by Angela Wright
Her grandad was a man not given to any sort of effusive speech, or in fact any conversation at all. She thought that describing him as laconic was almost an understatement. Most replies to questions were nods, shakes of his tousled head or grunts. He was very old, very deaf and very taciturn.
He was always in the same spot in the lounge when she visited him, chair turned to the window so he could watch the sparrows squabbling over food on the bird table. His crumpled clothes were usually peppered with biscuit crumbs and tea-stained. She often thought that the sparrows would enjoy eating those crumbs off his chest if they were given the chance.
She was bracing herself today as she had bad news to tell him. His final surviving friend Bert had died − Grandad had known him since childhood. After delivering the news in terms she immediately felt were trite as soon as they left her lips, she looked at Grandad. At first she thought he hadn’t heard what she said, but then he grunted and sighed.
‘Told ‘im he’d go first,’ he said.