This idea has been bugging me for a long time, and so I finally have decided to just go ahead and write it. I may add additional chapters, if I get enough pushing from readers. But for now, it will just be this.
Warning: Angst like WHOA.
Disclaimer: I do not own Peanuts. Do I look like Charles Shultz? But I do own Charlie Grind. So please no stealing :3
Charlie Grind (Grandson of Charlie Brown)
The building looked frightening, vaguely reminding me of a top-security prison I saw once on TV. The tall, white-washed fence surrounded the area, almost like brick walls and barbed wire. Security cameras hid in every spot imaginable; in the flower pot, underneath the rocking chairs, behind the cob webs. And to top it all off, the nurses seemed to follow you with their eyes, scrutinizing your every move, making you feel guilty about a crime you didn't even know about.
I tried to approach the doors of the Nursing Home as slowly as I could, but Mom kept pushing me forward, even though she didn't seem to want to go in either. I didn't know what my problem was, I had been to this place hundreds of times, all for the same reason; to visit Grandpa Chuck.
"We haven't got all day, Charlie," Mom said, pushing me even harder. She sounded really tired, and had large bags under her eyes. I could tell she had been awake all night.
"Can't we see Grandpa Chuck tomorrow?" I asked, knowing deep inside we could not, but refusing to believe it.
"I'm afraid that won't be possible," Mom said, and she sounded like she was on the verge of tears. She looked like she was on the verge of tears.
"Mom...?" I asked, but she could not hear me. She was too distracted with trying to discreetly wipe away her tears that she didn't even notice Dad put his hand in hers, comfortingly rubbing it with his thumb.
He opened the doors for us and kissed Mom on the cheek, whispering, "He's lived a long life. It was only inevitable that this day would come."
But why so soon? I asked myself as Dad checked us in.
I wished I didn't know what they were talking about. I wish I was clueless about all of this, and thought that this was just another visit to Grandpa Chuck. I wish I didn't know this was the last visit.
But I did know what they were talking about. I knew exactly why Mom was crying. All because I had been thirsty the night before and had overheard them talking.
I padded softly down the stairs, not making a sound. My mouth was as dry as the Sahara desert, and I needed water as much as a car needs fuel. Mom and Dad were sitting in the living room, watching a movie. I could get by them, no problem. I sneaked into the kitchen and got a glass from the cabinet. That was when I heard the phone ring.
The TV suddenly went quiet as Mom picked up the phone.
"Hello? Yes, this is her." A pause.
"What?" Mom sounded startled. "Are you positive you can't do anything?" A longer pause.
"I understand," she said, her voice now sad and serious. I heard the click of the phone as it was placed back on it's holster.
"What's wrong?" Dad asked.
"It's Dad," Mom said, and I knew she wasn't talking about my dad... she was talking about hers. "It's gotten worse. The cancer."
Grandpa Chuck had cancer in his left lung, and it made him cough really loudly. I wasn't that sure what cancer was, but I knew that it was bad for you. Really, really, really bad.
Dad was silent, and that made Mom continue. "They can't do much more, except give him morphine. They say he'll have a week, at most, to live." Mom's voice cracked on the last word.
I froze. I wouldn't have been able to move if a battering ram tried to push me away. Grandpa Chuck only had about a week to live, at the most. I heard Mom crying, and Dad trying to calm her with his deep, soothing voice.
I put the glass back into the cupboard once I had regained my ability to move, and I ran swiftly and quietly back up the stairs, my thirst forgotten.
"Grandpa Chuck!" I cried as I ran up to his bed, just like I would have for any other visit.
"Hello-" Cough. "-Charlie." He was able to give me a small smile before caving in to a series of coughs. I waited until he recovered before I hugged him.
"Watcha been doin' lately, Sport?" he asked, smiling again, although this time it looked more like a grimace. My stomach flipped upside-down.
"I fell off my bike a few days ago," I said, ignoring my topsy-turvy stomach. "I had to get three stitches, right here." I pointed to my arm, and Grandpa Chuck looked at it, his eyes wide with surprise.
"Good Grief," he said once he had gotten a good look. Cough. "Say, could you hand me a peppermint?" He nodded towards the glass bowl on his bedside table, which was full to the brim with the sweets. Beside the bowl was a picture of Grandma Patty in her wedding dress, taken about fifty years before. She looked so pretty, and I felt a pang in my chest. She had been a really good Grandma.
I grabbed on of the peppermints from the bowl and handed it to him. I don't know why he liked peppermints so much. He had always eaten them like his life depended on it. Back when he and Grandma Patty lived in their old house, whenever he'd eat one, he would wink at Grandma Patty, and she would return it with a smile, as if there was some kind of inside joke between them. An inside joke that I would never get to know.
"Dad," Mom said quietly from behind me. She and Dad had taken a long time getting here, although I don't know why.
"Sally," he said, sucking on the peppermint loudly. He turned to me. "Could we have a bit of alone time, Sport?"
I nodded, even though I really didn't want to go. I wanted to spend every second of every day with him, while I still could.
He smiled, and I left, leaving him and Mom to talk to each other.
I sat with Dad in silence for about twenty minutes before Mom let me back in. I ran back up to his bed. He looked really tired now, and his eyelids were drooping. He looked like he needed to go to sleep, but I didn't want him to, for fear that he may never wake up again.
"Hey Sport," he said, and I smiled.
"Dad," my Dad said. He always called Grandpa Chuck 'Dad', even though his dad was actually Grandpa Schroeder. My Dad's weird.
"Hey, John," Grandpa Chuck said, acknowledging him. "How's the business doing?"
"Wonderfully," Dad said.
He looked up at me, his great blue eyes looking tired, but they still had that old spark to them. "Sport," he said, motioning for me to come closer. "Be good, ok? Take care of your mom for me." I tried to not cry. I couldn't cry; not in front of Grandpa Chuck.
Grandpa Chuck started to yawn, but it turned into a cough. Then it turned into a coughing fit. Mom loomed over him, making sure he was ok. The heart monitor said that his pulse was starting to go up. I started to sweat. Was he ok? Would this be the last time I would see him? Thousands of unanswerable questions swarmed through my head as a nurse came in to check on things.
Everyone except Grandpa Chuck looked worried. He finally settled back down into the bed as his coughing stopped, his pulse returning to normal. At least, for a few seconds it was normal. It was slowly receeding as his eyelids drooped lower over his eyes.
He whispered something, and Mom and I leaned in closer to catch what he was saying.
"I can see her... Patty," he murmured, as his pulse went dangerously low. My eyes started to feel itchy.
The nurse was frantically trying to raise his pulse, but it was no use. More nurses ran into the room.
Grandpa Chuck looked wearily up at Mom and I, and whispered, "Goodbye."
I felt the first tear drop.
Grandpa Chuck took one, last, shaky breath as his eyes fluttered closed. The heart monitor let out a long beep that meant there was no more heart beat to detect.
A little fire sparked inside of me as tears streamed from my eyes. I started yelling out at Grandpa Chuck, trying to call him back, and I felt strong arms wrap around me and pull me away from Grandpa Chuck. I clawed at them, not wanting to leave him.
The nurses looked defeatedly at each other as they got some last-minute devices that just might bring him back. I yelled at them, too, angry that they hadn't tried hard enough to keep Grandpa Chuck alive. Someone covered my mouth, and I fought against them until I fell asleep, about twenty minutes later, exhausted.
Charlie Brown passed away on Nov. 5, 2012, at age 70, from natural causes. His only grandchild, Charlie Grind (named after Mr. Brown) refused to leave his grandfather's side, and had to be pulled away by his father and two nurses. Mr. Brown left Charlie half of his possesions in his will (the other half going to his daughter, Sally Grind, Charlie's mother).
Two weeks later, at his funeral, Charlie Grind put three peppermints inside Mr. Brown's open casket, saying that he would need them, wherever he was. The ceremony was fairly short, and all of Mr. Brown's living relatives and friends attended (except for Freida Hasslier, who was on a trip in Peru at the time).
Mr. Brown was buried next to his wife, Patty, who had died two years earlier. His epitaph (written by Linus van Pelt, his life-long friend) read, 'To his wife, he was a Sly Dog. To his daughter, he was a loving father. To his friends, he would always be a blockhead.'
Hope that wasn't too sad for you! I also hope that you liked it! :) Please tell me if you would like another chapter, or if you just like this one.