Three weeks later, Joseph stayed over at Grandma and Grandpa’s house while Susan and Elijah went on their anniversary vacation. He had a good time there and he spent most of the time looking at his pocket knife. When he and Grandma baked cookies and Grandpa sat at the table reading the Bible, he tried using the pocket knife to cut the dough. Grandma didn’t let him, but she told him that he could use it to do a special chore out in her garden. After they were done baking cookies, Grandpa closed the Bible, got up from his chair, and opened the sliding door to the backyard. He showed Joseph where the chicken wire in Grandma’s garden had to be cut, but that he had to be very careful not to cut himself. Are you old enough, you think, Grandpa said, not to cut yourself? Of course, Joseph said, almost offended. Of course I can do it without cutting myself.
Grandpa said, alright then, and went back inside. Joseph cut the chicken wire and looked up at the sky and felt an odd vibration in his chest. He didn’t know how to describe it. The clouds rolled in the pink sky like dough rolling in flour and the trees breathed a warm wind on the back of his neck. He looked back at the back door to see if he was still not alone. Grandpa was sitting at the kitchen table and Grandma was standing at the island. Joseph wondered if there was going to be a storm, or maybe even a tornado. He worked faster, so that he could get inside quickly.
But there was no storm and not even a tornado. He finished the work, which was an odd job, he thought, and went inside. Grandma was very pleased with him and she gave him the first cookie. Grandpa asked him to sit on his lap and he did it. He fell asleep in Grandpa’s lap. The last thing he saw was his pocket knife on the table under the light.
He didn’t understand entirely what happened the last day. Grandpa was taking a nap and Grandma told Joseph to go wake him up. He knocked on the door, but Grandpa didn’t answer. So he opened the door a little bit and asked, Grandpa? but Grandpa stayed in bed looking up at the ceiling.
Joseph came back in the kitchen, feeling an odd vibration in his chest, and with an unsteady voice, as if he was not allowed to say it, “Grandpa’s sleeping.”