I lived with my grandfather in his house in the neighborhood Glorium, also one of the older neighborhoods of the town, until I was twenty. One evening a few months after, I found him on the floor of his study, coughing up blood. He was diagnosed with some sort of incurable lung disease and passed away a month later. While alive, Sahnwas seemed most mindful of three facts: his work, that a child, I, lived in the house with him, and that giving full attention to both at the same time was not possible. I spent most of my time in the company of books and Uzzy the cook. Sahnwas was stern, quiet, and very learned. This learnedness gave him arrogance and money, both of which he utilized profusely. I grew up in a comfortable setting, more comfortable than most people in the town did. My grandfather was very fond of books and spent most of his time locked in his study. During mealtimes, and every Friday with the tutor, we would sit down and go over my academic performance of the past week. Other than that, I was used to the occasional sights of him walking through his house looking for some book or other that wasn’t in his study. The cook ran all affairs of the house and so with little else to worry about, my grandfather was able to compartmentalize his life effortlessly, shutting out anyone who did not fit into his mysterious world. Nevertheless, I felt his loss gravely when he died.
The matter of my lineage was not a frequent topic in the house. My parents had died in a terrible accident when I was an infant, and my grandfather had taken over my care. The first time I asked him about them, he looked me dead cold in the eye and without battling an eyelash said, “Robin, they are dead. And dead people have no business in world of the living.” That was the first time I remember thinking that my grandfather had a cold heart, and we resolved not to talk to each for a week after. His response didn’t discourage my curiosity, but I was also at a loss of resources to inquire about people about whom I had no living memory.
The day after my grandfather’s death, his lawyer, Monsieur Bareouge sat down with me and informed me of a few changes that were now to be implemented. With a little maneuvering, my grandfather had enabled his cold treatment with his grandson to continue even after his death. I was informed I had to move out of our house as soon as I could find independent lodging for myself. Only for this purpose, my grandfather had left a modest amount of money. I was given no access to the will.
“You misunderstand. It is only that until the age of twenty two, you have no access to his will. Thereafter, you may choose to do whatever you please with it,” Monsieur Bareouge said. He looked as if he thought I was going to squander it away.
“Sir, I was training to go into a profession. I have little income of my own because I just finished my studies a month before his death. I thought he would have offered some financial support to his only living relative.”
“Robin, I have no doubt you can secure a job for yourself with your education,” Monsieur Bareouge sighed. “I’m only the messenger for my clients, I’m afraid I cannot bend the will he wrote for you. He is very clear on what he wanted.” It was clear that was all Mister Bareouge had to say. If I had shot myself in the face in front of him, his face would still not have displayed any emotion.
Wealth holds little allure. I wasn’t concerned about money. I was angry because he thought so little of his own grandson that he abandoned him like this. I can still remember the depth of the frustration I felt that day. I didn’t have the foresight then to understand that anger can hurt and manifest itself in hurtful ways- more often on the person carrying it. I had felt small in my grandfather’s overpowering company before, but this feeling of being tossed aside, as if I had never actually been of much importance to him, that towered over me. I felt shameful of my inability to have left a deeper mark on the man.