's hand and started petting him. It closed its eyes and seemed quite pleased.

Grandpa smiled, maybe for the first time, at me and caressed my hair.

"Grandpa, does Loren have emotions?"

"Of course, it has! Loren is special. It is not like a dog or a cat. It is smart and it can remember everything."

"Can I be Loren's friend?"

Grandpa looked at me proudly and simply said, "Of course, kid, you can be Loren's friend."

After we played, I went to sleep and I was so happy that I was eager to wake up the next morning. During these last days, I spent my time playing with my grandpa and Loren. I didn't understand that at that time, but if I had been brave and talked to him, I would have noticed how kind and thoughtful was my grandfather. I guess, at least during that time, I was very happy at my grandparents' house.

My parents came for me and I went back to my normal life. I almost cried when I said goodbye to my grandparents and Loren. It looked at me as if it was saying: Come back soon.

"Don't eat too many cakes," my grandpa said. "Take care of yourself. You are a little man now. And don't forget your grandparents. We may be old but we will always be here for you. Okay, kid?"

I nodded and hugged him. He was warmer and softer than I expected, but I didn't mind. I was going to miss living in their house but I was happy to know that I could come back next summer.

Time passed by and I went to my grandparents' home year after year. As always, I went to the garden with my grandpa and Loren. Grandpa told me many interesting stories about animals who could speak and foreign kingdoms. My grandpa prepared cakes and cookies as always and told me to not play too much outside as it was dangerous.

Things were like that at least during some time. Two years after they adopted Loren, I went to my grandparents' house and my grandma was the one who told me what happened. Apparently, while Loren was outside with my grandpa, a stray dog attacked it and bid its body. At first, they thought, Loren could recover, but it was too late.

When I saw my grandpa, he was really sad, as if he has lost his dearest friend. I had never seen him in a more fragile state. He didn't talk or laugh. He was just silently looking at the window as if he was waiting for Loren to come back. Of course, in front of me, he acted as if it was nothing but I could hear him cry sometimes at night.

My grandfather was a complex man. He wasn't keen on showing his emotions to people, as he was a shy person. But he loved his dear one with all of his heart. He was polite and even sweet sometimes. He may have seemed cold and distant, but he was one of the kindest men I had ever met.

It has been so long since he and my grandma died, and I still mourn them every day. Now, as I'm looking at the photo we took at their home, I can't help but feel like crying. I see Loren and I remember all those pranks and walks. It was my friend, and I was devastated when I understood what happened to it.

Maybe one day I will see them again. But, for now, I want to continue living. They taught me many things and I can't be anything but grateful to them. I hope they are proud of me wherever they are now.

January 28, 2021 20:32

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

2 comments

Conor Thackray
16:46 Feb 04, 2021

Lovely concept and I really liked the direction you took with the prompt. What I would have liked to read was a bit less description establishing the characters, particularly Grandpa, and more on how the Chameleon/iguana impacted their lives. More on the development of the narrator as well would have added to the tale. Great second submission!

Reply

Ariana Monteab
00:25 Feb 05, 2021

Thank you very much for the advice! And I'm really glad that you liked the story😊

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply