My grandmother’s boyfriend, whom she’ll never marry (she’s had enough of fetch and carry after three husbands), this man not my blood kin, drives my grandmother to family dinners at our house to sit in his gray wool hat at the end of the table with us children and other outsiders. Fred makes me gifts: my face, close-cropped, in roses, irises, a wineglass–no Photoshop, no fancy photography, just Fred snipping, scissor handles wedged past the inflamed knuckles of his retired craftsman hands. Fred glues me into beauty. I mumble thanks, abandoning his faces to ashtrays, water marks, Safeway slab cake icing smears, while Fred smiles with hungry old man eyes at crumbs I proffer as politeness. When grandfathers disappear overnight it is dangerous to love a man who hovers between chauffeur and family.
Shaula Evans is a writer, editor and translator. Born and raised in Canada, and educated in Montreal, France and Japan, she currently resides in New Mexico after spending 6 ½ years traveling around North America in a Mini Cooper. You can find her online at shaulaevans.com and on Twitter at @ShaulaEvans.