Old jack

  Grandpa Jack once sat high in a throne at the top of his game. A professional bodybuilder, he was known as Concrete Jack. He was the biggest and best toned of all those others wimps.

  I’m sitting now on his aged armchair, the faded arms rippled and torn like his own, aging, features. He still has some of it…he is still twice my size, the wrinkled round face like any other granddad, yet perched upon a mantle of flesh. It’s old meat now, dark and wrinkled with bags hanging from it…his competitors would laugh were they not dead themselves.

“So you have started weightlifting James?” He says, his thin lips drawn to a smile and his cut gemstone eyes glowing with pride.

“Yeah, I can do twenty kilos on the dumbbells now” I smiled at him; pleased to see his hands clap together in encouraging praise.

  The glow in Grandpa’s eyes slowly dulls and glosses over, his thin pupils staring back into the past. They reach to a land close, yet very far from me, they flick back and forth and search a tunnel with a foggy end,

  He stands up and turns to his trophy cabinet. I can see from his cheeks that he is smiling, but it is a mournful and sentimental smile. His crooked and leathery fingers run over the golden crevasses in the elaborate trophies and his finger nails skate figure eights across the surface of pictures…a flexing man with arms like tree trunks.

  Next to the cabinet is the picture of Grandma, She may have died long ago, but the pride she had for him never faded. He has become weathered and old but she keeps smiling within her picture frame, he is still Concrete Jack, her knight in purple Speedos.

“I bet I can still lift sixty” He turns around, winking at me, his crow’s feet stretching to his ears.

  He rummages in a cupboard and retrieves a dumbbell the size of a large pumpkin. Grandpa Jack becomes set in concrete again as the veins in his arm shoot up in sequence, they remember the routine.

 He smiles as the dumbbell approaches his face. His eyes glitter like the sweat beads on his brow. I smile too, here he goes, one last lift to send him happily to retirement

 He has done it…he kisses his knuckles as the weight reaches the climax of its curl, his old trademark.   

  His lowers it and like a tree branch struck by lightning the veins convulse and the room is filled with a sickening crack. He winces, but ever the tough man, doesn’t yelp as his frail arm snaps into an upside down V. Instead, he falls to his knees and begins to growl like a caged beast. Beads of water wet the outside corners of his eyes as the excruciating pain wracks his creaking frame.

“Grandpa!” I yell, kneeling beside him as he cradles his ruined arm.

“It’s okay kid, I could feel it going…just had to do that one, that last one.” He growls, trying to wink and not wince.

  I reach for the phone to call the ambulance, glancing back at the crooning pensioner bathing in his last minute of glory…satisfaction numbing his pain. We wait half an hour before the paramedics arrive; they sigh and look at me with a concerned eye.

“What’s his name lad?” a short paramedic says to me.

“His name is Jack…Concrete Jack.” I say, laying a hand on his shoulder as those shining topaz eyes wink at me, passing on the torch.



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